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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Summer 2014
(Email for availability)

Professional Development Peer:
Shawn Warner-Garcia

Diversity & Outreach Peer:
Hala Sun

Funding Peer:
Kyle Crocco

Writing Peer:
Ryan Dippre

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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National Nuclear Security Administration Seeks Applications for Fellowship Program

Program Information. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Graduate Fellowship Program provides unique hands-on experience to prepare exceptional graduate students to become next-generation leaders in global nuclear security. During the 12-month, full-time, salary-plus-benefits term, Fellows work in policy or technical areas alongside NNSA experts in Washington, D.C., or other NNSA site locations. Fellows receive specialized training and opportunities for career development and professional networking, while also directly supporting NNSA’s global nuclear security mission in placements that align with their backgrounds and interests. Fellows will interact with leading researchers in the field while helping to shape the vision for future technologies related to detection of nuclear materials and the security of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

Eligibility and Desired Qualifications. Applicants must be U.S. citizens eligible for a high-level security clearance, and are accepted to, enrolled in, or will be graduating from a master’s or Ph.D. program during the year of application. Desirable academic specializations for the policy track include international relations, security or nonproliferation studies, political science, public administration, economics, and related fields. For the technical track, desirable academic specializations include nuclear physics/engineering, chemical engineering, radiation health physics, radiochemistry, chemical sciences, applied physics, and related fields. Some positions may also benefit from backgrounds in safety and health, infrastructure and operations management, or finance/accounting. A combined policy and technical background is highly desirable, and a foreign language is a plus.

Application Information. Applications typically are accepted beginning in early August through October 21. Fellowship terms begin the following summer. Visit to learn more and apply.


Graduate Division Seeks Communications Peer for 2014-15 

The UCSB Graduate Division is currently accepting applications for a new position, the Communications Peer, to begin employment during summer 2014 and run through spring quarter 2015.

The Communications Peer will assist in writing and editing blog posts for the UCSB GradPost, and will act as the lead graduate student social media administrator for the GradPost and other social media channels. Over the next academic year, the Graduate Division will be embarking upon an exciting new project to redesign the GradPost and transition the website to a new platform. The Communications Peer will assume a key role in helping to make that transition to an improved GradPost blog serving our graduate student population. An important initial duty of the peer will be to examine content on the existing GradPost blog and decide which content should be migrated over to the new Web content management system. The peer position provides an excellent opportunity to get published; gain valuable journalism/communication skills; and play a key role in upgrading the GradPost website. The Communications Peer position may be extended beyond spring 2015. The position is based in the Graduate Student Resource Center in the Student Resource Building along with four other peer advisors, the Communications Director, and the Coordinator of Graduate Student Professional Development. The Communications Peer will report to the Communications Director.

PAYMENT: $16 per hour, plus fee payment equivalent to TA-ship for 25% time work

HOURS: 10-12 hours weekly, with the possibility of additional hours.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Priority consideration will be given to applications received by 5 p.m. Friday, September 19, 2014.

Primary responsibilities include:

  • Conduct interviews; write and edit news, features, student profiles, event items, and other articles for the UCSB GradPost. The Communications Peer will review, edit, and publish articles written by fellow peers, following Associated Press and GradPost style guidelines.
  • Work on project to migrate content on the current GradPost blog to a new platform.
  • Act as the lead graduate student social media administrator for GradPost social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
  • Attend academic and professional workshops and panel sessions and write articles about them for the GradPost.
  • Perform other communications duties (such as writing newsletters, sending articles to the local media, and compiling internal reports) as assigned by the Communications Director.

Minimum requirements:

  • Has completed one year of graduate study at UCSB, is in good academic standing, is within university time-to-degree standards, and meets all other standard student employment eligibility requirements.
  • Excellent writing, interviewing, reporting, editing, research, proofreading, and communication skills. Excellent command of spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Has knowledge of or willingness to learn and follow the Associated Press style guide.
  • Knowledgeable about the UCSB campus, and groups and activities on campus, especially those related to graduate education.
  • Strong organizational, project, and time management skills; detail-oriented; and able to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to generate story ideas; excellent news judgment.
  • Experience with or demonstrated ability to learn and use software and technology (e.g., Squarespace, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter, Sitefinity, Adobe Photoshop, etc.).
  • Knowledge of and interest in social media as a service to the graduate student population (e.g., blog posting, web content organization and promotion).
  • Self-motivated; positive attitude; ability to work well independently or collaboratively with peer advisors and other Graduate Division and Student Affairs staff.
  • Experience in Microsoft Word, e-mail, and blogging software.

