The Coaching team

Meet the Write the Damn Dissertation Coaches and Group Leaders

Amy Photo


Founder and CEO of Write The Damn Dissertation,

Coach, Motivational Speaker, Podcast Host

Meet Amy

Dr. Amy Boyd was able to finish her dissertation in 16 months after spending 4 years in the drift, struggling to silence the inner critic and get out of her own way and finish writing her own dissertation. When she finished and graduated, she started Write the Damn Dissertation, helping other women who were struggling to make progress. She shares the same tools that helped her overcome imposter syndrome and break the dissertation writing anxiety-procrastination cycle with her community. Since 2019, Dr. Amy Boyd and her team of coaches have helped 17,000+ women all over the globe representing 160+ Universities, make progress on their doctoral dissertations and thesis,

Amber Photo


Write The Damn Dissertation Coach

Meet Amber

More about Amber

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Dr. Amber currently lives in Texas with her kids, fantastic husband, and a menagerie of small cats and big dogs. Her eclectic degree collection includes a BFA in Theatre from New York University, Masters in English and History from Sul Ross State University, and, most recently, a PhD Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Literacy, Diversity, and Language from Texas Tech. A community college professor and accreditation liaison, Dr. Amber spends her free time training for marathons with her husband, obsessing about snacks, and (more often than not) having her heart broken by her beloved Los Angeles Lakers.

Having spent most of her masters and doctoral studies as a focused, working mom, Dr. Amber lost her educational groove in spring of 2019 when, days after sailing through her qualifying exam defense, her dissertation chair departed the university. Shortly thereafter, one of her children had a mental health crisis that put everything else on the back burner. The dissertation fell down the list of priorities until it became neglected aside from the ever-present sense of shame. When the pandemic hit, Dr. Amber decided to say yes to opportunities, which brought her to the 5-Day Think Like a Phinisher Workshop. Skeptical of self-help, she realized the first day that Dr. Amy was a smart woman talking to smart women—the guide so desperately needed. Dr. Amber joined the August 2020 Stuck to Unstoppable Cohort and eventually the Private Coaching program under Dr. Tara. With the help of Dr. Amy, her team, and the ladies in the program, she went from almost no proposal to a defended proposal by the beginning of November 2020, defending her dissertation in October 2021.

Dr. Amber subscribes to a down-to-earth, approachable coaching perspective. Her research areas are in adult learner creativity and writer identity, fields that color her coaching as well. She believes in practical, realistic strategies and goal setting, catering to individual needs. Because the dissertation process is so grueling, she attempts to help clients find the joy in their work, navigate the discomfort with humor, and develop a trust in their abilities to cross the finish line. Her frequent co-coach is her shepherd mix, “Dogtor” Randi, who has been an essential part of her dissertation journey. Like Dogtor Randi, Dr. Amber offers non-judgmental support through the good days and the not-so-good dVideoays.

Luciana Photo


Write The Damn Dissertation Coach

Meet Luciana

More about Luciana

Dr. Luciana (proud namesake of her incredible Italian grandmother) has forged her own path with her literature degrees, entrepreneurial endeavors with her husband and teaching/mentoring in higher education settings. As a lover of literature and words, she consequently appreciates a great pun and creating new phrases (e.g., her favorite game is Ransome Notes and her mobile axe-throwing business is named Great AXEpectations). For her dissertation, Dr. Luciana created a theoretical framework she termed “structural cannibalism” founded in her strength of literary analysis, creativity, and discovery. This literary theory weaves together the persistent tropes of human power structures and consumption found in 19th-century texts on race, class, and gender. For fun, she loves to think of new business ideas with her husband, travel, sing in her church choir, do Pilates, implement new cooking techniques/flavors in the kitchen, and play games with friends/family (as well as her two puppy sidekicks).

