How We Met

Mariana Daniela Torchia, PhD

Mariana and I first met each other the first year we were taking courses at Walden University, School of Public Health, in 2011. As sometimes happens during a course in school, you reach out to a fellow student and eventually you become friends. That is what happened with Mariana and I. I knew what she looked like from her videos on U-tube where she performs her own music that she has composed. But we did not meet in person until my graduation party here in Dallas. A very positive person, always with a wonderful warm smile on her face, she radiates joy and kindness. Her positive attitude masks a very dark, hurtful past as I would discover. 

Irene Adekunbi Campbell

Irene and I met also in the classrooms during several courses but it wasn’t until my second quarter in the dissertation shell that we became close friends. My first quarter I was the only student in Dr. Jimenez’s class so for Irene to post the first week in my second quarter was a most welcome sight. It took only a couple of weeks before we were emailing and calling each other outside of the classroom. As I had already been through the prospectus portion, I was able to offer suggestions. Always admiring her spunk and ability to preserver, I gradually learned also of Irene’s background and suspected there were many struggles she had to overcome on her journey. But I had no idea the extent of what she had endured until she submitted her chapters to me. Irene fought through these hardships twice, once when she lived them and the second time when she recorded them for this book.

Maria E. Natal-Gopin, PhD

Maria joined the dissertation shell of Dr. Jimenez’s class in the spring of 2016. I was still trapped in the Internal Review Board Process otherwise we might have missed each other. I wonder if this was all a part of God’s plan to bring the four of us together. It was evident from the very beginning that Maria was eager to learn and was very motivated. If my post was not first, it was because Maria had entered her post several hours before mine. Irene and I, being the two “old students” in the shell, quickly began offering advice and suggestions. Within a couple of weeks, Maria and I were talking at least a couple of times a week. As we talked about school, our assignments, and our personal lives, we learned we had a great deal in common with each other. It just seemed the natural thing to invite her to my graduation as well. Like Irene, I had no idea what Maria looked like when I picked her up at the airport. As with Mariana and Irene, as our friendship grew, we learned about each other’s past. Maria’s journey had also been a difficult one but again I did not grasp the full impact until I read her chapters for the first time. At the party, we all came together and our common experience of being in Walden and earning our PhDs forged a bond between the four of us. That was when I knew we needed to write The Fab Four.