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Graduate Peers Hours

Spring 2014

Academic Peer:
Torrey Trust

Mon: 1 to 4 p.m.
Tues: 1 to 4 p.m.
Wed: noon to 3 p.m. 

Diversity & Outreach Peer:
Hala Sun


Funding Peer:
Kyle Crocco


Writing Peer:
Ryan Dippre

Tues: 10 to 11 a.m. &
2 to 6 p.m.
Wed: 9 to 11 a.m.
Thurs: 10 to 11 a.m. 
Fri: 9 to 11 a.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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Gevirtz Dean Conoley Named President of Cal State Long Beach, the University’s First Female in the Role

Jane Close Conoley will be the seventh president in the history of Cal State Long Beach. Credit: Cal State Long BeachThe Dean of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, Jane Close Conoley, on Wednesday was named President of Cal State Long Beach, effective Aug. 1. She will be the first female to hold this position in the university’s 65-year history.

According to news reports, Long Beach Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal announced the news in a statement in which she praised Conoley as “a proven educator and leader whose vision will boost CSULB to even greater heights.”

In a statement, Conoley said: "Cal State Long Beach is renowned for its quality, diversity and global mission and it is an honor to be selected as the university’s next president. The excellence of its academic offerings, its storied athletic heritage and its unique location has made it one of CSU’s most popular campuses for prospective students.”

UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang, in an email to the campus community, thanked Conoley for her “extraordinary leadership” and  “distinguished contributions.”

“Dr. Conoley is well known for the depth and impact of her research on school psychology,” Chancellor Yang said in the email. “She has authored or edited 21 books and over one hundred articles and book chapters. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society.”

Dean Conoley served for eight months as Acting Chancellor of UC Riverside, and returned to UC Santa Barbara in August 2013.

For more information, read Chancellor Yang’s message to the Campus Community below and the following articles:

“New Cal State Long Beach president selected,” Los Angeles Times

“Jane Close Conoley to be first woman to lead CSULB,” Long Beach Press-Telegram

"First woman chosen to lead Cal State Long Beach," Orange County Register


January 29, 2014


Dear Colleagues:

Today the California State University Board of Trustees announced its selection of Jane Close Conoley, Dean of our Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, as the next president of California State University, Long Beach, effective August 1, 2014.

Our UC Santa Barbara community will feel her loss keenly. At the same time, we are proud and thrilled that Dean Conoley has been appointed to this important leadership position, where she will be able to contribute in new and exciting ways to California’s higher education system and our global academic community.

Dr. Jane Close Conoley served for eight months as Acting Chancellor at UC Riverside before returning to UCSB.We will move quickly to consult with our campus community and form a search advisory committee for our next GGSE Dean.

I am honored to take this opportunity to thank Dean Conoley for the extraordinary leadership she has provided to our Gevirtz School since 2006, as well as her distinguished contributions to UC as a whole, including her recent term as Acting Chancellor of UC Riverside.

Dr. Conoley is well known for the depth and impact of her research on school psychology. She has authored or edited 21 books and over one hundred articles and book chapters. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. Prior to joining UC Santa Barbara, Dr. Conoley served for ten years as dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University. Before that she was a professor, department chair, and associate dean for research and curriculum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She also has held faculty positions at Texas Woman’s University and Syracuse University, and has taught in public schools in both Texas and New York. She received her B.A. in psychology from the College of New Rochelle, and her Ph.D. in school psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Please join me in extending our warmest congratulations to Dean Conoley. We wish her all the best as she takes on this wonderful new challenge and opportunity.

Henry T. Yang


UCSB Grad Student Matt Cieslak on Team Studying Concussion-Related Brain Injury in NFL-GE Funded Research

Credit: NFL

With Super Bowl a week away, football is on the minds of many fans of the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. While they are preoccupied with party planning, player stats, and office pools, investigators at UCSB’s Brain Imaging Center are doing innovative research into brain injuries such as the concussions sustained during football games.

Professor Scott GraftonOfficials of the Head Health Challenge, a $60 million research initiative begun last year through an alliance between the National Football League and GE, announced last week that the imaging center’s Director, Professor Scott Grafton, has been named the winner of a $300,000 research grant.

The Head Health initiative aims to advance the development of technologies to detect early-stage mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBIs) and improve brain protection. These first-round grants, awarded to 16 recipients out of more than 400 entries from 27 countries, support innovation in testing and treatments that could help not only football players, but also military service members and others who sustain such brain injuries.

“Our effort is in developing imaging methods that serve as biomarkers for mild brain injury,” Director Grafton, a Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, said in an Office of Public Affairs and Communications news release. “Once you have a biomarker, you have a whole new toolbox for identifying appropriate therapies.”

Helping to work on that toolbox is Matthew Cieslak, a 4th-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

UCSB Ph.D. student Matt Cieslak wrote the software package being used in research at the UCSB Brain Imaging Center.Matt, who earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Computational Neuroscience from the University of Chicago in 2009, joined Dr. Grafton in this research upon his arrival at UCSB in 2010. Matt is interested in how action is represented in the brain, especially in the dynamics of networks that support the development and execution of expert motor skills.

“The project's goal is to take high-resolution scans of human brains and reconstruct the paths of connections between brain regions,” Matt said. “I developed the technique we're using to store and search through these data and wrote a software package that performs these operations.”

Dr. Grafton said studies have shown that repeated concussions can lead to a neurological condition called chronic progressive traumatic encephalopathy. “It’s a progressive degeneration of the brain,” he explained in the news release. “A lot of football players have been developing memory loss and other problems over the last decade. We don’t know how many have this condition.” Research through the Head Health Challenge will help to advance knowledge in this area.

In addition to Dr. Grafton, Matt works with Dr. Dani Bassett, Sage Junior Research Fellow and Postdoctoral Research Associate. They recently started collaborating with grad student Ben Baird from the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department, and they also have collaborators at Carnegie Mellon and Army Research Labs.

Matt says their studies have wider-reaching applications. “Searching for connections that were lost due to injury is only one application of our method,” he said. “It can also be used to search for differences in brain connectivity that occur during brain development. For example, we are working with Professor Roger Ingham in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences to characterize differences in brain connectivity between adults who stutter and a cohort of age-matched controls.”

The UCSB Brain Imaging Center's software in action. Courtesy photo: Matthew Cieslak

The beauty of the brain fascinates Matt. “The most striking thing for me still is looking at the reconstructions of white matter tracts,” he said. “With such high-resolution scans you can really appreciate how complex and beautiful the organization of the brain is.”