Since the beginning of her doctorate in 19th-century British and American literature at UNC Greensboro, Dr. Luciana struggled with imposter syndrome and a strong Inner Mean Girl (IMG). Everyone else appeared to wholeheartedly embrace the 110% commitment that academia seemed to require, yet Dr. Luciana had divided attentions that her IMG weaponized to confirm she didn’t belong. Following Covid and a year of loss after the passing of her grandparents, Dr. Luciana was in the drift for 2 years. Dissertation paralysis firmly gripped her, leading to compounding shame that “self-evidenced” the IMG’s lie that she was “lazy” (which Dr. Luciana saw as an inherent flaw). After a friend convinced her to sign up for a workshop with Write the Damn Dissertation (WTDD), she immediately saw a shift in her mindset using Dr. Amy’s approach. Dr. Amy and the WTDD coaches dug deep into the emotional lies she believed were her identity. Through holistic and consistent thought-work, she confronted those lies with truths evinced in other areas of her life. She also found a community of amazing women that were similarly struggling and conquering. The WTDD program was where she found her voice, embracing her muchness and uniqueness with her non-traditional dissertation.

While she was a WTDD member, Dr. Luciana inspired the idea for and worked alongside Dr. Tara to create our Phinisher support groups. This offering is available for WTDD Alums who are in the final push to become their doctor selves! She is excited to bring even more dedication and support in her new role as a WTDD Group Leader. With her experience as a multi-hat job wearer, she understands the balance and support needed to make progress on the dissertation. Her approach focuses on creativity and flexibility as she seeks to support members in their dissertation process through listening and sharing from her own experience.

Minnie Photo



Write The Damn Dissertation Coach

Meet Minnie

More about Minnie

Dr. Minnie grew up in Valdosta, GA, but has lived in the Washington, DC area for the last decade. There she has worked full time for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington while completing her doctoral studies) and being Hasana's mommy (her most enjoyable and toughest job ever. Dr. Minnie is a sociolinguist interested in the language of African Americans from the boardroom to the basketball court as well as from the classroom to the courtroom. Her dissertation was a mixed methods exploration of language about change examining older African American women discussing how the city changed after the 1968 riots as well as an ongoing language change in African American English speakers in the Washington, DC area.

Dr. Minnie began her doctoral journey at Michigan State University in 2006, but left right before her comprehensive exams in 2010 due to a rough pregnancy and then subsequent premature birth of her daughter. Once she enrolled in her second doctoral program at Georgetown (where she completed her bachelor's and master's degrees) and reached candidacy in 2016, she dealt with some serious health issues resulting in very little progress on her dissertation. She was "in the drift" for five years, and then she saw a Facebook ad for Stuck to Unstoppable in spring 2021. She attended the free workshop, but she was not ready to fully commit. In November 2021, she made a commitment to finish the PhD as a promise to her daughter. Dr. Minnie signed up with a different coaching program because she knew she needed the support, but soon realized that this coach was not right for her. The ad for Stuck to Unstoppable popped up yet again (like magic at the right time). After doing their weekend retreat to start off the new year, she joined the January 2022 cohort and was part of the inaugural S2U Intensive program. Over the next four months with Dr. Tara as her coach and the women of S2U as her community, Minnie defended her dissertation on May 12, 2022 with nearly 20 of her S2U sisters present at her defense.

As a coach for the program, Dr. Minnie focuses on tapping into the emotional motivation behind the work of the dissertation with a focus of keeping the WHY top of mind.

She likes to help women develop a systematic and realistic process-driven approach to finishing the dissertation through motivational conversations which include lots of analogies and probing questions. Additionally, Minnie likes to address problem-solving in critical yet creative ways in order to keep authentic voice and value in the process while still getting the project done.

Stephanie Photo



Write The Damn Dissertation
Community Manager and Coach

Meet Stephanie

More about Stephanie

Dr. Stephanie grew up in the southwest corner of Puerto Rico, Cabo Rojo. She pursued a Biology/Microbiology bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, followed by a two-year post-baccalaureate program at Mayo Clinic to further explore host-pathogens interactions. Stephanie then pursued a PhD in Immunology at the University of Iowa where she studied white blood cell responses (neutrophils) to a bacterial infection. Stephanie was awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, a Sloan Scholar fellowship, and various presentation awards in national conferences. She has mentored more than a dozen undergraduates and graduate students in the Allen Lab. Today, she is working as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Missouri where she studies neutrophil nuclear morphology. When not involved in her research, Stephanie loves spending time with her favorite people, baking, painting, scrapbooking, listening to good music and eating, all the while taking care of her pup Jelly Bean.

