Summer 2022 Challenge

Welcome to our Summer 2022 Writing Challenge! If you are here, you are in the right place. This is your page to make the most of your experience here. You can get your dissertation finished in 2022 with daily progress.

First of all, Congratulations to all of our new PhDs! (Check our “Alumni” page for regular updates) You can participate in the online Dissertation House from any part of the world. Students join the Dissertation House (DH) from various states in the US and many countries in the world. The “DHers” who participate come from universities throughout Maryland, with sponsorship from the National Science Foundation’s PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), and funding from the graduate school at UMBC where Dissertation House has been institutionalized. We invite and encourage all doctoral students within the University System of Maryland to join us online!

Dr. Wendy Carter-Veale is your “Head Coach.”

Our pre-registered participants are required to blog daily during their time in the Dissertation House and are encouraged to continue blogging until they finish their dissertations.

To join us online:

  1. Go to the comment section below and introduce yourself (name, school, department.) Note: You may use your full name or an alias. If you have a blog, you may use your blogger ID, however, you do not need a username or password to participate.
  2. Tell us what you are working on and what you plan to accomplish today or over the next few days.
  3. Blog daily, preferably twice a day (morning and afternoon/evening) to report your goals for the day, your daily accomplishments, and your goals for the next day.

We will repeat something that we said before, because it is both important and true: Our graduates and participants pushed (and we do mean that they pushed through adversities, complications, and issues) to finish sections, get chapter approval from advisors, complete drafts, pass proposals, pass defenses, and turn in their final documents. These grads are now professors, working in non-profits, industry, federal agencies, and have had postdocs throughout the global academic community (e.g., France, South Africa, Egypt.) Learn about our Maryland AGEP PROMISE Academy Alliance (APAA) postdoctoral program.

If you have joined us in the past, come back again if you are still working on your document. We are still here, and we will still be part of the community that will cheer you on! Post your goals for the next four months on this page. You are not alone, this is your online community. Focus on completion. As coach Dr. CV says “A good dissertation is a done dissertation.”

90 Responses to Summer 2022 Challenge

  1. promiseagep says:

    Good morning Dissertation House!!!! As we prep for July Dissertation House (in person!), I want to invite you to start your blogging experience. With summer officially starting, commencement is behind us; we want to make sure you are taking the time to make a to-do list and begin to work on writing. It may only be one paragraph; it may be an entire page a day; they are good days and not-so-good days. Still, your dissertation, proposal, or thesis can’t take breaks, so get to that computer, put together a doable to-do list with clear objectives, and start working on it; we look forward to seeing your progress!
    Sincerely, PROMISE staff

  2. Chris Mayer-Bacon says:

    I’m a Ph.D. candidate in the Biological Sciences department at UMBC. I’m currently working on my thesis, with an ultimate goal to complete it by the end of this calendar year. Work on it has been slow over June. So far, I’ve outlined my introduction and final chapters, plus started adding some paragraphs to the introduction as part of fleshing out the outline. During the Dissertation House next week, I hope to finish a draft of my final chapter and have at least 50% of my introductory chapter drafted.

    • Good Morning Chris

      Are you joining us today? What will you be working on today? What section of the dissertation will you be working on specifically?

      • Chris Mayer-Bacon says:

        Aside from finding out specific due dates for graduation and thesis submission, I made some progress (~1.5 pages) on my Introduction section. I plan to continue work on the Introduction tomorrow, since there are still some areas where I can easily turn outlines into full paragraphs.

    • Hello Chris

      I found those dates for the 6 months Nomination of Committee Form there are due Dec 1 and July 1 for graduation May and December respectively.

  3. Welcome to day 1 of the Dissertation House.

  4. Connor says:

    Today I am going to outline my proposal and and prepare the literature I will be citing.

  5. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! I am a fifth-year PhD student in Environmental Engineering. Today, I plan to refine and revise the methods section of Chapter 2 of my dissertation document. I recently got feedback from my research advisor so I plan to incorporate that feedback as well.

  6. William says:

    Hello everyone,
    I am a Ph.D, candidate (part-time) in Electrical Engineering.
    Today, I am preparing and summarizing results in preparation for a meeting with my advisor, which has been moved from today to later this week. I plan to use the extra time to continue to summarize the results and also prepare more, along with refining my Dissertation outline which I plan to discuss with him.

    • Hello William Welcome to Day 1 of the DH. What were you able to accomplish today? Did you summarize any results today?

