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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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Research Reveals 12 Ounces of Coffee Will Boost Your Memory

Funding peer boosting his memory for science. Credit: Funding Peer.Researchers have discovered your morning coffee does more than wake you up: It also boosts your memory. 12 ounces, or about 200 mg of caffeine, seems to be the proper amount to enhance memory.

You can also get memory enhancing effects with as little as 100 mg but by 300 mg the effects start to reduce, so don't over do it.

The memory enhancement was only for information learned a day earlier, so while drinking coffee is great for exams, it probably won't help you recapture your childhood memories or what you did that weekend in Vegas.

This discovery was learned as part of a research project led by Daniel Borota at Johns Hopkins University and published in his article "Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory conslidation in humans" in the journal "Nature Neuroscience."  

Borota also noted that it is not known if the enhancing effect works for long-term memory.

To read more about this study, check out the Psychology Today article by Sian Beilock, "Caffeine Boosts Memory-Really."Coffee CoupleIn this simulation, a couple try to enhance their memory of things they learned yesterday. Credit:


How Productive Are You Compared to Creative Genuises

Credit: Funding PeerDid you ever wonder if you are productive enough? Are you working too much or too little? Well, you won't find the answer in this article.

But now you can compare your productivity schedule to the creative routines of geniuses thanks to visualizations created by RJ Andrews at Info We Trust.

RJ Andrews used information from the book "Daily Rituals: How Artists Work" by Mason Currey to show the average amount of time a person spent on a given activity per day, while adding enlightening facts about their personality, such as Honore Balzac's penchant for drinking 50 cups of coffee a day (and you thought you drank a lot of coffee).

As it turns out, there is no magic formula for the best way to be productive and creative in a given day. Each person must find their own best method for getting work done.

For more information on this topic, also check out the Huffington Post article by Kevin Short, "Here's How The World's Most Brilliant People Scheduled Their Days."

Creative routine visualizations. Credit: RJ Andrews


UCSB Campus Community Invited to First Gaucho Wellness Committee Meeting

The following invitation comes from the UCSB Gaucho Wellness Committee to all UC Santa Barbara students, faculty, and staff:

March 25, 2014

TO: The Campus Community

FROM: UCSB Gaucho Wellness Committee

RE:  Invitation to the First Gaucho Wellness Committee Meeting

Wednesday, April 2, noon to 1 p.m., Student Resource Building (SRB) 2154

Dear Colleagues,

Are you an advocate for the overall happiness of staff on campus? Would you like to help promote community and networking across campus?

Do you want to help promote the fantastic resources that exist in our community that staff might not be aware of?

If so, please join the Gaucho Wellness Committee for its very first meeting: Wednesday, April 2, noon to 1 p.m. in the Student Resource Building, Room 2154.

The Gaucho Wellness Committee is a product of a Gaucho U cohort project this year. We strive to serve as a resource for staff and faculty that will share information, resources and events pertaining to the overall wellness of our campus community. This includes, but is not limited to physical, mental, social, environmental and financial wellness.

In the future, we plan to implement our own events and initiatives.  

For more information, please visit or contact us at Please share your ideas with us!

Thank you.

The UCSB Gaucho Wellness Committee


Campaign for Arts & Lectures Receives 2 Gifts for Endowment Totaling $1.25 Million From Towbeses, Fisher

The Campaign for Arts & Lectures recently received two major gifts totaling $1.25 million from generous local philanthropists.

Michael and Anne Towbes pledged $750,000, and Timothy Fisher pledged $500,000 in a planned gift to the Campaign for Arts & Lectures.

The gifts, which will benefit the Campaign for Arts & Lectures’ endowment funds, coincided with a week of events featuring educational outreach activities with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, which were attended by more than 2,000 local students, from elementary schools to colleges.

