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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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Easy and Rewarding Ways to Maximize Your Summer as a Young Scholar

Many scholars dedicate their summers to writing, researching, and recuperating from the school year. But summer is also prime time for graduate students and other young scholars to catch up on some professional development projects. Josh Boldt of Vitae offers eight easy and rewarding ways to maximize your summer, including:

  • Create a personal website. Read this GradPost article about more ways to manage your digital reputation.
  • Join Twitter and use it. Learn more about how to use Twitter to create a personal learning network here.
  • Write guest posts for websites (such as Vitae or the GradPost!). This is a great way to build a professional network and increase the audience for your research.

Read the full list of summer to-dos here.


How to Navigate the Diversity Question in Job Interviews

"Describe your experiences with diversity in and/or outside of the classroom."

With the shifting demographics of college campuses, it is likely that most job candidates will be asked some form of this question while interviewing for jobs in academia. And, as Nicole Matos writes in an article on Vitae, it is important for applicants not to dodge this question or give an equivocating answer.

Matos gives several pieces of advice on how to face the diversity question head-on in an appropriate and proactive way.

  • Explicitly discuss race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality, and/or disability as aspects of diversity. Address culturally potent forms of difference (and do your research beforehand about appropriate terminology for each of these diversity categories).
  • Demonstrate an awareness of difference within commonly-accepted categories of diversity. Demonstrate that you know that cultural groups such as African Americans and persons with disabilities are not homogenous entities.
  • Go easy on the “stranger in a strange land” equivalencies. Be mindful of how your own experiences of being a minority do and do not compare to others'.
  • Never assume your expertise with diversity issues should go without saying. On the flip side, don't assume that a rich personal background equals adequate reflection about issues of diversity.
  • Discuss privilege. Acknowledge the ways in which privilege has allowed you to become the qualified candidate that you are while also discussing how you would seek to level the playing field for those less privileged.
  • Admit to uncertainty and ambiguity. It's okay to be honest about instances where you struggled to appropriately deal with diversity. Again, this admission demonstrates self-awareness and reflection.
  • Discuss the very real, positive side of classroom diversity—don’t only treat it as a “problem” to be “solved.” How have you helped students take pride in their backgrounds while also pushing them beyond their comfort zones?
  • Offer specifics and stakes. Offer up an example - whether real or hypothetical - of how you would handle a difficult diversity situation in the classroom.

For more in-depth advice, access the full article here.

For more GradPost articles on diversity, click here.

“Describe your experiences with diversity in and/or outside the classroom.” - See more at:

Vitae Hosts Scholarly Writing Discussion Group


Have you heard of Vitae? It is The Chronicle's online career hub for those in academia. The website has great resources for job searches and professional development, as well as academic news and advice. Vitae is currently hosting a discussion forum about scholarly writing tools and strategies in order for scholars to talk about productivity, craft, and anything else that pertains to the writing life.

Some of the recent posts include:

Check out the forum here and then sign up for Vitae to participate!


What You Need to Know about Predoctoral Fellowships

Many graduate students dream of getting a prestigious postdoc position where they have the time to write, research, and network. But a similar opportunity is available even before finally receiving that hard-earned hooding. A predoctoral fellowship – sometimes also called a dissertation writing fellowship or dissertation completion grant – is a great way for graduate students within two years of completing their Ph.D. to gain invaluable time to write their dissertation.

Some predoctoral fellowships require that you complete your dissertation by a certain date, while others are more open-ended. A great way to stay accountable with the vast amounts of unstructured time that a predoctoral fellowship affords you is to join a writing group. These can be found within your discipline, online, or even in the Graduate Division's Writing Room!

While you will likely spend much of your time writing while on a predoctoral fellowship, it is also a good idea to use some of your time to get a head start on your job search. It's also important to stay connected to your department and your discipline by continuing to network, which will help you once you enter the job market as well.

Check out these links to find out more about predoctoral funding at UCSB:

For more tips on how to make the most of a predoctoral fellowship, read this article.

“dissertation writing fellowship,” “predoctoral fellowship,” “dissertation completion grant.” - See more at:

Getting the Most out of Your Summer

It's summertime! That means vacations, barbecuing, and pleasure reading. For those in academia, summer is also the time to catch up on work put on the backburner during the school year, including writing, fieldwork, and – if you are a newly minted or soon-to-be-minted Ph.D. – preparing to enter the fall job market. Dan Royles, a recent graduate himself, gives some great advice on how to get a running start into the fall academic job search in this article on Vitae, The Chronicle's online career hub.

Royles' top tips include:

  1. Update your CV. This might also include creating a resume version of your CV if you are interested in alt-ac jobs.
  2. Get organized by creating a spreadsheet to track all of the job opportunities you are pursuing.
  3. Pull together your teaching portfolio. If you are pursuing a Certificate in College and University Teaching at UCSB, you should be ahead of the game!
  4. Come up with a second project, complete with a plan for funding and sources, so that interviewers will view you as a potential colleague with an active research agenda.
  5. Build your interview wardrobe. Check out this thread on The Professor Is In to learn "how not to f**k up your conference interview."

