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The Ph.D. Now Comes With Food Stamps

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posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:36 AM
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"I am not a welfare queen," says Melissa Bruninga-Matteau.
That's how she feels compelled to start a conversation about how she, a white woman with a Ph.D. in medieval history and an adjunct professor, came to rely on food stamps and Medicaid. Ms. Bruninga-Matteau, a 43-year-old single mother who teaches two humanities courses at Yavapai College, in Prescott, Ariz., says the stereotype of the people receiving such aid does not reflect reality. Recipients include growing numbers of people like her, the highly educated, whose advanced degrees have not insulated them from financial hardship.
She never imagined that she'd end up trying to eke out a living, teaching college for poverty wages, with no benefits or job security.
"I find it horrifying that someone who stands in front of college classes and teaches is on welfare," she says.

chronicle.com...
Hope and change.
Pay my bills or study medieval? Stand on my own two feet or be like a child, this time depending on the government to support me instead of Mommy and Daddy.
Tough choices




posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:41 AM
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No offense intended, but she has a PhD in MEDIEVAL HISTORY.

If you want to secure your future, pursue a career in technology. Not interior decoration, fingernails and hair, philosophy or ancient history. I'm not trying to bash those courses of study - but chemists, software/mechanical/electrical engineers, physicists, hell even airplane mechanics are in high demand. Also pretty much everything in the medical field.

Don't get a degree in "no practical application" and expect to have a great future.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:45 AM
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Ph.D. generally means Piled Higher and Deeper anyway.

That is the problem with many academics. They think because they have achieved a Ph.D, that they are going to automatially get a job within their field. People would be a lot smarter going to trade schools than achieving a high degree in meaningless subjects. I am not saying that there should not be higher education but one should use practicality in choosing their field. Most people don't research the employment aspect of their chosen education and end up screwing themselves. Then, like everybody else in this country, they want others to support them. She seems smart enought to get a different major to apply her Ph,D into. She is not too old. Maybe just too self-absorbed.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:47 AM
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Here are the salary guidelines for Yavapai College.

She should be making somewhere between 48k and 72k. 48k is more than enough for a family of three to NOT need to be on food stamps.

I'm sorry, but I think this story is sensationalist nonsense and if this woman truly is on food stamps she needs to learn how to manage her finances better.

ETA: I realize she is only a part time employee, and works 20 hours a week. Maybe she should get a second job instead of going on food stamps?

I work 48 hours a week at my primary job, I have no financial problems. I recently got a part time job working 12-15 hours a week to increase my savings. If I can work 60+ hours a week, every week, she can surely work more than 20. The problem is she thinks because she has some abstract PhD she shouldn't have to. Wrong.



edit on 8-5-2012 by TinkerHaus because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 11:59 AM
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Originally posted by TinkerHaus
No offense intended, but she has a PhD in MEDIEVAL HISTORY.

If you want to secure your future, pursue a career in technology. Not interior decoration, fingernails and hair, philosophy or ancient history. I'm not trying to bash those courses of study - but chemists, software/mechanical/electrical engineers, physicists, hell even airplane mechanics are in high demand. Also pretty much everything in the medical field.

Don't get a degree in "no practical application" and expect to have a great future.


That is a completely unfair and myopic position. The world goes around because we each pursue different interests and some maximize our potential in those areas. Understanding history is essential to our future! Medieval history is no exception. Don't denegrate this woman...makes you look like a huge jerk.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:03 PM
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Originally posted by TinkerHaus
No offense intended, but she has a PhD in MEDIEVAL HISTORY.


No offense intended either but I was actually about to post the same thing.. that degree is not exactly the kind of degree you would want if you had a financially secure career in mind.. or perhaps she's not using it to it's full potential.

I don't have a Ph.D in anything and I'm doing quite well in technology .. the medical field is also very secure.

You can get a Ph.D in many things.. but unless you find some way to apply it in a practical way, it's just a piece of paper on the wall.. and that is the key point..
edit on 5/8/2012 by miniatus because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:03 PM
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Many people with degrees are reliant on low income assistance these days.

