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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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UC System Ranked No. 13 on Reuters’ Top 100 World’s Most Innovative Universities

At UC Santa Barbara, we pride ourselves on our innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and practices. That innovation was recognized this week, when the global media firm Reuters named the University of California system No. 13 on its inaugural list of the Top 100 World’s Most Innovative Universities.

“The Reuters Top 100 World's Most Innovative Universities gets to the essence of what it means to be truly innovative,” Reuters said in its announcement. “The institutions recognized here most reliably produce original research, create useful technology, and have the greatest economic impact. They are the surest bets for anyone seeking to invest in and create real innovation.”

Reuters noted that the UC system is one of the leaders in direct investment in startups. "It has various incubators and accelerators on its campuses, and has established a $250 million venture capital fund, as well as campus-based seed funds for prototypes,” Reuters said.

Innovation has a special meaning for UCSB Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti. “When I think of the word ‘innovation,’ I think of graduate students,” she said. “Their fresh perspectives, boundless creativity, and ardent conversations with faculty are the very roots of this award. It’s exciting to be at the start of the academic year and think that we are on the verge of so many new discoveries. I can’t wait to hear about them, in this year’s Graduate Student Showcase!”

Stanford University was ranked No. 1 on Reuters’ list, followed by MIT (No. 2) and Harvard University (No. 3).

Reuters’ methodology employed 10 metrics. Among factors considered were academic papers, which point to the volume and impact of research being conducted at a university; and the volume and success of patent filings, which indicates the importance an institution places on protecting and commercializing its discoveries. Also taken into account was the use of cited discoveries in the corporate and academic worlds.

At the Graduate Division’s 2015 Commencement ceremony, keynote speaker David Marshall, UC Santa Barbara’s Executive Vice Chancellor, spoke of the value of research done at UCSB.

“Whatever our disciplines or career paths, we must argue for the value of voyages of discovery, voyages that take us through history to the origins of the universe, voyages that take us to the future,” he said. “We must demonstrate the value of what we do. But we must not lose sight of the value that may not be visible. Unsuspected Nobel Prizes, untold strokes of genius. … This is the work that makes our university worth defending.”

Said Reuters in its article: “Whether they're in the top five or near the end of the list, all 100 universities in this ranking are among the best in the world. Thomson Reuters reviewed hundreds of universities to produce this ranking, and the ones that appear here are the most elite.”

For more information about UC’s innovation honor, read University of California’s “UC ranked among top innovative universities”;  Reuters’ “The World’s Most Innovative Universities” and its article, “Universities lead in innovation, Asia a rising power.”


OISS Workshop Focuses on the International Student Experience

Simran Singh, OISS Director, presenting statistics on international students. Credit: Charles WilliamsThe Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) hosted its annual staff workshop, “Supporting International Students,” on September 9.

The workshop provided information on immigration law, campus policy concerning international students, and social issues surrounding the international student experience. The event targeted UC Santa Barbara faculty, administrators, and staff. It is typically held a week before the International Graduate Student Orientation, also known as Graduate Cultural Awareness, Laws, and Immigration, or CALI, Training).  

After the welcome address by OISS Director Simran Singh, UCSB Global Studies undergraduate student Alagie Jammeh shared his experience as an international scholar from the Gambia. The segment provided an opportunity for the audience to understand the social and cultural challenges that many international students encounter.

Alagie illustrated how OISS has been instrumental in alleviating difficult legal and social issues. "When I had a problem with my scholarship from the Gambian government," he said, "OISS staff were able to tell me what I needed to do and how to make this thing work." He continued, "International students can just come in to OISS, tell them what is needed, and they will be able to help with almost anything."   

Alagie's experience aligns with the approach OISS Director Singh encourages in her office: "We're here to help and assist them in every aspect. Whether it is cultural adjustment, academic, mental health issues, or immigration issues, we tackle the whole gamut of international student challenges."  

"International students can just come in to OISS, tell them what is needed, and they will be able to help with almost anything."
– Alagie Jammeh, UCSB international student from Gambia

Singh hopes domestic students at UCSB know that befriending an international student could be an invaluable learning opportunity. "A simple hello can be a first step toward a great friendship," Singh explained. She encouraged cultural exchange between domestic and international students and believes lessons learned through these friendships can be as valuable as those learned in the classroom. Singh recommended that domestic students speak slowly at times and ask questions to increase communication efficiency with international students, especially during initial conversations.

