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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Fall 2014
Peer Advisor Availability

Professional Development Peer:
Shawn Warner-Garcia
Tue: 10 a.m. to noon, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m. to noon, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Diversity & Outreach Peer:

Funding Peer:
Kyle Crocco
Wed: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thu: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Writing Peer:
Ryan Dippre
Mon: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Tue: 9 to 11 a.m., 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Wed: 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Communications Peer:
Melissa Rapp
Wed: 9:45 to 11:45 a.m.
Thu: 1 to 5 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.



Campus Map


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Show Your Artistic Side in Isla Vista this Spring Quarter

Art ExhibitCredit: The BoxThe Box at I.V. Theater is looking for a few good artists.

Students from all disciplines and majors are invited to submit photographs, sculptures, paintings, and drawings for an exhibit that will have an opening reception and then be displayed for three weeks.

As long as your art can fit into The Box's 70 inches wide by 44 inches high by 7 inches deep space, it can be shown. Shelving and lighting are also available for use, if needed.

Three artists will be chosen to display their work.

To submit:  Email Yuning Yang,, with the following information:

1. Name, major and year, discipline.

2. Contact information (email and phone number).

3. Brief summary about yourself and your art (i.e., medium, focus of your art, or your interest in art).

4. Sample(s) of your work in a JPEG file (does not have to be work you plan on exhibiting).

Deadline: Wednesday, March 5, if you wish to be considered for spring quarter.

The Box is a student-curated student art exhibition space co-sponsored by Isla Vista Arts and the Art, Design & Architecture Museum UC Santa Barbara.


Dates Announced for Meningitis B Vaccine Clinic

In response to the FDA’s approval for the use of serogroup B meningococcal vaccine on UCSB’s campus, the CDC, state, and local officials have teamed up to offer a two-week vaccination clinic from Feb. 24 to March 7, at no cost to recipients. 

Although there have been no reported cases of meningitis since late November, the CDC has recommended the implementation of the vaccine to protect the community against further cases, particularly community members who are at increased risk of getting the disease. 

The serogroup B vaccine is administered in two doses for maximum effect. The second dose will be available during spring quarter.

What: Serogroup B meningococcal vaccine

Who: All undergraduate students; faculty, staff, and graduate students with the following conditions: functional and anatomic asplenia or persistent complement component deficiencies. 

When:  Monday, Feb. 24, noon to 6 p.m.

            Tuesday, Feb. 25, to Friday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

            Monday, March 3 to Friday, March 7, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: The Multi-Activity Court (MAC) at the Recreation Center (RecCen)

The serogroup B vaccine is licensed in Europe, Australia, and Canada. The CDC recommended the use of this vaccine at both Princeton University and UCSB, and the FDA has allowed for the use of it. Frequently asked questions about both the vaccine and bacterial meningitis can be found at the CDC’s meningitis information website. Notices and updates about the clinic can be found on the Student Health Services page. Parents, faculty, and staff questions can be addressed to the Student Health Office Manager at 805-893-5339. Student questions can be directed to Advice Nurses at 805-893-7129.


Tax Tips for Scholarships and Fellowships

Man Worried About BillCredit: Open Clip Art


Neither the Graduate Post nor this funding peer is qualified to advise you on your taxes.

For professional help, we suggest you consult a paid or free volunteer tax preparer.

The following tax tips were adapted from the page on Tax Benefits for Education and from information found on H&R Block Scholarship Income.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Determining how much of your scholarship or fellowship is tax free depends on the type of expenses you used it for.

Your scholarship or fellowship is tax free only if you meet the following conditions:

  • You were enrolled for a graduate degree at UCSB (or an eligible institution).
  • You used the scholarship or fellowship funds to pay for qualified education expenses.
  • The funds did not represent payment for teaching, research, or other services required as a condition for receiving the scholarship.

Qualified Education Expenses

For purposes of tax-free scholarships and fellowships, qualified expenses are the following:

  • Your UCSB tuition and fees (required for enrollment).
  • Other course-related expenses, such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment that are required for your UCSB courses. However, these items must be required of all students in your course and not just you.

NOTE: To qualify, the terms of your scholarship or fellowship cannot require that it be used for other purposes, such as room and board, or specify that it cannot be used for tuition or course-related expenses. 

