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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Fall 2014
Peer Advisor Availability

Professional Development Peer:
Shawn Warner-Garcia
Tue, Thu: 10 a.m.-noon, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

Diversity & Outreach Peer:

Funding Peer:
Kyle Crocco
Wed, Thu: 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Writing Peer:
Ryan Dippre
Mon, Wed: 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Tue: 9 a.m.-noon, 3:30-4:30 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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Public Policy Research Fellowship

IRLE LogoThe UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) is offering a one-year Public Policy Fellowship to recent graduates of a graduate degree program in one of the following areas: law, public policy, economics, political science, sociology, or a related field. The purpose of the fellowship is to support the public policy research of the IRLE on labor and employment issues.

IRLE Public Policy Research Fellowship

Deadline: Friday, October 31

Eligibility: A recent graduate with a graduate degree in one of the following areas: law, public policy, economics, political science, sociology, or a related field.

Support: Offers a salary based on experience and full benefits for a 12-month appointment. No classes can be taken and no degree will be offered as part of the Fellowship program.

Questions: Email Pamela Izvanariu at:

More info: Read the call for applications.


The Inside Scoop on Prepaid Debit Cards

The first things you probably want to know are: What are these prepaid debit cards and why should I care about them? Most likely, if you currently have a prepaid debit card in your hands, you received it either as a gift from some relative, or received it from some federal agency for government or health benefits.

What are prepaid debit cards?

Prepaid debit card from VisaThis looks like a regular debit card, but it is actually a prepaid debit card from Visa.Prepaid debit cards look just like your regular bank debit (ATM) card or credit card, but are different in that the card does not draw money from your bank account (like a debit card), nor does it take on debt like a credit card. The real difference is that prepaid debit cards have no cash value at all until money is added to them.

What kinds of prepaid debit cards are there?

There are two kinds of prepaid debit cards: closed loop cards, which are merchant gift cards (such as from Red Lobster), and open loop cards, which are cards that you can add funds to (such as from Amex or Visa).

Why should you care?

You should care because you can also do many of the same things you do with regular debit cards or credit cards, such as:

  • purchase items online
  • withdraw cash from an ATM or bank
  • pay bills

You can also do some things you wouldn't do with a debit card or credit card, such as:

  • give it as a gift to family
  • receive wages or direct deposit 
  • get federal assistance money or child support

Is there anything else you should look out for?

Yes, there are three things you should look into if you get a prepaid debit card:

  1. Is there liability protection for purchases? You want a Zero Liability card so if the card is lost or stolen, you get the money back.
  2. Is there an expiration date? Most prepaid cards do not expire, but some have monthly maintenance fees, which can reduce your balance.
  3. What are the other fees? Some cards have activation fees and charge for withdrawing from ATMs, so be aware of that.

For more information, see:

Prepaid Debit Cards: Are They Right for You?

Prepaid Card Basics

Compare Prepaid Debit Cards


Gift Card Exchanges for Those Dreaded Gift Cards

According to CNN Money in 2011, almost 60 percent of people prefer a gift card for a holiday present over that stuff you intend to buy them and about 80 percent will purchase one for another person.

EricMy cousin Eric. Credit: Kyle CroccoIf you’re like my cousin Eric (and if you are, you’re really awesome and we should hang out), that’s about all you get for gifts for holidays, birthdays, Presidents Day, etc. So every time I visit him, he’s always pulling out a new gift card from a wallet packed full of them to pay for lunch or dinner.

Though, if you’re also like my cousin Eric (once again, very cool), you might wish you could use that money at some place other than Red Lobster (no offense).

If that’s the case, then look no further than Gift Card Exchanges. On these exchanges you can sell a gift card for cash, exchange it for a gift card from some place you like, or even purchase a gift card at a discount for someone else's birthday.

A typical gift card you may want to buy or sell.You can receive up to 90 percent of the value of a gift card or get about 10 to 15 percent off when purchasing another card, sometimes more if no one really wants that type of gift card (Sorry, Red Lobster).

