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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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UCSB Letters & Science Advising Hours Extended, Including Time at SRB 

During this difficult time, as students are connecting with their personal and on-campus support networks, many will likely have questions about various administrative actions available to them and how to deal with their academic program, now and for the remainder of the quarter.

Please note the extended academic advising hours for the College of Letters & Science below.

Along with the extended hours in the college offices for this week, L&S advisors will be at the EOP/L&S satellite advising office in the afternoons, following EOP office hours. The hours for advising hours in the College of Letters & Science and for SRB students in the EOP/L&S satellite office are listed below.

L&S hours in Cheadle Hall:
Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Open through lunch, closing early for the memorial)
Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Open through lunch)
Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Open through lunch)
Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Open through lunch)

L&S hours in SRB, Non-Traditional Resource Center Room 1109:
Tuesday, 1 to 3 p.m. (SRB/EOP closing early for the memorial)
Wednesday, 1 to 5 p.m.
Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m.
Friday, 1 to 5 p.m.

To make an academic advising appointment:
or call 805-893-2038

Academic Advising Walk-in Hours:
Weekdays 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., 1 to 3:30 p.m.


UCSB Classes Suspended on Tuesday, a 'Day of Mourning and Reflection'; Memorial Service Planned at Harder Stadium

On his Facebook page, UCSB alum Michael Douglas said: "My deepest sympathy to the victims, families, and friends of this terrible tragedy. My thoughts are with the entire UCSB family. Michael Douglas, '68" Credit: Michael Douglas Facebook pageA Message from Chancellor Henry T. Yang and Interim Executive Vice Chancellor Joel Michaelsen

To the Campus Community:

In light of the tragic events that occurred on Friday night, after discussions with the Academic Senate, Associated Students, and our administrative colleagues, we are declaring Tuesday, May 27, a Day of Mourning and Reflection. There will be a memorial service at Harder Stadium on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. organized jointly by students, staff, and faculty.  Also, Associated Students has asked us to let our community know that our students are planning a memorial wall at the Pardall Center.

Regular classes will not be held on Tuesday. However, because our academic community needs a space for talking and healing as well as mourning, we ask that faculty come to campus on Tuesday to be available to meet with students. We suggest that faculty communicate with our students and teaching assistants to let them know whether they will be meeting at their regularly scheduled class time, or in office hours, or both. Staff should report to work as usual, but employees who need to request time off from work should coordinate those requests with their supervisors. Classes will resume on Wednesday (May 28).

We wish to reiterate the message from the undergraduate deans that academic advisors are available to assist students who are concerned that this tragedy will interfere with the completion of their courses. Our dedicated advisors will do everything they can to ensure that no student’s academic record is adversely affected by this difficult situation. There will be extended walk-in advising hours this week starting on Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including the lunch hour. Faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants will receive additional information from their department chairs and deans about how to provide guidance and alternatives to students who may need assistance as theyCredit: UC Santa Barbara Instagram (@ucsantabarbara) complete their academic year.

We remind students, faculty, and staff that professional counselors are available to provide support to all members of our community. We encourage you to consult them to address your own needs and to get advice about how you can help others if they reach out to you. Counselors can be reached by phone at 805-893-4411, 24 hours a day.  Counselors will be available for in-person visits all day Tuesday at the Student Resource Building.

This is a period of mourning for all of us. The moving candlelight vigil that our students organized on Saturday evening began the process of healing. On Tuesday we will remember and honor the victims of this horrible event, and come together as an academic community to reflect, talk with each other, and think about the future. As terrible as these past two days have been, they make us believe in our students and the entire UCSB community more than ever.

Henry T. Yang, Chancellor

Joel Michaelsen, Interim Executive Vice Chancellor


Chancellor Yang's Letter to the UC Santa Barbara Community

UCSB community members gathered Saturday evening for a Candelight Vigil in honor of the victims of the Isla Vista rampage. Credit: George Foulsham, Office of Public Affairs and Communications

The following is a letter to the UC Santa Barbara community from Chancellor Henry T. Yang:

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing again to share more sad news. Yesterday we were informed that three of our students, Katherine Cooper (senior), Christopher Martinez (junior), and Veronika Weiss (sophomore) were among those killed during the tragic events on Friday night. Today the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office released the names of the remaining victims and they are also members of our community. They are George Chen and W. Wang, both juniors in the College of Engineering. The parents of the third student have requested that we only use his initials, C.H.

