Katie Wolfe, a doctoral candidate in dissertation at the University of West Florida knows her geography.
At least, she had to when the Pace resident and Central High graduate was selected to present her dissertation study and research paper results at an international conference held in Paris, France.
In addition to being chose to present her project, Wolfe was honored with five grant awards that helped pay for her trip overseas to present her project in front of people from all around the world at the Paris International Conference on Education, Economy and Society
Wolfe, who is a licensed attorney in Florida and Alabama, shared her research project to people from Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America. The project overviewed lawyers and management skills, something she believes is a big issue.
“I have been digging down into the research and writing of the dissertation for a couple of years now but began exploring the topic since the end of my time in law school (2006-2007),” Wolfe said.
Wolfe said that the conference allowed her to interact and discuss her research with policy makers, educational leaders, industry representatives, administrators, professionals, researchers and academics.
“It's a higher education and experiential learning issue really...ensuring lawyers are prepared for the management aspect of their practice,” Wolfe said. “Overall, this is based on an interdisciplinary study in the areas of psychology, management, law, and education.
“I have spent a lot of time with my research and the material, so the topic obviously means a lot to me.”
For the 100-page (plus) paper, Wolfe collected data from over 1,000 members of The Florida Bar Association, and with help from a Sherry K. Schneider Ph.D., analyzed different models to test her hypothesis and research questions for her study.
Wolfe plans to publish her dissertation paper she showcased at the international event once it is completed.
“I tested utilizing theories of professional socialization and Social Identity Theory categorizing lawyers as coming from technical versus traditional institutions,” Wolfe said. “It was personally and professionally rewarding to find others so excited about something that I have poured myself into for the last couple of years.”
By doing this, she was able to sit down with members of the Florida Bar Association and do extensive research that she included in her dissertation study. Something, she says, is not easy for any researcher to do.
“The project was intense as lawyers are a historically low response rate group,” Wolfe said.
In addition to her doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction (in-progress) and her Juris Doctorate, Wolfe also holds an Educational Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction, a Master’s degree in Communication Arts, and two Bachelor’s degrees in the areas of History and International Studies.
While the trip was mostly about business, Wolfe, and her mother Katherine Penton, took a small time out of the conference to explore many of the local landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral and Towers and Napoleon’s Tomb just to name a few.
“I enjoyed the whole thing,” Wolfe said. “This was my third trip to Europe, but I had never before visited the countries I visited (United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and France).”
Wolfe said she remembers studying about many of these countries in her history classes, but experiencing them first hand was one-of-a-kind.
“It was a personal dream of mine to see where this history I read about (in my classes) took place,” Wolfe said. “I was in awe of my surroundings as a result of being able to see these places I read about and studied come to life.”