Mapping the connections between brain regions.Sharing tools and advancing others’ research are important to Matt. “One of the most satisfying parts of working on this project is being able to contribute open source software back to the neuroimaging community. This work wouldn't be possible if it weren't for others who have already contributed software.”

Unable to give details about their research subjects for privacy reasons, Matt did say that he has cousins who have sustained concussions while playing football, “but seem to have recovered with no long-term problems.”

When asked if he thinks the sport of football is too dangerous because of the risk of concussion, Matt replied that he isn’t qualified to answer that question.

“I've never been a football player and haven't seen any data from football players yet,” he said. “I think that in general it would be beneficial for society to be aware of how serious MTBI’s [mild traumatic brain injuries, or concussions] can be, then make informed decisions about which risky activities to engage in.”

Matt hopes to continue doing research after earning his doctorate, which he expects to receive in 2016. “As long as I have an interesting problem to work on and lots of data to look at, I could be happy almost anywhere.”

For more information about the Head Health Challenge, the Brain Imaging Center's work, and UCSB’s award, read the Office of Public Affairs and Communications news release and the NFL’s news release; and view the video below.


Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Lara Deek

GradPost Student Spotlight logo

If you use a smartphone, tablet, laptop, smart watch, or even Google Glass to access the Internet, then you know how valuable wireless networks are. However, with increasingly more individuals using wireless networks for transmitting and receiving data, these networks are becoming overcrowded (like the 405 freeway during rush hour). Luckily, we have students at UCSB working to solve this very problem.

Lara Deek, a Ph.D. candidate in the Computer Science department, is conducting research on designing more efficient and powerful wireless systems for emerging wireless networks. Lara has a B.S. in Computer and Communications Engineering from the American University of Beirut. Read on to learn more about Lara's research and her plans for being at the forefront of innovation in wireless solutions.

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

Lara Deek profileLara DeekMy research focuses on designing resource efficient systems for emerging wireless networks. This means that I find the next-generation technology in the wireless world that has significant potential to give us higher data rates and a better user experience, and I design systems that are able to efficiently achieve that promised potential. Achieving the full potential increase in bandwidth of these technologies is challenging and requires a fundamental understanding of how these technologies work and how best to exploit their bandwidth capacity. I use my knowledge base and expertise to design solutions to take full advantage of that potential.

Over the past decade, we have seen wireless networks gain considerable momentum over wired connections to become the primary mode of communication and Internet connectivity. I believe that through the design of efficient wireless systems, we can not only improve the state of current wireless networks, but also advance and impact a number of disciplines within and beyond computer science, leading to novel technologies and relevant research directions. Google Glass, for example, which has profound impact on society, is enabled through wireless connectivity.

It is exciting how the world is becoming more connected through wireless networks and how global interactions and events are occurring in real time. The improvement in wireless systems has and will continue to push the frontier of what is possible using the wireless medium. My vision is to work on the solutions that address the emerging research challenges in modern wireless networks, and particularly how to make these networks more efficient, reliable, and robust.

Tell us a little about your summer internship experience in Seattle. What did you learn?

Based on my experience, I would recommend that all computer science graduate students pursue summer internships. Summer internships are an excellent opportunity to figure out what you want to do, and possibly where you want to live, after graduate school. I would also recommend not to put off interning, especially as a Ph.D. student. You have to keep in mind that later on in your Ph.D. program, you will be set in your research direction, which might have implications on what internship opportunities you are willing to seek and accept. The earlier you start to intern, the better, as you most likely will have more flexibility to experiment. You also have to keep in mind that universities are rather empty during the summer. I personally was not able to be as productive with my work in such an environment. Note that I specify my productivity at work, as my productivity with other activities peaked during those times.

I first took advantage of summer internships to confirm whether I wanted to pursue a career in academia or in industry. I learned that the market is also more than just that polar distinction. You can also pursue a research career in industry or work on a startup. All of these careers are options you should not write off without some thought. Internships allow you to further experience these different environments. This knowledge prepares you to establish in your Ph.D. the relevant skills, competencies, and connections needed to pursue such careers. Finally concerning connections, another extremely important benefit of summer internships is the connections you make and the opportunities you get to collaborate with capable and brilliant people in your field. There is much to be gained from true collaborative work, including gaining knowledge and experience, and establishing lasting connections.

The summary is to not hold back on pursuing good summer internship opportunities. Trust your judgment of whether the internship you are granted would advance your knowledge or skills and get you closer to scoring that career that you want so much. Ask yourself with an open mind about whether it would be the best option, all options considered. Advisors should also help in making that final decision, as they know where you are in your Ph.D. career.

What has graduate student life been like for you?

In a nutshell, graduate life has been a wonderful, multi-dimensional experience. Professionally, graduate school has taken me through the steps and taught me the skills necessary in order to become an expert in my field. Developing all these skills has taken commitment, dedication, and drive. Often I would get impatient when I felt that I was not learning fast enough, but it is healthy to realize that you acquire these skills with experience, which naturally takes time. Furthermore, I am driven to be at the forefront of wireless networking research, which requires me to keep on learning, and I will just have to keep getting better at it.

Lara presenting her Ph.D. proposal.There are many other factors that contribute to the graduate experience. As I mentioned, internships are one factor, which I have personally learned significantly from. Another is a healthy relationship with your advisors. There is much that you can learn from your advisors. Networking with other researchers in my field at conferences and workshops was also fundamental to putting myself out there and working on the skill of engaging others in research-related discussions. This also helped me establish a network of collaborators and colleagues, where interesting research discussions can be generated. Another factor of graduate life that is often taken for granted is the people you are surrounded by. I am lucky to be surrounded by brilliant and driven professors and students in my department, who are wonderful people as well, and a lot of whom I have created lasting friendships with.

Finally, being at Santa Barbara and UCSB has also contributed significantly to my graduate life, and I am lucky to have come here. Being at UCSB allowed me to maintain and cultivate a very balanced lifestyle. I also feel that is the culture at UCSB, one of balance. The university also has excellent extracurricular programs to take advantage of, such as the Arts and Lectures Program, the Adventure Program, and many others. There is a lot that you can do at UCSB, and the fact that the school is in a beautiful place like Santa Barbara is a key component. There are very few other places where I would have had the opportunity to do everything that I have been able to do here in Santa Barbara, and I knew this when I applied to graduate school, which is why I chose to attend UCSB.