Presentations during the half-day workshop included: 

  • One Student’s Story: Navigating Cultural Conflict, Expanding Global Awareness (Alagie Jammeh, international student, and David Whitman, Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity)
  • UCSB’s International Students by the Numbers (Simran Singh, OISS Director)
  • Addressing Academic Integrity in International Education (Ko Kashiwazaki, Assistant Judicial Affairs Coordinator)
  • Introduction to H-1B (Tanya Plant and Jason Hopkins, OISS Staff)
  • Hosting J-1 Visitors 101 (Martha Ledesma and Jason Hopkins, OISS Staff)
  • Hiring International Students" (Layla San Jose and Nancy Doan, OISS Staff)

Jason Hopkins, OISS Staff, explains the H-1B visa. Credit: Charles Williams

Supporting international students has become an increasingly important issue for UCSB. During the "UCSB's International Students by the Numbers" segment of the workshop, Singh presented statistical data to provide context regarding the international student experience in both the United States and at UCSB.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the country saw an all-time high of 887,000 international higher education students in 2014, accounting for four percent of enrolled higher education students. California led the nation with 121,647 international students, generating $4 billion for the state's economy. International students added a total of $26.8 billion to the U.S. economy in 2014.

Last year, UCSB’s incoming class saw an increase in the following international student categories: freshmen, transfer, master's, and doctorate. Doctoral students comprised the largest increase, up 57.7 percent from 2014. UCSB expects a total of 933 international students on campus in 2015. China accounts for the vast majority of incoming international students at 76.6 percent. India is second with 7.7 percent, and the United Kingdom is third at 7.3 percent.

In regard to field of study, a clear majority emerged among international students, with 74 percent majoring in STEM-related fields. Humanities placed second with 19 percent.

For more information on OISS, visit its website, email, or call 805-893-2929.

"We're here to help and assist them in every aspect. Whether it is cultural adjustment, academic, mental health issues, or immigration issues, we tackle the whole gamut of international student challenges."
– Simran Singh, Director of the Office of International Students and Scholars


UCSB Climbs to No. 8 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 List of ‘Top 30 Public National Universities’

UC Santa Barbara continues its impressive upward trajectory, rising to No. 8 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 list of the “Top 30 Public National Universities” in the country. The distinction represents a jump of two spots from UCSB’s position last year and is UC Santa Barbara’s highest ranking in the history of the magazine’s annual listings.

On U.S. News’ list of “Best National Universities,” which includes both public and private institutions, UC Santa Barbara also moved up from last year – to No. 37 from No. 40. Among University of California institutions, only UC Berkeley and UCLA ranked higher than UCSB. Other UC campuses on the Top 30 list are UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and UC Davis.

U.S. News’ ranking system involves assigning universities and colleges to categories. The category of national universities that UCSB was placed in includes only those institutions that focus on faculty research and offer a variety of undergraduate majors, in addition to master’s degree and doctoral programs.

It is those excellent UCSB graduate programs and their extraordinary graduate students that helped lead to this high honor, said UCSB Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti.

“This new ranking is a tribute to the UCSB’s unique combination of visionary leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and strong sense of esprit de corps,” said Dean Genetti. “Our graduate students are essential to the success of our teaching and research missions and have directly contributed to this advancement in ranking. I’d like to express my thanks to all of our students for their creativity, dedication, and sheer hard work: Thanks, everyone, for helping to make this institution great!”

There’s more good news for UC Santa Barbara in the magazine’s 2016 “America’s Best Colleges” guidebook. UCSB placed No. 6 among public universities on U.S. News’ list of institutions that offer students the best education value. And UCSB’s College of Engineering ranked No. 18 among public universities in the category of “Best Programs at Engineering Schools Whose Highest Degree is a Doctorate.”

For more information, read the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications’ news release, “The Cream of the Crop” and last year's GradPost article; and see U.S. News & World Report’s complete list.


Graduate Division Hosts Scholars for 2015 Summer Research Program

ARC/SC/UC LEADS 2015 Scholars with members of the Graduate Division staff. Credit: Patricia Marroquin 

From June 22 to August 14, the Graduate Division held its annual Academic Research Consortium (ARC)/California Pre-Doctoral Sally Casanova (SC)/UC LEADS Scholars Program. The annual program hosts college undergraduates from across the country for eight weeks in an effort to simulate the graduate school experience and encourage participants to consider applying for graduate school at UC Santa Barbara. The program centers on individual research projects under the supervision of a faculty member and a graduate student mentor, and culminates in each student presenting in a public forum.