Our sense of loss is immeasurable. We are offering our full support to their families, and our thoughts and prayers are with them. In the coming days we will also explore with the families how we may best honor their memories. We have established a fund, The UC Santa Barbara Community Fund (, to honor our students who were victims of this tragedy and to memorialize their lasting impact and contributions to the UC Santa Barbara community.

The number of reported injuries has been revised to 13. Nine of those taken to the hospital were UC Santa Barbara students. We have been informed that six of these nine students have already been released and one is expected to be released tomorrow (Monday, May 26). We fervently wish all the injured a full recovery.

The safety and welfare of our students is our top priority. We have counselors available today and tomorrow at our Student Resource Building from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and by phone at 805-893-4411 around the clock. With support from the UCLA and UC Irvine police departments, we have also increased police patrols in Isla Vista and on campus. In addition, our CSO Escort Program provides courtesy escorts for our students and community members traveling on campus and in Isla Vista at any time. To request a CSO safety escort, simply call our Police Dispatch line at 805-893-2000. I encourage every student to enter this number in your cell phone now, so that it will be readily accessible when you need it. Escorts can also be requested through the red emergency phones located all over campus.

I am moved by the love and support demonstrated by our community, especially during these difficult times. Dilling and I were honored to join our students for last night’s candlelight vigil, the first of what I anticipate will be many events to honor the victims and to come together as a community. We are planning a campus memorial service, and will send another communication later today with additional information and other updates.


Henry T. Yang


4 Ways to Be a Loving Neighbor: My Personal Perspective Amid Isla Vista Tragedy

Credit: Hala Sun and Pages.

It was 9:25 p.m. on May 23. I was heading home after attending an amazing musical event sponsored by the Chinese Students & Scholars Association held at the MultiCultural Center Theater. The night was beautiful, until I saw multiple police cars, ambulance, and firetrucks passing by, all racing toward Isla Vista. Something did not feel right. I was scared. As soon as I arrived home, I checked my email, but there was no alert. So I quickly logged into Twitter to find out what was happening in Isla Vista (#IV). My heart sank when I found out that there was a massive shooting targeting female students.

Hala SunAs a woman of color, I felt vulnerable through this tragic event. However, I believe there is still hope. We cannot control all the events that happen every day in our lives or in our community. But we can do something now to facilitate change — by being a "loving neighbor." I would like to share my thoughts on four ways, or perhaps, four challenges for all of us at UCSB and in Isla Vista, as we work together to bring proximate justice.

1. Choose to cross the street to cross barriers of culture and fear. Sometimes, if we encounter situations that are messy and complicated, or if we meet someone from another culture, race, gender, or ethnicity that is unfamiliar, it is easy for us to fear and walk away without taking a closer look. However, the very first step to bringing proximate justice and to be a loving neighbor is to have the courage to cross the street — to cross that barrier and reach out.

2. Choose to open your eyes and notice.
We have our eyes generally open (unless we are sleeping), but we do have a choice, most of the time, to choose what we want to see or have to see. After crossing the street or the barrier, the next step is to take a closer look. But after seeing what is happening or what is needed, we sometimes close our eyes. Well, that’s OK. It is quite natural to close our eyes. What’s important is our courage to open our eyes again to figure out how we can help.

3. Choose to give time and money. After crossing the street, seeing, and realizing what is needed, we ought to make another decision — using our valuable time and/or money. We all can be hearers and readers of the news. But how often do we pause, to reflect, and to give? And we wonder whether our help would make any difference. Well, the good news is, yes it will — as long as we all work together toward a common goal. There is power and hope when we collaborate and when we give. We cannot make any changes if we, ourselves, are hesitant to give anything.

4. Choose to open your hearts and feel. We cannot live harmoniously and bring proximate justice if we do not open our hearts and truly feel what is happening around us — in our school, our community, our country, and our world. It is from our heart we can show love and attention to our family, friends, colleagues, students, faculty, staff, and our community members. It is only when we open our hearts that we can understand and be able to empathize or sympathize.


