Engineering students attend Ph.D. connect session to learn stress management


Rhonda Lewis explains her steps for stress management at a Ph.D. connect event on Nov. 4.

Engineering graduate students on track to receiving their Ph.D.s were invited to a faculty panel and stress management course on Friday, organized by the College of Engineering Graduate Student Ambassadors

Brittany Wojciechowski, a graduate student working towards her doctorate, headed a panel of professors in different fields at the university. The panelists were assistant professor for aerospace engineering Bhisham Sharma, engineering professor Vinod Namboodiri, and mechanical engineering professor Ramazan Asmatulu.

The panel was designed to answer some burning questions potential Ph.D. candidates may have, like how long receiving a Ph.D. will take. 

“It depends on the student, how motivated they are,” Sharma said. “At least three and a half years, but, hopefully, no more than five.” 

Most of the advice given at the panel could be applied to those outside the engineering program. Panelists encouraged students seeking higher education to be self-motivated.

“If your advisor doesn’t have high expectations of you, have high expectations of yourself,” Sharma said. 

A small team-building activity, designed to get people away from their friends and mingle, followed the question and answer session. The room broke into their groups and played “This or That.” A game where participants are presented with two options, like love or money, and they have to pick which they prefer. 

After, psychology professor and graduate coordinator Rhonda Lewis dived into stress management at the event as well.

 “Keep eyes on the prize and begin with the end in mind,” she said. 

She also talked about how students could deal with impostor syndrome. 

“Visualize yourself getting that master’s or Ph.D., and focus on your goals and not anyone else,” Lewis said.