Congratulations to Lola Holcomb, for passing the graduate comprehensive exam!! She now goes from being a PhD student to a PhD candidate, and for the next few years will focus on developing her own research designs and writing her thesis.
The exam was set by her PhD program in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, and involved writing a 6-page research proposal over the past two months, and on the day of, giving a 1-hour presentation and answering questions from her committee for up to two hours. The focus of the proposal and the presentation are a hypothetical experiment she designs on a topic that is similar to her existing research but not directly related. In that way, you can test a student’s ability to translate their existing knowledge and fact-finding skills to a totally new area and see how well they can reason through a new problem. The committee will ask students to explain their thought process, methods, and how they will assess the progress on the hypothetical project. It’s a long and arduous process, but Lola’s depth of knowledge and ability to problem-solve helped her pass with ease!