Monday, June 16, 2008

Dr. Kate!

Thursday was a special day for our family. Our daughter Kate gave the defense of her graduate research and cleared the final hurdle of securing her PhD from the University of Wisconsin. Her field is cellular and molecular biology, and she spent nearly six years (with a little time off for motherhood) researching in the lab of Anna Huttenlocher (pictured).

The process opened with Kate giving a 50-minute PowerPoint presentation to her review committee and anyone else who wanted to show up. Others from her lab, some family members (including yours truly) and other interested parties attended the public portion of the event. Roughly 25-30 were on hand.

I understood hardly a word of what she was describing. After all, I barely passed biology in high school. If you want to take a crack at it, here is a summary of one research paper. Even though I had no idea what she was talking about, I was quite proud nonetheless.

After that, she met privately with committee members, who asked several questions, and then waited outside the room while they decided whether she met the requirements for her doctorate. The verdict: She passed!

Anna hosted an informal pizza-and-champagne luncheon for Kate in UW beautiful new science building. Claire enjoyed the pizza but took a pass on the champagne.

With her PhD in hand, Kate and family will be moving to Dubuque, where she will be on the biology faculty at Loras College.

Congratulations, Kate!