As we live in this busy, and often individualistic society, the concept of “neighbor” is slowly disappearing. All kinds of reforms and changes can be made at the policy, organizational, and/or institutional level. But I believe the most important change is the change that starts within us — transforming to become a good, loving neighbor to one another. By choosing to cross the street to cross barriers of culture and fear, by choosing to open our eyes and notice, as well as to give time and money, and by choosing to open our hearts and feel what is happening around us, we can all hope for change. And justice might be just around the corner, in close proximity. Now, before we ask who our neighbor is, let us first reflect on what kind of neighbor we have been and what kind we ought to be from this point forward.

(Editor's Note: Graduate Division Diversity and Outreach Peer Hala Sun is a doctoral student in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. She holds two master's degrees: a Master in Public Administration, specializing in International Management, from the Monterey Institute of International Studies; and an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the Monterey Institute. Hala, who speaks five languages, is of South Korean descent, grew up in the Philippines, and attended a Chinese school. Her research interests focus on bilingualism/multilingualism, second language acquisition, language development through interaction, and teacher development.) 


Resources and Support Services in Wake of Isla Vista Tragedy

The GradPost has compiled a list of phone numbers, websites, announcements, and other information to assist students, parents, faculty, staff, and the public in the wake of the Isla Vista tragedy. As we get more information, we will add to this list, so please bookmark this article.


Message from the UCSB Graduate Division Dean About the Isla Vista Tragedy

Dear Graduate Students,

I know that like me you are both shocked and deeply saddened by the events in Isla Vista last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by this tragedy. We send our most heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims.

As graduate students you are at the center of our university. Many of you live in or near Isla Vista and most serve as friends, teachers, and mentors to our undergraduates. One cannot help but feel shaken by this tragedy, and it is an emotional day for many.

Please reach out to any fellow graduate students who might need support. Counseling services are available: There is a 24/7 UCSB counseling hotline for emergency support and referrals at (805) 893-4411. In addition, professional counseling support is available on campus today (May 24) at the Student Resource Building.

The University is closely monitoring the situation and will be updating the following site:

Any news specific to graduate students will be placed on the GradPost news blog ( and GradPost Facebook page ( We all stand in solidarity and support with our UCSB community. Please feel free to contact me directly at if you wish to comment or express concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Carol Genetti
UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division

Other resources

Call Center for community members and parents with questions: (805) 893-3901

Community 24/7 Disaster Distress Hotline: (800) 985-5990

Hillel (781 Embarcadero del Norte) and St. Marks (6550 Picasso) in Isla Vista are open and available today.


Materials Ph.D. Student Leah Kuritzky Is Helping to Change the World of Lighting Forever

Leah Kuritzky gives a laser light bulb demonstration as part of her Grad Slam presentation. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Meet Leah Kuritzky, a third-year Ph.D. student in Materials. She is going to change the world of lighting as we know it forever.

Leah grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Chemistry, and is now a researcher on the cutting edge of solid-state lighting. Recently, she wowed the general public and other participants at the Grad Slam with a three-minute talk on her research on laser lighting applications.

In her talk, Leah said lasers could be used to mitigate the energy crisis. Twenty-two percent of U.S. electricity consumption goes to lighting, she said. The current state of art in efficient lighting is the LED light bulb, but as we increase LED brightness, the  efficiency drops.

So how can you get high brightness, high efficiency, and low cost? Lasers. Her research is focused on the atomic scale of laser materials to improve efficiency, so that in the future we can reduce energy consumption and light the world.

For this interview, I met Leah at the Engineering II building, where she works and does research in various areas of solid-state lighting (i.e., lasers and LEDs). Though she sometimes works up to 50 or more hours a week (and many weekends), she was kind enough to show me some of the lighting applications, share her grad school experience, and how she become interested in lasers and energy efficiency.

Tell me what motivated you to get into the field of science?

I went to Parkland High School in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I had a lot of positive peer pressure there. My best friends in orchestra were high achievers and motivated me to achieve. I also had great teachers, especially in Chemistry and in English. It was a really hard decision to decide what field to go into when I went to college.

How did you go from a B.S. in Chemistry to graduate school in Materials?

Leah's Poster Presentation. Credit: Leah KuritzkyI had a couple of summer research internships at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory while I was an undergraduate at Stanford. Those internships were my first introduction to working with semiconductor materials (like solar cells and computer chips) in the lab. I found the work interesting, and I also realized that many of the breakthroughs of the next decades will likely come out of the field of Materials.   

