This morning, Dr. Carter led a session called, “Good Morning Dissertation House!” This “Good Morning America” styled interview exercise allowed students to discuss their research in a succinct way, with imposed time limits. Dr. Carter tackled issues of nervousness, rambling, organized thought, purposeful gestures, and confident volume. DH members joined the conversation following each interview to offer their peers constructive feedback. One member said that he now realizes that speaking about his research at any given time will be something that he will be expected to be able to do as a person with a Ph.D.
Suggested resources include joining a Toastmasters chapter to practice public speaking, and the book “Speaking About Science” by Barrett Whitener and Scott Morgan. (This book is available online and in UMBC’s Bookstore.) We also discussed Whitener’s “Hour Glass” method of explaining your work which prompts speakers to talk about their topics broadly as a first step, then narrowly as you get to the middle of the talk, and end with broad statements to accommodate listeners at all levels.
Today is the final day of the Dissertation House at UMBC. The Editor of the UMBC Magazine visited us a few times this week, so you may see more about The Dissertation House in a future issue of that publication. We hope that our students leave with a sense of accomplishment and motivation as they work to finish their dissertations on this road toward the Ph.D.