Thesis & defense

As some of you may have noticed my blog has been feeling a little neglected this week. I haven’t had much time to write since most of the week was taken up with thesis writing and preparing for my defense Friday afternoon.

The first crisis involved finishing my thesis (“Apparatus and instrumentation design for investigation of hyperthermal- and low-energy surface impact current production”), which I’d been working on sporadically for the past 6 months. I needed to finish the 3 substantial chapters by this past Monday so that my committee members would have time to review it prior to my defense. I ended up pulling an overnighter from Sunday night into Monday morning, but got those 36 pages done and sent off in time. I spent the rest of the week recovering while preparing and practicing for the defense to come on Friday.

My defense was scheduled for 3:30 Friday afternoon. As it turned out one of my three committee members was unable to attend so he recruited another faculty member to take his place as a proxy. Another student was defending in the time slot immediately prior to me, so I didn’t actually start until about 3:50 due to his committee’s deliberation period taking quite a bit longer than expected.

Once we got underway the presentation went very well. I felt a lot more relaxed than I expected to be, elaborating in a number of places I hadn’t really planned to discuss ahead of time and in general tying the information together more coherently. Although the proxy committee member hadn’t been able to familiarize himself with my thesis ahead of time both he and the other professor followed closely, asking several good questions throughout. Fortunately the Lord gave me grace and presence of mind and I was able to satisfactorily address all the questions asked.

All together the presentation lasted just over an hour, and after finishing I left the room to allow the committee to deliberate. This ended up taking all of about 2 minutes, which caught me off-guard since deliberations for the defense before mine had taken a while. I’d had to go downstairs to the office to get a form I needed signatures for, but rushed back upstairs to learn that I had passed with flying colors! My advisor told me afterwards that no one had any objections at all and were in fact very complimentary of the presentation and of the scope and quality of my work.

Afterwards my advisor and his wife took us out to a restaurant in Seneca to celebrate. All in all I’m very thankful for how well everthing turned out. I’ve heard from several already who said they were praying at 3:30 when I was supposed to begin. It really meant a lot to me, and I could tell that the Lord was helping me throughout the presentation. Thanks to all of you who prayed for me!

This week will be my last here at Clemson. I expect to still be quite busy finishing housekeeping issues with my thesis and then packing up to move to Indiana on Saturday. I also have a few loose ends to finish up with the project itself. It’s been an exciting couple of weeks, but I have a lot more going on in the next several weeks including moving, the wedding, the honeymoon, and starting a new job, so I’d appreciate your continued prayers.

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