Desirable requirements:

  • Previous writing and editing experience for a student newspaper, blog, or other journalism medium.
  • Photography and videography experience.
  • Experience using Photoshop and/or other photo editing software.
  • Experience creating fliers, banners, collages, newsletters, videos, news releases, and/or other media materials; experience in graphic design.
  • Knowledge of HTML and Web content management systems. Knowledge of website optimization, mobile apps, website structure.

Additional Benefits: With the appropriate eligibility and approval, the position may be combined with a GSR or TA, as long as the combined hours do not exceed 75% appointment. The Graduate Division will pay partial fees and graduate student health insurance (Gaucho Health Insurance) equivalent to those provided for TAs if other student academic appointments or awards do not provide these fees.

Application Process: Please submit a cover letter indicating your skills, your experience, why you are interested in the position, and why you are the best candidate for the position; in addition to a formal resume, to: Communications Director Patricia Marroquin, Graduate Division, 3117 Cheadle Hall, mail code 2070; or by email to Priority consideration deadline: 5 p.m. Friday, September 19, 2014.


Fulbright Webinar: Finalizing Your Application

If you are completing a 2014-15 Fulbright application, experts from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program will share tips and advice for polishing and finalizing your application in an upcoming webinar:


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

To register for the webinar, follow this link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar. For more information on this opportunity, see the Fulbright website.

Please note: The campus deadline for Fulbright applications is Friday, September 12, 2014. For tips on completing your applications, visit this section of the Fulbright website. 

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. The program currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study, and operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. If you have questions about a current or future application, contact Robert Hamm, UCSB's Fulbright Program Advisor.


Institute of International Education Seeks Applications for China Studies Fellowship

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is now accepting applications for the Confucius China Studies Joint Research Ph.D. Fellowship.

Program Information. The Confucius China Studies Program (CCSP) Fellowship offers generous funding to students in doctoral programs at U.S. institutions who are pursuing China-related research across a broad range of fields in the arts, education, humanities, and social sciences.

Award Details. Successful applicants will be supported for a period of at least six months to up to two years as they pursue research at one of 15 designated universities in China. 60 grants will be available in 2015. The fellowship includes:

  • An annual living stipend (80,000 RMB, approximately 12,900 USD);
  • An annual research stipend (20,000 RMB, approximately 3,200 USD);
  • Host university tuition;
  • Travel to and from China;
  • Insurance coverage;
  • Pre-departure orientation at IIE’s central office in New York;
  • Airfare coverage for a research visit to China by the recipient’s home university advisor.

Eligibility Criteria. To be eligible for this award, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled in a doctoral program at a U.S. institution (a terminal master’s program does not meet this requirement); 
  • Be pursuing China-related research in the arts, education, humanities, or social sciences;
  • Have an HSK score of at least level 3;
  • Not be a citizen of the People’s Republic of China (including Hong Kong and Macao), or Taiwan;
  • Will not have extensive experience in China prior to graduate school enrollment (i.e., will not have been enrolled as a degree-seeking high school or undergraduate student Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Macao).

Application Timeline. All materials must be submitted and received (not postmarked) by January 29, 2015. Candidates will be notified of the results of their application beginning in April 2015. Recipients of this award will begin their research in China in the fall semester of 2015.

For more information on the award package, eligibility, timeline, and the application itself, click here. You may also contact the Program Officer at IIE for the CCSP Fellowship, Steven Dale, by email or by calling 212-984-5346.


University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program Seeks Applications for 2015-2016


THE PROGRAM. The University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program was established in 1984 to encourage outstanding women and minority Ph.D. recipients to pursue academic careers at the University of California. The current program offers postdoctoral research fellowships and faculty mentoring to outstanding scholars in all fields whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to the diversity and equal opportunity at the University of California. The contributions to diversity may include public service towards increasing equitable access in fields where women and minorities are under-represented. In some fields, the contributions may include research focusing on underserved populations or understanding inequalities related to race, gender, disability or LGBT. The program is seeking applicants with the potential to bring to their academic and research careers the critical perspective that comes from their non-traditional educational background or understanding of the experiences of members of groups historically under-represented in higher education.

