After six years of hard labor, a new delivery — Eve Humphrey, now Ph.D.
Humphrey decided to celebrate the end of a grueling program at Florida State University with a maternity photo shoot, with her dissertation in place of a baby.
"I was in it for six years. And so, because of that, I felt like with getting married and just working on something for so long and feeling the physical and emotional effects of it, so many people would say, 'Oh, when are you gonna have kids? When is the baby coming?'” Humphrey told InsideEdition.com.
“I'm like, I have a baby. I've been working on it, you'll see it when it's done."
In the photo shoot, Humphrey poses in a field, lovingly holding the stack of papers. She even props it upright in a baby buggy she borrowed from her church.
"I was like, I'm gonna do something different so that I can make sure that I remember this and celebrate myself because I don't do that great of a job of celebrating myself, I just move on to the next thing."
Humphrey got her doctorate in biological science, specifically in ecology and evolution. Her focus is on how plants and animals interact with the environment around them.
She says the photo shoot has sparked quite the debate about women in the workplace.
"People are angry about it, people are excited about it, it's led to discussions about women in academia and whether women are celebrated enough for their achievements, or if there is more focus on child rearing,” Humphrey said.
“I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to say we can or we can’t. We are who we are. We walk our own walk and just because someone’s life is based on research and science and they don’t have a child, doesn’t mean that other people can’t do it.”
It has also opened up another unexpected dialogue.
"It's just a really good opportunity to talk about the lack of diversity in science and make it engaging in a way that is different. Usually we see white men in these roles or in lab coats or it's very serious."
The photo shoot is also giving Humprey the opportunity to encourage others who have reached out to her.
"It's been a really cool opportunity. I've been able to talk to some graduate students who reached out to me and say, 'Oh, I'm in it right now,' or 'congratulations' and kind of encourage them, because that's also been something that's been useful from this"
Perhaps it’s an early lesson, since Humphrey's goal is to teach biology.
“I never thought I would go to grad school and I never thought I would get through this program. And I never saw anyone who looked like me. So if this is an encouragement for people to try to pursue these things, they definitely should.”
Humphrey is currently working at Syracuse University in upstate New York. In December, she will return to Florida State University for her graduation ceremony.