Defying Odds! PhD Student Delivers Dissertation Hours After Roadside Birth

by Gee NY
After giving birth, Tamiah Brevard-Rodriguez (left) took a nap, ate a meal and was ready to rock her defense presentation. Courtesy Tamiah N. Brevard-Rodriguez

Tamiah Brevard-Rodriguez, a PhD student at Rutgers Graduate School of Education, successfully defended her dissertation just hours after giving birth.

Brevard-Rodriguez had meticulously planned her schedule leading up to her April 24 due date, aptly named “Operation Dissertation Before Baby.”

Her goal was to complete her dissertation on the beauty pressures faced by Black college women in predominantly White educational institutions before welcoming her newborn.

However, on March 25, things took an unexpected turn when Brevard-Rodriguez’s water broke while she was finalizing her dissertation presentation. Despite the surprise, she remained determined to proceed with her scheduled defense.

Accompanied by her wife, Alyza Brevard-Rodriguez, Tamiah rushed to the hospital, but the baby arrived en route, leading to an unexpected roadside birth.

With their newborn son, Enzo, in her arms, Brevard-Rodriguez arrived at the hospital where doctors and nurses attended to her and the baby.

Despite the challenges of childbirth, Brevard-Rodriguez remained committed to her academic goals. With Alyza’s support, she prepared to defend her dissertation from her hospital bed.

“I took a nap, ate a meal and then I was ready to rock and roll,” Tamiah said.

Her mentor was the only one aware of the morning’s events, and with her laptop in hand, Brevard-Rodriguez proceeded to deliver an impressive presentation, leaving her peers and professors in awe.

Reflecting on her extraordinary achievement, Brevard-Rodriguez said she was determined to see her academic journey through to the end, despite the unexpected detour.

Her graduation ceremony was held on Mother’s Day, May 12, 2024, where she celebrated with her family and friends.

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