FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — A student at the University of North Alabama (UNA) will be awarded a doctorate degree for the first time in school history.

Kyle Reason told News 19 that he has been working towards his doctorate degree for three years after earning a master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology.

“It’s been stressful,” Reason said. “It’s been a very long journey, but now that I’m looking back at it, it’s been very rewarding.”

Reason said that he has been researching ways to help people live a more healthy lifestyle and exercise more.

“My area of research is exercise psychology: how to get people to be physically active, and how to keep them being physically active,” Reason said.

He prepared his dissertation with the help of UNA professor Dr. Lauren Killen. Killen told News 19 that Reason has been very coachable and professional since he came to Florence, and she’s enjoyed watching him grow as a student.

“It’s fantastic,” Killen said. “I would say it’s as exciting, if not more exciting than the day I finished my doctorate. It’s a lot of fun being on this side and being able to see him be hooded as well as getting to see him walk across that stage.”

Despite successfully passing his courses, Reason told News 19 that it is surreal to finally have a doctorate after nearly a decade of work.

“Hearing them announce at the end, ‘congratulations, Doctor Reason,’ is when it all flooded with emotion,” Reason said.