After wrestling with the inner mean girl, Stephanie began a journey of self-discovery and embracing her muchness, joining the Think Like A Phinisher Challenge and Stuck To Unstoppable program in 2020. Here she found a support system, a group of friends; but most importantly, a map to navigate her complex mind, and embrace her limitless self. She also figured out how to get in a daily flow of writing and how to overcome procrastination kindly but effectively. Stephanie struggled with her strong inner mean girl, with her perfectionist tendencies being the reason she felt stuck.

As a coach for Write the Damn Dissertation, Dr. Stephanie strives to help you identify what is holding you back, develop intentional habits, identify short- and long-term goals, and strategies to hold yourself accountable. By learning from the ups and downs of the process of writing the dissertation; Dr. Stephanie will help you map your thoughts, learn from your experiences, and celebrate all the wins; no matter how small or big they are!

Vicki Photo



Write The Damn Dissertation Coach

Meet Vicki

More about Vicki

Dr. Vicki originally grew up in the beautiful Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, UK. Over the last 17 years, she and her American husband Scott have split their time between England, UK and New England, USA! In fall 2021, Scott and Vicki moved to their forever home – an 1800s farmhouse in Vermont - with their two golden retrievers Mojo and Faolan. Two kittens, Ciaran and Nyx, joined the furry family in March 2022. Vicki is a passionate environmental scientist and conservationist, as well as a professional science communicator. Her two decade career has focused primarily on providing experiential environmental education and engaging youth with nature. She is also a passionate mental health advocate and enthusiastic women in STEM mentor.

Vicki’s doctoral research was a quantitative field-based study investigating the effects of urbanization and climate change on breeding success in common garden (backyard) birds. Vicki’s doctoral journey at the University of Birmingham began in 2015 after she decided to take the plunge and apply to PhD programs. This involved an international move from Massachusetts and to cut a long story short anything that could go wrong…did. From the outset, Vicki felt like she was battling against her PhD and was increasingly overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy and failure. In 2019, and well into her writing-up period (with very little progress), she decided to take a leave of absence to concentrate on her mental health. The pandemic hit and before she knew it nearly two years had passed. She was the poster child of ‘being stuck in the drift’ with crushing imposter syndrome, feelings of incredible loneliness and grief, and a total loss of identity and motivation. A Facebook ad serendipitously popped up on her news feed for Stuck to Unstoppable in spring 2021 just as she was returning to her PhD. She immediately joined the free Think Like a Phinisher workshop. After several more stop-starts (because she was not ready to fully commit), she finally joined the October 2021 cohort and made REAL intentions to finally finish her dissertation. With the wonderful support of the WTDD community and using all the tools available, she completed her dissertation less than a year later and successfully passed her viva in November 2022.

Dr. Vicki is REALLY excited to join the program as a coach having been an incredibly active cohort and alumni member. She hopes that by sharing her own experiences in the WTDD programs, she can help other women stuck in the drift realize their goal of completing their dissertation. As a long-time sufferer of imposter syndrome and with a formerly very loud inner mean girl, her focus is to help women rediscover their belief in themselves and tap into their identity as finishers through compassionate listening, open conversation and creative changes in thinking.