AWARDS AND APPOINTMENTS. Fellowships are awarded for research conducted at any one of the University of California’s ten campuses. The award includes a salary starting at $42,000 depending on field and experience, benefits including health insurance and paid vacation/sick leave, and up to $5,000 for research-related and program travel expenses. Each award is for a minimum of 12 months and may be renewable for an additional term upon demonstration of academic/research productivity.

ELIGIBILITY. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must hold or receive a Ph.D. from an accredited university before the start of their fellowship.

APPLICATION. Apply online at

DEADLINE. November 1, 2014


Avoiding the Pitfalls of Student-Loan Debt-Relief Companies

Credit: McCarthy LawPayday loans. Nigerian princes. Ponzi schemes.

Almost everyone knows about these common financial scams. Another potential fraud scheme to add to the list is student-loan debt-relief services. These companies claim to help individuals navigate the "complicated" process of consolidating their student debt, which may or may not be the best choice for every borrower but which is, in fact, a relatively easy and free thing to do on your own. Chronicle intern Dan Bauman called four of these student loan consolidation companies and wrote an article fact-checking the information in their sales pitch.

Here are some red flags that he reported:

  • The companies claim to work closely with or be tied to the Department of Education. In reality, the Department of Education does not officially sponsor or partner with any of these companies. In fact, they offer their own simple and free process through their website.
  • The representatives at these companies liken themselves to tax preparers, such as those at H&R Block, helping customers navigate through a complex process in order to avoid costly and time-consuming errors. In reality, those interested in consolidating their student loan debt can fill out a simple three-page application and send it in to a government servicer to see if they qualify. And if any errors are made, all you have to do is reapply the next day.
  • The companies use the prospect of loan forgiveness to entice customers. In reality, not many people qualify for public-service loan forgiveness, but if you do, you can fill out the two-page application for free.

It is important for borrowers to carefully consider the pros and cons of student loan debt consolidation. While consolidation can simplify and sometimes lower your monthly payments, it can result in the loss of some benefits or end up costing more over the long term.

The bottom line is that student-loan debt relief companies charge huge fees for a service that is free and easy through the government.

For more information:


Credit or Debit Card? 

Credit CardCredit: openclipart.comWhich is the best type of card for you, credit or debit? The answer depends a lot on how you handle money and what you need to purchase.

The following information comes from, a great financial literacy site you can register to use for free.

Credit Cards:


  • Personal liability limitation of $50 for identity theft.
  • Convenient purchase method.
  • Build up your credit history.
  • Source of money for emergencies.
  • Accepted by most stores.
  • Benefits such as frequent flier miles or rental car insurance.


  • Too convenient to use and easy to accumulate debt.
  • Fees:
    • Late payment fees (up to $30).
    • Annual use fees.
    • Cash advance fees.
  • Interest:
    • High interest rates.
    • Rate increases for late payments.
    • Floating interest rates that go up without notice.
    • Cash advance interest.
  • Buyer Beware:
    • A "free trip" can require you to spend $10,000 or $15,000 – often on a dollar-per-mile basis.
    • Low interest rate introductory offers and balance transfers that suck you in, leaving you with a high interest, high fee card months later.

Debit Cards:


  • Faster than writing a check, and your money is directly debited from cash or checking account.
  • Have access to cash from ATMs all over the world.
  • Provide a receipt to check your balance.
  • Can buy postage stamps at some ATMs. 
  • Can make deposits or transfer funds between accounts.


  • Personal liability of up to $500 for identity theft, and you may lose all the money in your account if you do not report the theft within sixty days.
  • Fees:
    • Quarterly or annual-use fee.
    • "Point-of-sale" fee when swiping the card through a reader and entering your personal identification number.
    • Fees for using card at an ATM not owned by your bank.

So, which should type of card should you use?

If you can handle paying off your credit card balance every month (i.e., treating your credit card like a debit card), I would suggest using a credit card for its convenience and benefits. However, if you need to control your spending more, I would advise using a debit card so that you only spend within your means. Remember, credit is not cash; credit is a loan you have to pay back, often at high interest.

What does the Funding Lord do? 

I have both type of cards, but I only use my debit card to withdraw money. For everything else, I use my credit card, since I pay off the balance in full every month. My credit card also has no annual fee and a low interest rate (it's from USAA). USAA also provides my debit card and reimburses me for fees for withdrawing from other banks. USAA is the best deal for me, but it may not be the best one for you.

Where can you find the best deals?

Shop around for the best credit card deals using Bankrate, CardRatings or NerdWallet, which all offer good information and advice. They even have information on prepaid debit cards and reward offers for credit cards.


