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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Spring 2015
Peer Advisor Availability

Professional Development Peer, Shawn Warner-Garcia
Monday: 10 a.m. to noon
Wednesday: 10 a.m. to noon
Friday: 10 a.m. to noon

Funding Peer, Kyle Crocco
Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Writing Peer, Ryan Dippre
Monday: 1:30 to 4 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 to 11 a.m., 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Communications Peer, Melissa Rapp
Monday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Thursday: 2 to 4 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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How Funny Is Your Dissertation?

frustated man

Your dissertation topic is probably more humorous than you thought. Or at least it is when you reduce your years of hard work into one brief sentence everyone can understand.

For a little levity and brevity you might want to check out, the dissertation humor site.

Created by Angela Frankel (, a senior at Harvard University, her site is a place for thesis writers to sum up their "years of work in one sentence" with mostly humorous, or sad, results (depending on your level of cynicism).

Here are two recent one line summaries to give you the flavor of the submissions:

"Pain is hard to talk about; poetry, masochism, and opium help."

"19th century Western libraries stole a bunch of shit from other countries and put it in display cases."

For more about Angela and her site, check out the Slate article "College Students' Thesis Topics Are Hilarious, Depressing" by .


Interfaith Leadership Institute Opportunity; Deadline Is February 2

The UCSB Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public Life is seeking student leaders (with religious or non-religious identities) to assist in establishing an Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) chapter here at UC Santa Barbara. The students selected must attend the Interfaith Leadership Institute for a training workshop on Saturday, February 14; Sunday, February 15; and Monday, February 16, in Los Angeles (all expenses paid).

The following information comes from Student Affairs’ Miles W. Ashlock Burke on behalf of the Capps Center and IFYC:

IFYC and the Capps Center view religious and philosophical traditions as potential bridges of cooperation, and that we are better together.

Better Together helps students build interfaith cooperation on their campuses. The campaign consists of student-led events that create space for people to voice their values, engage with people across lines of religious difference and act together to make a better world.

If you are excited about being a part of interfaith action on your campus and interested being a leader, we invite you to apply. Please write a one-paragraph statement that details why you are interested in or passionate about interfaith action and would like to serve as a student leader. You must submit the paragraph to Kelli Coleman Moore at no later than 11:59 p.m. Monday, February 2.

The Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at UCSB promotes discussion of how ethical teachings and values relate to civic life – at local, national, and global levels. It is committed to the fundamental belief that public dialogue and an informed and engaged citizenry are vital to democratic society. Non-partisan and non-sectarian, the Center seeks to strengthen and extend the principles on which such diverse, modern society rests, namely, tolerance and respect for the views of others, the practice of civility, and efforts at achieving the common good.


UCSB CARE Program Offers Round-the-Clock Support

Jill Dunlap, CARE DirectorUCSB's Advocate Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Misconduct, or CARE program, is being adopted across the UC system as campuses attempt to bolster responses to sexual violence and to combat sexual assault.

In addition to focusing on survivor advocacy, CARE - run by Director Jill Dunlap - also offers education for students, staff, faculty, and the larger community. The program boasts five full-time advocacy positions, a dedicated website, permanent funding for a counseling psychologist with a focus on interpersonal violence.

CARE's increased presence on campus comes at critical time for UCSB, as reports of sexual assault have risen dramatically in the past few years. Reaching out to CARE can provide much needed support, according to Dunlap: "We are your best friends through these processes. Whatever you need. We will get you on the path, going in the right direction." Ricardo Alcaino, director of UCSB's Office of Equal Opportunity & Sexual Harassment / Title IX Compliance, notes that "We depend on CARE a lot to make sure nobody falls through the cracks, because that's the important part - that no one is out there feeling that they have nowhere to go, or feeling helpless."

