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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Summer 2015
Peer Advisor Availability

Professional Development Peer
Shawn Warner-Garcia

Mon-Thu: 10 a.m.-noon

Writing Peer & Funding Peer
Kyle Crocco

Mon, Wed: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Communications Peer
Melissa Rapp

Mon: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Diversity Peer
Charles Williams

By appointment

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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Finding Funding Workshop on July 29

Finding Funding cartoonCredit: Funding PeerDo you have enough money to complete your grad school goals? If not, then make some time to find more. Set a date for the Finding Funding workshop on Wednesday, July 29.

The Finding Funding workshop covers all the graduate funding basics:

  • UCSB resources (fellowships, TAships, and more)
  • External resources (government, foundations, and more)
  • Funding databases (Pivot, Grapes, and more)

Attendees should bring their laptop computers to practice navigating funding databases.

Time: 1-2 p.m.

Where: Student Resource Building, Room 2154

Food: Light refreshments will be provided.

RSVP: Kyle Crocco at


How to Save on Groceries

food basket

Food is expensive in Santa Barbara. Below are a few ways to save on groceries, to get assistance, and to learn what's good to buy at Trader Joe's.

5 Ways to Save on Groceries: Learn how to shop, when to buy, and more.

Associated Students Food Bank: If you need assistance with food or non-perishables, check out the food bank.

Trader Joe's Deals: Save on the best deals, avoid the worst, and find out the most popular items to buy (read: cookie butter).



Save on Buying and Insuring a Vehicle

Car cartoonCredit:

Buying and insuring a vehicle are major life decisions. Avoid overpaying and reduce your buyer's remorse with a few of the tips below.

Car Purchase Lingo: Do you speak dealer? Here's the vocab you should know when negotiating.

Used Car Tips: Do you know how to evaluate a used car? Get informed and save yourself money and heartache.

Car Insurance: How much coverage should you have for a used or a new car? Is there a difference? Save money by purchasing the right amount.


11 Ways to Save Money in Graduate School

When you are surviving on a Teaching Assistant's salary in Santa Barbara, you have to be smart with your money. According to Eva Lantsoght's PhD Talk blog, careful spending can help. Here are 11 quick habits that will save you thousands a year.

Credit: PhD Talk blogSave on food:

1. Bring your own meals. Buying from campus establishments can cost more than $10 extra per day ($2,400 and up a year). Although you lose some of the convenience of buying lunch on campus, you will be living large with the extra savings.

2. BYO Tea. If you are a regular tea drinker, tuck a couple of tea packets in your bag daily. At the campus coffee stands, you can get hot water for free with your reusable mug (or pay 10 cents to use their cups). If you usually buy one cup of tea a day, this painless technique will save $2 a day – at least $720 a year a year! Like alcohol, tea is one of the most marked up products.

3. Cut down on meat. You don’t need a large piece of meat every day to meet your protein needs. You can make delicious soups, pasta, or rice dishes without needing to spend on meat.

4. Get a water filter. Stop buying bottled water – it's expensive and not eco-friendly. Many buildlings on campus have hydration stations with filtered water, too, so bring a reusuable container to campus.

Credit: openclipart.comSave on shopping:

5. Take advantage of thrift stores. Santa Barbara thrift stores can have great finds – helping you save on clothes, furniture, and decorations. There are 11 unique thrift stores in the Santa Barbara area rated here on Yelp.

6. Ask yourself: "Do I really need this?" Before you buy, stop and consider whether it’s really a need. Don’t succumb to retail therapy! Try getting outdoors or calling a friend if you need a pick-me-up from grad school life.

7. Only spend on given days. Set one or two days a week for groceries and other needs, and hold spending the rest of the week.

8. Invest in quality. Buy clothes, shoes, and household goods that last many seasons. You will save money in the long run. A well made shirt can hold up for more than three years, while a cheaply made product might not even last three washes.

9. Protect your goods. If you have something valuable, protect it. Use a surge protector for your electronics and a solid lock on your bike. Renters insurance is a smart option as well.

10. Wear hand-me-downs. You can trade clothes that you are tired of with friends and family, and get something new for free. Organize a clothing trade party with grad school friends.

11. Read GradPost financial literacy articles. They contain key information on how to navigate the financial challenges of grad school. Other online financial blogs can also be helpful.

For more tips, see 25 Quick and Easy Ways to Save Money in Graduate School.