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

The source of motivation in my Ph.D. has been the relevancy of my research problems to our day-to-day interactions and lives, as well as the desire to be at the forefront of wireless networking research. As the wireless medium has become the primary source of communication and Internet connectivity, and as devices and wireless technologies become more sophisticated and capable, there has been a surge in the capacity demands of applications that run over these wireless devices. To sustain the volume and quality of service guarantees of the data generated, the opportunity and need to exploit complex wireless systems and technologies has firmly emerged as a solution to enable the timely and reliable delivery of data, while handling the inherent challenges of a crowded wireless medium, such as congestion and interference. My research is driven by the need to build efficient solutions and protocols with a sound theoretical foundation to address the challenges that arise in complex wireless systems. My work particularly focuses on the opportunities and challenges of sophisticated technology and systems in emerging wireless networks.

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

I would say that I am proud of being able to somehow balance both research and fitness in my life, two things I am passionate about. I think that an important emotion in life is to appreciate one's dedication to creating the lifestyle that makes them happy.

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?

Lara bouldering on the highly-rated Swiss Cheese Boulder in Washington.There are a number of things that I do to relax. Though if I really just want to relax (i.e., chillax), sometimes quiet time alone laying in the sun with my Kindle, or watching TV in the evening, are the most re-energizing things. As for hobbies, I am actually at the point where I have tried and liked more activities than I can actually consistently keep up with. Every time I try a new activity and like it, I somehow always seem to convince myself that someday I would be able to practice that activity regularly enough to be at a reasonable level of proficiency. The hobbies that I am consistent with, though, are rock climbing, ultimate Frisbee, yoga, fitness training/workout, and Argentine tango. One of my other favorite things to do is traveling. I love to experience different cultures, their cuisines, lifestyles, history, architecture, nature, and pastimes. I love to travel with an open mind.

Generally, having an active, dynamic, and connected life makes me happy.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

What people are truly surprised by (and I had to ask to find out) is my organizing skills. I guess people expect me to be super organized, which I am, but sometimes it just looks like a mess (i.e., organized disorder). The best example is the desktop screen on my 17-inch laptop. My friends are always baffled that I need to find space to save new documents to my desktop, since my desktop is just full of folders and files. I always tell them that I know exactly where everything is. Of course, that prompted them to rearrange my desktop screen in a failed attempt to confuse me.

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

Getting a Ph.D. has been a process of setting myself up for that career where I get to fully explore my research aspirations. In five to 10 years out of graduate school, I hope to be making significant research contributions in terms of advancing technologies and designing wireless systems that push the frontier of what is possible using the wireless medium. I would also like to be understanding the impact of my solutions on our day-to-day wireless-driven interactions and activities and how to make them more seamless, resource-efficient, and cost-effective. On the longer run, I would like to be collaborating with researchers from fields such as sociology, health, and medicine, to work on wireless technologies and devices that can be used to improve our quality of life. Ultimately, I would like to have settled into an academic and/or research-oriented career where I get to work on exactly these exciting topics in wireless networks.

Do you have any advice for current grad students?

I would say talk to someone if you are facing hurdles in your work, even if you are the type that prefers to handle things on your own. Sometimes somebody else has the solution, or can help you unlock your own solution.

Last but not least, you need to look toward the future and strive toward the lifestyle and career that makes you happy. That puts any sacrifice or hurdle within a much bigger picture or perspective.


To learn more about Lara, visit her ePortfolio:

Lara, center, dancing argentine tango at the Seattle Tango Magic Festival.


Less Than 15 Minutes of Fame: Kyle Crocco, Graduate Student in the Spotlight

Kyle Crocco, The Thinker, outside the Student Resource Building. "My father was a psychiatrist, which people say explains a lot about my behavior and personality," Kyle says. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

The GradPost’s new Funding Peer, Kyle Crocco, is a man of few words. This Education Ph.D. student thinks lives can be summed up succinctly. So he took our Graduate Student in the Spotlight questions and threw them out the window, so to speak. He categorized and rewrote the questions, then answered them in less than five minutes. He calls this “The Quick Graduate Student Interview.” Here, now, are the fast facts about Kyle Crocco.



Kyle Crocco, age 46

Year in grad school?

Second-year Ph.D.


Education (Writing Studies)

Expected graduation date?

June 2015, if all goes well.

What other degrees do you have?

BA History (Penn State); BA French, MA Foreign Language & Pedagogy (University of Delaware)


Where did you grow up?

Southeastern Pennsylvania near the border of Delaware.

What is the one thing people would find most interesting about your family, childhood, upbringing and/or early education?

My father was a psychiatrist, which people say explains a lot about my behavior and personality.

What is the one thing people would be most surprised to know about you? (Or to put it another way, what is one thing that most people don’t know about you?)

Kyle Crocco performs during an open mic night at Marquee on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara.I write original rock songs, play guitar, sing, and perform at open mics in Santa Barbara.


How would you describe your research in one sentence?

The differences in the use of visual and textual rhetoric when portraying a university's academic identity in their domestic and international viewbooks.


What is the single most important thing you wish you had known before you started grad school?

How to find funding, which may explain why I’m the Funding Peer now.


What is your favorite thing to do to relax? (a hobby, pastime, favorite place to go, favorite thing to do).

Have a good beer or coffee with friends in downtown Santa Barbara.


What is your biggest accomplishment in life and why?

Publishing two humorous fantasy novels in my 20s: “Heroes, Inc.” and “Heroes Wanted.”  Now I realize how difficult that was since I have not been able to publish any novels since that time.

What one event had the biggest impact or influence on you and helped shape who you are today?

Learning the French language changed my career path from writing into academics, opened my eyes to multicultural viewpoints, got me to travel the world, and showed me that you can accomplish anything in life if you work hard enough and are passionate about it.


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

Being tenured, but still writing, playing, and performing music.

Funding Peer Kyle Crocco thinks people don't want to spend a lot of time reading about other people. Hence, this "Quick Graduate Student Interview." Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Writing Peer Advisor Ryan Dippre

Ryan Dippre says that coaches – the athletic kind – have helped shape who he is today. Ryan himself has coached, mentored, and taught students in the art and craft of writing since 2006.

Ryan, a third-year Ph.D. candidate in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education with an emphasis in Language, Literacy, and Composition Studies, became a high school English teacher in Milford, Pa., straight out of Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where he earned a B.A. in English and a Pennsylvania teaching certificate.

