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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."


Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dr. Kayla Wopschall

She Did it!


 Kayla Wopscall

Thursday while I was in Hong Kong, Kayla (my middle daughter) and University of Washington PhD student in Archaeology, defended her dissertation entitled “Akrotiri Aetokremnos and the Cypriot Pygmy Hippopotamus: An Interdisciplinary Look at a Late Pleistocene Large Mammal Extinction"


Working toward my own PhD program, I understand the effort and commitment that it took for her to undertake, and finish such a challenge while being a mom and working. Life has not always been easy, but it has always been full. In high school Kayla was on the track, swim, and dive teams. She was also a fabulous dancer, a club gymnast for years, a photographer and an incredible artist.


She went off to college at UCSB and continued in track and swimming. But she also found a passion in science, with an interest in Archeology. She crawled through caves that gave me the chills. She also began surfing while at school. Wish I had a photo of that!


During her college years, shortly after her 21st birthday, she had back surgery and was paralyzed. We were told she may never walk again. She did not believe them!  The photo below was taken on my 43 birthday, as Kayla took her first steps without being able to feel her legs. The best gift in the world. Hard to believe 10 years has passed so quickly. Strength, perseverance and a positive attitude is what it took for her to defy the odds of not walking.


While in the hospital a counselor came by and asked Kayla what her plans were. She told the woman when she left the hospital she would attend her track banquet (two months out), return to summer school, and then get back on the track team. The counselor told Kayla she needed to make more "realistic" goals. Unrealistic has been the essence of her life and she accomplished them all.




She made back to the track team, 
graduated college and walked up to get that diploma.


Today Kayla walks, but the journey down that path was not easy. Nothing worth having ever is. But if you're willing to do what it takes, you can do anything. She has also done some modeling too, and  was in a commercial for the Tulalip Casino. 

She designs the covers of my novels, too, and she is illustrating my children's book: I Am Awesome!  So this young lady operates from the right and left brain... and her talents amaze me.

 

Kayla is the mother of Miles and Ellis, has 3 dogs, 2 cats and will be pursing a career in academia now that she has her doctorate. I'm thinking...there is nothing she cannot accomplish. She will be walking with her class this Spring, and I will be there.


Join me in Congratulating 
Dr. Kayla Wopschall 
on her recent accomplishment. 

Something tells me there will be many more!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

20 comments:

  1. WOW! What an amazing testament to the power of dream and perseverance! Kudos to your daughter, and to you as well for raising her so she would never feel like others could take her down!

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    1. Thank you JD! She is pretty awesome and this is a huge accomplishment. She said she's still letting it sink in. :)

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  2. Wow. And yes, congratulations, Dr. Kayla! The product of Can Do parents, why am I not surprised? Best wishes, -Craig (Of Cedarglen)

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    1. Thank you so much Craig! I think we often learn much from out children if we take time to pay attention. :)

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  3. Congratulations Kayla, on getting your PhD. Your daughter takes after you Karlene, you both Have that that same positive attitude that makes you both so special. You both endure a lot of hardships But both archieve the goal you set for yourselves.
    Inspiring, positive, strong and above all amazing women!

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    1. An, Thank you so much! What a lovely comment. It really means a lot, to me and I know to her too. Now the next adventure begins.

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  4. Wow, so cool.

    The only thing better than having a doctor in the family is having two. It has been my experience that a daughter is very much like her mother.

    You are a wonderful mother and your daughter is an inspiration to all. Well done!

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    1. Ahh.... Thank you so much Rob. And as I go through the program I have someone to cry to. lol.

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  5. Kayla is one amazing lady.To overcome everything life throws at her and achieve what she has is quite incredible. And an archaeologist too!History and archaeology are great passions of mine.
    If I had my time again I would like to think I'd be an archaeology student.

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    1. Thank you so much for the comment! You know John, it's never too late! You can always go back to school. Look at me! I'm thinking it's only too late when it is.

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    2. I may just do that, Karlene. I mean, no matter what country one lives in, sometimes just inches below our feet, there's a fascinating story to tell.

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    3. John, isn't that the truth. One degree of separation a million stories in there!!

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  6. Congrats to Kayla! That is absolutely fantastic! I knew she could do it. :)

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    1. Thank you Heather!! Yes... we are so proud of her for sure.

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  7. Wow! Like mother like daughter. You must be very proud.

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    1. Very proud for sure... I'm not thinking I'm in her category, however. One day I hope to be!

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  8. What an amazing story Karlene! "Perseverance and a positive attitude” is the recipe for success!

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    1. Thank you so much!!! Yes, and I know someone else who has that attitude!

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  9. WoW Kayla thats great what you have achieved and I wish you the best for the future.
    Its so true what the others are saying 'like mother like daughter'

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    1. Thank you so much Balana! This means a lot!!

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