BIGSSS Graduation Day 2018 › view all


On April 13, 2018, BIGSSS celebrated its sixth Graduation Day! 37 BIGSSS PhD fellows finished their dissertations over the past two years – more than ever before. 23 of them were present for the ceremony on Friday afternoon and were honored for their great academic achievement.

Welcome addresses were held by the Vice President International and Diversity of the University of Bremen Eva-Maria Feichtner and the President and Managing Director of Jacobs University Michael Hülsmann.

Eva-Maria Feichtner was impressed by the fact BIGSSS has long realized a level of internationality in academic life and research that the University of Bremen is striving for today. She emphasized that it was great to see that BIGSSS was a place and time for thought, for sharing ideas among young scholars from all around the world.

Michael Hülsmann stressed the need for a better understanding of today's societies that are threatened by losses of social trust and unsettled by political information wars. He demanded that social scientists should be prepared to take on this task. BIGSSS Dean Olaf Groh-Samberg took up this thought when in his address he pointed out that social scientists are facing a new movement of anti-intellectualism and that “our responsibility as social scientists includes the re-defining of what a social scientist is, by the way how we act and perform. We need to engage with the worldviews that we do not share, and we need to think about our relations to other social groups.”

BIGSSS Vice Dean Adalbert Wilhelm dedicated his speech to the future of BIGSSS and its fellows when he said that he was "confident that the principles of demand-tailored education, close supervision, progress monitoring, and interdisciplinarity, together with our strong methods training in both quantitative and qualitative methods constitute key success factors for our fellows’ future, as well as the future of BIGSSS”. He ended on an optimistic note when seeing “the growing need of social science expertise and advise for living in a digital culture.”

Further highlights of the ceremony were the musical performances by current BIGSSS PhD fellows Elle Harris and Adrien Donneaud who entertained the audience and graduates with a selection of old and new songs that expressed the true spirit, joys, and hardships of doing a PhD. These musical interludes and the laudatory speeches that at BIGSSS are traditionally held by a current PhD fellow gave the audience a good  sense of what BIGSSS is about: a community of aspiring scholars who get to know each other really well, who support each other and who find friends for a lifetime. This is an insight that Sarah Perumalla captured in her Fellow Address when saying: “They say it takes a village to raise a child – it also takes a village to do a PhD.”

For more info on this year's graduates, please have a look at our BIGSSS Yearbook 2018!