In addition to research, students also participate in Graduate Record Examination (GRE) preparation workshops, professional development sessions, and social activities designed to engage students with the surrounding Santa Barbara community.

Scholars were selected in a competitive application process. After completion, students raved about how the program exposed them to the possibilities associated with graduate school. They felt increased self-confidence, not only in preparing to apply to graduate school but also in succeeding as graduate students.

ARC Scholar Diana Chagolla commented on the program’s impact. “Prior to participating in UCSB’s ARC summer program, I was slightly intimidated by the graduate school application process," she said. "After having participated, I feel qualified to proceed on the path of applying for graduate school and obtaining a Ph.D. in Education." 

“My research experience at UCSB was an unforgettable one," added UC LEADS Scholar Markus Walker. "Being able to work so closely with my faculty and graduate student mentors was truly an honor. Not only that, but the people in the program made the experience that much more worthwhile.”

From left, summer scholars Brianna Demirci, Newton Nguyen, Kuang Wei, and Michael Young. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

For the first time, the program partnered with the Office of Undergraduate Research to have the scholars blog about their research and summer experiences. Read the students’ summer blogs here:

ARC Scholar Blog                                      
California Pre-Doctoral Sally Casanova Scholar Blog

UC LEADS (Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees) Scholar Blog

The program would not have been a success without the assistance of key Graduate Division personnel: Dean Carol Genetti; Assistant Dean Christian Villasenor; Director of Admissions and Outreach Walter Boggan; Assistant Director of Admissions and Outreach Haley Orton; Outreach Assistant Director Roxanna Van Norman; and Diversity and Outreach Peer Charles Williams. 

A special thanks goes to Van Norman, who has been with the program since its inception in 2012, but has recently transitioned to a new position on campus. Her leadership made the summer research program an enjoyable experience for all students and her professionalism contributed greatly to the program’s success over the last four years.

The 2015 summer scholar participants are listed below. For more information about the Graduate Division’s program efforts, see the outreach page and read GradPost articles about the three previous summer programs here:  

The 2014 program
The 2013 program
The 2012 program

“Prior to participating in UCSB’s ARC summer program, I was slightly intimidated by the graduate school application process. After having participated, I feel qualified to proceed on the path of applying for graduate school and obtaining a Ph.D. in Education."
– Diana Chagolla, ARC summer scholar


2015 Academic Research Consortium Scholars

Diana Chagolla: San Diego State University

  • Major: Sociology
  • Faculty Mentor: Rebeca Mireles-Rios
  • Graduate Student Mentor: Tiffany Ibarra 

Michael Young: University of North Texas

  • Major: English 
  • Faculty Mentor: Linda Adler-Kassner
  • Graduate Student Mentor: John Soboslai

From left, summer scholars Sarath Pathuri, Kevin Dervishi, Brandon Hendrickson, Kelly Pham, and Gauree Chendke. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Brianna Demirci: California State University, Channel Islands

  • Major: Biology
  • Faculty Mentor: Josh Schimel
  • Graduate Student Mentor: Ken Marchus

Mario Espinoza: California Polytechnic State University

  • Major: Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • Faculty Mentor: Gerardo Aldana
  • Graduate Student Mentor: Rudy Mondragon 


2015 California Pre-Doctoral Sally Casanova Scholar

Yvonne Sohn: San Francisco State University

  • Major: French
  • Faculty Mentor: Catherine Nesci  
  • Graduate Student Mentor: Alexandra Magearu


2015 UC LEADS Scholars

Newton Nguyen: UC Berkeley

  • Major: Geophysics 
  • Faculty Mentor: Frederic G. Gibou  
  • Graduate Student Mentor: Arthur Guittet 

Kelly Pham: UC Irvine

  • Major: Mathematics 
  • Faculty Mentor: Padraic Bartlett 

 Markus Walker: UC Merced

  • Major: Computer Science
  • Faculty Mentor: Matthew Turk 

Kevin Dervishi: UC Santa Barbara 

  • Major: CCS Biology
  • Faculty Mentor: Stu Feinstein 
  • Graduate Student Mentor: Sarah Benbow

Brandon Hendrickson: UC Santa Barbara 

  • Major: Biology
  • Faculty Mentor: Susan Mazer 
  • Graduate Student Mentor: Kristen Peach

