Carmel Valley author’s book on graduate school result of family collaboration

Sisters Dr. Nicole Benak and Dr. Kim Muchnick have written a book with their father, “Managing the Graduate School Experience.” Courtesy photo

Carmel Valley’s Dr. Kim Muchnick has co-authored her first book, “Managing the Graduate School Experience: From Acceptance to Graduation and Beyond.” Muchnick hopes to offer guidance for people looking to move forward and grow in their education, on campus or online.

“If you want to go further than a bachelor’s degree, this book will help you find what is the right path for you,” she said.

Muchnick wrote the book with her father, Dr. Mark Rossman, and her sister, Dr. Nicole Benak. The book pairs her father’s 40-year career as a graduate school adviser and the 10 years Muchnick and her sister have spent as graduate school educators, in traditional and online ways.

“It was the most amazing family experience, to put everyone’s knowledge together in one place,” Muchnick said. “It’s really been a neat, unbelievable experience.”

Published by Roman & Littlefield, the book is available in hardback, paperback and as an e-book.

For many years, Muchnick was known as “Dr. Kim,” serving as the guidance counselor at Solana Highlands School. She received her Ph.D. during her five years at Solana Highands and decided that she wanted to be known as Dr. Muchnick, leaving to teach master’s and undergraduate psychology online through different universities.

After her younger sister received her Ph.D. in English, their father told them that his ultimate vision was for them to write a book together. The sisters were excited by the idea.

Both Rossman and Benak live in Denver. The pair come to visit Muchnick four times a year and she comes to them twice a year, so they were able to do some planning sessions in person. But the bulk of the work was done communicating via e-mail and phone. Her father, who has published seven books, insisted on having formal meetings once a week.

The book details topics like financing graduate school, picking a brick or mortar college or online option, time management, becoming a self-directed learner, course selection, graduate committees, the comprehensive examination process, and thesis and dissertation work.

Seeing the finished product in print was one of Muchnick’s top moments in life, she said, along with the birth of her children and finishing her dissertation.

“It was the most exciting thing, to hold it, touch it and feel it — it was just incredible, and I couldn’t believe we created this,” Muchnick said.

The family had a launch party in Denver a month ago, and the sisters toasted to their father’s dream coming true.

“I see the younger generation saying, ‘I don’t see (graduate school) making a difference in the jobs I get or the money I make’ — but a lot of adult learners who have much more significant job experience still feel it’s important to continue their journey of education,” Muchnick said. “They see more opportunities opened, more ways to earn income and more ways to give back to the community than if they didn’t.

“I do believe and feel very strongly that the higher the level of education you reach, the more opportunities are opened.”