How the pursuit of doctoral degrees brought a family closer together

Dr. Avon Cornelius II ’18 and Dr. Raven Cornelius ’18
Dr. Avon Cornelius II ’18 and Dr. Raven Cornelius ’18. Photo by Greg Dohler.

Dr. Raven Cornelius and Dr. Avon Cornelius II made sure that their pursuits of a higher degree were a true family affair. The couple, who have been married for 10 years, are both active duty military officers. Between deployments and a growing family, they knew they needed a different kind of university to achieve their goals.

Raven began her pursuit of a doctoral degree at another university while she was stationed in Seoul, South Korea. She took a break due to work and family requirements, then she transferred to Walden in 2016. It wasn’t long before her husband joined her.

Here, the Corneliuses reflect on what brought them to celebrating their hooding as Doctors of Business Administration (DBA) in Minneapolis last summer.

SHARED GOALS: “When I came back from deployment in Mali, Africa, Raven told me she was going back to school to work on her DBA, and I jumped on board,” Avon recalls. “It was challenging, juggling each other’s course loads while managing family and work commitments.”

TRUE PARTNERS: “We have four children, and our youngest was born while we were both students at Walden. I remember sitting in our hospital room catching up on our assignments online after Avon III was born,” Raven says. “Having both of us in the program together was a blessing because we understood the demands. When I was in class, Avon was with the kids, and vice versa. We truly did it together as partners.”

UNPARALLELED SUPPORT: “Our experience at Walden was great,” Raven adds. “Our chairs, committee members, and the staffs at the research and writing centers were outstanding and so helpful. We wouldn’t be here without their continued dedication and support.”

A SPECIAL CONNECTION: “My mother, Dr. Judith Cornelius, is a faculty member in the School of Nursing,” Avon says. “She was instrumental in not only me pursuing my degree but also in choosing Walden. She was supportive from Day One and helped us every step along the way.”

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