Alumni case study: Robin Ryder
In what way was your DPhil important to your employer?
All academics require a PhD. Members of the hiring committee have told me many times that the mix of theoretical, methodological and applied skills that I learnt at Oxford were highly valuable to them and extremely difficult to find.
In what ways have the skills and knowledge from your DPhil been useful in your current role?
Constant use of the tools learnt during my PhD. Furthermore, the LSI DTC taught me to interact with people from other fields. This is essential in my day-to-day work, as a large part of my research consists in interacting (as a Mathematician) with Zoologists, Linguists, Journalists and Biologists. There are many fascinating, cutting-edge projects that I am uniquely qualified to take part in, thanks to the training received at the DTC and in the Department of Statistics.
How do you think you benefited from being part of a cohort?
I learnt a great deal from the other members of my cohort: since we all came from different backgrounds, we all had different strengths and could help each other. This taught me to interact with people from different scientific backgrounds, and greatly helped open my mind. The fact that the students came from so many different fields of study was a key part to the success of my DTC studies, and is one of the main reasons (with the quality of the teaching) that the programme was so useful to me. I am a better scientist, and probably a better person, thanks to that. (I also made some very good friends, with which I am in regular contact 10 years later.)
What would you say to someone who was considering doing a DPhil at the DTC?
Do you have any fond memories about the DTC to share?
I have great memories of the lab work module where we all analysed our own mitochondrial DNA and made hypotheses about the migration routes of our ancestors – we had lots of fun trying to make sense of some rather odd results!