Ryan says he’s “had a lot of license plates,” having lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and now California. But the newlywed plans to stay put here for a while as he pursues his Ph.D. and his research into how students develop as writers.

Ryan shares what motivates him; how he relaxes; what he wished he had known before starting grad school; how he helps UCSB grad students as Writing Peer Advisor; and more.

Please tell us about your education.

Ryan DippreI am a third-year Ph.D. candidate in the school of Education. My Ph.D. will be in Teaching and Learning with an emphasis on Literacy, Language, and Composition Studies and an interdisciplinary emphasis in Writing Studies. I am expecting to graduate in June 2015.

I earned my bachelor’s degree in English at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where I also earned my Pennsylvania teaching certificate. I began teaching high school English after graduating in 2006, and I picked up a master’s degree from Wilkes in Educational Development and Strategies in 2010. 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up primarily in northeastern Pennsylvania (born in Scranton), although my family moved around to New York and New Jersey on occasion. My parents moved to New York shortly after I graduated high school, and I moved back into Pennsylvania after I graduated college, so I’ve had a lot of license plates. 

My fiancé, Lindsey, and I were married this past June [2013]. I have been in graduate school at UCSB since 2011, but Lindsey moved out here after completing her MA studies at CU Boulder shortly after the honeymoon. 

Ryan and his wife, Lindsey, on their wedding day in Waverley, Pa., in June 2013.

Are there any events that had a big impact on you and/or helped shape who you are today?

Sports have played an enormous role in my life [he played center on his college’s football team], and I think the coaches that I both played for as a student and worked for as a coach have really shaped who I am. As for specific moments, I think being hired right out of college as a teacher really helped me. Instead of job hunting, I had time to grow as a teacher, which led me to my Master’s degree, some publications, and eventually the decision to go to graduate school.

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

I am interested in how students develop as writers in the context of their pasts, their relationships with teachers, and their interactions with other students in the classroom. While I was teaching high school, I saw the highly interconnected nature of writing development, social interaction, and personal history. When I arrived at UCSB, I started kicking around how I could look at the way those elements constituted one another. I started with research on my own commenting practices and worked from there into observations of other teachers’ classrooms.

What do you wish you had known before you started grad school?

I wish someone would have told me about how lonely it can get, especially at first, and even more especially after having taught K-12. I went from interacting with 200 people a day to only a handful of people, and that was a really big difference. I spent a lot of my first year wondering where everybody went. Eventually you adjust, you meet more people, and you end up too busy to think about it, but it was one big change that I did not see coming. Or, rather, one that I did not anticipate would necessarily be negative (I usually began hating my name around mid-April during the school year.  “Mr. Dippre!” “Mr. Dippre!” “Mr. Dippre!”).

What do you like most about grad school and what do you like least?

I really love the freedom that our program has to let us explore what we find most important and most meaningful. I have milestones to reach, of course, but I also have time to explore areas besides my main focus and work on topics that I find interesting. I usually end up finding that these side topics inform the research being used for my milestones. 

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

I’m really motivated by my research topic, so that has been a driving factor for me in my work. I find it fascinating, and I like to look into it any chance I get. I think that has really helped me push my own work along. Also, I enjoy collaborative work with some of the other people in my Writing Studies emphasis, and they’re a lot of fun to work with, so that pushes me as well.

Who are your heroes or mentors and why?

Ryan Dippre (No. 57) played center on Wilkes University's football team in 2005.I have had a lot of mentors over the years. My high school and college coaches really guided me through a lot of challenges, and they helped me understand how to see things through. When I first began teaching, I was assigned a “mentor teacher,” Sue, who really lived up to her title. She helped me navigate the paperwork-laden world of high school teaching, and also helped me think about the bigger picture within which I was teaching. 

What do you do to relax and have fun?

I am a huge football fan, so in the rare amounts of spare time that I get, I enjoy watching, reading about, listening to, or talking about football. If football’s not on, I tend to binge-watch Netflix or read.  I also like to exercise, although right now my diet is so terrible I’m not sure if it’s a hobby or a survival skill.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Whenever I say “my diet starts on Monday,” I’m lying. My closer friends may have already pieced this one together.

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

I hope to be teaching and conducting research at the university level. 

Do you have any advice for current grad students?

Make the most of your time in Santa Barbara. Go to all of the events that you can, both on-campus and off-campus. You want to come away from this time with more than just a degree.

Explain what you do in your role as Writing Peer Advisor. What are your goals as Writing Peer Advisor?

As a writing peer I hold workshops, write about writing for the GradPost, and work one-on-one with students on specific writing assignments. My goal as the Writing Peer is to help students tap into their already-extensive rhetorical knowledge and use it in new ways to accomplish the unique writing goals of graduate school. I also try to help students analyze and, when necessary, alter their writing habits.


Geography Professor Michaelsen Named UCSB's Interim Executive Vice Chancellor

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

January 13, 2014


Dear Colleagues:

In June I wrote to you about the intention of Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas to retire on December 31, 2013, following 11 years of outstanding leadership as our EVC, and a highly distinguished career at UC Santa Barbara spanning nearly four decades.

We congratulate Gene on his remarkable achievements and contributions to our academic community, and we wish him and Susan all the best as they embark on a new life adventure together.

Professor Joel MichaelsenFollowing broad consultation with our Academic Senate and administrative and faculty colleagues, I am pleased to announce that Professor Joel Michaelsen has graciously agreed to serve as our Interim Executive Vice Chancellor, effective Friday, January 17, 2014, pending Presidential approval, until the next EVC is in place.

As a UCSB alumnus and distinguished faculty member since 1982, Professor Michaelsen has lent his wisdom and expertise to help our university in countless ways over the years, including as chair of our Academic Senate from 2006 to 2010, and as department chair of Geography from 1991 to 1997. He is an exemplar of the importance and value of shared governance at UC Santa Barbara, and has chaired or served on a broad range of campus committees, including the Chancellor’s Coordinating Committee on Budget Strategy, Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Faculty and Staff Housing, Campus Planning Committee, Design Review Committee, Chancellor’s Campus Sustainability Committee, and many more.

Dr. Michaelsen is a dedicated teacher and mentor, and an outstanding researcher, renowned for his expertise in climatology, climate change, and statistics. Within our Department of Geography, he founded the UCSB Climate Hazard Group, which specializes in looking at the climate-related components of food-security in developing nations through the lens of geography.

