Congratulations, Shivani! She finished writing and analysis, and has submitted her PhD thesis for review. The University of Oxford thesis is entitled “The Factors affecting lion (Panthera leo) sociality within the Samburu-Isiolo ecosystem in northern Kenya” and represents the culmination of the past several years of research and hard work by Shivani and the Ewaso Lions team. It is amazing what has gone into this thesis: 12 years of data, hundreds of hours spent in the field, dozens of people involved on various levels – and from it has sprung an entire wildlife conservation project.
Shivani and team worked around the clock leading up to submission. I joined her in Oxford for the final stretch. On submission day, we woke up early, did some final proofreading, and then headed to the printer. We carefully poured over it one final time. We raced through the rain – shielding the precious manuscript from getting wet – looking for the drop-off building. Inside, she filled out a form and handed over the thesis to the man behind the desk. He took it behind a door marked “Submissions” and that was that. Where were the balloons, the fireworks? Clearly, he had no idea of the milestone that was taking place.
No matter. After, we had a hot drink and spent the afternoon sight-seeing with her sister, Shalini, and Jeremy, followed by a celebratory meal at the famous Eagle & Child Pub. The next day, we to the early bus to Heathrow, and I headed east to Kenya and Shivani went west to the United States to get ready for the big WCN Expo.
What’s next? At some point in the next couple months Shivani will return to Oxford for her viva where she defends her thesis in front of her review committee. From there, she is marked (graded), and she can do edits before the final submission after which she will receive her diploma and become Shivani Bhalla, PhD!
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