Interested in staying up to date on the latest news for UCSB graduate students? Subscribe to the UCSB GradPost.

University of California Santa Barbara
Campaign for the University of California Santa Barbara

Translate the GradPost:

Graduate Peers' Schedules

Summer 2015
Peer Advisor Availability

Professional Development Peer
Shawn Warner-Garcia

Mon-Thu: 10 a.m.-noon

Writing Peer & Funding Peer
Kyle Crocco

Mon, Wed: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Communications Peer
Melissa Rapp

Mon: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Diversity Peer
Charles Williams

By appointment

The peers sometimes hold events or attend meetings during their regular office hours. To assure you connect with your Graduate Peer Advisor, we encourage you to contact them by email and make an appointment.



Campus Map


View UCSB Graduate Student Resources in a larger map


Versatile Ph.D. Hosts Online Panel Discussion June 8-12: 'Careers in Marketing for STEM Ph.D.s'

Versatile Ph.D. will host a free web-based asynchronous panel discussion on "Careers in Marketing for STEM Ph.D.s" beginning June 8. All panelists are Ph.D.s from STEM fields, including:

  • a Market Insight Manager at a health insurance company
  • a Marketing Development Manager at Eastman Kodak
  • a Data Scientist at a marketing agency
  • an Associate Medical Director at a pharmaceutical marketing agency
  • a Senior Manager at a global research company who has a great deal of marketing responsibility

You can interact with panelists throughout the week on the site, or follow the discussion via email. All questions welcome, from the most general to the very specific. As a UCSB graduate student, you have free access to the information and resources on the Versatile Ph.D. website. To learn more about accessing its premium content, such as the panel discussions, follow these simple instructions provided by the Graduate Division.


How to Email Your Professor for a Letter of Reference

Now that you have chosen the perfect professor to recommend you for your prize position, you are probably wondering how to word a request for a reference. Below you will find a few tips for style and content that should get you the letter you need.

Letter of reference

Time frame: About 5-6 weeks before your reference is due, email your professor.

Tone: Address the professor by title, if you are not on a first name basis.

Subject Line: Write “Recommendation for [Your Name].”

First Paragraph: Get right to the point. Say, "I am writing to ask if you would be willing to write a letter of recommendation for me."

In the next few sentences, lay out the facts:

  • Your name
  • Year in school (or were in school)
  • Major
  • Which course or courses you took with this professor, when, and what grade you earned
  • Why you need a recommendation (i.e., what you are applying for)
  • When the letter is due

Second Paragraph: Explain why you chose your professor. Outline your relationship together and point out why you have asked him or her specifically to recommend you. Tell a little about yourself and why you are interested in the scholarship, graduate program, or job for which you need the reference.

  • Be enthusiastic. Example: "I chose to apply to this museum because I was extremely excited about their tribal artifacts department."
  • Be relevant. Does this professor have any special connection with the place you need a recommendation? If so, include it.
  • Be honest. If your professor influenced your choice, say so in the letter: "I had not considered going into research until I took your cell biology class.”

If the professor agrees, you can follow up with all the necessary information for writing a reference: addresses, writing samples, resume, and any other relevant materials.

For more information, see these great resources below:

How to Ask a Professor for a Letter of Recommendation

How to Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation via Email

How to ask for a reference letter


For Your Non-Academic Career, Do You Know Your Holland Code?

Are you considering a career outside of academia, but are not sure what jobs you are suited for? Then you might want to figure out your Holland Code, a three letter code based on six RIASEC categories: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

For example, you might be an easygoing ARS (Artistic, Realistic, Social) or maybe cold as ICE (Investigative, Conventional, Enterprising). You can see what each category means in the chart (below).

The assessment, also known as the Strong Interest Inventory or Holland Occupational Themes, shows your personality type and can help your define your career choices outside of academia.

To figure out your Holland Code, you can take the Strong Interest Inventory assessment offered by Career Services. It takes about 30 minutes to do online and costs only $20 for UCSB students, which includes a counseling session to interpret your results. For a free assessment, try this test online here.

To get an idea of careers based on a single individual code, check out this list from Career Services.

Holland Codes and their meanings. Image courtesy of Career Services


Are Community College Teaching Jobs Stepping Stones to University Positions?

In a recent article, on Chronicle Vitae, Robert Jenkins posed the question "Can a Community College Job Be a 'Steppingstone'?"

