New Northcentral PhD graduate's journey a long road to a happy beginning

New Northcentral PhD graduate's journey a long road to a happy beginning
Dr. Saiyoot Nakkhongkham's 8,500-mile journey from Bangkok, Thailand, to Northcentral University's commencement on June 11 was a hop, skip and a jump compared to his 5-year sojourn to his Doctorate.

"This is a dream come true; this is my end of the rainbow, truly," Nakkhongkham (Nah-kuh-ONK-em) said during a reception following graduation ceremonies honoring the 535-member Northcentral Class of 2011.

Nakkhongkham, clad in the regalia he had often fantasized about donning, could barely contain his excitement when asked what the PhD in Applied Computer Science signifies for himself and his family.

"Oh, this means everything and then some," he said. "I can't help but believe this is the first of many firsts; it's like a meridian in my life before my degree and after."

What started as a glimmer of hope six years ago now shimmers with possibility and promise for success, he said. "I can feel it, almost touch it, really."

Although Nakkhongkham's lightness of being at the ceremonies gave every impression he could have made the nearly 18-hour flight from Bangkok without the aid of an airplane, "I havent been able to sleep for a week," he said. He also mentioned he has never felt more grounded about his future.

"It was a long, sometimes arduous trip, the schooling I mean," he said. "It wasn't easy by any measurement. But what in life worth anything is easy?"

He's on the short list of candidates for executive jobs at two top computer software companies.

"I would have never had a chance of being a seriously considered candidate without this degree," he said. "I can't thank Northcentral enough. Their program was as rigorous, and the faculty and mentors guided me all along the way. Absolutely world-class all the way."

Nakkhongkham extended his first visit to the states by realizing another dream visiting Temple Square in Salt Lake City. "I am a convert to the LDS Church, and I have to see the mountains and those spires before I go back.

"Like a lot of people, I had a hundred reasons to put off getting an advanced degree. But, today, I can't remember a single one."