I applied to several programs and was accepted at UCSB. The Materials Department is very welcoming of people from a variety of academic backgrounds. Many of my colleagues come from different backgrounds, such as Physics and Engineering. I had to take a few courses in Physics and Electrical Engineering to get up to speed, but that is encouraged in my department and my research group.

What are you researching now?

I’m researching high power blue m-Pplane gallium nitride laser diodes. Until recently, all the work done in the solid-state lighting field was for the c-plane of the gallium nitride crystal. In fact, virtually every blue or white LED or laser that you can buy today is fabricated on the c-plane of gallium nitride. My work on the m-plane could result in higher efficiency devices than what’s possible on the c-plane.

How did you become interested in lasers?

I visited different groups and schools. My main interest in lasers came out of my interest in working on energy efficiency and semiconductor materials.

What are some of the main obstacles in your research with lasers?

Blue LaserOne of Leah's samples emitting light at the blue wavelength. Credit: Kyle CroccoThe consistency of the material quality in the m-plane is a big problem. I have to constantly calibrate my crystal growths to have a consistent control group for my experiments. I share a growth reactor with other graduate students, and we all have to be concerned about how our different runs affect the reactor and therefore each others’ results.

Color is another problem. Lasers actually are not white, but they have specific wavelengths in narrow ranges, such as blue or violet. Green is a really difficult color to achieve, but also really important for many applications like high color-quality displays and traffic lights.

White light is a combination of many different colors. In order to get white light for street lamps or indoor lighting, you have to start, for example, with a blue laser or LED and add a yellow phosphor. Other types of combinations are possible, but this combination is the most common for white LEDs that are on the market today.

What are some of the laser lighting applications?

Leah KuritzkyLeah with a laser traffic light. Credit: Kyle CroccoDisplays like your TV or computer monitors and projectors, traffic lights, home lighting, of course, the light in Blu-Ray DVD players, data storage, and lab equipment (for analysis).

Let’s talk a little about your grad life. What advice would you give to people coming to graduate school?

Apply for fellowships. I applied the year before starting graduate school at the advice of my research mentors. I applied to the NSF and NDSEG graduate fellowships, and I won the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Coming in funded allowed me much more flexibility in which group I could join because my advisor did not have to worry about having to fund me.

What is the most favorite thing you do to relax?

Leah KuritzkyLeah outdoors. Credit: Leah KuritzkyRock climbing, playing violin, and salsa dancing. I climb at the downtown gym, and like to go on weekend climbs to Bishop, Joshua Tree, or nearby, at Lizard’s Mouth. I have played the violin since I was nine, and I recently bought a piano for my house. My boyfriend plays piano and most of my climbing friends do also, which makes for fun, musical evenings.

What is the one thing you hope to be doing five or 10 years out of graduate school?

It’s always evolving. Originally, I wanted to work at the National Renewable Energy Lab, and I needed a Ph.D. to do it. But now I’m looking at everything: industry, postdocs in academia, and government lab type jobs.

What is your biggest accomplishment in life and why

There are many of them and each builds on the rest. They are all interrelated. I would say graduating from Stanford, my internships, and my NSF Fellowship.


Graduates and Friends, UCSB Wants Your Selfies and Stories

Graduates, UC Santa Barbara is celebrating its Class of 2014 – both its undergrads and graduate students. Join in on the conversation through social media. Whether you're sharing photos, videos, and stories, or just saying congrats to a friend, you are being asked to use the university's official hashtag, #UCSB2014.

Additionally, Graduate Division has established its own hashtags: #MasteredIt and #PhinallyDone. Share your images on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites using the university's hashtag AND the degree hashtag that applies to you (Master's degree or Ph.D.). Let’s celebrate our graduating grad students – there will be nearly 400 participating in the ceremony on June 15.

The social media campaign is underway! When you use the hashtag #UCSB2014, your images and posts will appear on UCSB's hashtag #UCSB2014 social media Commencement site: Don't forget to use Graduate Division's additional hashtag (#MasteredIt or #PhinallyDone).

