Monday, 27 June 2016

PhD defense!

Hello all! Last week Tuesday, June 21st 2016 was (finally) my PhD defense! It was a very special day and I wanted to share some of it with you through some pictures. 
A little bit of background for you all. In November 2011 I started my PhD at Utrecht University in the veterinary faculty on the use of so-called host defense peptides as alternative antimicrobials, especially in poultry. In The Netherlands, the thesis defense day is more of a ceremonial and celebratory identity than in many other countries. Meaning that you cannot actually 'fail' and the actual defense is open for the public. Ofcourse it's still nerve-wracking, as you want to answer the questions of the committee well. All your colleagues, family and friends are watching and you will remember this the rest of your life.

But, first things first, I promised to show you my finished thesis books. They came around the beginning of June and what a feeling it is to have stacks of books writting by yourself in front of you!! The days afterwards I handed them around to colleagues, collaborators, friends and family and soon the stacks had all but dissapeared.

Here is the lovely cover, designed by my sister. 

The defense day itself: here is the program board of the Acadamy building of my university At 14.30 you can see my defense. And at 15.30 my reception and can you see the change in my title??

After 45 minutes of being questioned by a committee of scientists in my field, I received my doctoral degree. The certificate is actually completely in Latin! (luckily with a translation). The room where the defenses are held is lovely and imposing, with all the portraits of great professors of old on the walls.

Me, my so-called paranimfs (friends or colleagues who are acting as you 'witnesses' for the day, in my case, two good friends who are also in science) and the committee, consisting of my promoter, co-promoter, chairman, six scientists from the field and the beadle.

Me and my paranimfs in the beautiful cloister garden next to the Academy building. During a rare dry moment, it actually rained for most of the day :-(

A lot of my family (mum, sister, aunts, uncles and a nephew and his wife) came over for my defense and they live on the other side of the country, so I was really happy and grateful! 

The wonderful cake for my reception with the cover of my thesis on top!

After the reception we also had a dinner with a smaller group of colleagues, family and friends. Unfortunately, I don't have the pictures of that yet. I might do another post or update this one when I get those photographs.

This was what my hair looked like on the day. The wife of my landlord did it and it took her an hour! I loved it sooo much and got lots of compliments!!


  1. Congratulations! Wow, that is amazing -- you are a Doctor! Quite impressive.

    Also, wow, I love your hair!

    1. Thank you!

      I was so happy with the way my hair turned out!

  2. Congrats! That's awesome, Birdie! And your hair looked lovely. :)