virtual graduates

The pandemic changed everything – including the plans for graduation. At the school’s Board of Governors meeting, typically recent graduates would present to the Board, talking a bit about their experiences during their Ph.D. program. While social distancing made a face-to-face meeting impossible, online video conferencing tools (in this case, Zoom) and a bit of documentary film approach led to the next best thing. Nine recent grads were interviewed via Zoom with the video captured on a local machine. Then the clip was edited with a target of 90-120 second run time. Each grad was asked the same five questions: what is your name, what was your thesis title, how do you explain it to non-experts, what’s next for you, what is your favorite or funniest memory from grad school. The resulting pieces were run as “interstitials” during the Board meeting, and provided a consistent (due to the same questions) yet diverse interaction with the students.