Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Upgrade Passed!

The process intricacies of a PhD are funny things. In the U.K., students are officially admitted, not as PhD students, but as MPhil researchers - studying for a slightly less advanced degree via research. After the first 12-18 months of study, we are expected to submit an upgrade report and have an examination - which is to say, we send in some writing based on what we've done thus far and what we're planning to do for the rest of our time, and then some staff members read and critique it and decide whether we're engaging adequately with the literature to successfully complete a PhD in a reasonable timeframe. 

My upgrade meeting was today...that is, I had a fun chat with smart people who care and know about my topic and care and know about me. Was a lovely time. And now I have officially and unconditionally passed the upgrade, so I am a PhD candidate and clear to do fieldwork and all that grand stuff. 

Now that that's dealt with...the house is out of muffins and my guests are complaining about the lack of baked goods. So I'm off to take care of that little detail. ;)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cleaning, writing, and seeing people

After turning in 50,000 words for my PhD a few weeks ago, I have been attacking the house and cleaning like a maniac to be productive but not via a computer. I have also been (more slowly than I'd hoped) catching up on other non-PhD academic projects.

But mostly...I've been hanging out with friends. Which has been very good, particularly as I'll essentially be gone on fieldwork from November to April, with very small breaks in between countries.

The school term is back, which means an onslaught of new PhD and masters students at the Geography Department. Cue the various pub nights, massive cookie baking deliveries, and the like.

A friend from the University of East Anglia now doing a masters in London had her birthday on Wednesday; we went out last night to celebrate.

I went into one of my first schools from The Brilliant Club for a reunion and a celebration of one of the student's having her essays published. I made them Oreo cheesecake - a special request, though a stressful one, given that I don't like the stuff and so have very little skill with it. But it seemed to go over okay!

I've also been meeting the new Marshalls, slowly, one by one for various lunches and teas. It's a nice chance to try and get to know them outside the five minute chats inherent to large group receptions.

And so life goes.

Happy Fall, everyone!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

JYC...coming to late night television near you!

So, HuffPo Live is fairly cool.

But even cooler...the Jerusalem Youth Chorus has an exciting announcement!

Hint - it involves late night comedy and this guy named Steven Colbert.

BE EXCITED! And tune in, of course. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

International Day of Peace: The Jerusalem Youth Chorus

Continuing the theme of "people I know doing amazing things": Check out this interview on HuffPo Live with The Jerusalem Youth Chorus:

Micah and some of the students are in the US for a whirlwind tour of the New York area focused around International Day of Peace. If you don't know what that's about, check out

May we all do our part to make our world a more loving, dignified, and peaceful place to be and every day.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Grace is in Time!

A mega shoutout to 2014 Marshall Scholar superstar Grace Young. Grace is an oceanographer studying at Oxford...and just happens to be doing the graphic design for my book on the Kuwait Dive Team (which will be coming out very soon!).

Those of you interested in the ocean, science, environmentalism, or young people doing cool things: Check out Grace's feature in Time Magazine online:


Friday, September 18, 2015

Home at last!

After an incredible but very intense summer of travel with Greg, and then a completely insane ten days of writing and editing my research report for my PhD upgrade while at Holt Hall teaching, welcoming the new Marshall Scholars, and nipping into Norwich to greet the new MSc Water Security students, I am now home (more or less) for the foreseeable future. 
There are many, many projects to catch up on. But first and foremost among them: sleep. If anyone needs me, I'll be barricaded in my loft hiding for the next few days. ;)
(Not really. The new "Doctor Who" debuted today; I'll be hosting a viewing - an honour earned via the virtue of having a TV license. And I have this vague idea of managing to get to the Unitarian church on Sunday, but we'll see what happens.)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Americans are coming, the Americans are coming!

Post-colonial invasion time!

The brand new spankin' batch of Marshall Scholars have arrived in the UK. The 2015 Class spent a few days in DC with the British Embassy getting to know each other and the programme, and are now in London on their formal orientation programme here. 

Current Marshall Scholars are taking them out in small groups for dinner tonight. Thursday evening is a formal welcome reception hosted by the Foreign Commonwealth Office, and then they scatter to the four winds Friday. I'll be taking the new UEA Scholar to Norwich, where I'll settle her in and then go meet the new MSc Water Security cohort. 

I guess this means school is starting back up! Happy fall, everyone.