Not many 11th graders make it a life goal to have PhD after their name. But Deborah Moore just knew that she wanted a doctorate and that she would put it to use helping people.
A 2004 Capella graduate, Dr. Moore has gone on to be the first from her department to achieve licensure in marriage and family counseling in the state of New York.
A full-time sergeant with the NYPD, Dr. Moore is a clinical supervisor of the Early Intervention Unit, working with police officers and their families on stress and relationship issues. Her course work at Capella became relevant in a pivotal way after the 9/11 terrorist attack.
“For my class on stress management in organizations, I wrote a 20-page outline for a program to respond to stress management issues in the police force and with their families,” Dr. Moore says. “Remember, this was shortly after 9/11 and we were dealing with stresses that were hard to imagine before that. I was able to take concepts from that paper and implement programs to help NYPD get through some especially difficult times.”
As graduation approached, people starting telling her, “When you finish, a lot of doors will open.” At that point, she was focused on finishing her dissertation. But the doors did start to open.
“After I finished my degree, other universities asked me to join their adjunct faculty ranks. So clearly, the quality of the education was confirmed by how other higher education institutions respected it.
“And I got promoted on my job as a result of having a PhD,” she said.
Dr. Moore is now a frequent speaker at national professional association conferences, giving presentations on policing and the needs and issues surrounding the counseling of police officers.
All these achievements are not the end point, but a jumping off point for the next phase in her professional life. “I’m always working toward new goals. I have two more years before I retire from NYPD and I have big plans for the next phase of my career,” she said.
Dr. Moore says she has already started to lay the ground work for that next phase—to set up a nonprofit organization specializing in stress management and relationship issues.
“From a personal perspective, my doctorate gives a satisfaction that comes with accomplishing a major life goal. It’s that, ‘I knew I could do it…and I did it!’ feeling.”
"After 9/11, the 20-page paper I wrote became a department manual on stress management techniques."