Sarath Pathuri: UC Santa Barbara

  • Major: Biochemistry 
  • Faculty Mentor: Norbert Reich  
  • Graduate Student Mentor: Clayton Woodcock

Gauree Chendke: UC Santa Barbara

  • Major: Biology
  • Faculty Mentor: Samir Mitragotri 
  • Graduate Student Mentor: Tyler Brown

Kuang Wei: UC Santa Barbara

  • Major: Physics 
  • Faculty Mentor: Jean Carlson 
  • Graduate Student Mentor: Chantal Nguyen


From left, summer scholars Yvonne Sohn, Mario Espinoza, Diana Chagolla, and Markus Walker. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


UCSB Rises to No. 14 in Washington Monthly’s 2015 List of Top 100 National Universities

UC Santa Barbara, described as “in the top echelon,” has risen a spot in Washington Monthly magazine’s annual list of Top 100 National Universities. The 2015 list has UCSB at No. 14, up from No. 15 in 2014 and No. 22 in 2013.

UC campuses were prominent on the list, with six of them making the top 20.

“As it has in previous years, the University of California system dominates our national university rankings, with a combination of research prowess and economic diversity among undergraduates,” Washington Monthly said in the introduction to its College Guide and Rankings.

Washington Monthly's rankings as compared to U.S. News & World Report's list.The magazine ranks four-year U.S. colleges on three measures. “Upward mobility” takes into account enrollment and graduation rates of students of modest means at reasonable prices. “Research” factors in universities’ success at creating new technologies and ideas that drive economic growth and advance knowledge. And “service” considers institutions’ efforts at encouraging students to give back to the country by joining the Peace Corps or the military; or performing community service.

UC Santa Barbara “is in the top echelon of its state’s universities, serving students of variable income and ability,” wrote Mamie Voight, director of policy research at the Institute for Higher Education, and Colleen Campbell, a senior policy analyst at the Association of Community College Trustees. “Yet 38 percent of Santa Barbara students are low income, compared to only 15 percent at Penn State, and Santa Barbara charges low-income students about half as much.”

UCSB was also ranked No. 17 in the magazine’s “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings in the Western Schools category.

For more information, read the Office of Public Affairs and Communications’ article, “In the Top Echelon”; University of California’s “UC dominates Washington Monthly’s college rankings”; Washington Monthly’s “A Different Kind of College Ranking”; and the magazine’s full list.


Special Expanded Dissertation and Thesis Filing Workshop Offered on September 2

Whether you are just beginning to write your dissertation/thesis and wondering about formatting, or you are close to filing and need to know about policies such as copyrighting and embargoing, the Graduate Division has you covered. Rickie Smith and Shawn Warner-Garcia will offer an expanded and redesigned workshop on formatting and filing your dissertation/thesis on Wednesday, Sept. 2, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Student Resource Building Multipurpose Room.

The workshop will consist of three parts:

  1. Formatting Pre-Checks (10-10:30 a.m.). Graduate Division Academic Advisors will be available to do pre-checks and to answer your filing questions one-on-one. To take advantage of this portion of the workshop, bring a printed copy of your dissertation/thesis preliminary pages (e.g., title page, signature page, abstract) as well as a few pages of the body.
  2. The Filing Process (10:30-11 a.m.). This portion of the workshop will cover the ins and outs of the electronic filing process including deadlines, leaves of absence, embargos, copyrights, and document distribution. Rickie will also familiarize participants with additional online resources and tutorials.
  3. Formatting Information and Q&A (11 a.m.-noon). This part of the workshop will explain the formatting requirements for filing your dissertation/thesis and how to use the online templates. Rickie and Shawn will also answer questions and troubleshoot formatting issues that participants are experiencing.

If you plan to attend one or several parts of the workshop, please RSVP by filling out this form.

Did you know? The Graduate Division also offers information and advising on dissertation/thesis filing both online and on a walk-in basis at their office in Cheadle Hall.

Check out these online resources:

You may also contact Rickie Smith to set up an advising appointment.


Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Jessica Perkins Wields a Ballpoint Pen for the Environment

Jessica Perkins. Credit: Patricia MarroquinWhat is the secret to second-year Ph.D. student Jessica Perkins’ success? At first, you might think it comes from her growing up in a large, extended family in Rhode Island and learning to appreciate the value of active involvement in a community. Later, you might think it’s her time management skills. She earned a combined B.S./M.S. in Environmental Engineering at Tufts University while playing field hockey. Finally, you might consider her secret is that she only needs six hours of sleep a night.

