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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Spring 2015
Peer Advisor Availability

Professional Development Peer, Shawn Warner-Garcia
Monday: 10 a.m. to noon
Wednesday: 10 a.m. to noon
Friday: 10 a.m. to noon

Funding Peer, Kyle Crocco
Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Writing Peer, Ryan Dippre
Monday: 1:30 to 4 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 to 11 a.m., 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Communications Peer, Melissa Rapp
Monday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Thursday: 2 to 4 p.m.

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.



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Call for Lightning Talk Presentations

Do you have an intriguing idea, unusual side project, crazy travel story, or anything else you'd like to share in a bite-sized presentation? Spatial@UCSB is looking for intrepid presenters – students, faculty, staff, and friends – to give inspirational, educational, or just plain entertaining talks related to geography or space (i.e., just about anything). The talks can be serious or funny, as long as presenteres follow the mantra: "Enlighten us, but make it quick." For inspiration, watch videos of past years' talks. Participants from all departments and disciplines are welcome.

To present in the 2015 Spatial Lightning Talks, contact Kitty Currier by February 18 (preferably sooner).

What: 4th Annual Lightning Talks presented by spatial@ucsb
When: Wednesday, February 25 (lunch provided starting at 11:45 a.m., presentations begin at noon)
Where: Mosher Alumni House
More Information: View the call for presentations

Check out this 2014 Lightning Talk from graduate student Crystal Bae, who bicycled cross-country from Washington, D.C., to UCSB last year:


UC Humanities Research Institute Invites Proposals for Grad Student Advisory Committee

The University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) invites proposals from humanities graduate students interested in participating in a new UC-wide initiative regarding careers alongside/outside the academy. UCHRI is seeking 3-5 humanities graduate students to serve as the Humanists@Work advisory committee for its annual workshop series.

The term for the advisory committee is one year, from Summer 2015 to Spring 2016. Working alongside UCHRI’s Assistant Director, advisory committee members will be expected to attend workshops and participate in virtual meetings, including the collective development and production of two to four webinars on alt-ac topics each year. This is an opportunity for graduate students interested in professional development to shape the future of alt-ac programs across the UC system while gaining valuable logistical work experience.

Who Can Apply: Currently enrolled UC Humanities graduate students
Level of Award: $1,000 stipend, plus travel and lodging for twice-yearly professional development workshops and a convening meeting at UCHRI
Application Deadline: March 18, 2015 (11:59 pm PST).
How to Apply: Online via FastApps
Funding Decision: It is expected that awards will be announced in Spring quarter
More Information: Visit UCHRI's call for applications


Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity Seeks Graduate Assistant

The UCSB Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity (RCSGD) is seeking a Graduate Assistant for the 2014-2015 academic year. The RCSGD Graduate Assistant will support the Center, gain practical/hands-on experience, and collaborate with a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff. The Graduate Assistant will aim to increase student involvement and to enhance students’ collegiate experience by supporting the initiatives of the RCSGD and is expected to work 15-20 hours a week, which may include some evenings and weekend hours. Click here to download a full job description as well as information on qualifications and compensation.

To apply, send an electronic letter of interest, current resume or CV, and the names and contact information of three references to David Whitman, RCSGD Director of LGBT Services. The application deadline is Friday, January 30, by 5 p.m.


Apply Now for ComSciCon15: The Communicating Science Workshop

ComSciCon logoComSciCon: The Communicating Science workshop for graduate students.Apply now for ComSciCon 15, the Communication Science workshop for STEM graduate students.

This unique professional development experience will bring students together in Cambridge, MA. Attendees will meet young leaders in the field and interact with a remarkable group of invited experts. Participants will also produce an original work focused on communicating complex technical concepts from science and engineering to a new audience.

ComSciCon applications are competitive and applicants are encouraged to prepare their responses carefully.

ComSciCon 15

Deadline: Mar. 1.

Eligibility: Graduate students from all fields of science and engineering at all US institutions.

Cost: Application, registration, and attendance to the workshop are free of charge for accepted applicants.

More Information: See website description.

Application: Apply now.


Dissertation Writer's Room Reopens for the Winter Quarter

The Dissertation Writer's Room is back! Starting Tuesday, January 13, the Graduate Division's Dissertation Writer's Room will reopen for the winter quarter. 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. Jay Stemmle of CLAS will facilitate this session and provide feedback (if needed) on writing and the writing process.

Where: CLAS Writing Lab, Room 3231 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


Preparation is Key: The Academic Job Search (STEM)

The job market is a fickle mistress, and often brings incalculable angst and misery to the graduate students who enter it.  Even those who do land tenure-track positions do so only after many rejections, making the process a difficult experience for just about everyone.

Panel members prepare for discussion while the audience awaitsLuckily, however, UCSB’s Graduate Division and the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships has stepped in to alleviate as much of this misery as possible in the form of an Academic Job Search Panel on Wednesday, November 19, for STEM students and postdocs.