Expenses You Pay Taxes On For Your Scholarship or Fellowship

These education expenses do not qualify:

  • Room and board.
  • Travel.
  • Research.
  • Clerical help.
  • Equipment and other expenses that are not required for enrollment at UCSB.

NOTE: This is true even if the fee must be paid to the institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance. Scholarship or fellowship amounts used to pay these costs are taxable.

Where to Report Your Scholarship or Fellowship on Your Tax Form

Report your taxable scholarship amount on one of these:

  • Form 1040, line 7.
  • Form 1040A, line 7.
  • Form 1040EZ, line 1.

If you did not receive a Form W-2 listing the taxable amount, write “SCH” and the taxable amount on the dotted line to the left of line 7 or line 1.

To learn more, see the publications page at

For other tax tips and resources.


Free Tax Preparation Service for Grad Students Starts Feb. 2

The Volunteer Income Tax Service (VITA) is offering free tax preparation for anyone making less than $58,000 a year starting this Sunday, Feb. 2.

Tax site hours are every Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

The VITA volunteers are all IRS-certified tax preparers and can provide basic tax services and amended returns. However, they do not provide tax consulting or advising services.

Make an appointment now by emailing and include the following information:

  • Full name, and
  • Phone number, or
  • Email address

Or be a walk-in at Phelps Building, Room 1529.

For more information on their tax services and what to bring, go to the UCSB VITA website.

VITA volunteersCredit: UCSB VITA


Help Reduce the Cost of Summer MTD Passes and Recreation Center Memberships

Santa Barbara MTD logoThe Graduate Students Association (GSA) is interested in hearing from you. Do you use the MTD bus service during summer? Do you want to use the Recreation Center over summer for a discounted price?

Fill out the following form to share your opinion (it takes less than a minute):

Your response will help the GSA determine how graduate students can be supported during summer.

If you have any questions, please contact GSA President Gary Haddow:


UCSB Recreation Winter Classes and Activities

UCSB recreation logo

Looking to fit more exercise time in your schedule, but not sure where to start?

UCSB Recreation offers many fitness classes, outdoor trips, sports, and activities that will motivate you to get active. This quarter, UCSB Recreation is offering five new Living Arts classes:

  • Jump Rope Fitness
  • Kung Fu
  • Samba
  • Synergy Outdoor Training
  • Brazilian Batucada Drumming

Check out the Winter Quarter Digital Leisure Review to learn more about these classes and other Living Arts programs.

If you can't find any recreation classes that pique your interest, you can sign up to play intramural sports or go on hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and backpacking outings with UCSB Adventure Programs.


Dissertation Thesis Writers: What's Your One-Liner?

frustated manIf you ever had trouble describing your life's research, for a little levity and brevity you might want to check out, the dissertation humor site.  Created by Angela Frankel (, a senior at Harvard College, her site is a place for thesis writers to sum up their "years of work in one sentence" with mostly humourous or sad results (depending on your level of cynicism).

Here are two recent one-liners to give you the flavor of the submissions.

"Women mathematicians in film are young and exceedingly attractive; male mathematicians in film are old, white, and socially inept (except Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park)."
"Whether Liberal, Conservative, or indifferent to politics, the Nasa natives hated it when other people stole their lands."

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



Meningococcal Disease Prevention and Response: Message from Dr. Mary Ferris

The following is a message from Dr. Mary Ferris, executive director of UCSB's Student Health Service, to the campus community regarding meningococcal disease prevention and response:

January 9, 2014

To: Campus Community

From: Mary Ferris, MD, Student Health Executive Director and Campus Physician

Re:  Meningococcal Disease Prevention and Response

Dear Community Members,

I hope that your winter break was a relaxing one, and that you are ready for the new quarter.

Although we have not had any additional cases of meningitis among UCSB students since late November, the campus is still considered to be experiencing an outbreak of serogroup B meningococcal disease.  We know from previous outbreaks that cases can occur over several months, so it is important that we, as a community, remain attentive.

Please continue to be alert for the symptoms of the disease as well as the healthy habits that you can use as a precaution against spreading the disease, given its potential serious outcomes.


Symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, accompanied by any of the following: severe headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing, increased sensitivity to light, confusion, and rash. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention.


Meningococcal disease is transmitted through direct exchange of respiratory and throat secretions by close personal contact, such as coughing, sharing drinks, and kissing, or being in close proximity for an extended period (e.g., roommates).