No matter what you think the secret is, after meeting Jess, you will come away amazed at how much she has accomplished in 26 years. She plans to accomplish much more once she graduates from UC Santa Barbara, after earning two degrees from two different departments: a Ph.D. in Environmental Science & Management from the Bren School and a Master's in Technology Management from the Technology Management Program.

Maybe you have heard of Jess or seen her perform at the 2015 Grad Slam? She was the one who wielded a ballpoint pen and wowed the audience and judges alike with a terrifying tale of life-cycle assessment. In fact, you may have seen her more than once (during Round 4, or Semifinal Round 1). She made it to the final round, where she was a runner-up.

I had a chance to interview Jess this summer but she was unavailable to meet in person. Why, you ask? She was doing a snazzy internship at Apple Inc., working on life-cycle assessments of some of their products to evaluate the environmental impact, specifically looking at the water footprint.

For someone who as a child used to tell her parents that some things were “too hard for a girl to do,” she has since made things look awfully easy. While we talked over the phone, she revealed some of her secrets to her success from her research to her approach to life to how to prepare for the Grad Slam.

You made it all the way to the Grad Slam 2015 finals where you were a runner-up. How did you prepare? Do you have any advice for people competing next year?

Just to practice, to bounce ideas off other people. I practiced a couple of times for my classmates, my roommates who weren't in grad school, and with my sister over FaceTime. The more you practice, the more feedback you get from a lot of people, the better your presentation will be. Presenting is nerve-wracking, but it only gets easier the more you do it.

Jess, center, on a summer trip to Yosemite with fellow UCSB graduate students. Photo courtesy of Jessica Perkins

You won a gift card and some cash. Did you have any special plans for your winnings?

Since it was my first year, I used my gift card to buy a UCSB sweatshirt. Now I can proudly wear the letters.

You famously stood up to the Grad Slam audience holding a single pen. How would you best describe your research?

It’s life-cycle assessment or LCA. I evaluate environmental and human health impacts on the entire life cycle of a product: raw material extraction, production, transportation, use, and end-of-life (disposal/recycling). My goal is to improve the usefulness of LCA as a decision-making tool by applying concepts from organizational science and communication.

What advice would you give to an incoming graduate student?

One thing I learned when I got here was that as a grad student you could expand the boundaries of your research. Even going into Bren, an interdisciplinary school, I didn’t realize how far the interdisciplinary bounds could be pushed. I found I could include communication, psychology, and other subjects in my research. I wasn’t just limited to hard sciences.

As a grad student, you should explore other areas even if they are outside of your department.

What do you in your free time?

Jess finishing a half marathon in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Jessica PerkinsI love sports and anything where I get to be outside and active. I’m currently training to run the New York City Marathon. But really, I’m just a people person. I like spending time with good friends and sharing a bottle of wine in my downtime.

What’s in high rotation on your playlist these days?

I’m a big fan of country music. I like the Zac Brown Band. But one song that keeps showing up recently is “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon.

Speaking of accomplishments, what do you consider your biggest one so far?

I think my biggest accomplishment was making the choice not to let my comfort zone dictate my big life decisions.

I figured this out when I was deciding my first job, at Dow Chemical in Michigan. I was living in Boston at the time. I had many good friends and there were plenty of good jobs in Boston. I’m sure I would have had a good career and been happy there. But I decided to choose the best opportunity overall, not the most comfortable one. I was going to take the best opportunity even if it was scary. I made a conscious decision to be brave.

Who has had the biggest influence on you and your life?

Jess's first day in Santa Barbara after the road trip adventure that she and her sister made from their hometown in Rhode Island. Photo courtesy of Jessica PerkinsMy family. My parents really instilled in me the idea that as someone who had a lot of opportunities in life that I should do something to have a positive impact on the world. They have had a big influence on many of the decisions I’ve made in my life.

What do you hope to be doing 5 or 10 years out of graduate school?

I really want to be working at the intersection between industry and environmental change. I want to be managing an environmental team in an organization where the company’s decisions are having a big impact on the direction of the industry and local economy in terms of environmental performance and climate change.



