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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Winter 2016
Peer Advisor Availability

Writing Peer
Kyle Crocco

Mon: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Tue: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m.-noon

Funding Peer
Stephanie Griffin
Mon: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: noon-2 p.m.

Diversity Peer
Ana Romero

Mon: noon-2 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m.-1 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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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



Tips for the Institutional Review Board Process

Office of Research Logo

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) process, also known as “Human Subjects,” can be a difficult and confusing task for most graduate students. The UCSB Office of Research held an information session on the IRB process at the UCen on March 5. If you missed the session, here is the scoop.

Melodie Blakemore, Senior Research Integrity Specialist and “jack of all trades,” was available to clarify procedures, with an assist from her Research Integrity and Human Subject Specialist colleagues, Melissa Warren and Dorin Donohoe.

Blakemoke explained that the Human Subjects Committee is not your adversary; they are the advocate for your human subjects. They want you to succeed and to advance your research, but they also want to protect the interests of those who are studied. For these reasons, they recommend you provide as much information as possible--explain in detail what you plan to do with your human subjects and how you plan to protect their interests.

The Human Subjects Committee wants to make sure the

  • Risks to subjects are identified and minimized
  • Risks to subjects are reasonable
  • Selection of subjects is equitable
  • Informed consent is sought
  • Informed consent is documented
  • Adequate provisions are taken to protect individuals identity

So you should think about

  • Who are your subjects?
  • Where and how will they be recruited?
  • What are your inclusion/exclusion criteria!
  • Will there be payment/credit to subjects (if any)?
    • Is the payment fair?
    • What if subjects drop out?
    • How will you prorate the payment?
  • Are you studying vulnerable populations (elderly, prisoners, children)?

For a successful review, you should also

  • Talk to your faculty advisor.
  • Don’t wait until you have a project pending to start preparing.
  • Think through all the aspects of your project.
  • Seek assistance from the Human Subjects Staff.
  • Fill out all the application information requested.
  • Submit your request 4-6 weeks before you need to collect data.

For more great advice, see the investigator handout.


TMP Launching New Master of Technology Management Program; Information Session is March 11

The Master of Technology Management Value Proposition. CREDIT: Program website.UCSB's Technology Management Program is launching a brand-new Master of Technology Management (MTM) track. This innovative, business-oriented program is currently accepting applications, and an information session has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 11.

Program description:

The Master of Technology Management (MTM) program prepares early career engineers and scientists to be leaders in technology ventures. The nine-month-long, immersive curriculum teaches the frameworks and techniques needed to be a successful technology manager. Students focus on the challenges that are regularly encountered by leaders and the practices that build technology-based products and services to match (or create) market needs.

The Master of Technology Management will equip students with the knowledge, resources, and connections to go farther in a career as a Technology Leader. A list of program faculty and more program information can be found here.

Attend the upcoming information session to meet program staff and faculty in person:

Wednesday, March 11, from 2 to 3 p.m. in Phelps 1420. 

Mastering the Elevator Speech

Credit: Marco WesselThe term “elevator speech,” one of the biggest buzzwords in career development these days, supposedly originated in a book by an English quality management expert in the early 1980’s called “The Art of Getting Your Own Sweet Way.” It refers to a pre-prepared, comprehensive set of ideas presented to an influential person in the time span of a standard elevator ride, that ideally produces some sort of positive action.

Though often used in the context of promoting business ideas (think reality TV show “Shark Tank”), with the high level of competitiveness in the job market in recent years and the subsequent emphasis on the power of networking, the term has found its way into the vocabulary of career development. In this case, individuals are not pitching a product or idea, but themselves. That is, within a short period of time, summarizing who they are and what they are looking for, as well as what they have to offer and why they are a good fit for the person they are in the “elevator” with.

It can be a tall order, including knowing what to say, when to say it, and for how long. But given the proven effectiveness of networking, with estimates that over 80% of jobs are gotten either directly or indirectly through connections, the “elevator speech” has become a key element of the process, and thus important to the repertoire of graduate students, whether exploring, pursuing, or enhancing their academic or non-academic careers.

Here is some guidance for your elevator speech:

What to say. There is no exact way to create an elevator pitch, and it certainly should vary depending on the context in which you employ it, but there are important main elements. The three key aspects in the employment search process are:

  1. Area of interest
  2. Ability to succeed in this area (education, experience, skills, strengths)
  3. “Fit” for targeted employers

Your speech, then, should ideally touch on these three areas in a way that is personally unique and differentiating. For example:

I’m completing the last year of my Ph.D. program in Developmental Psychology at UCSB. In addition to my research on increasing cultural diversity in after-school programs, I’ve spent the past two years working as a Program Evaluator for the A.S. Education Group in Santa Barbara, analyzing content, programming and accessibility of after-school programs. And during my masters program I was a Project Coordinator for Project Help in Los Angeles, overseeing the development of school-based programming for urban adolescents. I came to UCSB thinking that I wanted to pursue a career in academia, but after getting this great experience and discovering a kind of unique ability to integrate complex theories with front-line needs, I have decided that my interests and skill-set are a much better fit for leading programs. I’m excited to get to talk to you, as I’ve followed your program the past few years and feel that the work you do with adolescent education and development is very much in line with my strengths and career aspirations.

Credit: Hirotomo TLength. Thirty to 60 seconds, depending on circumstance.

Where to use. The elevator speech is utilized at a variety of networking, job search, and professional development events and opportunities, both in person and online. For instance:

  • Formal networking functions and events
  • Other professional development-oriented functions and events
  • Career fairs and employer information sessions
  • Informational interviews
  • “Professional” social media and other online correspondence
  • Casual encounters (sometimes even on elevators)
  • In the interview, answering the questions “tell me about yourself” and “why are you interested in this position?  (Note: answers in this context will normally be longer than 30-60 seconds).

When to employ. There is no simple strategy in regards to the appropriate time to whip out your elevator speech. The phrase “you’ll know it when you see it” comes to mind as sound advice. In more formal job search- and networking-oriented settings, it is generally expected that attendees will be assertive in selling themselves and are indeed often prompted to do so with a statement like, “Tell me about yourself” or the question, “What are you looking for?”

In other circumstances, the prompts are not so clear. The best guidance in these situations includes:

  • First ask questions and genuinely listen to the person you are talking to, ideally focusing on professional or career related topics.
  • Look for an appropriate time to share.
  • Don’t just jump into your elevator speech if not prompted.
  • It may be more effective to integrate the elements of your speech into a longer conversation.

Other Tips.

  • Prepare! Write, edit, practice, and get feedback.
  • Convey your uniqueness – what differentiates you, causes you to stand out.
  • Share what you’re passionate about and looking forward to doing.
  • Make it sound human and real, and don’t be afraid to smile.
  • Prepare a few variations for different circumstances.
  • Don’t brag! There’s a difference between emphasizing your accomplishments and attributes and bragging about them.

For more information about networking strategies, check out the slides from John Coate's March 4 networking workshop. 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.

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