For Ph.D. students, virtual defenses brought together friends and family across the globe

May is a busy month for many Princeton graduate students as they defend their dissertations or hold final public orals as last steps in years of work toward a Ph.D. As doctoral candidates were preparing for this rite of passage this spring, they suddenly had to make plans to conduct their defenses virtually, when Princeton moved to online instruction on March 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Five students who have just received their doctorates describe that milestone moment.