Comics That Graduated
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12/03/10 Andrea Lypka
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Jorge Cham at USF.


photo by Andrea Lypka

Cartoonist Jorge Cham author of Piled Higher and Deeper presented his comic books at USF on November 30. The event was organized by the Graduate and Professional Student Council at USF.

Jorge Cham’s job is to make graduate students laugh and to motivate them. Even though he is a roboticist, he is best known for his newspaper and web comics Piled Higher and Deeper or PhD Comics.

“I am a big fan, I know a lot of students who read his comics… we can all relate to his comics so I thought it might be a good idea to bring him to USF,” said Keara Dotson the President of the Graduate and Professional Student Council is one of the organizers of the event.

For Kaleena Burgess who is a graduate student in psychology the PhD comics are a life saver.

“In one of those times, when you are alone in the lab for 12 hours, you check the internet to see what people are doing and you discover that you are not alone, there is light on the other side…,” Burgess said.

Comics are popular among professors too. Larry Bush is a cartoon historian in the American Studies Department at USF bought a couple of comic books at the event. He says that comics have always been part of his life.

“When I grew up I started to buy comic books. When my cartoon collection reached 100, I started to think that maybe I have something here unique…,” he said.

Today his cartoon collection reaches 2000 books. Larry Bush says Cham’s comics entail his experiences as a graduate student at Stanford University bringing humor into the lives of stressed out academics. “Jorge mentioned very briefly in his speech that there are very few cultural things having to do with graduate students. And his cartoon strip fills that niece extremely well I might add. His stuff is humorous and poignant at the same time,” he said.

Cham’s message for those students who feel overwhelmed in the academia is — “It’s okay to procrastinate.” He created PhdComics for fun and for procrastination.

“It just seemed like it was a story that haven’t been told before…it was interesting and new. Part of what is trying to be a researcher and a scientist, this part has not been discussed in the media yet,” he said.

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Jorge Cham

Andrea Lypka: Thank you for pulling me aside and interviewing me. I enjoyed it. By the way, the word at the end of paragraph 8, line 4 should be "niche" not "niece." Is it too late to make the change?