Pixar Men, PhD

I thought it was about time I featured some male characters on my Disney, PhD series. Can you think of any other specialties that would be more interesting for these animated men?

Woody – Leadership or Organizational Management.

Throughout the Toy Story films, Woody, as the main protagonist and leader of the motley crew of toys, has had to work with several different personalities to try to accomplish goals. With additional training in organizational leadership, Woody would be able to add rational, evolutionary, or cultural approaches based in theory to his plethora of experience to be one of the most respected consultants in the business. Instead of sheriff-ing, he could make every playroom a well-oiled machine capable of bringing joy to children everywhere.

Gigantic Woody toy statue sitting in front of bookshelf
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, Orlando

Buzz – Biological Sciences.

Buzz excelled as a soldier, explorer and overall representative of Star Command throughout the galaxy, but if he got bored with that, he might pursue a career studying Space Rangers like researchers in the Nasa twins study. Most astronauts have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field, but Buzz might be most interested in biology, or genetics, because of the necessity for well-designed and detailed experiments. While it is amusing to imagine the infamous Buzz Lightyear pipetting or having numerous failed Western blots, the technology in his world has likely advanced far enough for him to rely on machines for some of these introductory skills.

Gigantic Buzz statue with hands on hips
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, Orlando

Flik – Civil Engineering.

Flik has already invented several contraptions to improve the functioning of Ant Island but he might be a little more successful if he received additional training in civil engineering. He could identify which leaves make the best bridges, learn how to improve his combine harvester so that the ants could have more leisure time, and become the expert on storing food (a pile on top of precarious rocks was obviously flawed). And the field might make leaps and bounds hearing the first-person perspective of an ant since other ant species are able to build floating rafts with their own bodies.

Mike WazowskiCommunication Studies.

A comedian and a diligent student, Mike would likely want to delve deeper into how to make more people laugh harder in order to power Monstropolis. In a Communication Studies program, Mike could also focus his research on theater since he’s already demonstrated he’s a talented playwright and director. I think he’d be a great asset to the creators of PhD Comics in addition to being able to lighten his labmates’ mood every day.

Mike and Sulley from Monster's University standing in front of a blackboard
Science Behind Pixar Exhibit at Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL

Sulley – Energy or Environmental Engineering.

Helping to revolutionize the power source of Monstropolis by switching from screams to laughter, might have sparked a curiosity in Sulley to develop techniques to perfect energy practices. Much like research in solar energy and wind power in our world, Sulley could build on existing physics knowledge to improve the efficiency of the capture and storage of energy.

Marlin – Oceanography.

As a PhD student, Marlin would apply what he learned from his son-seeking adventure to hone our collective knowledge about the geology of the deepest depths of the ocean. I just hope his advisor isn’t an anglerfish. In his free time, he could do his own science communication, joining Mr. Ray to share his expertise with the schools of fish through song.

Marlin, an orange clownfish, with highlighted information about how to graph a point in 3D on a computer
Science Behind Pixar Exhibit at Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL

Nemo – Herpetology.

Nemo had a fascination with sea turtles and he could turn that interest into a career studying and helping to save turtles by studying herpetology, the study of reptiles. He’d learn a lot more than just how old turtles can be and then could work for Disney (with his friends) behind the scenes at Turtle Talk with Crush or at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

Mr. Incredible (Bob Parr) – Political Science.

There are several hypotheses that Bob (and Elastigirl) worked for the US government before or in order to get their superpowers, so I think Bob might want to return to working for the US government in a different capacity after earning his PhD. Thus, a degree in political science, specifically with a focus on relations with special agents throughout history, would serve him well in improving government-super relations from the other side. I could see him going on to be a congressman or heading up a division of the FBI after his graduate training. (Plus I think he’d be perfect for a crossover movie with Men in Black; he’s already got the tie and suit!)

A fondant cake of Mr. Incredible's bust in his supersuit and mask

Dash Parr – Kinesiology.

Dash’s need for speed might lead him to pursue a greater understanding of human bodies by studying kinesiology. He could use his knowledge to improve biomedical devices and prosthetics for amputees or others who have lost their ability to run.

Archway featuring the Parr families' heads with Jack-Jack upside-down in the middle
Pixar Pier at Disney’s California Adventure

Jack-Jack Parr – Mythological Studies or Materials Science.

Jack-Jack (short for John Jackson, who knew?!) is such a jack of all trades that I had a tough time figuring out what PhD focus might be best-suited for him. But I think shape-shifting and his own abilities to have so many powers might be what fascinates him most so reading and writing about other cultures’ shape-shifting myths would be most perfect. By earning a degree in Mythological or Religious Studies, he could become the foremost expert on this aspect of human belief. But if that proves to be less interesting, he could go into Materials Science to study and create shape-shifting materials or bacteria, which is likely a much more lucrative field.

Which characters should I do next?

All included links are not sponsored and intended just for interesting further reading.

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