      • William says:

        Hi Dr. C.V.
        I found that I had to first organize my experimental results a little better to help begin summarizing them. Then I realized I needed to re-run a few (which was practical within hours). It was all good though.

  7. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I was able to complete the abstract and introduction sections of Chapter 2 of the dissertation document. I was not able to finish the methods sections. Tomorrow, I plan to work on Chapter 4 (the review document).

  8. A relatively small group of people will serve as the DH for this year’s competition. It is always a pleasure when the Dean stops by. During her visit, the Dean of the Graduate School provided some words of encouragement and extended a warm welcome to the participants. She gave a brief discussion on the transition from being a graduate student to an independent researcher. She spoke about the ability to do as you like, manage your own schedule and research ideas, and other similar activities comes with having a doctoral degree. As is customary, she expressed to the students how excited we are to see them complete key milestones, such as obtaining candidacy and graduating from their respective doctoral programs.

  9. Tomorrow will begin Day 2 of the Dissertation House. I hope that some of my Writing Cluster participants from last month’s Dissertation Institute in Texas will join us here in order to develop a community of dissertation writers diligently working on their dissertations. Do not simply write whenever you feel like it. Create a list of activities that we refer to as “Zombie tasks” that you can work on when your motivation to complete the dissertation or proposal wanes. You can still get something accomplish on your dissertation, when you are tired, when you are sick and when you are sick and tired. Writing a dissertation is like to running a marathon; you do not need to finish first, but you must complete the race.

    • Shun says:

      Hello everyone,
      My name is Shunverie (Shun), and I am excited to be participating in the dissertation house. I am currently in the proposal phase of my Ph.D. at Hampton University. My goal for this week is to finish my proposal for review. Today I am organizing and editing chapter one. Tomorrow will be dedicated to cleaning up chapters 2 & Friday; I plan to make final edits on chapter 3 (it’s finished).

      Good luck writing, everyone, and may we all accomplish this week’s goals.

    • Senam says:

      Hi everyone! I’m Senam, a Ph.D. student in Materials Science and Engineering from UC San Diego. I’m excited to take part in the Dissertation House! I’m in the dissertation phase and have been working on the discussion portion of my journal article. This week, I added a couple of new figures to my paper and plan on writing some commentary for each figure tonight.

  10. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I plan to switch gears and work on Chapter 4 of my dissertation. Chapter 4 is the review manuscript that I had previously been working on. Chapter 4 has 7 subsections and I hope to finish revising 4 of the 7 subsections.

  11. Michael H. says:

    Good morning. Michael Hunt checking in. Been down with COVID, but ready to get things done today. I will be working on my comp outline today. Pulling and organizing at least ten articles today.

  12. Connor says:

    Today I’m going to finish my introduction and the first aim of my proposal.

  13. Stephanie Damas says:

    Greetings All,

    My name is Stephanie Damas, the Aggressive PhD Rebel (new handle I’m trying out). I’m a 3rd year PhD student at Clemson University studying in the Engineering and Science Education department.

    This week I’m working on completing a first draft of a chapter of my literature section. Today, I plan to:
    – edit some of the content that I’ve free written so far in 2 15 minute increments
    – read for a total of 1 hour
    – and write about 2 more theories

    I’ll be doing afternoon/evening productivity.

    • Hello Stephanie

      Welcome to the UMBC Dissertation House! We appreciate you joining the group of dissertation writers here in Maryland. How did you do with the objectives you set for yourself today? How aggressively did you pursue achieving your objectives today? I hope you join us tomorrow for Day 3.

      • Stephanie Damas says:

        I was actually able to finish everything on my list yesterday. It took longer than I wanted, but I persisted with aggression. I’m proud 🙂

  14. Kyle says:

    Hello. Today, with the help of UMBC’s library staff, I have successfully obtained a list of 12 potential references for my thesis. I have implemented the changes recommended during my one on one session yesterday for the first 18 pages of my thesis. I intend to implement the changes on the remaining 12 pages.

    • Kyle so happy to hear that you made good use of the resources available. Good for you.

    • Kyle says:

      I received further feedback following my corrections and found more references including one I believe will be appropriate for my lit review. Tomorrow I plan to begin integrating my references into my paper.

  15. Senam says:

    Hi everyone! I’m Senam, a Ph.D. student in Materials Science and Engineering from UC San Diego. I’m excited to take part in the Dissertation House! I’m in the dissertation phase and have been working on the discussion portion of my journal article. This week, I added a couple of new figures to my paper and plan on writing some commentary for each figure tonight.

