It’s always nice to hear from SDP alumni; to find out why they applied, what they got out of the programme, and what they are up to now. Ryan Biava is a PhD Candidate in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; this is what he had to say about his time in Oxford as a student on the 2011 Summer Doctoral Programme:
The search for a shared intellectual community was one of the principal reasons I was so excited to attend the SDP. Many of us come from different disciplines where our interests might be considered novel or tangential. No matter how welcome we feel at home, the OII is a place that was conceived to bring together people who think broadly about the internet and its impact on, well, just about everything.
Staying in college housing with the other participants was extremely enjoyable, and we often swapped stories late into the night. The planned outings were also another out-of-classroom opportunity to get to know one another — we only had one SDP participant who fell into the river while we were punting, but all was restored after a pint at the pub a bit later on.
Even though we all only spent two weeks together, the SDP remains for me a singular experience where I was able to make deep connections to a group of colleagues from all around the world. I have remained in contact with a good number of the friends I made at Oxford, and I look forward to knowing them and following their work throughout our careers. It would be very difficult to overstate how much fun we had, in addition to getting some really great work done.
— Ryan Biava, University of Wisconsin-Madison (SDP2011)