Ann Photo


Write The Damn Dissertation Group Leader

Meet Ann

Dr. Ann lives in Illinois with her amazing husband, family, and two weenie dogs. She holds a B.S. in Communications and Journalism from Washington University, an M.Ed. in Adult Learning from the University of Missouri—St. Louis, and an Ed.D in Higher Education Leadership from Missouri Baptist University. She has 25 years of experience working with disability at both the higher education and K-12 levels. Her qualitative study titled “Post-Secondary Programming for Students with Intellectual Disabilities: The Student Perspective” examined the need for the first person perspective in the development and implementation of higher education programs for students with Intellectual Disabilities. Dr. Ann currently serves as an Instructional Coach who coaches special education teachers around universal supports, high leverage instructional practices, and continuous classroom improvement.

Dr. Ann started her doctoral journey in 2017. Like many, she struggled through the doctoral process due to a number of competing priorities, eventually taking a few years off to care for her mom. She returned but continued to drift through her program with very little progress. She was fighting the relentless voice of the “inner mean girl” telling her that she should have already finished; which only further impeded her progress. She later saw the “Stuck to Unstoppable” program on FB, but was a little skeptical as someone who was not a big fan of group support. When she finally took the leap and joined the free two-day program, Dr. Amy talked about the importance of not just support, but connection. These words really resonated with Dr. Ann, she joined the January 2022 cohort, and the trajectory of her doctoral journey completely changed. She defended her dissertation in July 2023. She feels strongly that the skills you learn through the program are applicable to all parts of your life—not just the dissertation.

Dr. Ann utilizes a compassionate and non-judgmental approach to coaching. She believes that adult learners need to see the practical and meaningful pieces of the dissertation process. An important piece of this process is validation. Just as individual voice was a key piece of her doctoral research, she believes that all doctoral students need to know that someone is listening to their questions and concerns while helping them develop a systematic approach to completion.

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Write The Damn Dissertation Group Leader

Meet Laura

Dr. Laura grew up in Massachusetts but now lives in San Pablo, California with her wife Bridget and her dog Tillie (who was an excellent dissertation assistant!). Laura has worked in higher education her entire career, holding positions in a variety of areas but always with a focus on student success, well-being, and belonging. She completed her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. Her dissertation research explored the experiences of women in senior leadership roles with a focus on the intersection of identity and campus culture. Through her research and in her work, Laura is passionate about supporting other women in accomplishing their goals, honoring their strengths, and finding their voice.

Laura’s dissertation journey began in 2018 and was fairly smooth sailing until things began to unravel starting in the spring of 2020 with the onset of the COVID pandemic. She and her wife were the primary care-givers for her parents who each had a major health crisis just as Laura was about to complete her coursework and begin working on her proposal. A year later, in the summer of 2021, Laura found herself completely lost, unsure of how to move forward and feeling totally isolated with little guidance or support. That’s when she stumbled on WTDD on Facebook and participated in a free 5 day Think Like a Phinisher workshop, and for the first time in a while felt like she was not alone. She joined the August 2021 cohort and found not only an amazing community of women, but a new way of thinking about both her progress and her challenges. Most importantly she discovered a vision for Dr. Laura and a confidence in herself to become her. With steady progress, and then a hard push in the Spring Phinisher’s group, Laura defended and graduated in May of 2023. The connections and friendships, as well as the new perspective and concrete tools she gained in the community, continue to enrich her life both personally and professionally.

Even while in the program, Laura knew she wanted to join the WTDD team and give back by supporting other women in navigating the dissertation journey and becoming their true doctor selves. As a group leader, Laura loves hearing members stories, brainstorming ideas and strategies, and providing encouragement and support.

Zina Photo


Write The Damn Dissertation Group Leader

Meet Suparna

Dr. Suparna is a native of Massachusetts, grew up in Northern Virginia, and currently lives in Maryland (near the DC border) with her two dogs and partner. She has always had a love for math and science and the pursuit of education. She has a BS in Biomedical Engineering, MPH and MS in Epidemiology, and most recently completed a PhD in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology. Her PhD research focused on examining the combinations of conditions of older adults with diabetes using machine learning methods, a topic she is still passionate about today. She is currently a research analyst at OCHIN, where she gets to use her skills and passion for research and data to improve the lives of community health center patients. When she's not busy doing research or teaching, she loves spending time with her family, dogs, fostering puppies, exploring new restaurants, doing puzzles, and travelling.