Read more about the CARE program in the UC Santa Barbara Current


Gregory Porter Kicks Off UCSB Arts & Lectures' Winter Jazz Series 

Blue Note Records artist Gregory Porter graced the stage of UCSB's Campbell Hall on Thursday, January 15, for a rambunctious, invigorating set. Weaving elements of jazz, gospel, R&B, soul, and folk, Porter offered a solid set of original songs. On his popular tune "Liquid Spirit," he had the audience clapping and singing along from beginning to end. Porter seemed pleased by the audience participation, commenting, "I like your spirit!"

Gregory Porter

Porter's band was top-notch, featuring many a rousing solo from one of his four band members (including piano, saxophone, drum, and upright bass). The musicians were arranged in a tight semicircle around Porter, which allowed each player to shine.

A song highlight included "No Love Dying," track one off his 2013 album. See Porter perform the tune live on CBS here. I will leave you with this excerpt of lyrics ... a little inspiration as you push through that coursework or dissertation writing this week!

There will be no love that's dying here
The bird that flew in through my window
Simply lost his way.
He broke his wing, I helped him heal and then he flew away
Well the death of love is everywhere
But I won't let it be,
There will be no love dying here for me

There will be no love that's dying here.

–Gregory Porter, "No Love Dying"

Buy tickets to other upcoming Arts & Lectures jazz series shows here.


UCSB Arts & Lectures Receives $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts Grant

UCSB Arts & Lectures has been selected to receive an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is one of 919 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive the prestigious grant.

Arts & Lectures will receive $25,000 to support innovative programming in 2015. It has previously received NEA Art Works grants in each of the past three years.

Said NEA Chairman Jane Chu, who announced the grant recipients December 2: “I’m pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Art Works, including the award to UCSB Arts & Lectures. The arts foster value, connection, creativity and innovation for the American people and these recommended grants demonstrate those attributes and affirm that the arts are part of our everyday lives.”

Rep. Lois Capps (Santa Barbara) said: “Congratulations to UCSB Arts & Lectures for receiving this highly competitive grant. NEA grants benefit our Central Coast community through public engagement, while also boosting our local economy. I am proud of the Arts & Lectures program for receiving this award, which will continue to support their outstanding programming.”

Said Celesta Billeci, Miller McCune executive director of UCSB Arts & Lectures: “We’re thrilled and honored to be recognized by the NEA with this grant. The NEA stamp of approval is deeply meaningful to us – it puts Arts & Lectures on par with some of the greatest arts and cultural institutions in the nation. We are grateful for this support, which will enable us to continue to present innovative new works and programming of the highest caliber.”

Art Works grants support the creation of art, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. In this funding cycle, the NEA received 1,474 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 919 were recommended for grants for a total of $26.6 million.

Founded in 1959, UCSB Arts & Lectures is the largest arts and lectures presenting organization between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Now in its 55th season, Arts & Lectures annually presents more than a hundred events featuring world-renowned performing artists and speakers at UCSB and Santa Barbara-area venues. With a mission to “educate, entertain and inspire,” A&L also oversees award-winning education and outreach programs.


UCSB Grad Students Protest on State Street in Solidarity with Ferguson

Sign held during Santa Barbara's November 25 protests. Credit: Aviva Milner-Brage

UCSB graduate students joined with roughly 500 Santa Barbara community members on Tuesday to rally in protest of Monday's news that a white police officer from Ferguson, Missouri, would not be indicted for killing unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

A grand jury determined that Darren Wilson would face no criminal charges for shooting Brown, although Wilson shot him six times, including a fatal shot to the forehead. Some witnesses testified that Brown, who was African American, had his hands up in an attempt to surrender, but Wilson fired additional shots. Numerous demonstrations have been staged throughout the country following the verdict.

Aviva Milner-BrageHere is a personal recap of last night's events from ethnomusicology graduate student and unit chair of UCSB's UAW2865 Aviva Milner-Brage:

"I thought our peaceful Santa Barbara Ferguson protest was very successful. We gathered at the courthouse around 6 p.m. and from there walked through the streets around downtown chanting 'Black lives matter. ... No justice, no peace. ... No racist police,' and 'While you are here shopping, our bodies are dropping.' There were so many familiar faces from our UCSB graduate, undergraduate, and faculty community. It was also great to see onlookers pumping their fists in solidarity and in a few cases joining us! The police were there watching and waiting for us to give them a reason to retaliate, but we did not! Our protest remained peaceful and powerful. At the conclusion of the march, we gathered at the corner of Santa Barbara and Figueroa streets to hear individuals from the UCSB Black Student Union and the Santa Barbara Black Community speak about the verdict."