Former EVC Gene LucasWe greatly appreciate Professor Michaelsen’s long-standing devotion to our campus, and his willingness to help ensure a smooth transition by taking on this critical interim role.

The search for our next Executive Vice Chancellor is already well underway. Professor Michaelsen is chairing that search advisory committee, and I again extend my sincere thanks to him and to all of our committee members, as listed in my July 8 campus memo announcing the committee’s formation.

Please join me in extending our heartfelt thanks and best wishes to EVC Lucas. Please also join me in welcoming Professor Michaelsen as Interim EVC, and thanking him for his willingness to assume the responsibilities of this important leadership position.


Henry T. Yang




‘Tenured Professor’ and ‘Librarian’: Are These Really Low-Stress Careers? We Interview UCSB Faculty and Librarians

A study by caught our attention recently. The career information website issued its annual lists of the 10 Least Stressful and 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2014. CareerCast proclaimed that “Tenured University Professor” is the No. 4 Least Stressful Job and “Librarian” is No. 8 on its low-stress meter.

To compile these rankings, CareerCast focused on 11 job demands that it considers likely to increase stress, such as job growth potential; amount of travel involved; competitiveness within the organization; physical exertion; hazards and environmental conditions; and risk to one’s own life or to the lives of others. What CareerCast didn’t do was interview or survey the people who hold these positions. Instead, it examined figures from such places as the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and trade groups.

We decided to interview tenured professors and academic librarians at UCSB to get the real scoop on stress. What we found is that these careers, like any others, do have their challenges and stressors. However, professors and librarians we interviewed said they enjoy the intellectual stimulation; freedom to pursue research; schedule flexibility; and diversity of duties that come with working at one of the world’s top-tier research institutions.

Here’s what we learned from our UCSB colleagues, followed by’s lists of 10 Most Stressful and 10 Least Stressful Jobs of 2014.


Eileen Boris, Hull Professor and Chair, Department of Feminist Studies

“Getting a tenured job is among the most stressful, as is receiving tenure! The UC system with its constant merit review, however, keeps the pressure on if you want to get a salary raise.

I often find myself working 24/7 because of all the responsibilities that come with full professor status. That, too, can be stressful.

But knowing that I have ‘security of employment’ allows me to explore new areas of research and experiment in pedagogy.” 


Jane Faulkner, Outreach and Academic Collaboration, UCSB Library

“Well, shoot, given the definition of ‘stressful’ (and I'm a librarian; I looked it up), how could I disagree with this? My average day doesn't involve high-stakes situations or life-threatening dangers, and even the demanding parts of the job aren't that bad. 

Yes, we have to deal with budget cuts and lack of space and demanding patrons and all that, but honestly, I see those as challenges rather than stressors. I have always thought that being an academic librarian is a marvelous job. I like being surrounded every day by smart people who are eager to learn.”


Glenn Beltz, Professor and Associate Dean, Mechanical Engineering

“I was concerned about the very idea of ranking careers on a stress spectrum. Such an exercise suggests stress in various types of careers can even be defined and measured, and is a consistent experience over many people pursuing said career. It is probably fair to say that most careers have certain stressful elements, and how people deal with such stressors can be varied. Also, my concern with a list of ‘least stressful’ jobs, and that ‘tenured university professor’ appears on it, suggests in some way that it is a ‘cushy’ job. I would argue that it's not a cushy job at all. It is a very challenging and demanding career to be in, and for an overwhelming majority of my hard-working and smart colleagues at UCSB and elsewhere, it is a very rewarding pursuit.

The things I like best about my job are that the human interaction element is huge, and that no two days are exactly alike. In a given day, I get to talk to students, other professors, professional staff, administrators, and everyone else who plays some part in our campus community. If I'm not teaching, I am addressing some issue, which might range from determining who is going to teach what class next quarter to preparing our programs to be reviewed by outside accrediting agencies. It's sometimes stressful, and oftentimes requires some diplomacy or negotiation skills, but it’s rarely something that makes me want to go screaming down that hall or quit my job. To the contrary, I think it's a great job and I'd do it all over again if we could rewind the clock a couple of decades.”


John Majewski, Professor, Department of History, and Associate Dean, Humanities and Fine Arts

"Rather than think about ‘low’ stress or ‘high’ stress, perhaps we should think about different types of stress. I'm blessed to be in a profession where I have excellent job security, a middle-class salary, great colleagues, and flexibility with my time. On the other hand, many tenured faculty I know feel stretched thin by all of the commitments to research, service, and teaching, and budget cuts to staff and services adds to the stress. It’s also important to keep in mind that there is a certain public element to academic life that can be inherently stressful – the fear of a bad lecture or a subpar conference paper haunts us all. And getting to a tenured position is incredibly stressful, especially considering the rotten job market that many fields have faced over the years. So while I feel very lucky to be at a place such as UCSB, stress is part of the life of every academic."


Rebecca Metzger, Outreach and Academic Collaboration, UCSB Library

“I was interested to see that ‘Newspaper Reporter’ landed on the top 10 most stressful jobs while ‘Librarian’ landed on the 10 least stressful. In many ways, these are comparable industries and jobs. says that newspapers are ‘cutting back on staff,’ ‘requiring … longer hours at lower pay’ and that reporters are now required to be ‘masters of new online technologies’ in a job with a ‘high public profile.’ The exact same words could be used to describe libraries and librarians! Librarianship is a rapidly changing profession. Anyone who selects a career as a librarian today must be adaptable, able to learn new technologies quickly and teach others how to navigate an increasingly digital and overwhelming information environment. In a day on the job as an academic librarian, one might: help a student at the reference desk conduct research and construct a bibliography; introduce a visiting speaker at an event; troubleshoot online access problems for remote patrons; update the website; make decisions about buying collections within a limited budget; and teach courses on conducting library research. Libraries are increasingly busy places and busy places can get stressful! But I enjoy the activity and diversity of my job and the passion that my colleagues bring to it, even if it is stressful sometimes.”

 Credit: Suzanne BernelKip Fulbeck, Professor, Department of Art

“I'd venture whoever did this ranking doesn't have a clue. The stress level, at least for me, is pretty significant. Granted, there is dead wood at every campus who take advantage of the tenure system to coast and boast and for them maybe the job is stress-free, but for the rest of us who not only have to do our jobs but also make up for these lightweights, it can be really, really tough. This is one of the only jobs I know where there is no punishment for being a [jerk], for demanding to only be on campus one day a week or teach only at certain hours, or for treating staff, students, or junior faculty rudely.

