Episode 35: Dr Eljee Javier

In Episode 35 I talk to Dr Eljee Javier, who recently completed her PhD at the University of Manchester. Eljee’s research explored the experiences of visible ethnic minorities who were native English speakers and teaching English to non-native speakers. It was fascinating to hear about how she did her research, and to then hear about her viva preparations and her experience on the day.

Eljee’s blog is great, and she’s recently posted both on her preparations and on the big day as well. She has blogged a lot about her PhD journey, and you can find her on Twitter as @eljeejavier.

Let me know what you think of this episode, leave comments on this post, tweet @VivaSurvivors or email me – particularly if you want to appear in an episode of the podcast this year. And if you’re viewing this on a computer, look to the right and subscribe to get notifications when new episodes go live!

Thanks for listening! (and reading!)

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 30: Dr Murphy McCaleb

In this episode I talk with Dr Murphy McCaleb, PhD graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire. Murphy’s research area is Performance Studies, and his research focussed on ensemble performances. His viva was in February 2012, and he’s currently a lecturer at York St John University. He has also turned his thesis into a book and published it with Ashgate, and we had an interesting chat about that process.

As ever, please leave comments or questions on this post, tweet @VivaSurvivors or email me! If you’d like to support the Viva Survivors Podcast, then why not check out my ebooks?

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

The Podcast is 2 and my Ebook is 99p!

Viva Survivors Podcast turns 2!

Two things happened last Friday – the podcast turned two (Happy Birthday Viva Survivors Podcast!) – and the Twitter account for the podcast picked up its 1000th follower, which is kind of neat. So… What to do to celebrate this?

A special edition of the podcast where I invite everyone back to give updates? I wish I’d thought of that sooner.

A series of Google Hangouts where I look at various parts of the viva or preparation process? Not yet, but I’m thinking about that for August (message me if you’re interested!).

A bottle of champagne? A cup of tea?

For Four Days Only!

How about… Until midnight on Friday I drop the price of Fail Your Viva to 99p (and $2.99 in the US)?

This will run from 8am Tuesday 10th June 2014 (GMT in the UK and PST in the US) until  Friday 13th June 2014 at midnight in the appropriate time zones. If your viva is coming up and you’re looking for something concentrated to give you some idea of what to expect and what you can do to prepare, then give it a go. Ben Libberton of Literature Review HQ described it as “a great book to read cover to cover if you’re anxious about your viva.”

Thank You

Thanks for coming and listening to the podcast over the last few years, for all your help in helping me to share the stories of PhD graduates – and more recently for all your help with my research into the UK PhD viva experience. The results of that will  come out over the summer, and I’ll keep looking for an appropriate way to present things as I compile the results.

Many, many thanks to the Viva Survivors who have shared their stories for the podcast – you can see all of their names on the Archive page. They’re awesome and amazing for giving their time and being so willing to help others in this way. Thanks guys.

Now, all of you 1000+ Twitter followers: go and buy a copy of my ebook for 99p (or $2.99 in the US) and tell all your PhD friends to do the same! 😉

Until next time, thanks for reading – and thank you again for all of your support over the last two years.

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 26: Dr George Julian

In this episode I’m talking to Dr George Julian, who completed a PhD in the Psychology of Special Education in 2003 at Cardiff University. George is the creator of VivaCards, a great little innovation in viva prep. As well as talking about her PhD and viva, we also had a chat about where these cards came from, how they might be used and what the reaction to them has been like. I bought myself a set last month and think they’re really cool: they’re great for either self-directed preparation or for helping others to ask you helpful questions.

If you’ve got any comments or questions about this or any episode, please get in touch! You can leave comments on all of the episode posts, drop me an email or tweet. I’m always looking for more people who would like to share their experiences – it would be great to hear from you.

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 25: Dr Nathan Ryder

No, that’s not a mistake in the title! For this episode I asked my good friend Dr David McGrogan (who you might remember from Episode 16) to interview me about my PhD and viva. I’ve mentioned bits and pieces about my doctoral experiences over the previous twenty-four episodes, but thought it might be interesting to talk about the viva as a whole. In the autumn it will be ten years since I started my PhD at the University of Liverpool, and so it seemed like a good sort of time to look back and reflect. I hope you find it interesting!

Just in case you don’t know, when I’m not doing the podcast I work freelance as a skills trainer in Higher Education, working primarily with postgraduate researchers all over the UK (and soon, the world!). In the last few years I’ve met close to a thousand PGRs on a workshop that I deliver called Viva Survivor, which was the inspiration for this podcast. In turn, that workshop inspired me to write Fail Your Viva, a book about viva preparation (despite the title!).