Even with a degree in something practical like engineering, psychology, economics, education, business, they are struggling to find work with enough pay to afford the basics plus student loan payments.

I'm sure everyone in here knows people making $9/hr with a bachelor's degree. Yet, you can make $10/hr, plus tips, for pouring coffee and making sandwiches, or $12-$15/hr for delivering pizzas, but having a degree makes you over qualified for those jobs.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:07 PM
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Originally posted by BBobb

Originally posted by TinkerHaus
No offense intended, but she has a PhD in MEDIEVAL HISTORY.

If you want to secure your future, pursue a career in technology. Not interior decoration, fingernails and hair, philosophy or ancient history. I'm not trying to bash those courses of study - but chemists, software/mechanical/electrical engineers, physicists, hell even airplane mechanics are in high demand. Also pretty much everything in the medical field.

Don't get a degree in "no practical application" and expect to have a great future.


That is a completely unfair and myopic position. The world goes around because we each pursue different interests and some maximize our potential in those areas. Understanding history is essential to our future! Medieval history is no exception. Don't denegrate this woman...makes you look like a huge jerk.



So if someone pursues an unneeded, irrelevant degree they should be rewarded? I don't see the logic here. If I have a PhD in Unicorn Mythology should I expect society to pay me for my own bad decision? If you pursue a degree in ancient history or philosophy, you can't expect to make a lot of money unless you write a book or something.

And again, she is a teacher's aid in a field she didn't study.. She works 20 hours a week. No wonder she can't feed her family without my tax dollars - she isn't trying. I think people who are underemployed and receive food aid should be required to seek supplemental work. If you work 20 hours a week and are getting, I don't know, $300-$400 a month in food stamps, you should be required to look for a second job. As someone mentioned she could make $12-$15 an hour delivering pizzas for 20 hours a week.

12*20*4 = 960. Double or triple the amount she is getting in food stamps. And the satisfaction of being independent is priceless.




I agree that history is important, but MEDIEVAL history? What job did she expect to get with that degree? I agree people should absolutely pursue their areas of interest, but if you are interested in vampire lore you better work pretty hard to sell something to the masses if you want to actually make money.

I'm not a jerk, I'm a realist.


edit on 8-5-2012 by TinkerHaus because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:08 PM
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Originally posted by BBobb
That is a completely unfair and myopic position. The world goes around because we each pursue different interests and some maximize our potential in those areas. Understanding history is essential to our future! Medieval history is no exception. Don't denegrate this woman...makes you look like a huge jerk.


That's not always true.. many people pursue a career because it's the easy path.. I know many who went for psychology because it was an easier choice.. People also often choose a path because it sounds fun and interesting, not out of practicality or with proper foresight .. Like I said... a Ph.D is worthless unless you find a practical way to put it to use and if you're going to pick something like Medieval History then you're going to have to work extra hard to apply that .. even in a strong economy I can't imagine a huge number of career options.. teaching is one of the few unless you're going to travel and apply it some other way... seriously.. it's not out of disrespect, she just didn't choose wisely .. that's not my fault
edit on 5/8/2012 by miniatus because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:08 PM
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reply to post by Surfrat
 


Originally posted by Surfrat
"I am not a welfare queen," says Melissa Bruninga-Matteau.
That's how she feels compelled to start a conversation about how she, a white woman with a Ph.D. in medieval history and an adjunct professor


What difference does it make if she is white or not?



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:10 PM
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Originally posted by BBobb

Originally posted by TinkerHaus
No offense intended, but she has a PhD in MEDIEVAL HISTORY.

If you want to secure your future, pursue a career in technology. Not interior decoration, fingernails and hair, philosophy or ancient history. I'm not trying to bash those courses of study - but chemists, software/mechanical/electrical engineers, physicists, hell even airplane mechanics are in high demand. Also pretty much everything in the medical field.

Don't get a degree in "no practical application" and expect to have a great future.


That is a completely unfair and myopic position. The world goes around because we each pursue different interests and some maximize our potential in those areas. Understanding history is essential to our future! Medieval history is no exception. Don't denegrate this woman...makes you look like a huge jerk.


