Ya girl is officially, Dr. Donna Marie.

I realize that it’s been a relative hot minute since I’ve shared any blog posts, or content on any of my socials lately. Many of you already know that I am (was) a psychology doctoral student – well, as of last Friday, I am officially Dr. Donna Marie!

I successfully defended my dissertation – which sounds more gruesome than it really is. Don’t get me wrong – it’s gruesome in the fact that each and every doctoral student who reaches this point in their degree is afire with public speaking nerves, impostor syndrome, and wanting to make sure their research will be recognized as “good enough” to be accepted. I was no exception. Even after my mentor assured me that I was “going to do fine.”

It really consisted of a presentation of my original research to my mentor and advising committee. I was then asked questions on the findings of my research, why I chose to do things the way that I did, and what I learned on a personal level as I moved through the process of conducting my research. To add to the emotional moment of my mentor and advising committee welcoming me to the title of “Doctor”, I also received the email from The Qualitative Report (a peer-reviewed journal for qualitative psychology research) stating that I will be presenting my research and its findings at their annual conference in January 2022.

At this point, it all feels surreal. I’ve been working toward this moment since 2013 when I returned to higher education with a PhD in mind. It has been a grueling near decade filled with tears, sleepless nights, and endless questions. Many have asked if this means I will continue my photography business now that I have my doctorate.

The answer is: YES.

A full-stop, incredibly enthusiastic yes. My background in psychology has absolutely amplified my ability to connect with clients from all walks of life. It’s enabled me to really experience the emotions that my couples experience and capture them as they unfold. While I absolutely want to continue to establish myself as a researcher in the field of human sexuality, and potentially teach graduate level psychology courses (maybe on the intersectionality of photography and psychology!) I cannot imagine my life without photography.

So to celebrate, just a little, my creative bestie Jenn, from Pineapple and Peony Events met up at Martin’s Greenhouse & Produce where I had her help in capturing some self-portraits. Seriously, this greenhouse is the stuff my dreams are made of. It really is one of my all-time favorite places here in the north country.

I plan on having a full celebration later this year after graduation where I will be adventuring around Colorado, Arizona, and Utah with Sarah Woolf Photography. I’m ridiculously excited, so if you and your beau are in that area at the end of June through the start of July, or know a couple who will be and want bomb ass photos done, please please please fill out this form and let me know!

So here’s to 2021. May it be filled with amazing love stories for me to capture, because photography will forever be in my soul.


Let's adventure