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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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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.


Equipment Rentals for Adventurous Grads at UCSB Adventure Programs

Adventure Rental BannerAre you adventurous? Are you bold? Do you dare to go where no grad student has gone before but only lack the equipment to do it? Then check out UCSB Adventure Progams, who offer reasonably priced rental equipment for your camping, kayaking, hiking, surfing, or other adventure needs.

They have two rental centers and lots of equipment.

Adventure Rental Center

Hours: Mon, Wed, and Thu, from 4-6 p.m; Fri, from 3-5 p.m.

Location: UCSB Recreation Center Courtyard, 3025 Ocean Road.

Campus Point Rental Center

Hours: Sat - Sun, from 1-7 p.m.

Location: UCSB Campus Point, near the bathroom and surf shower. Parking is available in Lot #6 near the Marine Bio Complex.

For more information for both locations: Call 805-893-3737 or email


Pathways to Healing Helps Students Cope with IV Tragedy 

The Mental Health Peers at UCSB's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are helping students cope with the tragedy of the Isla Vista shooting last spring as part of a campus-wide "Pathways to Healing" program. Its website provides many resources for students working through their feelings about the tragedy. Students can find recommendations for managing grief, self-care tips, and a calendar of events and activities.

In addition to the "Pathways to Healing" website, CAPS is also holding drop-in workshops on Friday, October 17, and Tuesday, October 21, in the SRB Multipurpose Room. These drop-in workshops are safe places for students to talk about their feelings regarding the tragedy, and also provide students with guides for understanding the healing process.  


Free Flu Shot Fridays Begin October 10

It is flu shot season and those with Gaucho Health Insurance (GHI) can get a free shot beginning on Friday, October 10.

Head over to Student Health between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Because graduate students are often in classrooms and labs with a lot of students, a flu shot is a great idea. 

For more information, see the flu shot schedule.


New Resources for Family Students

If you are a grad student with children, the Graduate Division has developed two new resources for you!

Resource #1: GradSpace Page

GradSpace is a resource site for graduate students at UCSB. Currently, it is hosted on GauchoSpace. You'll find information about campus resources for students with children, parent support and education in the community, and childcare resources. Follow these steps to access GradSpace:

  1. Make sure that you have activated your UCSB NetID.
  2. Click here to enroll in the GradSpace community.
  3. Click on the "Family Students" tab.

Resource #2: Facebook Page

For more information, contact Shawn Warner-Garcia, Graduate Division's professional development peer advisor.


Arts & Lectures Introduces the 2014-2015 Season 

Montecito Country ClubArts & Lectures reception. Credit: Kyle CroccoUCSB Arts & Lectures introduced their 2014-2015 season at the Montecito Country Club on Thursday, June 12. Attendees, which included the press (e.g., your funding peer) and supporters of Arts & Lectures were lavished with free wine, wine glasses, and hors d'oeuvres (the bacon-wrapped goodies were especially tasty).

The 2014-2015 season of BOLD MOVES and BIG IDEAS will feature 62 events, including 25 Santa Barbara debuts, three world premieres, and two co-commissions by UCSB Arts & Lectures.

Highlights include The Joffrey Ballet, Matt Groening & Lynda Barry, Anne-Sophie Mutter with Yefim Bronfman & Lynn Harrell, Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Ina Garten, Audra McDonald, Hotel Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Kodo, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and Magic Johnson.


Kyle CroccoFunding Peer Kyle Crocco at the Arts & Lecture event. Credit: Kyle CroccoThe new season kicks off Oct. 2 with an opening night celebration featuring legendary singer Tony Bennett.
Series subscriptions are now on sale. Single tickets can be purchased starting Saturday, Aug. 9, at 10 a.m.

Series subscriptions, season brochures, and more information are available at Arts & Lectures’ Ticket Office, online at or by calling 805-893-3535.


SubscriptionsCredit: Arts & Lectures