"As we go back to our homes and families over the Thanksgiving holiday, we cannot forget about the injustices committed against our Black and Brown fellows. We all need to continue to speak out against racially motivated injustice and enact change in our juries, police forces, and institutions. This is an American problem," said Aviva.
 Last night's rally on State Street. Credit: Aviva Milner-Brage

Writing an Introductory Email

Introducing yourself via email is difficult and awkward work: you have the time to second-guess yourself forever, which can lead to an endless cycle of self-doubt. You can't come off as too serious, too dry, too blunt, too direct, too lighthearted, too informal, too carefree, or too uncertain. That's a lot of limitation. 

Thanks to Paula Wishart at InsideHigherEd, however, we now have a simple, straightforward guide for going about creating an introductory email. She breaks the introductory email into four parts: the salutation, the context for connecting, the directed ask, and the subject line.  Each of these elements gets a straightforward and reasonable explanation of what should be done and why. If you are sending out introductory emails for any number of purposes (i.e., applying for jobs, requesting help on research, asking questions about someone else's research), give these guidelines a try to make your next introductory email a little less stressful.


Advice for Grad Students to Survive and Thrive in Grad School

Advice word cloudMost frequent advice words from grad student interviews. Credit: Kyle Crocco

Do you want to know how to survive and thrive in graduate school?

So did I.

So I examined over forty graduate student spotlight interviews (using Voyant Tools) and discovered what you should make, take, take advantage of, don't, and try while in graduate school.


  • the most of your time in Santa Barbara
  • some new friends
  • sure you have a good support network of friends and family
  • as many connections as possible
  • a habit of being healthy and happy


  • charge of your graduate experience
  • some time off to do things you love
  • some dance classes or study abroad
  • a trip to the islands

Take Advantage of:

  • UCSB resources
  • the diverse cultural setting of UCSB
  • all the opportunities of being a graduate student
  • the GSA's Free Bagel Hour


  • get caught in a rut of overwork
  • put your life on hold
  • spend time around people who bring you down
  • neglect your physical and mental health
  • forget to have fun
  • lose yourself in the process
  • be afraid to seize opportunities, deviate from plans, and follow new paths.


  • new things
  • to stay in tune with what's going on in the real world, outside of your studies
  • your best to not complain and have fun along the journey
  • to find a work/life balance that works for you
  • to be one of those people who lift others up

Top Fifty Advice Words

  1. work    26
  2. graduate           19
  3. time     16
  4. make    14
  5. student            14
  6. life       13
  7. grad     11
  8. things  11
  9. advice  10
  10. good    10
  11. research           10
  12. school  10
  13. students          10
  14. don’t   9
  15. help     9
  16. just      9
  17. outside            9
  18. people 9
  19. network           8
  20. advantage        7
  21. hard     7
  22. new     7
  23. right     6
  24. support           6
  25. sure     6
  26. ucsb     6
  27. balance            5
  28. best     5
  29. enjoy   5
  30. exercise            5
  31. friends 5
  32. important        5
  33. let        5
  34. opportunities  5
  35. really   5
  36. studies 5
  37. try       5
  38. want    5
  39. advisor            4
  40. become            4
  41. better   4
  42. come    4
  43. experience       4
  44. forget   4
  45. free      4
  46. fun       4
  47. great    4
  48. habits 4
  49. happy 4
  50. having 4

Patty Griffin Plays to a Full House at Campbell Hall

Patty Griffin and her band on the Campbell Hall stage Sunday night. Credit: Melissa RappLast night the UCSB Arts & Lectures community enjoyed a concert from acclaimed songwriter Patty Griffin. Griffin opened the set confidently, playing a gorgeous red-stained Gibson guitar. Despite wearing a pair of five-inch red heels and leather skirt, Griffin stomped and wailed, showing off her signature powerful vocals and excellent musicianship. 

