Dissertation Boot Camp helps graduate students achieve their Ph.D.


Evan Faidley, a graduate student in college teaching, types his proposal for his dissertation during the Dissertation Boot Camp in the University Library on Sunday, Oct. 8 2017 .

Devon Parker

Kent State’s Graduate Student Services held its third Dissertation Boot Camp from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8 to assist graduate students with the completion of their advanced degrees. 

The Dissertation Boot Camp took place at the University Library. The series launched to cater to graduate students’ needs for designated time to work on their topics indefinitely without distractions. 

According to dictionary.com, dissertation is a written essay to be completed by a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, which is the highest degree that one can obtain in higher education. 

Kyle Reynolds, the director of Graduate Student Services, explained that the dissertation series is an incredible resource for students who are pursuing their master’s or Ph.D. 

“A dissertation is the ultimate academic achievement for a student,” Reynolds said. “It can look different from department to department, but it’s a really comprehensive assignment. It is where graduate students are exploring and writing their topic from all different angles.” 

“This program was transpired to assist our graduate students with making progress with their dissertation,” Reynolds said. 

Reynolds added that there are obstacles that graduate students face when pursuing their degree. The Dissertation Boot Camp was established to remedy a few of those challenges. 

“Once you hit the dissertation stage, there can be a lot of challenges with completing your dissertation,” Reynolds said. “Some of those challenges include feeling isolated or even lonely.” 

Kathryn Klonowski, a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, has a dissertation topic on student media creation in high school. Klonowski attended the boot camp and appreciated the warmth and support that came from fellow cohorts. 

“The nice thing about being around other people that are going through the same process that you are allows (for) the opportunity to bounce ideas off of people who don’t already have a research agenda that is not necessarily close to yours,” Klonowski said.

This was Klonowski’s first boot camp, and she had some advice to share to prospective students or anyone who is thinking of pursuing an advanced degree. 

“If you decide to go the Ph.D. route, be very certain that you want to get a Ph.D. It is not light work. It is truly a commitment. I can not emphasize that enough,” said Klonowski. 

Evan Faidley, a graduate student in college teaching, had a positive experience while attending the Dissertation Boot Camp.

“The Dissertation Boot Camp is an amazing opportunity for productivity, quietness and a lot of thinking. It is my first time around and not my last,” Faidley said.

Faidley talked about the program’s supportive aspect and how it helps students who feel too independent. 

“This program provides space for people who are in the same boat,” Faidley said. “It is empathetic and very supportive. It is actually full of quietness and laughter. It is very well-organized. I have had minimal reason to ask any questions.” 

Reynolds said this program’s design is to give students an environment to work in and give the ideal setting of a peaceful workspace.

“What we are trying to accomplish here is to provide students with a supportive, quiet environment free of distraction with food provided,” Reynolds said, “where they are able to get down to work with their dissertation.” 

Graduate Student Services is holding its next Dissertation Boot Camp Nov. 3-5 at the University Library. You can register online here to take part in the next dissertation program.  

Devon Parker is the north regional campuses and graduate education reporter. Contact him at [email protected]