Joan Webb, who is 90 years old, recently graduated with a PhD from the University of Tasmania.
Joan Webb, who is 90 years old, recently graduated with a PhD from the University of Tasmania.

Age no barrier for 90-year-old PhD graduate

PROVING age is no barrier to achieving your dreams, a 90-year-old woman has recently graduated with a PhD from the University of Tasmania.

Joan Webb, a qualified teacher who lives in Launceston, only began her Masters in 2011.

Having achieved that goal within two years, she then embarked on her PhD in 2013.

Ms Webb told ABC News she decided to pursue her PhD after running creative writing and poetry classes at two aged care facilities, for residents who were unable to attend a formal schooling environment.

"There are people in high care who have lost a massive amount of their physical capacity, and still have the most amazing ideas and creativity within them," she told ABC News.

"The one thing you can do while you're laying there in your bed or sitting in a wheelchair is to use your creative thoughts and turn those into, I found, the most wonderful poetry."

As a result, Ms Webb's PhD thesis was titled "I only look forward to Mondays"; Facilitating creative writing groups: Ageism, action and empowerment, and came about from an aged care resident's comment to her about how much they enjoyed her weekly writing sessions.


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