Applications Now Accepted for Intensive Dissertation Writing Retreat

Credit: Rennett StoweThe application period for the 2015 Intensive Dissertation Writing Retreat, co-sponsored by the Graduate Division and Summer Sessions, is now open. This program is open to doctoral students from all disciplines and will take place Monday, September 14, through Thursday, September 17. 

The Intensive Dissertation Writing Retreat is a four-day writing workshop aimed at helping Ph.D. students in the middle stages of their dissertation process by providing intensive writing times, breakout sessions with a facilitator on typical dissertation issues (including dealing with procrastination, managing research and sources, and writing to work through difficult ideas), one-on-one consultations with the facilitator, and peer consultations. Participants will gain strategies and tools to create positive writing habits and thus become more efficient and productive writers.

You are eligible to apply if you are a Ph.D. student who:

  • Has advanced to candidacy;
  • Has completed a chapter of your dissertation; and
  • Is committed to attending all sessions of the Writing Retreat.

To apply, please complete the online application here. Important: Once you have completed the application, please also send PDFs of your dissertation prospectus (where applicable) and a completed chapter (either drafted or accepted) to Dr. Katie Baillargeon of UCSB's Writing Program, who will direct the Writing Retreat. The deadline to apply is Monday, August 24. [Note that this deadline is earlier than the previously publicized deadline in order to ensure timely notification to applicants.]

Dr. Baillargeon will notify applicants of their admissions decision by Tuesday, September 1. Please note:

  • The Intensive Dissertation Writing Retreat is limited to 20 participants.
  • As part of its efforts to provide financial support for graduate students who are engaged in short-term intensive campus programs that contribute to their development as academic professionals, the Graduate Division will provide a Professional Development Award to the participants of the Writing Retreat. A fellowship of $400 will be awarded to students who successfully complete all four days of the program.

Have questions about the Intensive Dissertation Writing Retreat? Please email Robert Hamm, Director, Graduate Student Professional Development.



Graduate Division Seeks Funding Peer for 2015-16

The UCSB Graduate Division is currently accepting applications for its Funding Peer Advisor position to begin employment in Fall 2015 and run through Spring quarter 2016.

The Funding Peer educates and advises UCSB’s graduate students about on- and off-campus funding opportunities as well as personal finance topics such as budgeting, savings and debt repayment, and more. The successful applicant will lead workshops on finding funding and the basics of personal finance, work individually with students to identify and apply for research grants and fellowships, and design tailored presentations for specific departments. This position offers the opportunity to gain valuable experience working in academic administration while helping fellow graduate students and developing valuable financial skills. The Funding Peer position may be extended beyond Spring 2016.

PAYMENT: $16.00 per hour, plus fee payment equivalent to TA-ship for 25% time work

HOURS: 14-20 hours weekly (35%-50% appointment) during the academic year

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Priority consideration given to applications received by Friday, August 28, 2015.

Primary responsibilities include:

  • Plan and implement workshops on topics such as fellowships and research funding opportunities; the basics of personal finance; budgeting; and resources, credits, and tax deductions for graduate students;
  • Conduct one-on-one advising on funding searches;
  • Lead department-specific presentations on funding;
  • Contribute articles and announcements to the UCSB GradPost;
  • Attend academic and professional workshops and panel discussions and write articles about them for the GradPost;
  • Assist with campus-wide events and programming, including New Student Orientation and the Grad Slam;
  • Work collaboratively with other peer advisors on events and workshops sponsored through the Graduate Student Resource Center (1215 Student Resource Building).

The Funding Peer also holds drop-in office hours, responds to student requests (by email, phone, or in person) for information or assistance, provides confidential advice, and makes referrals as needed.

Minimum qualifications:

  • Has completed one year of graduate study in residence at UCSB, is in good academic standing, is within university time-to-degree standards, and meets all other standard student employment eligibility requirements;
  • Is energetic and knowledgeable about the UCSB campus, demonstrates organizational abilities, and possesses good communication and interpersonal skills;
  • Can represent graduate student interests and concerns, and is attentive to the goals of excellence and diversity in UCSB’s graduate education;
  • Experience with or demonstrated ability to learn new software and technology (e.g. Squarespace, Sitefinity, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, image editing software, etc.)
  • Writing, interviewing, and presentation skills.

Previous experience in advising, teaching, and workshop or conference planning is desirable, although training will be provided.