Dr. Suparna started her doctoral journey at Kent State University in 2012, where she dove headfirst into classes and teaching. During her second year, she decided to pursue a full-time job at Case Western Reserve University, where she strengthened her research and analysis skills. Over the next few years, she would work on finalizing her topic and writing; however, she did not get far. All of her cohort-mates  were defending and graduating, and when she got the "dreaded letter" in September of 2021 after being in the drift for almost 5 years, she knew she had to kick herself into gear. By this point, she had moved states for another job, and had to find a new dissertation topic, which she quickly did.  She saw an ad for a weekend Dissertation Reset workshop, and decided to sign-up. During the workshop, a fellow attendee said she joined the Stuck to Unstoppable program because "it was an investment in herself." This rang a bell in Dr. Suparna; so she joined the March 2022 cohort and became a part of the community, pouring herself into the self-work the program offers, joined the Pom Cafe as often as she could, and developed a group of accountabili-buddies along the way. With the help of the coaches and her community, she went from having one-third of her proposal written, to defending her proposal in April 2022, and defending her dissertation in October 2022.

Dr. Suparna is looking forward to giving back to the community that helped push her to phinish the damn thing. She is a strong believer in the variety of programs WTDD has to offer, participating in the Alumni Membership and Doctor's Circle after the S2U program concluded.  As a group leader, she aims to help her clients address imposter syndrome (something she struggled with), getting along with their Inner Mean Girl, and develop some new habits along the way.

Zina Photo


Write The Damn Dissertation Group Leader

Meet Zina

Dr. Zina was born in Algeria. She did all her studies there until she graduated with a Master’s degree in Didactics and teaching English as a foreign language. She was a laureate, and therefore, she was granted a scholarship to pursue her Ph.D. in the UK. Dr. Zina likes to help other women to finish as other women helped her. She has mentored a number of students (undergraduate, postgraduate, primarily PhD) for personal and academic development.

When the COVID hit, she felt isolated. She did not know how to shut the limiting inner voice. She was looking for help. However, she needed help finding it. One day, she came across Amy’s programme on Facebook. She tried the Free Five Days workshop. When she realised that “oh I am not alone believing these limiting beliefs”. It was a financially hard decision to join Amy’s programme, but because she loved to see herself finished, she decided to invest in herself.

She joined the Write the Damn Dissertation programme in 2020. She barely had anything written for two years (2018 to 2020). She did not have any structure. She did her viva in 2022. Unfortunately, her examiners asked for some revisions. She started doing the revisions on her own. However, she was missing Amy’s community. In January 2023, she joined the alumni group again to benefit from checking calls, pom café and other things.

She submitted her revised thesis in July 2023. Unexpectedly, her external examiner had been signed off work due to illness. This means finding a new examiner and some more months of waiting. In Dec 2023, she officially became Dr. Zina—a huge relief and a sense of accomplishment.

In this programme, Zina learnt how to coach herself. This is in the sense of bringing herself to the present moment, choosing what to believe now to get some things written, silencing all that is going on in her life, focusing on one thing at a time, and learning when the best time for her to write her thesis (4 am to 7 am daily). She also learnt to hop happily from one role to another (study, work, personal life, gym, cooking…). She could do all these in one day. Each may take 25 min at a time.

In this programme, Dr Zina learnt that “believing it is living it”. For one year before becoming a doctor, she had been editing her colleagues' theses and helping those who were struggling to make progress. This “believing it is living it” is also manifested in Zina’s travelling to Algeria as Dr Zina (on her ticket) before officially becoming Dr Zina.

As WTDD leader, Dr Zina is excited to help you uncover the stories you tell yourself that are stopping you from achieving your goals. She likes to help you focus only on one thing you can do now to move forward; anything else can wait until its time comes. This has to do with planning and devoting time to priorities. She wants to help you practice “healthy waiting”. This, for example, means what you can do after you submit a chapter to your chair.

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