What You Need to Know About Simple and Compound Interest

Grad Sense LogoDo you know the difference between simple and compound interest? Knowing the difference might just help you save money on paying loans or earn you more money through investing.

First of all, some basic terms.

  • Principal. Principal is the amount of money you originally deposited into a savings or checking account.
  • Interest. Interest is the money you are paid for lending (i.e., depositing) money to a bank. For most people, interest accumulates through a savings or checking account.

Now, let's look at the two types of interest: simple and compound.

  • Simple. Simple interest is the money paid to you on the principal alone of your deposited funds.
  • Compound. Compound interest is the money paid to you on the principal plus any interest you may have earned with your savings account over a designated period of time. Some interest is compounded monthly, some yearly, or with bookies, compounded weekly. Compounding is based on a "simple math formula" you can check out here. On the other hand, compound interest can be what you pay back to the government or a private lender on your original student loan amount, plus whatever interest that has compounded weekly, monthly, or yearly.

Finally, knowing the difference between these two types of interest can save you, or even earn you, money. Not knowing the difference can cost you a lot of money--especially with credit card debt.

  • Save money. When borrowing student loans, you accumulate compound interest. Lots of it, in fact, over the duration of the loan. Credit cards are even worse for compound interest since they charge higher interest rates and encourage small, minimum payments. This compound interest is added to your principal (or original borrowed amount), where it continues to compound and increase your existing debt and lasting anxiety.
    • Therefore, if you pay your interest on your student loan while a student, your will not suffer from compound interest, thereby saving you money.
    • When paying back the overall loan (or credit card bill), you should increase your payments above the minimum to decrease the total principal, so you will have less compound interest. You will also save money and decrease the amount of time to pay off the loan.
  • Earn money. You can also earn more money by taking advantage of compound interest.
    • Make regular deposits to your savings or investments. Use automatic banking features to have money deposited to an interest bearing or investment account.
    • You can also cut out unnecessary expenses, like eating out, and add those savings to an interest bearing account and watch it increase over the years.

For more information on simple and compound interest, see the GradSense articles on Loan Repayment and Add It Up.


25 Tips to Stretch Your Dollars

Credit: CashCourse.orgWant to find more ways to make your grad funding go further? Then browse the list below for 25 ways you can stretch your dollar for food, rent, transportation, communication, entertainment, and shopping.


  1. Learn to cook.
  2. Buy food and supplies in bulk.
  3. Use your freezer to store bulk and leftovers.
  4. Avoid buying sodas and snacks out of vending machines.
  5. Buy generic.
  6. Order vegetarian.
  7. Kick the habit: stop smoking.
  8. Limit your coffee runs.
  9. Drink less alcohol. 


  1. Add another roommate. 
  2. Negotiate rent increases. 
  3. Turn down the heat.


  1. Walk or bike when you can.
  2. Use public transportation. 


  1. Pick a cellphone or landline, not both.


  1. Consider cheaper entertainment, like Redbox, Netflix, or Amazon Prime.
  2. Sponsor a game night. 
  3. Use the library.


  1. Use the Web for comparison shopping, such as Google Product Search or
  2. Shop around for clothes.
  3. Avoid clothes that require dry cleaning.
  4. Use your student discount.
  5. Buy less-expensive gifts.
  6. Avoid credit card pushers.
  7. Use online discounters, such as and Living Social

For more details on each item, check out the CashCourse article "25 ways to stretch your dollar" (requires free registration. Click here to learn more).


Loan Sources for Students Struggling Financially

MoneyAre you struggling financially? Have you run into financial problems due to an emergency, family crisis, or changing financial circumstance? Then there is help for you in the form of emergency short-term loans or a Request for Review (RFR) from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Emergency Short-Term Loans

If you have experienced a health or family crisis or some other emergency, there are several places where you can apply for short-term loans.

Amount: Varies from $100-$3,500 depending on the situation and lender (see below).

Repayment: Anywhere between 30 days and before graduation.


Changing Financial Circumstances

If you have been adversely affected by extraordinary circumstances that reduce your ability to pay for college expenses, you can ask the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for a Request for Review. Circumstances might include expensive medical procedures, employment layoffs, divorce, or the death of a parent or spouse.

You will need to provide documentation to verify your changed circumstances, such as employment termination letters, paycheck stubs, or medical billing statements.

Information in this article was adapted from the web page If You're Struggling Financially.