Dr. Wendy Carter of Ph.D. Completion conducted a Dissertation Writing Retreat at the W.K. Kellog Biological Station and Conference Center in Hickory Corners, Michigan, May 21 to 24. With Western Michigan as the lead institution, the goal of the Michigan AGEP Alliance Dissertation Writing Retreat was to help students focus on writing and completing the dissertation. This year twelve Ph.D. candidates participated from the partner institutions representing both the STEM and SBES fields. This is the 4th year that AGEP sponsored a Dissertation Writing Retreat and the success of the program is documented. In 2011, nearly 50% of all participants successfully defended their dissertations within six months of completing the Retreat with the remaining expected to complete their degree by the end of the year. Success is also evidenced in the comments from students that just completed the 2012 Retreat:
AGEP Project Management Workshop. Presented by John LeTourneau, MSU. An NSF-funded event that is part of the Michigan AGEP Alliance activities.
The Council of Graduate Schools (1991) defined the general role of the dissertation as one that should: “reveal the student’s ability to analyze, interpret, and synthesize information; demonstrate the student’s knowledge of the literature relating to the project or at least acknowledge prior scholarship on which the dissertation is built; describe the methods and procedures used; present results in a sequential and logical manner; and display the student’s ability to discuss fully and coherently the meaning of the results. In the sciences, the work must be described in sufficient detail to permit an independent investigator to replicate the results.”
The theme for MASS 2012 was “National Challenges for the 21st Century.” Oral and Poster Presentations were given by AGEP Scholars from across the State of Michigan. Dr. Tyrone Hayes, Professor of Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, was the keynote speaker.
The theme for Michigan AGEP Scholars Seminars 2012 Research Symposium was “National Challenges of the 21st Century.” Dr. Tyrone Hayes, Professor of Biology at the University of California, Berkeley was the distinguished keynote speaker. Dr. Hayes’ research focuses on how environmental perturbations impact development. He is committed to educating susceptible populations about the dangers of pesticide exposure, and utilizing science to influence environmental and public health policies. Dr. Hayes’ keynote address was inspiring and the audience greatly appreciated his scientific acumen and dynamic personality. He received a standing ovation! Following the keynote address and lunch, AGEP scholars from across Michigan presented their research in the form of oral talks and posters. Discussion was lively, and symposium participants enjoyed the opportunity to interact with colleagues from other research institutions. Here are some of the responses we received from students:
The aim of the Michigan AGEP Alliance Dissertation Writing Retreat was to help students focus on writing and completing the dissertation. With Western Michigan University as the lead institution, the retreat’s activities were targeted to areas where students typically have problems: managing their writing time, conceptualizing a topic, developing a dissertation research pre-proposal, writing a literature review, writing a dissertation research proposal, analyzing data, writing the last chapter, and editing.