This infection is not spread by casual contact (e.g., classroom contact), touching doorknobs or other surfaces, or by breathing the air where a person with the disease has been.  To help prevent the spread of meningococcal and other infectious diseases, everyone is urged to follow these precautions:

•    Always cough into a sleeve or tissue, wash hands frequently, and use hand sanitizer often.

•    Do not share anything that comes into contact with the mouth or nose, such as drinking glasses, water bottles, eating utensils and smoking materials.

Student Affairs has created educational posters with these messages that we encourage you to post widely.

As the Chancellor and I communicated in our December 23 message, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with support from the university and state and local health officials, is submitting an application to the Food and Drug Administration to expedite access to the serogroup B vaccine currently licensed for use in Europe, Australia and Canada. There are several additional steps that need to be taken before the vaccine is approved for use at UCSB during this outbreak.

As a reminder, the CDC has posted a Q&A on their web site about the current situation at UC Santa Barbara and has a designated email for serogroup B vaccine questions.

We will continue to send out timely notices and post updates and additional information on our Student Health site as more specific information becomes available.

I wish you all the best for the coming quarter,

Mary Ferris, M.D.

Executive Director, Student Health Service


It’s All About You: Oxford Dictionaries Names ‘Selfie’ the Word of the Year for 2013

A student snaps a selfie in the Exxopolis Luminarium at UCSB in April 2013. Credit: Patricia MarroquinYou know the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, one type of picture has become so popular that Oxford Dictionaries has proclaimed it the Word of the Year for 2013.

It’s “selfie,” which Oxford defines as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam, and uploaded to a social media website.”

Chances are good that you have taken at least one selfie, but the chances are even greater that you have self-snapped on more than one occasion.

“It seems like everyone who is anyone has posted a selfie somewhere on the Internet,” Oxford says on its blog. “If it is good enough for the Obamas or The Pope, then it is good enough for Word of the Year.”

Homer Simpson credit: Matt GroeningThe word isn’t new. Oxford says the earliest usage it could find was in 2002, when someone apologized for the posting of a blurry self-image on an Australian Internet forum.

Early social media and photo-sharing venues for the word include Flickr and MySpace, Oxford says. 

As the word’s popularity has grown, so have the offshoots, such as “helfie” (a picture of one’s hair); “welfie” (a workout selfie); and "legsie" (a photo of outstretched legs).

Here at UCSB, selfie-taking abounds. Special events such as the Luminarum and the Storke Tower Snow Day present the perfect opportunities for selfies.

Students record a rare "snow day" in Storke Plaza by taking selfies. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

For more information, including what words “selfie” beat out for the top title, view Oxford's blog post and its entertaining infographic below.


December 2013 Meningococcus Update 

The following is a message to the campus community from UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang and Student Health Executive Director Dr. Mary Ferris:

December 23, 2013

Dear Community Members,

We are writing with an update on the efforts to obtain approval to use a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine at UC Santa Barbara. The vaccine for serogroup B is currently licensed for use only in Europe, Australia and Canada.

While we are reassured that no additional cases of meningococcal disease have occurred in community members since November 21, 2013, the nature of the disease and the cases at Princeton University this fall support moving forward with vaccination. The University has been working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health officials to expedite access to the vaccine. 

Following a CDC site visit to campus earlier this month and a careful review of the historical epidemiology of the disease at our University and in the local community, the CDC with support from our University, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the California Department of Public Health, will be moving forward with an Investigational New Drug application (IND) with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since this vaccine is not licensed in the United States, it is considered “investigational” and requires a special process in order to use it, similar to the one that took place at Princeton University earlier this fall. The IND would allow access to the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine for those identified by medical and health officials as being at increased risk.

The University would offer the vaccinations to community members identified by the IND as being at increased risk. Although the process is continuing to move ahead as rapidly as possible, there are still many steps that need to take place, including determining the population to receive the vaccine.

The CDC has posted a Q&A on their web site about the current situation at UC Santa Barbara and has a designated email for serogroup B vaccine questions.

The health and well-being of our students and campus community is our highest priority. We will continue to send out timely notices and post updates and additional information on our Student Health site as more specific information becomes available.

We hope you have a safe and restful break and look forward to the start of the new quarter.


Henry T. Yang
UC Santa Barbara

Mary Ferris, MD
Student Health Executive Director
UC Santa Barbara

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