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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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20,000 Hearts Were United at Memorial Service to Honor Six UCSB Students

Richard Martinez, father of Christopher Michaels-Martinez, made an impassioned plea to the crowd to take action against gun violence. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

It was a touching and emotional afternoon on Tuesday at the Memorial Service, “Our Hearts Are United,” in Harder Stadium. About 20,000 people came to pay their respects and honor six students struck down in the Isla Vista tragedy: George Chen (Computer Science); Katherine Cooper (Art History & Classics); James Hong (Computer Engineering); Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez (Undeclared); David Wang (Computer Engineering); and Veronika Weiss (Financial Math and Statistics). There were impassioned pleas, humorous recollections, tears, and laughter. Dignitaries, including UC President Janet Napolitano, UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang, and UC Board of Regents Chairman Bruce D. Varner, spoke eloquently. Soothing and beautiful music was heard from the UCSB Young Artist String Quartet; Vocal Motion; and BFOM. The crowd – of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life – was united in its grief.

To read more about this moving service, see the UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications’ article, “We Remember Them.”

More than 20,000 people attended the Memorial Service on Tuesday. Photos by Patricia Marroquin

Scenes from the Memorial Service on Tuesday at Harder Stadium. Photos by Patricia Marroquin


A Recap of ‘Responding to the Isla Vista Tragedy: A Guidance Session for Teaching Assistants’

A message in chalk from concerned teaching assistants in front of the Alpha Phi sorority house in Isla Vista, where a makeshift memorial of flowers, candles, and messages was erected. Credit: Patricia MarroquinIn morning and afternoon sessions today at the Graduate Students Association Lounge, UCSB graduate student teaching assistants were presented with guidelines and advice on how to best support students affected by the tragedy in Isla Vista.

The guidelines included strategies for understanding, managing, and coping with grief; resources and services available on campus; and the importance of self-care. These guidelines can apply to any interactions with students, not only in the classroom.

The following are a few of the points made during the session, in addition to links to PDFs with more in-depth information and a YouTube audiocast recap by Counseling and Psychological Services’ Dr. Turi Honegger.

The session was hosted by the GSA; the Graduate Division; and the Division of Student Affairs.


  • Get adequate sleep, eat nourishing foods, and exercise regularly; maintain as normal a routine as possible.
  • Don’t isolate yourself from others. Spend time with family and friends who can provide you with emotional support.
  • Allow yourself to laugh; allow yourself to cry.
  • Accept caring and practical support from others and let others know what you need.
  • Avoid using drugs and alcohol to cope with emotions; they can conceal legitimate emotions and disturb the grieving process.
  • If you are religious, seek solace from your faith.
  • Avoid overexposure to media; take breaks from news sources as often as possible in order to avoid exacerbating acute stress symptoms.
  • Give yourself all the time you need to feel and understand the loss.

Four-legged therapists offer unconditional love, and are sure to lower stress levels. This pooch was among those therapy dogs at Dog Therapy Day on Tuesday outside the SRB. Credit: Patricia MarroquinWHAT YOU CAN DO FOR OTHERS

  • Be willing to talk about the loss, and encourage the griever to do so.
  • Be a good listener – accept, don’t judge, what you hear.
  • Reassure the griever that grief symptoms such as anger, guilt, and sadness are normal.
  • It may be helpful to say things like: “What help do you need right now?,” “The feelings you’re having are understandable,” and “I don’t know what to say, but I care.”


Don’t say things like:

  • Be strong
  • Take a trip
  • It will be better soon
  • Count your blessings
  • You’re better off than most people
  • Keep your chin up
  • You must put it behind you and get on with your life
  • Time will heal
  • If there’s anything I can do, just let me know.

These platitudes alienate and do not help the griever.

Signs offer free hugs and express support for Isla Vista outside the Student Resource Building today. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Other resources and links:

Strategies for Managing Grief PDF

Understanding Grief PDF

Student Affairs Message to Faculty

Responding to a Campus Tragedy: Instructional Strategies for Instructors and TAs

Audio recap of the morning session by CAPS’ Dr. Turi Honegger:


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

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