    • Hello Senam

      Hello, and thank you for visiting the UMBC Dissertation House. You should be commended for seeing things through to the end, and I wish you the best of luck with writing at least one paragraph for each figure tonight. Come celebrate Day 3 with us tomorrow!

  16. Michael Fleming says:

    Today, I was able to make revisions to Sections 1-4 of the review manuscript which will become chapter 4 of my dissertation document. Tomorrow, I will continue with sections 5-7 of the review manuscript and try to refine the table.

  17. Christopher Mayer-Bacon says:

    After Day 2, I added 2 pages to my Introduction chapter and re-read one of my earlier publications as a guide for how best to approach this specific section of the chapter. Tomorrow I plan to switch gears and work on fleshing out the outline I made for my Future Work chapter. I felt I hit a block with the Introduction, and there are several pages of outlines for the Future Work chapter that should enable relatively quick writing.

  18. Today marks the conclusion of Day 2 of the Dissertation House. This afternoon’s activities consisted of the Good Afternoon DH television role play exercise as well as the Elevator Pitch. On today’s show, we had four guests who were highly smart and clever, and they each presented some of the findings of their research with our audience. We’re looking forward to Day 3 tomorrow.

  19. Day 3 of the DH begins today. All participants should blog in this morning and let us know what you will be working on. This morning I will be presenting “Preparing for your Defense”.

  20. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today is Day 3 of the Dissertation House and today, I hope to finish making revisions to the review manuscript (Chapter 4 of the dissertation document). I was able to make most of the revisions to sections 1-4 yesterday. Today, my focus will be on sections 5-7 and the table.

    • Michael, Congratulations on your perseverance. You have one more day to complete this chapter and make the necessary edits. Simply by working on it every day, you will notice the progress you are making.

  21. Senam says:

    Good morning everyone! Yesterday, I was met with procrastination, but I finished my commentary for at least one of my additional figures for the paper. Though I didn’t finish the two as planned, I realized there’s another dataset I’ll need to collect to supplement what I already have. The advice to make a list of figures document has been helpful.

    For Day 3, I plan to finish my commentary for the second figure and make some edits to my introduction/background section.

    • Hello Senam, Welcome back. It is almost 5pm did you finish your commentary for the second figure? How are the edits to the intro going?

      • Senam says:

        For the introduction section, I spent most of my time searching through the literature to see how to make my explanations more straightforward. But I finished writing the second commentary; it just requires a lot of editing.

  22. Stephanie Damas says:

    Greetings All,
    Today I want to add 3 more paragraphs to my introduction and free-write in my conclusion section for 20 minutes total (2 10-minute sessions). Yesterday took longer than I wanted it to because I kept picking up my phone so today I’m going to have it faced down and on DND. Hopefully, it works.

    • You’re back Stephanie 3 paragraphs seem doable. This afternoon in DH, we did 10 minutes of Free-writing, also known as “raw drafting,” with a timer to see how many words we could write without editing or looking up references. Ready, Set, Go!

  23. Day three of the DH comes to a close. Don’t forget to write yourself a reminder of tomorrow’s activities. Where is the next stage in your writing’s natural progression? Instead of needing to reposition yourself every day, you simply read the letter tomorrow and jump right into action. Day 4 in the DH represents yet another opportunity to advance your dissertation. Progress not perfection = a PhD.

  24. Chris Mayer-Bacon says:

    After Day 3, I made significant progress in fleshing out my outline for the Future Work chapter of my thesis: 3 pages of outlines turned into 6 pages of text. Tomorrow I plan to continue work on this chapter, hopefully converting the rest of my chapter outline into text.

  25. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I got a lot done but I didn’t get to sections 6 or 7 of the review manuscript. I was able to add a considerable of content, however, to section 5. Tomorrow, I will focus on sections 6 and 7 and try to make revisions to the table as well.

  26. Kyle says:

    I had a second one on one session with Dr. Veale. We discussed how I could write my literature review with the references that I have obtained. I think I have an idea of how to structure my literature review. My rough idea is below
    Work has been done to create finite element models of structures with int pin connections. Ref A used an FE model to predict fatigue life . . . While this is important is does not inform us of the modal behavior of the structure post installation. Ref B used FE modeling to obtain the stress distribution around the hole . . . It remains to be seen how these stresses can be incorporated into simulations of the nat frequencies and mode shapes. Previous work has been done to predict the modal behavior of structures with non-int pin connections. Ref C used a cylinder method of modeling to FE model a structure with bolt connections . . . The installation of the bolts was not an int fit. Ref D used a similar cylinder method to FE model a structure with rivet connections. The installation of rivets is markedly different from int pins. My goal is to develop a method of FE modeling that can predict the modal behavior of a structure with int pin connections.