Read the full article here.


Building Your Nonacademic Profile: Strengths and Weaknesses You May Not Know You Already Have

John W. Tomac for The ChronicleMany graduate students know which types of academic skills they excel at and which are more challenging for them. But how does an academically cultivated skill set translate to the world outside of academia? With recent trends in alt-ac and post-ac careers, it is important for graduate students to learn how to make themselves marketable to broad audiences. In their article "Using Your Last Two (or More) Years Wisely" for The Chronicle, professional development experts Julie Miller Vick and Jennifer Furlong discuss how to build your nonacademic profile while finishing up grad school.

In particular, the authors point out that doctoral students already have many skills that readily translate to the outside world, such as:

  1. Applying for external grants.
  2. Learning to teach and present information clearly.
  3. Being able to synthesize complex information quickly.
  4. Developing a high level of comfort with (big) data.
  5. Building strong writing and/or technical skills.

However, they also note that there are some things that many grad students don't do well or don't do a very good job of communicating that they do well, such as:

  1. Working as part of a team (particularly one made up of people with different training and perspectives).
  2. Supervising people.
  3. Overseeing complex projects.
  4. Managing a budget.

For tips on how to play up strengths and shore up weaknesses in preparing for a wide range of career opportunities, read the full article here.


Ph.D. Hacks Every Graduate Student Should Know

When time is of the essence, it's good to know that there are lifehacks for everything - even for completing your Ph.D. ScholarShape Blog recently published a list of 101 Tips for Finishing Your Ph.D. Quickly. Some favorites include:

  1. Find an efficient note-taking system, like Evernote.
  2. Choose an advisor who has a reputation for being helpful.
  3. Try a standing desk.
  4. Don't reinvent the wheel. Borrow, swap, and search online for already-created materials (like lesson plans).
  5. If you have a child, get help. (Not that kind of help. The childcare kind of help.) Check out these GradPost articles about student parent resources and funding for childcare.
  6. During work time, block distracting websites using apps such as FocalFilter.
  7. Integrate your social media use into your work. Use these platforms to publicize your work as well as get feedback about your research.
  8. If you’re attending grad school in an exciting city, pretend you’re instead living in Waco, Texas. (This one hits a little too close to home, as I also attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas. However, it is true that I finished a masters degree in two years while working nearly full-time when I lived in Waco.)
  9. Honor the connection between writing and thinking.
  10. Look forward to, and plan for, the job you’ll have after grad school.

For the complete list, click here.


Santa Barbara City College Seeks Writing Tutors


The Writing Center at Santa Barbara City College is looking to hire a writing tutor to start in Fall 2014. Tutors assist students with pre-writing, writing, editing, MLA and other citation guidelines, grammar, essay structure, and thesis and content development for academic writing. The hiring committee is looking for experience in writing, counseling, tutoring or teaching that has familiarized applicants with student-centered learning and empowerment or the stages of the writing process. However, training in these areas is also provided. Hourly wage is $14.50/hr.

For more information, click here or contact Michelle Detorie or Beth Taylor-Schott.


To begin the application process, visit the SBCC Employment Search Website.


Gain Experience and Make a Difference as a Virtual Student Foreign Service Intern

Looking for an internship with flexible hours and no relocation? The Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) offers U.S. students an opportunity to work as a government intern any time, anywhere, on projects such as using new media to promote civic engagement and developing materials to facilitate international diplomacy.

Interested students can choose from over 300 projects housed in a variety of government agencies such as the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Education. eInterns work an average of 10 hours per week during the academic year (fall through spring semesters). While the positions are unpaid, eInterns gain valuable experience in working with diplomatic posts and domestic offices and may even be able to apply for course credit through their university.

The application period for the 2014-2015 VSFS eInternship program is July 2-22, 2014. Click here for more information on how to apply.

To learn more, watch this introductory video:

Still have questions? Check out the FAQ page on the VSFS website.

You can also connect with the VSFS through Facebook and Twitter.


Career Path to Teach at a Community College

(From left to right) Dr. Carrie Hutchinson, Dr. Matthew Kay, Dr. Danielle Swiontek, and Dr. Jens-Uwe Kuhn. Credit: Hala Sun.

If you enjoy teaching, but you're not sure if you want to teach at a four-year college or research-university, then you might want to consider employment at a community college. On June 4, 2014, four professors from Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) came to UCSB for a panel discussion to share their experiences working at a community college setting and to offer some tips to secure a teaching job after graduating from UCSB. Here is the recap of the key points they shared:

Is Community College Right For You?