Additional Benefits: With the appropriate eligibility and approval, the position may be combined with a GSR or TA position, as long as the combined hours do not exceed 75% appointment. 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: Interested applicants should submit a cover letter indicating interests and highlighting related experiences, along with a formal resume to Robert Hamm in the Graduate Division, 3117 Cheadle Hall, mail code 2070 or by e-mail to


Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Levi Maaia and the 'Maker' Culture

Levi MaaiaLevi Maaia. Photo courtesy of Levi MaaiaLevi Maaia, a seventh-year doctoral student in Education, wants to "make" things happen. Levi grew up in East Providence, Rhode Island. He earned a B.S. in Film and Television from Boston University and an M.A. in Journalism from Emerson College.

Levi’s life changed while working at Full Channel, a family-owned broadband provider in Bristol County, R.I. He saw that many of the educational outreach initiatives by cable TV networks were not actually reaching classrooms. New media technologies were evolving faster than educators could integrate them into curricula.

While Levi felt that the link between media and education had always been tenuous at best, he thought there could be a better way to integrate them, and came to UC Santa Barbara to work on his ideas.

While chatting with Levi, I learned all about how the “maker” culture might be the answer, why the maker culture is alive and well in Cuba, and what advice he has for graduate students to get through a doctoral program more efficiently.

You recently went to Cuba as part of an educational research delegation. Tell me a little about what you were doing there and your impressions of Cuba.

Grad lampI am really interested in Cuba’s maker culture. People there have limited resources and have to make do with what’s on hand. You’ll see a lawn mower made from the parts of a washing machine. Another person took a Soviet-era tractor engine and placed it into a ‘57 Chevy. The country is filled with examples of that type of ingenuity. It is an art form unto itself.

What does this have to do with your current research?

I am interested in the emerging maker culture and President Obama’s initiatives to encourage maker education as a way to instigate a new generation of design and manufacturing in America. Specifically, I am looking at what a maker-based high school course looks like and how students and teachers prepare for and interact during such a program.

Can you explain more about the maker culture and what this type of education would look like?

Maker cultures and do-it-yourself movements encourage informal affiliations of people who work on projects out of their garages, basements, and backyards: computer clubs to microbreweries to builders of specialized composting machines and 3-D printers. You come up with an idea that you want to realize and then you find the materials, skills, and community to help you do it.

In the fourth grade, I participated in the Invent America program. There you had to come up with a problem and then design and build a device that solved that problem. I created an automatic fish feeder and came in second place. Another kid came up with the idea of shoes with sole zippers, so you could easily replace the soles.

In K-12, maker-based education is about getting kids thinking about problems and empowering them to build solutions. I’d like to see at least part of the school day break from the traditional structure and let students be free to explore. I want to move away from only replicating expected results and afford students with the opportunity to discover the unexpected.

Puesta del Sol carCubans have created novel and creative ways to keep their “Yank Tanks” running in Havana, despite the lack of access to American auto parts. Cuban culture highly values ingenuity and the maker spirit. Credit: Levi Maaia

Who would you say has been one of your main influences?

I have many, but at the moment I'm really intrigued by Steve Wozniak. He had the ingenious idea to design and to build a computer that was accessible to consumers. In the years prior to his design, computers were only available to people working at huge corporations and institutions. When I was I kid I used an Apple II computer that was designed by "Woz." It was my earliest exposure to electronics and computing.

What advice do you have for incoming grad students?

Find ways to have your work, research, and projects build on one another. I ended up spinning my wheels for a long time. You should think early on about how to create a system or path for yourself. Have your internship lead to your master’s project, which will help you with your dissertation. If you can find a way to plan efficiently, everything can be a building block for the next part.

What do you do enjoy doing when you’re not innovating education?

I enjoy traveling, exploring, and communicating. I like to understand where I am and the landscape and the people around me. Maps, charts, and geography fascinate me. Wherever I go, I try to orient myself. Growing up in the Ocean State, I learned to sail and I enjoy being on or near the ocean.

Levi's students at workLevi’s students designed and built two high-altitude balloons using Arduino microcontrollers and amateur radio transmitters to gather and transmit live environmental data and images from altitudes as high as 111,814 feet. Credit: Levi Maaia

What’s in high rotation on your playlist these days?

The Bird and the Bee, Generationals, Chromeo, and classic Motown music.

Finally, what do you plan to be doing 10 years from now?

Building things. I’d like to be working on projects that build new networks, systems, spaces, and places for educational collaboration, learning, and exploration.