Another component of the campaign is to share your stories with the campus community. The Office of Public Affairs and Communications is seeking student volunteers to write about their thoughts, reflections, and perspectives in the days leading up to Commencement. These blog entries will be aggregated in one place via Storify. Students may submit one entry or many, about one to two paragraphs in length. Photos or videos are encouraged to accompany the entries. If you are interested in participating, please contact Alex Parraga at

You can get started now. Show your Gaucho pride. We look forward to seeing your selfies and stories on social media!

For more information about Commencement, visit the Graduate Division Commencement page.

Also, see UCSB’s Commencement website and these subpages:

2014 Commencement Schedule

Guest Speakers

Additional Resources


Students Invited to Apply for New Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Emphasis in Environment and Society

The UCSB Academic Senate has recently approved the creation of an interdepartmental Ph.D. emphasis in Environment and Society (IEES). Its goal is to provide students with opportunities to receive training and mentorship in environmental studies beyond the scope of their degree programs. The program is based in the Environmental Studies program. All students who complete the emphasis will receive a certificate similar to an undergraduate minor.

Students who participate in the program will have to register for (1) a core seminar offered in the fall quarter and (2) three elective courses in departments and disciplines other than their own. Additionally, they must have on their dissertation committees at least one outside committee member listed as emphasis-affiliated faculty. Students must also attend the IEES annual symposium and include some aspect of interdisciplinary environmental studies as a substantial part of their dissertation.

The emphasis can benefit graduate students in a variety of ways, including:

  • Provide student participants with the interdisciplinary tools — including methods, concepts, vocabularies, analytical frameworks, and critical thinking skills — necessary to communicate across disciplines and undertake dissertation projects that address complex environmental issues;
  • Provide a structured opportunity to develop an area of conceptual depth or methodological expertise not available in their home department by engaging with faculty in any of the 15 departments participating in the emphasis;
  • Open up new opportunities for mentorship from a faculty member from another discipline through participation on their dissertation committee (participating students must have one faculty member from outside their discipline on their committee);
  • Introduce participants to new ways of thinking about the environment and provide them with guidance on how to integrate these perspectives into their research and writing;
  • Create an opportunity to participate in an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental community of students exploring diverse and interconnected questions about the environment and society; and
  • Improve competitiveness in the academic job  market where interdisciplinary training is often sought after.

Those interested in joining the Fall 2014 cohort should apply by July 1, 2014. See the flier for application details.


Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Deborah Barany

Deborah Barany, a third-year student in the new interdepartmental graduate program in Dynamical Neuroscience, is conducting research on how the brain integrates and organizes relevant information to produce successful action. Deborah recently participated in the Grad Slam - a campuswide competition for the best three-minute research talk. Her presentation wowed the audience and judges and she took home one of the top prizes. Deborah has an M.A. in Psychology from UCSB and a B.A. in Neuroscience and Mathematics from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Read on to learn more about Deborah's research and experiences in graduate school.

Tell us a little about your research and how you came to choose the topic.

Deborah Barany at Watsons Bay, Sydney, AustraliaThe overall goal of my research in the Action Lab is to understand how the human brain controls goal-directed movement. My work so far has focused on using fMRI and machine learning algorithms to analyze the patterns of brain activity associated with different components of simple movements (for example, an object’s location, movement direction, or hand posture). By looking at these patterns, we can infer the large-scale representations of movement across many brain regions. Researching questions in motor control with fMRI and other neuroimaging techniques has quite a few practical challenges, but it ultimately allows us to better understand how the brain integrates and organizes relevant information to produce successful action, and how this underlying organization might differ in people with movement disorders.

The simple reason for why I chose this topic is that I wanted a way to combine my interest for sports and music with my interest in science and math. My senior year of high school, I learned about how cognitive neuroscience methods could be used to answer questions related to how athletes learn to move about dynamic environments, and how musicians learn to link specific movements to produce beautiful sound. I was instantly hooked, and knew that I wanted to be involved in that type of research.

What was it like to participate in the Grad Slam? What did you learn from the experience?

Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti with the Grad Slam 2014 winners: James Allen, center, grand prize winner; and runners-up Damien Kudela and Deborah Barany. Credit: Patricia MarroquinThe Grad Slam was such a fun experience, although at times a little (a lot) nerve-wracking. But I loved the opportunity to be able to share my research with the community, as well as to hear about all the amazing work being done on campus. I had no idea of the extent and breadth of the graduate student research at UCSB — it is great to have Grad Slam as a platform to facilitate the communication of all these diverse projects in an interesting way.

