Ph.D. student in M&O
What is the most important factor that made you choose to study here over other institutions?
Ultimately, the most important factor was the culture in the M&O department. I came to know a variety of programs, I found several where it felt as if students were in cutthroat competition with one another and faculty "claimed" students as their own. The collaborative environment at Iowa was exactly what I was looking for. Students frequently work together and I have been able to work closely with a number of renowned faculty members.
Is studying for a Ph.D. as intense as most people might think?
It depends on what a person's expectations are. Studying for a Ph.D involves a great deal of work. Between completing course work and learning material, gaining teaching experience, and producing innovating research, there is a lot to do. That doesn't mean that you have to work 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. I have known several successful Ph.D. students who managed their time well and rarely needed to bring work home at night. For me, the real intensity of the program comes from the depth of thought put into it. It is challenging, but rewarding.
What do you do to relieve the stress of grad school?
There are several nice trails near my home, so going for a run at the end of the day has become a great stress reliever for me. Also, my wife and I enjoy traveling to nearby cities and experiencing all that the Midwest has to offer. Neither of us was very familiar with the Midwest prior to coming to Iowa, but we've had the chance to take short weekend trips to Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Louisville, Indianapolis, and Kansas City, to name a few.
What do you enjoy most about the Iowa City community?
I love the diversity of activities held in Iowa City. There are always interesting things going on. Whether you would prefer catching a concert at the Ped Mall, having a chance to try out local restaurants during the Taste of Iowa City event, or cheering at one of the many Hawkeye sporting events, options are always available. It makes for a very family-friendly atmosphere, which is important to me.
Because most Tippie Ph.D. programs are small, is this of benefit to you?
I find the small size of Ph.D. programs to be refreshing, as it provides me with an opportunity to really get to know my fellow classmates. This has allowed for the development of great friendships, opportunities for research collaboration, and a variety of M&O student activities being held. I have also come to know faculty members much better than I did during my undergraduate experience. In turn, this has allowed them to provide me with a better, more individualized mentorship experience.
What kind of support is available to Ph.D. students?
Fellow students and faculty members have been the primary source of support for me. For example, I came into the Ph.D. program knowing that I enjoyed teaching, so our program director was willing to work with me to find early opportunities to teach the classes I was most interested in. The Graduate College also provides access to a number of support options, including mini-workshops on a variety of relevant topics (e.g., teaching, research, managing stress, etc.) and support groups.
What is your research focus (or specific topic)?
My research focuses primarily on groups of people and the specific ways in which they come together to become something more than the sum of their parts.
What are you most looking forward to after graduation?
Upgrading to an office with a window. :)