So that’s what I do in a nutshell! If you have any questions or comments about this or any other episode then please get in touch: comment on a post, email me or tweet away!

Thanks for listening,

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 24: Dr Pooky Knightsmith

In this episode I’m talking with Dr Pooky Knightsmith, who recently completed her PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. Pooky was working in child and adolescent mental health for several years before her PhD, and continued to work in that area during the seven years that she did her research. It was really interesting to hear about Pooky’s journey, and to hear about what she has planned next. She is a speaker, trainer and author in her field, and you can find out more about what she does at In Our Hands. She’s also on Twitter as @PookyH.

The next episode is scheduled to be up on May 1st! As it is Episode 25 there will be something a little different… If you have any questions or comments then please get in touch, either via the site, by email or by tweeting at me. It would be really great to hear from people who are interested in coming on the podcast: if we’ve corresponded before and for one reason or another not arranged something then please get in touch again and we’ll set something up!

Thanks for listening!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 23: Dr Peter Rowlett

In this episode I’m talking to Dr Peter Rowlett, who recently completed his PhD at Nottingham Trent University.  Peter’s research was multidisciplinary and was in the areas of computing and maths education; he did his PhD part time as well, and so we had a lot to talk about for this episode! You can find Peter on Twitter at @peterrowlett.

We’re heading towards twenty-five episodes… I wonder if we’ll have something a bit different to mark the 25th? Maybe!

At the time of writing my research into the viva experiences of PhD graduates in the UK is ongoing, and if you’re able to share your experiences (by answering seven quick questions) or if you’re able to share the survey with others you would be helping me a lot. The survey is here: tinyurl.com/VivaSurvivorsSurvey. Thanks!

As ever, if you have questions or comments then please get in touch, it would be great to hear from you. Leave a comment on any of the posts, email me or tweet me.

More posts coming soon!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 22: Dr Richard Hinchcliffe

It’s been a long time coming but it’s finally here! A brand new episode of the podcast, and not a moment too soon. I’ve known Dr Richard Hinchcliffe since 2005 when I was a newbie PGR. Richard directed the very first bit of training that I went on and gave me some invaluable practical advice (you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out what it was!). Years later he hired me on my first gigs as a skills trainer.

Richard’s PhD research examined the theme of melancholia in the works of American author Kurt Vonnegut, and it was really interesting to me to hear about how he went about that research, and also what the run up to his viva was like. Richard is now Head of PGR Development at the University of Liverpool.

This is the first podcast in a looooong time! Adjusting to fatherhood is a daily process, but I think that new episodes will become more frequent over the coming months and I’m arranging interviews with several more Viva Survivors soon. In the mean time, please share the podcasts, leave comments, follow us on Twitter and drop me emails with suggestions or questions. It would be great to hear from you. Oh! And if you have already passed your viva, perhaps you would consider filling in my quick survey that I’m conducting? You can find it at tinyurl.com/VivaSurvivorsSurvey and more details about it on a previous post here.

Thanks for reading and listening, and thanks for your patience!

Nathan

2014 on Viva Survivors

Happy New Year!

Is it too late to say that? Maybe, but I mean it all the same – regardless of whether or not your viva is in 2014 I hope that everything goes exceptionally well for you in the twelve months. 2013 was a good year for me personally: my wife and I moved house, we had a daughter (CJ, now nearly four months old!), and I continued to be amazed by the opportunities that came my way and the interesting things that happened to me.

One thing that was less good was my commitment to the podcast. Shocking really, that this time last year I was planning to get the total number of podcasts up to 40 by the end of 2013. A massive over-estimation in terms of my time and energy (amazing what becoming a father will do for your free time). The last new episode was way back in June! Still, the podcast is not forgotten, I will just have to be a lot cleverer when it comes to carving out the time to interview people, but I’ll say more on that in a moment. Read More

Episode 21: Dr Jessica Goodman

In this edition of the podcast I’m talking to Dr Jessica Goodman, who recently had her viva at Oxford. Jess’s thesis looks at the work and experiences of Carlo Goldoni in Paris in the 18th century, and her research approaches this from many angles. It was fascinating to hear about how she did this research, as well as hear about how she prepared for her viva and what happened on the day.

Jess is currently working on her corrections and will start a position at Clare College, Cambridge, in the autumn. You can find her on Twitter here.

As ever, it would be great to hear your comments about this episode! Either leave comments after a post, email me or tweet at @VivaSurvivors (or the “real” me @DrRyder). Summer can seem like a quieter time in some academic circles, but I’m eager to interview more people so please drop me a line.

I also have a few new features that I hope to include on the site soon, and one or two interesting announcements… Stay tuned!