Set a Date with Summer Funding Workshops

Finding Funding cartoonCredit: Funding PeerDo you have enough money for grad school? If not, then take some time to find more. Set a date for one of two Finding Funding workshops this summer: Wednesday, July 29 and Monday, Aug. 17.

The Finding Funding workshop covers all the graduate funding basics:

  • UCSB resources (fellowships, TAships, and more)
  • External resources (government, foundations, and more)
  • Funding databases (Pivot, Grapes, and more)

Attendees should bring their laptop computers to practice navigating funding databases.

Time: 1-2 p.m.

Where: Student Resource Building, Room 2154

Food: Light refreshments will be provided.

RSVP: Kyle Crocco at


How to Pay Less for Insurance

Insurance umbrellaCredit: openclipart.comAre you insured? Do you want to be, but need to know more before making a decision? Here are four GradPost articles to help you learn more before you buy.

Car Insurance: Do you know the car insurance requirements for California? Learn about basic coverage and avoid expensive plans.

Insurance Credit Score: Did you know your insurance cost is partly determined by your credit score? Learn how to improve your credit score and save more.

Renter’s Insurance: Protect your belongings from theft and damage. It's cheap, it's smart, and it's dead sexy.

The 5 Types of Insurance You Don’t Need: Not all insurance is necessary. Find out what types of insurance you shouldn't be paying for as a graduate student.


Understanding Loans, Repayment Plans, and More

Worried GuyCredit: Funding PeerHave loans? Want to pay them off? Then check out these GradPost articles to increase your loan savvy.

Consolidating and Refinancing: Learn more about consolidating your loans to make one payment or refinancing them to lower your interest rates.

Deferment: Learn when you can defer payments, other than being in school.

Estimate Payments: Use the repayment calculator to estimate your monthly payment once you graduate.

Forbearance: Want to stop or to reduce payments for up to 12 months? Learn how.

Overview: Get a general understanding of the loan process from start to finish.

Repayment Plans: Do you qualify for repayment plans with lower monthly payments? Find out now.

Retirement or Loan Payment: Should you save for retirement or pay off your loans first? 


Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship Program

Scoville LogoThe Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship Program is offering full-time, six-to-nine month fellowships in Washington, DC for outstanding individuals interested in working with nonprofit, public-interest organizations addressing peace and security issues. 

Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship Program

Deadline: Thursday, Oct. 1

Eligibility: Students interested in peace and security issues.

Benefits: $2,800 per month and health insurance, plus travel expenses to Washington, DC. The program also provides $1,000 for professional development to attend relevant conferences or meetings, which could cover travel, accommodations, and registration fees.


More info: See the application information and also check out these articles below.

14 Reasons to Get a Job in Peace and Security

Scoville Fellows: Where Are They Now?


Partial Teaching Fellowships from the School for Scientific Thought 

The School for Scientific Thought (SST) is offering partial fellowships of up to $2,000 for science and engineering graduate students to teach a course for an audience of local and regional high school students.

Doctoral students will gain teaching experience by creating a five-session course on a topic related to their research. The SST program is a unique professional development experience that builds communication, teaching and mentoring skills, while focusing on design goals, formative assessment, instructional techniques, and oral communication.  

The schedule for the SST course will be five consecutive Saturdays in Fall 2015: 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, and 10/24.

Course Dates: Fall and winter quarters, 2015-16

Eligibility: Science and engineering graduate students 

Deadline: Friday, Aug. 7 

Funds: $2,000 partial fellowships will be awarded.

Apply: Use the online application.

For more information: See the School for Scientific Thought page.

Questions? If you have questions or would like to talk about SST further, email


Apply Now for 2015-16 Doctoral Student Travel Grants

TravelThe Doctoral Student Travel Grant program supports graduate students who have been selected to present research or to exhibit at a major professional conference.

The Academic Senate awards travel grants to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be accepted until the funds are expended for your division or school.

2015-16 Doctoral Student Travel Grant

Deadline: At least 21 days in advance of travel

Eligibility: All applicants must be doctoral students and advanced to candidacy, or if master of fine arts (M.F.A.) students, must be in their second year and be in candidacy prior to travel.


  • $350.00 - California
  • $685.00 - All other U.S. locations, Mexico, Canada
  • $1,030.00 - Puerto Rico, Europe
  • $1,200.00 - Central or South America
  • $1,400.00 - Asia, Africa, Middle East, South Pacific

More Info: See the application page.