The Informal Writing Group ran during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Let us know if you’re interested in restarting the IWG by emailing the NSE Comm Lab Manager.

Every week, Comm Fellows and other NSE students/postdocs got together to work on their writing tasks. Many also joined the IWG to make progress on research-related efforts such as presentations, coding and simulations, and data analysis. The goal was to motivate each other by (re)creating a sense of community and support.

These sessions took place over Zoom:
– a 30-min kick off at 10 AM
– small breakout groups (4–5 members) to give/receive support and advice
– a 30-min check-ins at the end of the day (~4 pm)
– to share your successes and failures and set backs

You would need:
– access to zoom (camera + mic)
– something you want to accomplish for the day


  • “This is probably more work than I have done in about 2 weeks.”
  • “I’m glad I did this; my least favorite part is outlining a paper and now I have started.”
  • “If it wasn’t for this thing, I wouldn’t have done anything at all [on this paper] today.”


Typist icon created by Andrejs Kirma from the Noun Project

Join our community of thesis writers and stay on track to graduate!

Writing a thesis often comes with a great deal of uncertainty and requires mastering key management skills (managing time, setbacks, expectations…). Writing is also an isolating task but it doesn’t have to be an isolating experience.

PHinisheD offers a series of workshops that cover thesis-related communication strategies, connects participants with institute and NSE-specific resources, and acts as a support group to help manage stress. We meet for 1 hour about once a month at first, then as often as weekly when we get closer to key deadlines.

If you are 6-9 months away from defending your PhD and would like to join, please email the NSE Comm Lab Manager.


“What parts of PHinisheD have you benefited from the most?”

  • “[Seeing] a ‘clear’ path to graduation, i.e. plan to do what is truly important and stop wasting time on what isn’t important.”
  • “Gives very helpful insight that you can’t get anywhere else.”
  • “The camaraderie of others going through the same process as you.”
  • “Great group to discuss topics and keep motivated to make progress.”
  • “Hearing the various requirements of finishing that I didn’t think about / my advisor didn’t tell me about.”