Less competitiveness within the organization? What planet are you from? My job is physically as well as intellectually and emotionally demanding.

OK. What do I like most? Once I jettisoned the prima donnas, I've been able to surround myself with a vibrant, stimulating, and creative group of faculty, staff, and students. Being among driven artists is a privilege. It makes me push my own work and also challenges me to keep developing myself as a teacher. I love the freedom to produce my own work, to push against conventional boundaries and separations, and to change education for the better.” 

Eric R.A.N. Smith, Professor, Political Science

"Being a professor is a wonderful career because of the flexibility it offers. You can do a lot of work at home (and avoid commuting and traffic jams). You can choose your own research topics. If you get burned out in one area, you can move to another. I know someone who specialized in urban politics and then slowly moved into studying African politics. I started off researching and teaching public opinion and elections; now I study and teach mostly environmental politics and policy. That intellectual journey keeps people fresh and excited about what they are doing. It’s simple. You can do what you like. That’s why it’s not stressful.

Being a professor can be a family-friendly job if you want. I admit that you have to put in a lot of hours, but you can work out a schedule that fits around your family. I volunteered in my daughters’ classrooms; I was active in the PTA; I coached their soccer teams from AYSO through high school. OK, I also sat in front of my computer a lot of nights. Who cares? It paid off for all of us. That is why it is a wonderful career."


Whitney Winn, Teen Services Librarian at King County Library System, formerly Director of Career and Professional Development, UCSB Graduate Division

"I'm not sure I would call being a librarian a low-stress job. Of course, there are many different types of librarian positions and work environments, but working in a public library can be quite demanding and fast-paced. At any moment, you need to be ready to respond to the public's needs, whether that's helping a 10-year-old find a good book to read, getting someone set up with their first email address, or just figuring out why the printer isn't working. You also have to be able to switch modes quickly because in any day you might have to put on an event for a group of teenagers, meet with community leaders outside of the library, order new books for the library, and put together plans and publicity for an upcoming event. But the varied nature of the work is one of the reasons I love this job, so it's not (always) stressful for me."’s Most Stressful Jobs of 2014

1. Enlisted military personnel

2. Military general 

3. Firefighter

4. Airline pilot

5. Event coordinator

6. Public relations executive

7. Senior corporate executive 

8. Newspaper reporter

9. Police officer

10. Taxi driver’s Least Stressful Jobs of 2014

1. Audiologist

2. Hair stylist

3. Jeweler

4. Tenured university professor

5. Seamstress or tailor

6. Dietitian

7. Medical records technician

8. Librarian

9. Multimedia artist

10. Drill press operator


Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Veronica Lavenant Fematt

UCSB graduate student spotlight logoVeronica Fematt is a passionate and dedicated graduate student who is actively involved in creating a better college and graduate school experience for Latino students. Veronica is in her fourth year in the Educational Leadership and Organizations Ph.D. program in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. She received her B.A. in Sociology from UCLA and has an A.A. from Rio Hondo Community College in Whittier.

In this student spotlight article, Veronica shares how her educational and life experiences shaped her research and motivated her to pursue a Ph.D.

Tell us about yourself.

My parents are both from Mexico. After they were married, they immigrated to Long Beach, California, which is where my three sisters and I were born. I am the second eldest in my family. I lived in Long Beach until I was in the second grade, when we moved to Monterey Park, California. My father educated himself and worked his way from a machine shop sweeper to a real estate broker and eventually opened his own business. I would say we were a perfect representation of the American Dream realized – at least up until my parents got divorced and my father left. The divorce coincided with an economic recession, so my parents filed for bankruptcy and we lost everything. I was starting high school at the time.

Veronica Fematt, right, with her mother and three sisters.My mother became a displaced homemaker, spoke limited English, and was left with four daughters to care for on her own. Consequently, we were forced to apply for government assistance and moved into a small apartment in East Los Angeles. My parents’ divorce and the quick loss of economic security took an emotional toll on me and I began acting out. I started skipping school and was eventually placed in a continuation high school. I chose to enroll in home studies, where my schoolwork consisted of photocopied pages of a coloring book for “Art” and a how-to-parenting manual for “Health.” My requests for more challenging coursework were ignored. It became clear to me that I was expected to be nothing more than another statistic.

It was during this time that I began to question the role of education in empowering or, in my case, disempowering students. I felt betrayed by my school and the education system in general. I questioned whether my experience was typical for low-income students of color. I also began to reflect on my mother’s experience and realized that her lack of a formal education had put her at a real disadvantage when my father left. It was the culmination of these experiences that propelled me to change my life’s direction and pursue a postsecondary education.

Veronica Fematt at her 2002 graduation from Rio Hondo College.Immediately following my high school graduation, I enrolled at Rio Hondo Community College. As a first-generation college student, I had no idea where my path would lead. All I knew was that I didn’t want anyone else to be subjected to the same type of demeaning educational experience I had received. The direction I needed to pursue became clear when I took my first sociology course. It was then that I came to understand my educational experience within the context of educational inequity. Soon after, I declared sociology as my major and transferred to UCLA.

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

My research is on the community college-to-transfer pathway. I am currently working on two research projects. My first project, the Transfer Student Transition Survey (TSTS), is a mixed methods study on the post-transfer experience of community college transfer students at UCSB. As a former transfer student, I know the transition to a 4-year research university can be challenging. When I started my graduate career I was pleased to find out that UCSB offered a transfer student success course, ED 118: The Research University and the Transfer Student Experience, which helps facilitate the transition of first-year transfer students. I jumped at the opportunity to collect data, so every year I survey and interview a new transfer student cohort. My study compares the post-transfer experience of course participants to non-participants.

My second project, the Latino Male Academic Narrative Study (LMANS), is an interview study. I am interviewing Latino males who transferred from a community college to UCSB. The purpose of this study is to identify the familial, peer, motivational, and structural factors, which enabled these students to successfully transfer to a top-ranking institution. In other words, I am looking at the academic trajectory of Latinos through a cultural wealth perspective. I was motivated to do this study when I learned that much of the literature on Latino males is framed from a cultural deficit perspective (i.e., high school dropouts, school-to-prison pipeline). As a Mexican-American graduate researcher, I wanted to provide an avenue for these students to share their success stories.

Describe your activities and involvements at UCSB. How have these activities and involvements helped you as a student or helped shape your future career?