Bruce Kendall, Associate Dean of the Graduate Division, led the panel, which consisted of three sciences faculty members: Omer Blaes (Physics), Aaron Ettenberg (Psychological and Brain Sciences), and Megan Valentine (Mechanical Engineering). In an engaging, witty series of exchanges among both one another and the audience, these four faculty detailed the process of the job search from interview to job offer.

The members of the panel, led by Dean Kendall, decided to take it from the top, opening with an explanation of how search committees get from the stack of applications on their desks to a bottom 20 or so. The committee, very early on, pointed out that the more detailed elements of the application, such as the research and teaching statements, may not even be read in the first pass. Those documents, Dr. Ettenberg noted, only come into use after the pile has been winnowed down into a manageable size.  Early on, the CV, cover letter, amount of publications on the CV, and letters of recommendation get people into the top twenty.  

The letters of recommendation were particularly important to the panel, as was the process of networking and getting your name out there in the field.  As one of the panelists pointed out, “The Good Old Boy or Girl network is in full must be known to your community.”  While being known in the field is important, a letter of recommendation - particularly, from your advisor - is a crucial document for moving your application beyond the initial stages of the search.

The Phone or Skype Interview

Interviewing with the search committee, either by phone or via Skype, is the next step for candidates who make it into “the twenty.” The panel recommended that students prepare for this part of the process intensively, since they only have a short time to impress the audience. One member noted that a phone interview does beat a Skype interview in terms of effort, since it doesn’t matter how you are dressed.Panelists engage in Q&A with the audience

The Job Talk

The campus visit is, of course, the major event for a job candidate, and the job talk is sort of the crown jewel of the entire visit. Candidates generally have about a week or two to prepare for a campus visit.  Because of the quick turnaround time, the panel recommended planning your job talk in advance of the invite.  Because the core of the job talk is your dissertation research (or current project, if you are a post-doc), much of what you prepare won’t change from one job talk to another.  

A campus interview differs from the phone or Skype interview because there are more opportunities to tell a compelling story about your research, to speak to a wider audience, and to excite that audience about your intellect and imagination.  The job talk itself runs about 45-50 minutes, with extra time afterward (10-15 minutes) for discussion.  The panel suggested using 40-45 minutes to talk about your research, and using the final five minutes to look forward into future projects and ideas.  As Dr. Blaes noted, “The challenge of the job talk is to reach everyone in the department and convince someone who knows nothing that what you do is exciting and the one expert in your department that you’re good at what you do.” Time management is particularly important: “When they say it’s fifty minutes, it’s really fifty minutes!” Failure to manage time properly is a sign of being unprepared, something that does not go over well with the audience.

Panelists converse with students over pizza after the panelOne of the big challenges with the job talk is using technical language.  Used accurately, technical language shows that you know what you are talking about, although, of course, it can leave an audience not specialized in your sub-discipline a little bit lost.  The panel recommended starting wide, showing a broad vision, and then getting into “some meat” in terms of your detailed study - in other words, tying the technical detail back into the big picture, showing the audience that you can see the bigger picture into which your study fits.  A good job talk, they noted, tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end, with the end pointing out the result of the story: what do we know now that we didn’t know before?

The job talk is the single, shared experience that everyone in the department will have about you and your research, so it’s important to do it right.  The best way to prepare is to practice it - there is no greater aide than repetition and regular feedback from peers.  

Some schools ask for more than a single job talk.  Several panelists pointed out that a general colloquium and a separate talk with field-specific faculty sometimes occurs.  Furthermore, a separate, sample teaching lesson is sometimes asked for at different positions.  

General Advice for the Campus Visit 

  • You are being evaluated from the moment you step off the plane to the moment you get back on the plane.  The plane is probably a pretty safe place.

  • If you are offered a drink at dinner, you can feel free to take it.  But take only one, and nurse that drink.  If you don’t drink, try to find a polite way of refusing the drink.

  • You often don’t get time to chew your food at whatever restaurant they take you to, so choose your meal accordingly.

  • Never show up without a schedule of the events - you should have one emailed to you ahead of time.

  • Be prepared to hit the highlights of your research quickly - have your elevator talk ready.

  • Show an interest in what they are doing and their research areas.  Be prepared to ask questions of them.  

  • Try to find the latest papers by the faculty at the campus and read them on the flight over.

  • There is no break during the campus visit.  Ever.

  • During one-on-one interviews with faculty members throughout your campus visit, you will need coffee, or some other way to consume caffeine.  

Preparation: The Key Ingredient

From the entire discussion of the academic job search, the key takeaway that I found was preparation: prepare your CV, cover letter, and other application materials; secure letters of recommendation early; prepare for your interviews; prepare your job talks ahead of time; research the institution before the campus visit.  If you are entering a postdoc position, prepare for the later job market by acquiring teaching experience while at the position.  Use your conferencing during the job search process to make connections that will help you with the tenure and promotion process later on.  Prepare, prepare, prepare.  It’s a good mantra, and a good way to make sure you are ready for what the job market throws at you.  



Deadline Approaching for 2015 Scientist and Engineer Educators Professional Development Program

There is still time to apply for the 2015 ISEE (Institute for Scientist and Engineer Educators) Professional Development Program, which is a flexible, multi-year program for scientists and engineers at the early stages of their careers, with a primary focus on graduate students. The program is also open to postdocs, faculty members, and other scientists and engineers.