I personally don't think there is anything wrong with getting an advanced degree in something like medieval history, but no one should be surprised that they can't make a fantastic living with that degree. If you choose to get a degree in something that is not lucrative, but a subject that you are passionate about, you have to either make due with little or no money, or get into another field while pursuing your passions on the side. But, this woman should not be shocked that she is struggling to make money off of a medieval history degree.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:13 PM
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Originally posted by kaylaluv

Originally posted by BBobb

Originally posted by TinkerHaus
No offense intended, but she has a PhD in MEDIEVAL HISTORY.

If you want to secure your future, pursue a career in technology. Not interior decoration, fingernails and hair, philosophy or ancient history. I'm not trying to bash those courses of study - but chemists, software/mechanical/electrical engineers, physicists, hell even airplane mechanics are in high demand. Also pretty much everything in the medical field.

Don't get a degree in "no practical application" and expect to have a great future.


That is a completely unfair and myopic position. The world goes around because we each pursue different interests and some maximize our potential in those areas. Understanding history is essential to our future! Medieval history is no exception. Don't denegrate this woman...makes you look like a huge jerk.


I personally don't think there is anything wrong with getting an advanced degree in something like medieval history, but no one should be surprised that they can't make a fantastic living with that degree. If you choose to get a degree in something that is not lucrative, but a subject that you are passionate about, you have to either make due with little or no money, or get into another field while pursuing your passions on the side. But, this woman should not be shocked that she is struggling to make money off of a medieval history degree.


Thank you, this is my view but better stated.

She could always write a book with all her knowledge on medieval history. She could get creative and make an awesome website for people with similar interests. She only works 20 hours a week, so she should have plenty of time to invest in this.

You've got to work hard to get ahead, that's just life. I'm sorry if reality is hurtful to some people, but it's unavoidable.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:18 PM
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reply to post by TinkerHaus
 


Good post... You are a little more fair than I am

i'd like to get rid of social programs like this, unless a work for welfare system is put into place...

Seriously, free food stamps... Why shouldn't I just quit my job and live off someone elses money?

Everyone else is doing it...



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:19 PM
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reply to post by DrNotforhire
 


You can buy fruit trees and vegetable plants with food stamps.

I bet she has ZERO fruit trees and ZERO vegetable plants. I bet she has lots of Pepsi and Doritos though. And she has the nerve to complain about her own choices. What is wrong with people!



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:31 PM
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reply to post by TinkerHaus
 


And the cheap processed can food...

Yeah I bet, and shes complaining...

I think there should be a "beggars cant be choosers law"

if you complain, we take your card away



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:42 PM
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reply to post by Surfrat
 


My husband and I are both teachers with masters degrees. We have one son. We work an average of 60-70 hours a week, each.

We almost qualify for food stamps. We are barely above the poverty level. We live frugaly and make the most of our income. But we've had no raise since the economy dropped and the cost of living continues to rise.

With our economy in its current state, I suspect a lot of folks are finding themselves closer and closer to the poverty line. Hard working folks, who have a full-time job but are facing cutbacks and unemployment.

As for this lady....sounds to me like she just got her phD in medieval history. She's not a professor at all, but an assistant; a job she got as a grad student. She planned to get a job teaching, get tenure, and spend her professional life in academia. I think this is a fine goal and one I plan to pursue myself in the future.

But you don't go from entry-level position to comfortable income overnight, and I think her expectations are unrealistic. I understand she wants to keep her job because its a foot in the door, but only working 20 hours a week? Work full time at Walmart, or McDonalds, or anywhere else. Do what you have to do to survive.

I've often thought our welfare system actually CREATES folks with a huge sense of entitlement. I know where I work the majority of our parents are on welfare, and most of them have no job at all. They also seem quite satsified with that. I actually had a father tell me he saw no reason for his son to get good grades in school, because "the government pays me to sit at home and play nintendo all day. Now why would I want to get a job making minimum wage when I can earn more doing nothing?" And what can you say to that? He's right.



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