Veronica Fematt with UCEC colleaguesVeronica with UC Educational Evaluation Center colleaguesI am involved in several projects and groups here at UCSB. I work closely with the Associate Dean of Students, Dr. Don Lubach, providing feedback on the transfer student success course. I am a member of the Higher Education Research Group (HERG), which is composed of several graduate students from the department of Education. As a group, we share intersecting research interests on issues relating to community colleges and the transfer pathway.

I am also one of the founding members of the Higher Education Action and Research Consortium (HEARC), which is a graduate student-led organization. The purpose of our group is to provide an inter-departmental platform for the discussion of trends and policy implications impacting postsecondary education. HEARC invites faculty guest speakers to share their research interests and organizes professional development workshops for graduate students.

Additionally, I am employed as a graduate student program evaluator through a collaborative partnership between UCSB’s Office of Education Partnerships (OEP) and Oxnard College. I evaluate STEM programs for Oxnard College, which aim to increase the number of Latino students who pursue STEM degrees/careers.

Veronica FemattVeronica FemattThere is no doubt these activities have enriched my graduate student experience. I have acquired valuable skills I would not have otherwise been able to cultivate had I not invested myself into these opportunities. Through these collaborative efforts, I have formed strong relationships with people who have similar research interests and goals. I believe my experience at UCSB has made me a strong candidate for a future career in academia.

What has graduate student life been like for you?

I love my graduate student experience. I was fortunate to enter graduate school with a great cohort, from which I have established strong friendships. I am working on issues that I am passionate about and I have an advisor, Dr. Gerber, who is nothing but supportive and provides me with great guidance.

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

My mother has been a great source of inspiration. She has persevered through so much adversity. She was able to take her family off government assistance, become a real estate agent, and support her family all on her own. Knowing the challenges she has overcome makes it impossible for me to call anything difficult.

Another source of motivation has been my own experience navigating through the education system, which has shaped my research interests. I would not be here today had I not been able to transfer from a community college. Community colleges are second-chance institutions, especially for low-income students of color. Getting more students through the community college-to-transfer pathway and bringing diversity to 4-year institutions drives my research.

Name an accomplishment you are most proud of and why.

Veronica Fematt UC Abroad photoVeronica in Italy. Veronica participated in the UC Abroad Program while attending UCLA.I am most proud of being accepted to UCLA. At the time I applied, all I knew about UCLA was that it was a good school. I was completely oblivious to UCLA’s national standing. So, as a first-generation college student who graduated from a continuation school, getting accepted to a world-renowned institution was a huge accomplishment.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? (Or put another way, what is one thing most people don’t know about you?)

I enjoy watching X-Games, Monster Jam, and Motocross. Had I not entered academia, I think I would have made an excellent racecar driver.

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

I hope to be a professor at a research intensive (R1) university.

Do you have any advice for current grad students?

Make the most of your time as a graduate student. If you don’t have the support you need in your department or university, create it. If you want to work with a specific professor, reach out and make it happen. Take charge of your graduate experience.

Where can students find additional information about HEARC?

To learn more about HEARC events please find us on Facebook or email us at:


UC Santa Barbara Goes Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free

Signboards about the new smoke-free and tobacco-free policy have been placed throughout the campus. Credit: Patricia MarroquinEffective last week, our campus is now smoke-free and tobacco-free. You may have seen signboards, such as the one pictured here, around campus. “A smoke-free and tobacco-free environment will save lives and improve the health of our community," UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang said. "We thank you for not smoking or using any tobacco products on campus.” The following official information outlines the new policy:

As of January 2014, the entire University of California system, including UCSB, is smoke-free and tobacco-free. Smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and unregulated products will not be allowed on UC-owned or leased properties.

UC Santa Barbara is committed to providing students, faculty, staff, and visitors with a smoke-free and tobacco-free environment. Under the authority of California Government Code 7597.1, smoking and the use of all tobacco products, the use of smokeless tobacco products, and the use of unregulated nicotine products (e.g., "e-cigarettes") are prohibited anywhere at all indoor and outdoor spaces managed by UC Santa Barbara.

Violations of the adopted policy by students, faculty, and staff may result in University disciplinary action. Campus visitors will be asked to comply with the policy or leave campus.

A smoke-free and tobacco-free environment will save lives and improve the health of our community. We thank you for not smoking or using any tobacco products on campus.

What the Policy Means

All UCSB-managed properties (facilities, buildings, grounds, athletics properties) are smoke-free and tobacco-free, regardless of whether or not notices are posted.

Exceptions to the Policy (tobacco use may be permitted under the following circumstances):

  • Research involving tobacco or tobacco products, upon review and approval by the Office of Research in consultation with the Executive Vice Chancellor.
  • For educational or clinical purposes, upon review and approval by the Executive Vice Chancellor of a submitted request for exception.
  • In traditional ceremonies of recognized cultural and religious groups and theatrical productions that require smoking, upon review and approval by the Executive Vice Chancellor of a submitted request for exception.
  • Smoke, like any other air contaminant, must be controlled. It is required that all requests for exceptions be reviewed by the Director of Environmental Health and Safety and the Campus Fire Marshal.

Non-Permitted Items and Activities

  • All forms of smoking, tobacco use, and unregulated nicotine products, including but not limited to:
    • cigarettes, cigars (commercially or self-rolled)
    • pipes, hookahs, water pipes
    • electronic cigarettes
    • smokeless tobacco (e.g., snuff, snus, chew)
  • Tobacco use including smoking, chewing, dipping, or any other use of tobacco products.
  • Smoking refers to inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying of any lighted or heated tobacco product, as well as non-tobacco smoking substances and smoking instruments.

Additional Restrictions

The sale or distribution of smoking, tobacco, and unregulated nicotine products on or within UCSB-managed property is prohibited. Additionally, advertising smoking, tobacco, and unregulated nicotine products in University publications and within UCSB-managed property is prohibited.

More information about the policy, including the full text, is available at The site also provides information about resources for those who want to kick the tobacco habit.


Stinky Flower, Glass Blower, Students in the Spotlight, and More: The GradPost's Top 13 Stories of 2013 

On this last day of the year, we thought we’d take a look back at our readership numbers to determine which of our articles were the most read in 2013. What we found is that you, our loyal GradPost readers, enjoy reading about the lives and accomplishments of your fellow students and alumni, such as Chicana and Chicano Studies Ph.D. student Ester Trujillo and Physics Ph.D. alum Kohl Gill. You want to find out how you can improve your career and professional development skills, such as establishing a digital reputation and dressing your best for a job interview. Of course, you also just like to read a good human interest story, whether it’s the blooming of a rare, stinky “corpse flower” at the campus greenhouse or the skills involved in scientific glass blowing.

