Dreams became a reality this month (September 2020) with the award of a doctoral degree in human and social services to Diane Ricketts, manager and accountant at the Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventist.
In congratulating Dr. Ricketts on behalf of her colleagues at the church’s headquarters, Pastor Reinaldo Dracket, president of the Conference, said: “You have demonstrated through this attainment that through inspiration and hard work we are able to see our dreams become reality.”
Dr. Ricketts was awarded her human and social services doctoral degree, with a specialization in higher education, by Walden University. Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (www.hlcommission.org), recognised by the U.S. Department of Education.
In another landmark achievement for Mrs. Ricketts, the Cabinet of the Cayman Islands Government appointed her as a “Guardian Ad. Litem”, effective May 2020. Guardians represent the interests of infants, the unborn, children, or incompetent persons involved in various legal actions coming before the courts.
These achievements are the pinnacle of some eight years of study, beginning in 2012 when Mrs. Ricketts was in her late 30s, at the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI), where she ultimately completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Commenting on Dr. Ricketts’s achievements, ICCI’s Dean and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Aleza D. Beverly, said: “ICCI is proud to have Diane Ricketts as an involved alumna who has not forgotten the sacrifices made to gain her education,” by giving back to ICCI financially and professionally.
In so doing, Dr. Beverly said, the new doctoral awardee “is actually paying it forward to help students go on to achieve the success she has achieved. ICCI looks forward to a continued relationship with Dr. Ricketts.”
Dr. Ricketts’s thesis for her doctorate was on the topic of “service learning”, which is based on the hypothesis that student engagement in local community service will impact many areas of the current and future lives of high school graduates. Her research focused on high school graduates aged 18-25 and included relevant school principals and teachers.
“It is my hope the results of this study will be helpful in developing effective strategies for future service-learning programmes,” Dr. Ricketts said, adding: “I hope that stakeholders, such as principals, school supervisors, and policy makers, will find these results helpful in their efforts to ensure future graduates receive quality training and resources that will equip them for a lifetime.”
Dr. Ricketts’ academic achievements at Walden were recognised in the university’s Fame publication.
Her PhD programme at Walden, where her support team included Drs. Gregory Hickman, Kelly Chermack and Rebecca Stout, was sponsored by the Cayman Islands Government.
That team was joined by a host of local supporting friends, co-workers, and family members, especially Dr. Ricketts’s husband Robert and son Raget; and aunt, Mrs. Gloria Powell.
Mrs. Powell stepped into the mothering breach following the passing of Diane’s mother, the late Hillary Hamilton, who, Diane said, always encouraged her to achieve academically.
Looking to the future, Dr. Ricketts said: “My passion is to advance the course of lives of the youth of the Cayman Islands. This is my dream, and I will be endeavouring to bring reality to that dream wherever opportunities present themselves.”