Creating the Next Overeducated Cartoonist
By Roger Slavens | Comic by Jorge Cham, ME 97 | Originally published September 2016.
Updated June 2017 to include information about Cham's recent book release.
Georgia Tech alumnus turns procrastination into a lucrative career as a comic strip creator.
Throughout his academic career — including his time as a Mechanical Engineering major at Georgia Tech — Jorge Cham found himself faced with an obstacle most students know all too well: procrastination.
Piled Higher and Deeper creator and Georgia Tech alumnus, Jorge Cham
Procrastinating and Creating
And then during his first term at Stanford, where he pursued his doctorate in robotics, it all clicked.
“Grad school was basically kicking my butt every day,” Cham says.
“While hanging out with friends and procrastinating about doing my coursework, I had an idea to turn my grad school experiences into a comic strip.”
Cham created his first strip in October 1997, and quickly his irreverent and insightful takes on academic life were picked up by the school paper, The Stanford Daily.
See Chan's comic strip below for the full story.
Cham continued to draw and write comics while earning his Ph.D., and eventually named the strip PHD: Piled Higher and Deeper to reflect its unique focus.
After graduating, he landed a job at CalTech, where he worked as a robotics instructor and researcher for a few years.
However, Piled Higher and Deeper continued to build in popularity — with many college newspapers across the country, including The Technique, picking it up in syndication — and Cham decided to focus on the comic strip full time in 2005.