There are many Gift Card Exchanges to choose from, Card Pool, Raise, Card Hub, and a gift exchange review site that rates them all to help you pick the right one to use.

So next time you get that dreaded gift card, don’t grimace and fall into despair, sell it to someone who cares.


Information Session for the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program: October 20

A panel of faculty and students will provide insight on the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program application process on Monday, October 20.

Panelists for the session include Victor Rios (Sociology), Denise Segura (Sociology/Chicana/o Studies), Rosie Bermudez (Chicana/o Studies), and Ester Trujillo (Chicana/o Studies), who will discuss the “nuts and bolts” of applying as well as discipline specific information. Miroslava Chavez-Garcia will also participate and moderate the session.

Ford Foundation Information Session

When: Monday, October 20, 2 – 4 p.m.

Where: Dolores Huerta Conference Room, 1623 South Hall

Through its Fellowship Programs, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

Ford Foundation Fellowship Program: Achieving Excellence in College and University Teaching

  • Eligibility: U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Membership of underrepresented group. Committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level.
  • Fields: Almost all fields. See list.
  • Support: Three years of a $24,000 stipend, which must be used within five years.
  • Deadlines: November 19 pre-doctoral; November 14 dissertation; November 14 postdoctoral

Information Session on UC MEXUS Funding Opportunities: October 21

Representatives from the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS) will be on campus on Tuesday, October 21, to discuss their fellowship and grants opportunities for graduate students, faculty, and postdoctoral researchers.

Dr. Andrea Kaus, Director of Research Programs, and Dr. Wendy DeBoer, Director of Academic Programs, will provide insight on how to prepare and submit a strong application.

Sponsored by the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies and UC MEXUS.

UC MEXUS Information Session

When: Tuesday, October 21, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Where:  Social Sciences & Media Studies (SSMS), 3rd Floor Conference Room, 3145

Established in 1980, UC MEXUS is an academic research institute dedicated to encouraging, securing, and contributing to binational and Latino research and collaborative academic programs and exchanges. Their main focus is to contribute substantially to improving binational scholarly understanding and providing positive contributions to society in both Mexico and the United States, particularly in the graduate and professional areas.


Big Ideas at Berkeley Contest: Open to All UC Students

Big IdeasDo you have a big idea? Then the Big Ideas@Berkeley Contest might be for you. The Big Ideas@Berkeley Contest provides funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students who have "Big Ideas."

There are multiple categories for the 2014-2015 Big Idea Contest that are open to students on all UC campuses: food system innovations, global health, IT for society, and mobiles for reading.

Since its founding in 2006, Big Ideas has inspired high-impact student projects aimed at solving the world's most pressing problems.

2014-15 Big Ideas Contest

Deadline: November 13

Elgibility: All UC students

Support: Up to $15,000 in funding.

To Apply: A five-page proposal. See individual category link above for more details.

For more information: See Big Ideas Challenge website.


Coastal Fund: Major Grant Funding Deadline, October 17

If you are looking for funding for your environmental project or campaign for the UCSB campus, then you're in luck. The major grant funding cycle deadline is almost here.

The Coastal Fund (CF) was created by UCSB students to preserve and enhance the ecological integrity of the coastal habitats at the University. Therefore, funded projects should either seek to preserve, restore, or research the environment.

Coastal Fund: Major Grant

Deadline: October 17

Eligibility: Applications are welcomed from public and private entities seeking to carry out the proposed project within the shoreline of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Support: $1,000 or more for a major grant, based on the budget.

To Apply: You will need a budget, timeline, project proposal, and a support letter if you are a graduate student. See their application page for more information.


2015 Building Future Faculty (BFF) Workshop, All Expenses Paid 

BFF workshop photoFuture Faculty become BFFs at the BFF workshop. Credit: North Carolina State UniversityBuilding Better Future Faculty (BFF) 2015: This all-expenses paid workshop offered by North Carolina State University, from Wednesday, March 18 to Saturday, March 21, is designed for diverse graduate students and post-doctoral students who are seeking careers as faculty members.

