Big day. Lee Troughton added some pretty amazing letters before and after his name today… Dr and PhD!!
Obtaining a PhD is a major achievement. It follows a long, emotionally challenging period, filled with ups and downs, and doubt whether you will ever make it. Everybody’s PhD journey is different but the feeling on this day, when it is all over, is weirdly anti-climatic. Unlike the rest of your schooling, you don’t have classmates who have gone through the same process.
For Lee the journey to today started by obtaining a Masters in Research over 2 years whilst working part time to fund his studies. After that, he obtained British Skin Foundation funded PhD studentship to pursue his doctoral work. 3 years more in the lab generating data and then another year employed as a technician while also writing up his thesis
A couple of months ago, he submitted his thesis, in his own words this was:
“370 pages, 100000 words, 700 citations, and twice as many coffees. 4 years of work done and almost dusted.”
Handing in the work feels great but the journey is not over until the thesis has been poured over by experts in the field and then defended at viva voce.
Today, he got to experience that fun/torture in 3ish hours of questioning a from Professors Jonathan Jones (Washington State University) and George Bou Gharios (University of Liverpool).
At this point, you might be thinking “surely he knows everything about his thesis” and yes, he does. But, the exam is much more than that. The examiners can legitimately ask you anything and when your examiners have published literally hundreds of papers in your topic area it is pretty safe that he will be able to keep pushing harder. Jonathan Jones in particular is one of the major players in the laminin field and many reagents that Lee used actually came from his lab. It is Pretty intimidating going into an exam when you have 4 years work on the line and you already know that you won’t have all the answers! No pressure!
Anyway, he smashed it (as the locals would say).
It’s a proud day not just for him but for myself as his supervisor, boss, mentor and friend, and for all the rest of his friends and family.
I’m going to get him to write more about what his thesis was all about and how much he enjoyed the viva experience soon.
But for now, we need to celebrate
EDIT: I made it sound like the PhD is all work and pain! There has been lots of fun along the way too…
- Boozy afternoons in the Liverpool sun
EDIT 2: The celebrations went on…