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Birthdays, Blogging & Beginnings

Recently I celebrated my birthday.  I feel like I have been counting down to this celebration like I did when I turned 21.  Instead of gaining access to libations and a new ID card, making it to April 5th this year meant I could get back to blogging.

For the last year I have been giving every moment and energy to my dissertation.  A mixed methodology research on college student leaders’ use of & experiences with social media.  Painstakingly going through questionnaires – focus groups – social media analysis – rubric statistical analysis – matrix analysis and now finally coming out eight months later with nearly 500 pages.  And no time for blogging.  

I’ll save future posts with results from a number of research projects and discoveries I’ve had over the last year – saving today with a big wave and a digital hug – I’m back!

This was the first birthday in my lifetime that also fell on Easter.  I remember as a young child looking through the church liturgy book and finding this very date.  April 5th, 2015 I thought – “I’ll be so old!!”  

I wondered what I would be doing, who I would become.  The photo below is from my birthday, April 5th, 1987.  Training wheel rocking my Heather banana seat bike.  Just riding through my neighborhood felt like an adventure.  


Adventure has abound my life.  Now 34 I’m about to move in a new home, defend my dissertation and become a doctor.  I like to think that I’m not old and that my child-self wondering about my future would be impressed.  While a lot of what I have been working on is finally wrapping up, it also feels like everything is just beginning.

So whether you have been following my adventures since I started blogging two years ago, knew me since I was a youngster or just learning about me today.  This birthday celebration gets me back to blogging and the beginning of what will be for Dr. Josie Ahlquist.

Follow along on this beginning!

April 10th: Turn in full dissertation to committee

April 19th: Move to new home

April 22nd: Dissertation defense 

May 15th: Graduation ceremony at California Lutheran University 

Check out my previous birthday posts below!

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

Previously she was the director of strategic communication for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and the director of communication for the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is a Kentucky native and a proud alum of the University of Kentucky.

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