Today I am thankful for Becky’s academic awesomeness!
While for me this trip is purely vacation, for Becky there is a lot of work and school related activity. As a start to her PhD program she had to put together her thesis proposal, present it to a bunch of experts in the field, then defend her concepts and pass her PhD confirmation. (Just a head’s up, I may get some of the specific terminology wrong, but at least you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about.) In addition to that she also is starting a research paper and getting officially set up as a PhD student here.
The amount of time and energy she has poured into this has been tremendous. She’s practiced her presentation at least a dozen times, and that’s just the presentation itself, that’s not counting how much it took to put it together in the first place. Yesterday was the trial run, today was for reals. This morning was the big morning, the one when she needed to knock everyone’s socks off… and she did!
I was able to attend her presentation along with approximately a dozen of her academic peers and leaders. Watching her give presentation was nothing short of awesome. I know she is wicked smart, but hearing her give a presentation on Geomorphology, Land Use, Management Practices and Nutrient Cycling showed me another side of her intelligence. In my head she is always doing really cool science research, but it’s moments like this that show me what and expert she really is in her field. Watching her share her knowledge base and discuss her research plan was like watching an artist work in oil paints.
After her confirmation presentation the floor is opened up to all observers for questions. If I thought she was sharp during the presentation she was even more impressive during the questions. Even an outsider like me could tell that she had already thought through out of the questions that others were asking, and then ones that she hadn’t thought of she was able to quickly process into next level thinking… something that can only been done when you have a crazy deep knowledge of the topic.
Once the questions were over and she moved into a separate room with advisor committee I went for a nice long walk around campus. As I was walking I kept thinking back to how impressive she had been, how deep her knowledge on the topic was, and just how academically awesome she is. I’ve known it for quite some time, but this is one of the few times that I was able to see her truly in her element and sharing her ideas, concepts, and research with her peers. It was truly amazing and I am so incredibly proud of all of the hard work and effort she has already put into this.