    • Kyle this represents a good start. Thank you for sharing that plan with me. I think you should flip the order of the way your present the areas of studies. You should start with the studies that did not include interference pins and then follow by the studies that did focus on interference pins.

  27. William says:

    On today I resumed compiling and summarizing my experimental results (after having gotten clobbered by life’s events on Wednesday…still, I ran a few more experiments that day since the computer was not clobbered.) This morning I also further revised my dissertation outline. This evening I am doing more of the same, and tomorrow I plan to finish updating my slide deck with results and summary points for an anticipated meeting with my advisor.

    • William it’s good to see that you did something i.e. running experiments despite being challenged yesterday. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing even on those type of days. Keep moving forward.

  28. Connor says:

    Home stretch. I had a colleague read my IP last night and she provided some great feedback. I need to do a lot of editing to address her critiques, but I think the document will be ready for submission when that’s done.

  29. Kyle says:

    Today I intend to write my literature review in the style that I described yesterday.

  30. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I plan to focus on sections 6 and 7 of the review manuscript and hopefully revise the table. If I am able to finish the review manuscript today, then I will pick up the dissertation document and work on chapter 2 of it. I also hope to maintain the momentum that I picked up from the Dissertation House these past few days by writing for one hour from 8am to 9am each day.

  31. Welcome to the final day. If you have been with us during the week thank you. We appreciate your participation and hope that you continue to use this website as your writing accountability partner. It is Friday, Day 4 of the Dissertation House. You can and should use this page until you have completed your dissertation. We talked about editing your own work and hiring an editor this morning. If you are going to hire an editor, I recommend that you start with a few pages to see if you like their editing style.

  32. Senam says:

    Happy Day 4 everyone, I plan on editing my paper today. I set a deadline for July to send the draft of my paper to my advisor. I’m hoping to maintain the momentum until then.

  33. William says:

    Today I am still summarizing results. ( meeting with my Adviser on Monday instead of today.)
    The extra time is really helping because, in repeatingly reviewing my results each day, I am finding ways to further consolidate material and capture the main points. Plus, I see a few additional meaningful experimental runs that I want to include this weekend. I hope to make the most of the meeting, and get closer towards our next planned journal paper…and my dissertation.

    Wishing the best for everyone!

  34. Kyle says:

    I just reorganized my literature review so that it is structured similarly to what I described previously. I made a change so that studies of structures with joint connections are discussed before narrowing to interference pin studies and how I think they are lacking.

  35. Chris Mayer-Bacon says:

    Today, I finished a rough draft of my Future Work chapter; I had made good progress yesterday on that chapter and made it my goal to finish a rough draft of it today. I also started editing my Introduction chapter, and after some discussion decided on a new structure for that chapter. Starting Monday, I’ll rewrite my Introduction outline to better reflect a structure that emphasizes my research focus.

  36. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I revised section 6 of the review document and I got halfway through section 7. I have made a considerable amount of progress over these past four days in the dissertation house. Tomorrow, I plan to find an hour in my day to continue revising the review manuscript. I hope to finish revising this document over the weekend.

  37. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I was able to spend about 1 hour on the review manuscript and I was able to get through half of section 7. Tomorrow, I will try to spend one hour on the document again and hopefully finish section 7 or get closer to finishing.

  38. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I plan to work on section 7 of the review manuscript. I will try to get as much as possible done today to move on to the table.

  39. promiseagep says:

    Good morning! Welcome to October Dissertation House!

    • Michael Fleming says:

      Hey everybody! For the next two days, I plan to work on two documents – my dissertation document and a coagulant research manuscript for publication. For the dissertation document, I plan to write up Aims 2 and 3. For the research manuscript, I plan to make some edits that my research advisor proposed.

  40. Good morning! These two days, my plan is to write the proposed research chapter of my dissertation proposal and to skim two dissertations on related subject matter.

    • Today I wrote a section motivating my proposed research, edited my RQs w/ assistance from Dr. Carter, and created a table mapping my RQs to their corresponding methods. Tomorrow (with fresh eyes), I plan to refine the RQs and write out how my proposed research activities will address the questions and the contribution that would make.

    • Good day, Lydia Greetings from the DH I hope you were able to accomplish a lot today. If you don’t know what you’re looking for when scanning a dissertation, you may slip down the rabbit hole. Everything takes longer than expected, so having a strategy in place is prudent.