The short answer is no. A community college job is not a step to your tenured job at a four year college.

On the other hand, community colleges make up about 40 percent of the available faculty jobs out there (some of them tenured jobs) and it would not be wise to overlook them in your quest for full-time employment.

For more on working at community colleges, check out Jenkins' article.

For another viewpoint on the issue, check out this Monkees video: Steppin' Stone.


Be a Research Mentor This Summer!

The UCSB Research Mentorship Program (RMP) seeks graduate students, postdocs, and researchers for a mentorship opportunity this summer. RMP is a six-week summer program that engages qualified, high-achieving high school students from all over the world in interdisciplinary, hands-on, university-level research. Join the program as a mentor and help create an academically inspiring summer for our next generation of researchers.


Program Dates: June 22 -July 31 (Summer Session A)

Mentor Stipend:

  • $900 per project per student
  • $700 for second student in same project
  • $100 per student in supplies + poster
  • Must have a hands-on component
  • May submit up to two projects

Mentor Eligibility:

  • Faculty, Staff Researcher, Postdoc, Graduate Student*
  • Proposed project must have a hands-on component
  • Must be available during program dates
  • All disciplines considered (interdisciplinary preferred)

*Note to Graduate Students: You ARE allowed to be employed up to 100% during the summer.

Application Deadline: June 8

If you would like to apply, please visit their website. For more information, please email Lina Kim.


Biotech Management Course Applications Due April 15

Students at the 2014 biotech management courseThe American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), in partnership with the Keck Graduate Institute, is offering a two-week intensive management training course from July 12-24, 2015, at the Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, California. This course will accommodate 40 graduate students and postdocs (international and domestic) who will receive free tuition, room and board, plus up to 50% of their travel costs, thanks to generous support from EMD Millipore Corporation.

The course will introduce Ph.D. scientists to the skills they need to thrive in industry and will expose them to the culture, organizational structures, and practices of life science companies through MBA-style case-based classroom experiences, professional development workshops, and a team-based project. They will learn how the industry develops leads, organizes and conducts research and development, and shepherds compounds through to clinical trials. The course is designed for advanced graduate students with at least three years of research experience and for postdocs.

The deadline to apply is April 15. The application is straightforward, and the only stipulation is that applicants must be or become an ASCB member. Click here for more information and to apply.


Career Services To Host Largest Recruiting Event Ever on April 14

On Tuesday, April 14, from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. in the Events Center (Thunderdome), UCSB Career Services is hosting the Spring Career Fair, and it is open to all UCSB students.  It will be the largest career fair ever at UCSB, with 116 organizations participating, in areas including engineering, technology, marketing, human resources, business management, sciences, finance, education, government, healthcare, social services, and sales.  Of this group, 53 have specific interest in connecting with graduate students.

If you haven’t been to a career fair, or aren’t sure what is involved, it is an event bringing together a variety of employers interested in meeting Gauchos to talk about potential job opportunities.  Especially if you have interest in the industries being represented – and you come prepared – career fairs can be a great way to connect with professionals in your area, learn about organizations and their hiring opportunities, and possibly even land an interview.

So what’s the best way to prepare?  Here are some proven tips:

Credit: Keith WilliamsDo Your Homework

  • Research the employers you are interested in connecting with – website, products/services, company divisions, current events, competitors, etc.
  • Find out what specific opportunities the organizations have available – website, GauchoLink,, Google, etc.
  • Plan a strategy for which organizations you’d like to meet with.
  • Create a list of questions you’d like to ask them.

Put Together 30- to 60-Second Intro or ”Elevator Speech”

  • For use in answering the “tell me about yourself”-related questions.
  • It should include information about who you are, what you’re looking for, what you have to offer (education, skills, experience, etc.), and why you are interested in the company.
  • Write, edit, get feedback, and practice, practice, practice your speech.

Credit: Woodley WonderworksTailor Your Resume/CV

  • A resume (as opposed to a CV) is appropriate for most industry positions.
  • Your resume should be distinctive, easy to read, error-free, and relevant to the research you did about the company.
  • If necessary, have different versions for different employers.
  • Get your resume critiqued by at least two knowledgeable people beforehand.
  • Bring several hard copies of your resume in a portfolio or something professional-looking.

