The Genetics Social Activities Committee would like to congratulate Dr. Ralph Hazelwood on the successful defense of his thesis and completion of his Doctorate!
Ralph is from the Fingert lab in the Visual Sciences department. His thesis seminar, entitled “Molecular genetics of optic nerve disease using patients with cavitary optic disc anomaly”, was on Monday, March 9th, 2015. Ralph has accepted a postdoctoral appointment at Vanderbilt, where we expect he will continue to excel.
We asked Ralph a few questions about his experience in the Genetics program here at Iowa:
Q. What is the most valuable/favorite thing that you have learned/experienced here at Iowa?
A. Building networks outside of my department and field was invaluable because it exposed me to different areas of research and allowed me to make great contacts and actually build friendships with well-known and senior investigators at great institutions and markets.
Q. What was your favorite class to TA?
A. Human Molecular Genetics
Q. Do you have any advice about preparing for defense?
A. Tons of advice but the most important ones are: don’t wait until the last minute to write your thesis even if your committee hasn’t given the ok. It will help you gather your thoughts and help you to start making a story which will help in the long run. The Grad college template for submission is no easy task so the earlier your start the better sanity you will have. Also, the defense is literally just that, you have to defend the work you did so be prepared to talk about why you did the particular experiment(s) and why you came to that particular conclusion(s) and the caveats based on the data. But most importantly, you pretty much know more about your project than anyone else and so your thesis committee wouldn’t allow you to schedule a defense if they didn’t feel you were ready. Finally, think about big picture impacts and/or similar genetics mechanisms or disease processes to your project which should show you have a grasp of the field and genetics in general
Again, congratulations Ralph and good luck at Vanderbilt!