I learned quite a bit going through each stage of the process. Preparing the presentation really forced me to think about the best way to communicate my research. Hopefully, I can transfer what I’ve learned from Grad Slam to more casual conversations so I don’t get as many blank stares while trying to explain what I do.

I also benefited from attending a professional development workshop that allowed us to practice our presentation and get valuable feedback from other students and staff, including a few of last year’s Grad Slammers. Finally, I realized that it takes a lot of time and effort to be able to craft and deliver a short three-minute talk, but it was definitely worth it to gain the confidence to communicate about neuroscience and to be able to share my excitement for research with a general audience.

What has graduate student life been like for you?

Deborah in front of the MRI scanner at the UCSB Brain Imaging CenterI was lucky in that I came to UCSB as part of a unusually large (and good-looking) incoming cohort for Psychological & Brain Sciences — being able to take the same classes, learn the ropes, and just hang out together really made it easy to adapt to and be comfortable with the grind of graduate student life. I am also grateful to have an outstanding advisor, Dr. Scott Grafton, who allows me the flexibility and resources to explore different experimental ideas while at the same time keeping me set up to succeed.

In the same way, the current and former members in the Action Lab have helped me grow immensely as a scientist — they’re always ready and willing to help when I have a question or when I’m stuck on a problem (which seems like most of the time). In general, I feel like I’m always surrounded by amazing people doing amazing things, so I’m just happy to be a part of it all and enjoy the journey. And the Santa Barbara weather isn’t too shabby, either.

What has been a source of motivation or drive for you in your graduate studies?

Logan Fiorella and Deborah Barany with a new friend in Queensland, Australia.My field is still rapidly evolving — it’s difficult to keep up with all the new ideas and methods, but it’s an exciting time to be involved as well. I’m driven by a desire to make meaningful contributions to our understanding of the brain, and I’d like to think that every time I read a new article, learn a new skill, or have a conversation about research, I move one tiny step toward that goal.

In addition, my family (many of whom are scientists) has been a constant source of motivation and support. I especially admire my grandmother, Kate Bárány, who was a muscle physiologist and strong advocate for women in science, and whose life and work I am only beginning to truly appreciate as I move forward in my education.

Name an accomplishment you are most proud of and describe why.

This is mostly due to the recency effect, but I’m proud of completing my first graduate research project. I went into the project knowing very little about how to conduct an fMRI experiment, and how to analyze the data, but I received an incredible amount of mentorship from my collaborators that allowed me to feel somewhat competent every step of the way. There were a good share of frustrating moments, but it was so rewarding to see the project progress from the first pilot subject to the final revision of the paper, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience (see "Feature Interactions Enable Decoding of Sensorimotor Transformations for Goal-Directed Movement"). I’m glad to be done, but mostly because this means I can start all over again with a new project and hopefully be able to apply what I’ve learned.

What do you do to relax? Any hobbies, collections, pastimes, favorite places to go, favorite things to do? Along these same lines, what makes you happy?

Deborah does some rock climbing in Santa Barbara.I love to play sports, which is probably the closest I’ll ever get to fieldwork in motor control. At UCSB, I’m part of the Psychological & Brain Sciences IM volleyball team (“Bump, Set, Psych”), and I play pickup handball with other graduate students. I try to take advantage of the wonderful Santa Barbara climate, which means playing year-round outdoor tennis, hiking, rock climbing, and (unsuccessfully) surfing. I enjoy playing guitar — either writing songs or playing whatever is currently stuck in my head.

Recently, both because of and in spite of being in graduate school, I’ve been able to travel to and explore various parts of the world with my boyfriend Logan Fiorella. When not traveling, we enjoy going to the movies, partially, if not completely, due to the free popcorn coupons they have at the theaters in Santa Barbara.

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

I hope to have an academic position somewhere nice where I can do important research and teach motivated students. Dreaming big.

Do you have any advice for current grad students?

I think I echo a common sentiment in that grad school is all about finding the right balance between work and life outside of work. Almost three years in, I’m still working on finding the right balance. So far I’ve come to realize that if I’m able to get outside of the basement where I work and enjoy the sunshine for just a short time, I usually end up having a good day.