  • You LOVE to teach: All four panelists emphasized this aspect multiple times. The advantage of teaching at a community college is that you really get to focus on teaching. There is no mandate or pressure to conduct research or to publish. If you do want to conduct research, you can, but you probably won’t have much time to do so because you will be quite occupied with your teaching. Plus, there will be no teaching assistants to help you grade students’ papers. Teaching is such a crucial aspect at a community college, and thus, the main evaluation criterion for promotion and tenure.
  • You want to work with a DIVERSE student population: The panelists mentioned that teaching at a community college may be different than teaching at a four-year university, mainly due to the diversity of the students' backgrounds, motivations, and interests. Because of this wide range of diversity, it is crucial for instructors to have the capacity AND the flexibility to tailor the curriculum and lessons according to students’ different learning needs and interests.
  • You want to be TENURED, perhaps in four years: Becoming a tenured professor may be one of your goals in the near future. Typically, if you’re working at a research university, you are expected to conduct research, publish, and secure grants and funding. But, at a community college, the path to tenure is based primarily on your teaching ability. So, if you’re already an awesome teacher, and your students and colleagues have commended your teaching style and curriculum and assessment design skills, then you should seriously consider working at a community college. And remember, some community colleges, such as SBCC, pay you well.

How to Get a Job at a Community College, specifically at SBCC?

  • Be proactive! Don’t rely on the adjunct pool online: All four panelists had a very different route to their jobs at SBCC. However, they were all proactive in reaching out to various departments at SBCC. They did not wait until someone called them from the adjunct pool list. Although you should regularly update your online application materials, an effective way to find a teaching slot is to actually speak with someone who may know more about upcoming openings within a department.
  • Gain experience teaching, especially at a community college level: To be a competitive job candidate for a full-time teaching position at SBCC, the panelists highly recommended gaining teaching experience either by volunteering, shadowing, or co-teaching in a community college setting. Although you may have some teaching experience as a teaching assistant, they prefer candidates who have taught community college students.
  • Network, network, network: All the panelists emphasized the importance of networking as a key to success in securing a job after graduating UCSB. Nowadays, having a Ph.D. degree will not guarantee a job. The panelists suggest using your professors, colleagues, and your advisor as resources to reach out to a broader network.

If you see yourself in future doing more teaching than research, and if you are capable or have the passion to work with diverse student populations, a community college might be a good career option for you. According to the four UCSB alumni panelists, when people get hired at the community college, they tend to stay until they retire—it is that good. The pay is competitive, and the support system within the department and the college is great. So plan ahead! Be proactive and network with these amazing panelists. Below are the panelists’ bios:

  • Dr. Carrie Hutchinson:  Dr. Hutchinson obtained her Ph.D. degree in Interpersonal and Intergroup Communication at UCSB. She is currently a tenured Assistant Professor at SBCC, where she teaches Interpersonal Communication, Intercultural Communication, and Communication in Organizations. She also directs the annual study abroad programs taking students to various international destinations, such as Rwanda, India, and South Africa. She has authored two textbooks and several peer-reviewed research articles.
  • Dr. Matthew Kay:  Dr. Kay was born and raised in Santa Barbara where he developed a love of the natural world. His passion translated into a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from University of Oregon (emphasis in forest biology and mycology). Later, he earned his Master’s degree in Marine Ecology from University of Oregon. For his Ph.D. degree at the UCSB Bren School, he focused on Biology and Fishery Management, specifically the California spiny lobster. After completing his work, he taught as an adjunct instructor at SBCC, started his own consulting business, and worked as a researcher at UCSB. In Fall 2013, Dr. Kay was hired full time at SBCC.
  • Dr. Danielle Swiontek:  Dr. Swiontek obtained her Ph.D. degree in History at UCSB with an emphasis in U.S. Women’s History. Prior to attending graduate school at UCSB, she worked in marketing, advertising, and public relations for high tech firms in the Bay Area. At SBCC, she currently teaches History and serves as a faculty advisor to the SBCC Feminist Student Club.
  • Dr. Jens-Uwe Kuhn:  Dr. Kuhn obtained his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from University of Constance in Germany. For his Master’s degree, he studied Chemistry at Northern Arizona University, focusing on Atmospheric Environmental Chemistry. At UCSB, he obtained his Ph.D. in Marine BioInorganic Chemistry. While pursuing his doctoral degree at UCSB, he worked at Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships (CSEP); he continues to work with CSEP. Prior to teaching at SBCC, Dr. Kuhn taught at several different schools (four-year, two-year, public, and private) in Arizona and California. At SBCC, he teaches mostly introductory, general and Organic Chemistry courses. He also serves as the Department Chair in the Chemistry Department at SBCC and the Faculty Lead for the STEM Transfer Program.

As you consider employment at a community college, you might also find a recent series of articles by Rob Jenkins of use. An associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College, Jenkins writes a regular column for The Chronicle of Higher Education on issues related to two-year colleges. Please see these recent articles:

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