  41. Jamie G says:

    Hi Everyone!
    Today, I am going to start by working on my proposal defense presentation for Oct. 13th. I was suggested for me to outline next steps/timeline, which I look forward to getting advice about. Later, I can switch drafting the IRB as well as reading.

    • Jamie G says:

      Today (10/6) I have:
      1) Framed out my proposal defense presentation
      2) Reached out to my co-chairs about IRB and am ready to draft; learned more about the process
      3) Asked for a presentation sample cohort colleague–got it
      4) Received advice on a potential timeline
      5) Reached a dissertation committee member I hadn’t heard back from
      6) Learned more about Nvivo

      Tomorrow, I will start with:
      1) Refining my presentation slides
      2) Drafting the IRB application and materials
      3) Watch a video about Nvivo
      4) Read (in between or as time allows)

      • Jamie G says:

        Good morning!! My plan for today remains the same; however, I watched an Nvivo video last night. Kicking off today with presentation slide work! IRB afterwards.

      • Jamie G says:

        Today, I completed my presentation preparation. After a final edit, they will be ready for defense on the 13th! I also did some work on IRB needs.


    • Hello Jamie It was a delight to meet you today. Best of luck with your future defense. I am certain that you will succeed. I hope you have some plans in place for when you return to work.

  42. William says:

    Good Morning,
    Today I am compiling a bunch of summaries and notes I generated from papers I have read over the past few years, so as to begin forming literature search/related works sections for two documents: an upcoming journal paper and Chapter 2 of my dissertation. My goal is to have a significant number of my summaries copied, pasted, and revised into a single file and in a logical order. I am focusing more so on the journal paper related summaries first

    • William says:

      Today I was able to examine all of my summary documents (one each for approx. 40 papers). I tracked each in a spreadsheet, with a brief note that could help me “collectively” see the order and structure of how I want to include these in my literature review/related works sections of both (a) an upcoming paper and (b) my Dissertation.

      Then I checked a stack of approx 60 or more hardcopy papers to see which ones I had not summarized. I found about 20, but many of these I had already referenced in a prior journal paper, and also in a separate, prior, lit. review spreadsheet from last year.

      I see that my original goal of literally, drafting those lit. review chapters/sections was too optimistic for one day, so tomorrow, I plan to take my spreadsheets from today, and began further “outlining” how I want to document this relate works. I will make a plan for the days/weeks ahead also, such at some point, I can indeed, finally copy/paste/revise/expand into sections for a journal paper and dissertation.

      • Hello William, I believe it is possible to create an outline that includes the citations for each paragraph. I believe that will also help you progress rapidly. Additionally, I hope that the research question is guiding the column headings in the Excel spreadsheet.

  43. AR says:

    I worked on getting two pages of writing done for my introduction chapter of my dissertation. read 3 papers and got a few notes and references done. skimmed another PhD thesis to get an idea of the final layout and requirements.

  44. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I started with the coagulant research paper. I was able to incorporate most of the feedback from my research advisor. I completed the introduction as well as the methods and materials sections. I started working on the results and discussion but still have additional feedback to incorporate. I did not get to the dissertation document today.

    Tomorrow, I plan to make all of the suggested edits from my research advisor in the results and discussion section. If I finish the edits, I will then pick up the dissertation document and add descriptive captions to the figures.

    • Hello Michael, Welcome back to the DH. Good you see that you are making some progress on the publications. Perhaps tomorrow you’ll show your dissertation some love and attention. Best of luck on Day 2.

  45. Kyle Glazier says:

    Today I found four more references to include in my literature review. Two references were to studies about 3-D modeling structures to predict failure from loading. The papers did not discuss modal parameters of the structure which is the focus of my thesis. The last two references are about how fasteners effect the modal parameters of structures which provides justification for my predictive model.

    Tomorrow I hope to do more of the same. I would also like to make sure all of the figures in my paper are from my current model.

  46. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I plan to work on the coagulant research paper. In particular, I hope to finish up the results and discussion section. I will need to find some current literature to compare my results to previous studies. I will then incorporate that discussion into the paper. I also plan to work on the abstract.

  47. Michael Fleming says:

    Hey everybody! Today, I was able to revise my abstract as well as the Results and Discussion section. I still need to add more discussion around each figure. I was also able to do a literature review to include some previous studies. I plan to do some experiments to add additional content but plan to submit a draft to my research advisor this weekend.

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