Challenges lined grad’s PhD path

Florence Osuofa earns her PhD in marriage and family therapy

Dec. 7, 2021 — DENTON — As a young woman, Florence Osuofa was among very few women fighting pirates in the Nigerian Navy at the time. And it was that military experience that helped prepare her for later leadership roles, future challenges and the academic rigor of a PhD in marriage and family therapy.

She raised three children who were 14, 12 and 9 years old when the family came to the United States from Nigeria. Navigating immigration laws created a difficult financial situation for the family. As an international student, Osuofa was limited to on-campus work, but was able to support herself and her family.

Osuofa quickly adapted to new routines, and made a point to be at all her children’s football and basketball games as well as parent-teacher meetings. When each child attended a different school, it was a dizzying challenge picking them up with different dismissal times. But again, she made it work.

Aside from that, Osuofa took her children to the library where the foursome studied together as she pursued two master’s degrees and her doctorate.

Florence Osuofa with her three children

Those study habits paid off because Osuofa will not be the only one in the family with a PhD for long. Her son is pursuing a doctorate in chemical engineering. Her daughter is already a registered nurse, and her youngest son is completing a bachelor’s degree.

Osuofa’s interest in a degree in marriage and family therapy springs from how she values family relationships. She believes supportive relationships for children, like the one she enjoys with her own, are the most important factors in a child’s development.

“When a child comes from a family background with loving, peaceful, and supporting relationships, it becomes easier for the child to love, respect, and value other people's cultural experiences and differences,” Osuofa said.

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Page last updated 9:39 AM, December 7, 2021