The BFF workshop topics include information regarding what to expect as a faculty member, a discussion of the wealth of resources available to faculty for teaching, and expectations of productivity for faculty engaged in research. During the workshop, participants will spend time with current faculty and department chairs in their discipline discussing effective strategies to prepare for an academic career, and the realities of life as a faculty member, as well as receiving personal tips and feedback.

This program aims to increase faculty diversity and inclusion, to create faculty that mirrors the increasingly diversified student populations.

2015 Building Future Faculty (BFF) Workshop

Deadline: Sunday, Nov. 9

Eligibility: Graduate students in a doctoral or post-doctoral program corresponding to a discipline at NC State and one to two years away from beginning to search for an academic position.

Support: All expenses paid for the two-day workshop

To Apply: Online application, cover letter, CV, and list of 3 references

More information: Read the call for applications or contact Dr. Marcia Gumpertz


Five Credit Myths You Should Know About

Building up good credit is often a mysterious process, not made any easier or clearer by lenders, so it’s no surprise that what you know about is as mythical as this unicorn featured below. (No, unicorns do do not exist.)

UnicornSome credit myths are as real as this unicorn. Credit:

Here are five common myths you should know:

Myth 1: Merchants are allowed to ask for your ID when using a credit card.
Fact: Most merchants are not allowed to ask for ID; most are only allowed to ask to see your signature. Merchants ask for ID to protect themselves from fraud. However, showing your ID also puts you at risk for identity theft.

Myth 2: Employers aren’t allowed to do credit checks on job applicants.
Fact: Employers can check your credit history, but must get written permission from you first. Employers believe there is a connection between trustworthiness and credit history, but this is not true. People get in debt for a variety of reasons (most often for medical or other emergencies) and not always because they are financially irresponsible.

Myth 3: You need to carry a credit card balance to have a good credit score.
Fact: Your credit reports do not show if you carry a balance each month. The reports only show what your balance was last month. You can pay off your balance in full each month without any repercussions to your good credit. This myth only encourages people to pay interest on debt when they do not have to.

Myth 4: Closing credit accounts and lowering your limits will improve your credit score.

Fact: Having multiple accounts can actually help your credit score if you manage your accounts properly. What matters is not the number of your cards or the size of your credit limit, but really how much credit you have available on each card. Lenders like to see a large gap between the credit you have and the amount you use. Closing credit accounts might actually lower your credit score, but if you are paying high fees on cards, closing some of them probably will not be a problem. On the other hand, if you have a problem handling money, lowering your credit limit will help you from causing more damage to your credit score.

Myth 5: Requesting your own credit report can harm your score.
Fact: It depends. There are two types of inquiries: soft and hard. Soft is when you get your free annual credit report from, which you should do every year to check for errors. Hard is when a bank or car dealership asks to see your credit and too many of these enquiries could impact your score. You can read more about credit reports in the Grad Post article "Credit Reports and Credit Scores: What You Need to Know"

For more exciting credit myths see


Seven Nasty Credit Myths

Nine Common Credit Myths


Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship Program for Humanities and Social Sciences

DPDF LogoThe Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship Program is an interdisciplinary training program that helps early-stage doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences formulate doctoral dissertation research proposals.

The program seeks students with an interest in learning how their proposals can be strengthened through exposure to the theories, literatures, methods, and intellectual traditions of disciplines outside their own.

Fellows must attend spring and fall workshops led by experienced faculty and conduct at least 6 weeks of summer research and refine drafts of their proposals through an online and interactive writing platform in preparation for the fall workshop.

Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship Program

Deadline: Oct. 15

Eligibility: Graduate students in the humanities, social sciences, and related disciplines who are not yet ABD

Support: Applicants may request up to $5,000 to support summer research expenses, including travel, lodging, meals, and some necessary equipment and supplies.

To Apply:

  • DPDF online application form
  • unofficial transcripts from all graduate schools the applicant has attended or currently attends
  • a reference form, which must be completed and submitted through the application portal

For More Information: Read call for proposals or contact DPDF staff at