FSU professor with autism shares journey of graduating with PhD

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) — For most of Dr. Kaycee Bills’ life, she’s been met with challenges and naysayers.

“I got bullied all the time. My teachers told my parents, every year, at my IEP meetings, that college was not a goal for me. It just wasn’t going to happen, maybe she should find a trade,” Bills said.

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Dr. Bills says she was diagnosed with autism. This led her to need her space in the classroom when it came to learning, many times having to work on schoolwork by herself.

Despite the words of doubt, in 2014, Dr. Bills packed her bags and left her town, in Indiana, to attend Hawaii Pacific University. There, she, with the help of professors, realized her potential and wasn’t satisfied with just a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in social work.

“They really saw that I had a gift of research and talked me into a PhD,” Bills explained.

After applying and being rejected from several PhD programs, the University of Tennessee called Dr. Bills, offering her a full ride to pursue a Doctorate in social work.

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