Professor's Star Turn in 'Grad Student' Music Video

Jan 7, 2015

Professor Geoffrey Voelker has amassed all of the various visual assets from the CSE holiday party and year in review, to make them available in one place on the Internet .

"I put together a page that collects all of the pictures, the video of the live skit performances, and all of the individual videos from the various skits," he alerted CSE colleagues this week. Those assets included the final version of what was going to be the pièce de résistance of the party – this year's music video "starring" professor Ranjit Jhala. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens in Hollywood, the final cut was not completed in time for the December event. It took some additional work over the break, and it finally premiered on YouTube January 5 to rave reviews from CSE students, staff and faculty.

Click here to watch the "Grad School" video, starring Jhala (at right), directed by CSE research scientist Kirill Levchenko from the Systems and Networking group, and edited by Karl Koscher (a collaborator at the University of Washington).

Set to the Taylor Swift mega-hit "Blank Space" from the album 1989, the song's lyrics have been customized for Jhala's CSE audience. He warns incoming grad students "it's gonna be for six years, or it's gonna go down in flames, you can tell me when it's over, if the degree was worth the pain, got a long list of ex-students, they're gonna tell you I'm insane, because you know I'll overwork you, and you.. have.. no... life."

Wistful humor was in evidence in the faculty skit, which featured two students and their advisors, Sorin Lerner and the aforementioned Geoff Voelker. The video urged students this holiday season to "give your advisor the gift they've always been waiting for. GIve them your commitment. Give them your devotion. Give them your... dissertation."  The final punch line: "Graduation is forever. Don't let it take forever." Click here to watch the faculty skit video.