Make an Effort Towards Your Dress and Appearance

  • Err on the side of over-dressing vs. under-dressing.
  • Wear a suit or business casual dress, depending on the industry.

Credit: Kyle SteedArrive Early

  • Long lines often form and some employers leave early.
  • Note: If you get your resume/CV critiqued in drop-in counseling at Career Services (Career Resource Room, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday-Friday), you will receive a pass to enter the fair one hour early.

Follow Up

  • Ask for cards/contact information from employers you meet.
  • Send them an email within 24 hours, thanking them for their time and interest, reiterating your interest in their organization/opportunity (if applicable), and following up with any action steps or other pertinent discussion points.
  • Follow-up further, as appropriate.

UCSB Career Services offers an effective array of resources, programming, coaching, and other services. For more details, visit the Career Services website.

John Coate is the Assistant Director and Coordinator of Graduate Student Services for UCSB's Career Services. He periodically writes post on career and professional development issues for The GradPost.


Return of the Writer's Room: Spring 2015

The Dissertation Writer's Room is back next week! 

Starting Tuesday, April 14, the Graduate Division's Dissertation Writer's Room will reopen for the spring quarter. (The reopening has been delayed due to the Graduate Student Showcase and Grad Slam events happening this week and next).

This resource is open to all graduate students. Whether you are completing the final round of revisions to your dissertation, or writing your first graduate seminar paper, you don't have to write in isolation. Schedule some time to work alongside your fellow graduate students in the Dissertation Writer's Room.

Where: Student Resource Building, Room 1103
: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon; Wednesdays, 1 to 4 p.m.

The Graduate Division's Dissertation Writer's Room comfortably seats 18 writers and includes amenities such as ergonomic furniture, wifi, coffee, tea, water, and snacks. One of the Graduate Division Peers will host the room each day and help everyone stay on course. Peers will also be available to provide support or encouragement as needed.

We are also delighted to announce that UCSB Campus Learning Assistance Services (CLAS) will once again offer an evening session of the writer's room. Writing consultations are available to graduate students on a drop-in basis during these hours.

Where: Room 3282 of the Student Resource Building
: Thursdays from 6 to 10 p.m.

If you have any questions about the Dissertation Writer's Room, or suggestions for other professional development resources, please email Robert Hamm.


Get Published in the UCSA Graduate Policy Journal

UCSA logoThe UC Student Association (UCSA) Graduate and Professional Student Committee is publishing its first Policy Journal this spring and you can submit your ideas about graduate education to help make future policy changes.

There are two Graduate Student Policy topics: Jobs and Grade. Grade is the campaign to democratize the hiring and evaluation process of faculty.

Jobs focuses on the professional development resources students need to prepare for careers in or outside of academia.

Interested in being published? Complete the brief Intent to Submit form by Saturday, March 21.

Once you complete the form, the Graduate and Professional Student Advocacy Director will reach out to you with resources for structuring your submission.

For more information, contact Vice President of External Affairs Yanira Rivas Pineda at


Join Spring Pedagogy Workshops 

Instructional Development logoCheck out the useful series of spring quarter pedagogy workshops for grad students. All sessions are limited to 10 participants, unless otherwise indicated here. To reserve your seat, please RSVP by email and indicate your department.

Preparing your CCUT Portfolio

Tuesday, March 31, 3-4 p.m., Kerr Hall 1128


Presenting your ESCI data for the CCUT Portfolio

Wednesday, April 1, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Kerr Hall 1128


Jump-Starting Discussion: Increasing Student Involvement

Tuesday, April 7, 10-11 a.m., Kerr Hall 1128


Teaching Problem Solving and Analytic Thinking Across the Disciplines

Wednesday April 8, 11 a.m.-noon, Kerr Hall 1128


Workshop for International Grad Students: Becoming an Effective TA

Wednesday April 8, 3-4 p.m., Kerr Hall 1128


Effective Use of Technology in Section: What are best practices in your discipline?

Wednesday, April 15, 1-2 p.m., Kerr Hall 1128


Troubleshooting 101: What's going on in your class?

Thursday April 16 , 11 a.m.-noon, Kerr Hall 1128


Drafting your Teaching Philosophy Statement

Tuesday April 21st, 1-2:30 p.m., Kerr Hall 1128


Teaching Demonstrations for Job Interviews

Thursday April 23, 9:30-11:00 a.m., Room TBA