Participants receive training through workshops, work on a design team before and after workshops, continue developing their skills through mini-workshops and expert consultation, and then put their new teaching skills into practice.

The priority application deadline is Monday, December 15.

For more information, visit the program website and check out the 2015 brochure.

Contacts for:


UC Humanities Research Institute to Host Graduate Career Workshop in San Diego

The UC Humanities Research Institute and the UC Humanities Network invite graduate students to attend a statewide career workshop to be held in San Diego on Friday, February 20, 2015. The day-long, hands-on workshop will include:

  • Stories from the Field: A roundtable of recent UC Ph.D.s employed in careers alongside/beyond the academy
  • Two-part workshop on informational interviews and career trajectories for Humanities Ph.D.s led by Dr. Debra Behrens, Career Counselor at UC Berkeley
  • Hands-on workshop with The Resume Studio
  • Theorizing Our Moment: A panel conversation about work and graduate student experiences

The UC Humanities Network is pleased to provide travel and lodging grants for up to three students from each UC campus to attend the event. To register for or learn more about the conference and to apply for a travel grant, click here. Travel grant applications are due January 19, 2015.


When You Think Resume, Think Relevance: Recap of Graduate Student Career Series Workshop "The Resume"

Credit: Jasper JohnsAs graduate students and scholars, we are often taught to be comprehensive, self-promoting, and verbose. This works just fine for crafting a 4- to 8-page curriculum vitae (CV), but when it comes to writing a resume for a job outside of academia, the industry shibboleth is relevance. Employers want to know only what makes you specifically qualified for a particular job and they want to be able to find that information quickly.

John Coate of UCSB’s Career Services led a workshop last Thursday, November 13, on the differences – both in style and content – between a CV and a resume. The workshop, which is part of the ongoing Graduate Student Career Series, emphasized three main things when composing a resume: keep it concise, include only what is relevant, and engage in strategic targeting.

Main Differences between CVs and Resumes

In the U.S. context, a CV is for those working in academia and education, and a resume is for pretty much everything else. Most job descriptions will specify whether you should submit a CV or a resume; if it asks for either, it’s best to go with a CV because you can include more information that way.

Length and Format


  • At least 2 pages (most are 4-5 pages)
  • More white space in between items and at least 1” margins
  • All inclusive (“everything but the kitchen sink”)


  • 1-2 pages
  • Tighter spacing (very little white space) and smaller margins
  • Targeted and selective in content

Expected Sections


  • Education
  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Publications
  • Presentations


  • Education
  • Relevant experience
  • Skills

Credit: woodleywonderworks

There is a lot of flexibility beyond the core categories of each. While most people create a generic CV and then submit it to different institutions with a few tweaks, the key to resumes is researching the company/industry beforehand and providing targeted information that they will find important and relevant. Think of your resume as the very first assignment that your potential employer is giving you – be thorough in your research, strategic in your inclusion of information, and impeccable in your presentation.

In-Depth Look at the Sections of the Resume

Name and Contact Information

  • This should be at the top
  • Include name, address, phone, and an (appropriate) e-mail address
  • Optionally include your personal LinkedIn link or professional website URL

Objective Statement

  • Optional
  • Should only be included if you are giving your resume to a person (such as a friend or assistant) who will be circulating it to various hiring managers who may need to know what position(s) you are interested in
  • If you are applying for a specific job, integrate the objective statement into the first paragraph of your cover letter instead
  • Clearly and concisely identify the specific position, employer, and/or industry


  • Put this before the experience section only if you are in school, are close to graduation, or are recently graduated
  • Include school name, city and state, degree and concentration, date completed (or expected)


  • Heading for each position should include: job title, name of employer, city and state, and dates of employment
  • Each position should be accompanied by a bulleted list that describes: an overview of the position, details of your work most related to the position you’re pursuing, and selected outcomes of your efforts (such as accomplishments, honors, etc.)
  • Start most bullet point statements with action verbs
  • Important! Include keywords from the job description


  • Specific transferable skills that are most relevant to the target position (e.g. computer skills or language skills)
  • Omit general or soft skills (such as “team player,” “open-minded,” etc.), which can go in your cover letter
  • You may choose to highlight particularly relevant skills in a section at the top of your resume called “Summary of Qualifications”

Want more help with your resume?

Take advantage of additional assistance offered by Career Services, such as one-on-one counseling, the Career Resource Room, and the Career Resources website.

Also, check out these article on how to turn your CV into a resume:


The Quick and Painless Academic Job Search Guide

Two weeks ago, the Graduate Division hosted a panel discussion as part of its Academic Job Search Series (read the recap here). The faculty panel bequeathed oodles of valuable information and advice on the different stages of the academic job search, from the perspective of being successful applicants themselves and from their experience of serving on hiring committees.

Vitae has now come out with an extensive guide to the academic job search, written by The Professor Is In's Karen Kelsky. The guide covers the basics of the whole process - from crafting your application materials to negotiating an offer - in a candid and helpful way. Click here to download the free guide.