Griffin's set mainly featured songs from her latest record "American Kid," her seventh studio album released last year. Highlights included “That Kind of Lonely” and “Don't Let Me Die in Florida.” Griffin explained that the “Florida” lyrics were actually the words of her late father, who lived in Maine and was tired of watching his friends move away to Florida and pass away. “If you catch me dying in Orlando, throw my bed onto a train,” the song's lyrics insist. 

Griffin was supported by three musicians, who also sang background vocals for her. The ensemble shined when singing four-part harmony a cappella, particularly with Griffin's gospel-style numbers.

Griffin also treated the audience to a new song she had written on mandolin, which she learned while touring with Robert Plant's “Band of Joy.” She shared that the beautiful tune would be released on her next album, which she will start recording in January.

John Fullbright opened the show, displaying impressive piano, guitar, and harmonica prowess, which helped rally the Sunday evening audience. Fullbright's set featured honest and candid banter: “The beauty of songwriting is that it's a one-way conversation,” he confessed, before playing a gorgeous breakup song “(I Didn't Know I Loved You) Until You Were Gone.”


Tedeschi Trucks Band Rocks the Arlington

Tedeschi Trucks BandTedeschi Trucks Band. Credit: Mark SeligerUCSB Arts & Lectures brought Grammy-award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band to the Arlington Theater last Thursday night where they rocked a full house.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Tedeschi Trucks band, the core of the band's sound features Susan Tedeschi's powerful vocals and the excellent slide guitar of her husband, Derek Trucks.

Rolling Stone calls the band "equal parts Staks and Muscle Shoals without dilution of either." I call it really good jam band rock. Not surprisingly, Derek Trucks also moonlights in another jam band you may have heard of: The Allman Brothers.

During the concert, songs would start with a jamming riff or some noodling by Trucks and then the whole band would kick in, eventually building up to some searing lead slide guitar by Trucks.

You might expect a lead guitarist to be a wild man, but Trucks had a mild, nearly introverted stage presence. You sometimes wondered if the sounds he was producing were indeed from his guitar; however, if you closed your eyes, you could hear a very wild creature's genuine expression.

Trucks and TedeschiDerek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. Credit: Tedeschi Trucks Band The Tedeschi Trucks band has a blues-based repertoire, but is not afraid to explore. While the songs are usually straight ahead blues-based rock, each player is given space to improvise or to be progressive. From 'out' jazz to what sounded like South Asian modes, the musicians in the band were not stuck in a rut. (Of course, great soul, RnB, and blues music can have a rut if played right).

Almost every member of the eleven piece group was given their individual moment to shine. The two harmony vocalists, Mike Mattison and Mark Rivers, both took center stage at times, co-leading vocals while Tedeschi strummed in the background. Trucks took a step back at one point, while keyboardist Kofi Burbridge went wild on keyboards, bringing out sounds that echoed Trucks' best work. Both drummers (yes, two drummers: Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson) were given space to showcase their rhythms in an extended jam towards the end of the show. Even the brass players had their signature moment as Kebbi Williams wailed on saxophone during the closing songs and Maurice Brown soloed during the encore jam.

It wasn't all jams either. In the middle of the show, the stage cleared of most of the musicians to feature the soulful vocals and acoustic chops of Susan Tedeschi on her song Shelter.

Made Up Mind Album CoverBy the end of the show, most of the audience were on their feet asking for more. And that's exactly what Tedeschi Trucks Band delivered. Not being your average pop band, Tedeschi Trucks Band didn't come out and play the usual top hit from their catalog. Instead, they shared a new song "Let Me By" as their first song of the encore, and then ended with anather crowd pleasing jam song that kept everyone on their feet.

Tedeschi Trucks are touring in support of their Made Up Mind album.

The show was co-sponsored by Frederic E. Steck and the corporate season sponsor,

Alexander Sack contributed to this review.