Here now are the GradPost’s top 13 most-read stories originally published in 2013, followed by a list of six other noteworthy articles that just missed the list.

1. Using Body Language to Your Advantage During a Job Interview

As Academic Peer Advisor Torrey Trust points out, body language reflects what you are really thinking, whether consciously or subconsciously. It can affect you negatively if you’re unaware you are using your body in an unprofessional or threatening manner.  Torrey offers some sources for more information about body language.

2. How to Dress Your Best for Job Interviews and Beyond

Wardrobe Wisdom founder and owner Lori Cooper presents the basics for making a positive first impression during job interviews and in the work environment. In her “Dress Your Best for Job Interviews and Beyond” workshop, offered through UCSB’s Career Services, Cooper gives advice for proper professional clothing and where to buy it; suggestions for good grooming; and the importance of doing a dry run before the interview, among other valuable tips.

Visitors react to the pungent aroma of the corpse flower. Credit: George Foulsham

3. Rare Corpse Flower to Bloom at UCSB Biology Greenhouse

Chanel, the rare flowering plant known as Titan Arum, caused quite a stink around campus this year. Also called a “corpse flower,” this plant attracted media coverage from all over the globe as everyone waited for it to bloom, a rare occurrence. Once it bloomed, hundreds of visitors swarmed the campus, waiting in long lines at the greenhouse to witness and be photographed with the smelly plant.

Flames are reflected in scientific glass blower Richard Bock's protective glasses as he works. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

4. Glass Blower Richard Bock Has Created Lab Instruments for UCSB Grad Students for a Decade

Working behind the scenes to help students with their research is Richard Bock, a scientific glass blower in UCSB’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. Grad students and professors working in labs on campus come to him for repairs of their laboratory glass apparatus or for custom glasswork that can’t be ordered from a catalogue. Read about the interesting work this third-generation glass blower does for grad students and postdocs.

Materials Ph.D. student Peter Mage is the inaugural winner of the Grad Slam. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

5. Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Grad Slam Winner Peter Mage

Materials Ph.D. student Peter Mage was the winner of the Graduate Division’s inaugural Grad Slam competition this year. Grad Slam participants presented their best three-minute research talks, and Peter spoke about the use of new technologies to detect and treat diseases. Peter discusses what it was like to participate in the Grad Slam and what graduate student life has been like for him.

6. Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Renuka Shenoy

Renuka Shenoy, a third-year Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering, spends her free time as a D.J. for the India Show on KCSB and performs in several musical groups. She talks about her research topic, Pattern Recognition in Bio-Image Informatics, and what it’s like to be a radio disc jockey and sing in a capella and choir groups.

New UCSB grad students got acquainted through a speed-dating type of icebreaker activity. Credit: Torrey Trust

7. Who’s New in UCSB Grad School: We Break Down the Stats and Interview Incoming Students

The more than 800 new graduate students to UCSB this year are an interesting and diverse group. They were born in 42 states or District of Columbia, and internationally, they came from 29 countries. Men outnumber the women, but not by much. Some are in their teens and others are in their mid-60s. We present interesting statistics about this incoming class and interview six new students, hailing from Illinois and Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., and India.

8. Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Bryce Boe

Bryce Boe, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Computer Science, discusses his research on the development of automated computer science tools for use by students and instructors in classrooms. He also talks about his involvement in starting a UCSB subreddit.  

Ester Trujillo with her parents and siblings at Graduate Division Commencement in 2012, where she received her master's degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies.

9. Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Ester Trujillo

Chicana and Chicano Studies doctoral student Ester Trujillo wants to bring out of the shadows a population she calls largely invisible: U.S. residents of Salvadoran descent. Her research focuses on this group. She discusses this important research; who motivates her; her goals and proudest accomplishments; and more.

10. Physics Ph.D. Alum Kohl Gill: How His Career Path Took Him From Science Labs to Labor Rights

UCSB Physics Ph.D. alum Dr. Kohl Gill addresses students in a Career Day Colloquium in January. Photo credit: Patricia Marroquin

Dr. Kohl Gill earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in Physics from UCSB.  After several years of doing government work involving “the science of science policy,” Dr. Gill took a new path to pursue his passion, founding the labor rights nonprofit LaborVoices. Dr. Gill discusses how his career trajectory led him from science labs to labor rights.

11. Building a Digital Reputation: Part I (Defensive Strategies)

What shows up in a Google search of your name can affect your job opportunities, your ability to build a network of contacts, and can even affect how other people interact with you, Academic Peer Advisor Torrey Trust writes. She explains what a digital reputation is and how to build one; and offers defensive strategies to improve your online presence.

12. Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Mario Galicia Jr.

Mario Galicia Jr. and his wife, Maria.For Mario Galicia Jr., a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, the journey through graduate education has involved creating a family and career while becoming acculturated to a world outside of the environment he grew up knowing. Living in a gang-dominated area as a child, he could not have envisioned attending graduate school. Mario talks about how the help and support he received from others led him to pursue four college degrees. He also shares his accomplishments, heroes, and hobbies.

13. Excellence in Teaching Award Winners Recognized at GSA Assembly Meeting

The GSA Excellence in Teaching Award honors graduate students who are dedicated to designing effective learning environments, building relationships with students, and working tirelessly to improve student learning. There were more than 500 nominations for 150 teaching assistants and associates. The GradPost presents the awardees: two winners and one honorable mention in four categories (Social Science, Humanities and Fine Arts, STEM, and Teaching Associates).

We’d also like to acknowledge six other noteworthy stories that just missed this list:


Associate Dean Don Lubach's bicycle was recovered by UCSB police.

Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Jennifer Guerrero

UCSB’s Materials, Chemical Engineering, Education Among Top Grad Programs in U.S. News Rankings

Lost and Found: Associate Dean Recovers a Bicycle, Shares Valuable Lessons Learned

It Was a Record 112 Degrees at UCSB Bren School’s 2013 Commencement

Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Crystal Bae

Free Talk ‘A Night With the Nobel Laureates’ Is Tonight at Hatlen


Here’s to a Happy New Year for all our GradPost readers!

Keep reading us for more fascinating stories in 2014!

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