From left, Campaign for Arts & Lectures donors Anne and Michael Towbes; Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, principal concert sponsor; and cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott, during a reception for Arts & Lectures’ endowment donors, following Yo-Yo Ma and Stott’s concert March 13 at The Granada. The Towbes gave $750,000 to UCSB Arts & Lectures’ endowment. Credit: Kimberly Citro

“It’s so gratifying to see successful fundraisers and healthy annual fund numbers,” said Anne Towbes, who together with her husband Michael also fund Towbes Fellowships for UCSB graduate students. “But it’s our support of the endowments, the solid financial footing on which these organizations rest, that is so very important in our ability, long term, to serve the community.”

From left, Campaign for Arts & Lectures donor Timothy Fisher with Wynton Marsalis during a concert fundraiser for Arts & Lectures’ education and outreach programs March 18 in Montecito. Timothy and Audrey Fisher gave $500,000 to UCSB Arts & Lectures’ endowment. Credit: Isaac HernandezSaid Timothy Fisher of his gift: “I feel humbled and privileged to be a founding donor of UCSB Arts & Lectures’ planned giving program. This bequeathed gift will boost the Arts & Lectures endowment, and I am so pleased that other UCSB Arts & Lectures Council members have followed my lead.” (Both Timothy Fisher and Anne Towbes are members of the Council for Arts & Lectures, the Campaign’s leadership group.)

“Arts & Lectures, under the leadership of Celesta Billeci and her capable staff, bring world-class performing artists and lecturers to Santa Barbara," Fisher said. "We are so fortunate that UCSB’s community outreach program is among the most successful in the country and has so enriched the culture of our community.”

The Towbeses’ and Timothy Fisher’s donations bring total contributions to the Campaign for Arts & Lectures to $12.8 million. The five-year campaign, which began in the summer of 2011, seeks to raise $20 million, to be split evenly between a permanent endowment and annual support.

“The generosity of Tim Fisher and the Towbeses represents a kind of targeted and effective philanthropy that can truly change a community,” said Celesta M. Billeci, Miller McCune Executive Director of UCSB Arts & Lectures. “These patrons work tirelessly, challenging others to fulfill their own philanthropic goals, further multiplying the fruits of their own generosity. We’re grateful to have Tim Fisher and Anne Towbes serving on the Campaign Council; it’s difficult to imagine a successful Campaign for Arts & Lectures without their constant support.”

For more information about the Campaign for Arts & Lectures, contact Arts & Lectures’ development office at 805-893-2174 or visit UCSB Arts & Lectures thanks for its major corporate support of the 2013-14 season.

For information on how to give to UCSB graduate education, please visit the Graduate Division’s Giving page, “Why You Should Support Graduate Education at UC Santa Barbara.”


Campus Climate Report Findings: UCSB Climate Mostly Comfortable

UCSB from the airFor those of you with no time to read the full 311 page Campus Climate Project Final Report, here is a summary of some of its key findings.

As you may recall, the UCSB community-- undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and staff--was asked to participate in a UC system-wide survey to evaluate a variety of issues relating to campus climate on the learning, living, and working environments. UCSB had a relatively high response rate of 30%.

The report was divided into areas of strength and areas to improve.


Campus Climate

84% of all survey respondents were “comfortable”/“very comfortable” with the campus climate at UC Santa Barbara.

Class Climate

82% of Graduate/Professional Students were “comfortable” or “very comfortable” with the climate in their classes.

Academic Experience

79% of Graduate/Professional Students were satisfied with their academic experience at UC Santa Barbara.


96% of Graduate/Professional Students intended to graduate from UC Santa Barbara.

Intellectual Stimulation

69% of Graduate/Professional Students felt many of their courses this year had been intellectually stimulating.


Areas to Improve

Exclusion and Hostile Conduct

23% of all respondents believed that they had personally experienced exclusionary, intimidating, offensive and/or hostile conduct.

7% of all respondents indicated that this conduct interfered with their ability to work or learn on campus.

A higher percentage of racial, gender, and sexual minorities reported experiencing this conduct as compared to non-minorities. Likewise, a higher percentage of Undocumented Residents than Non-U.S. Citizens, and U.S. Citizens experienced this conduct.

Climate for People With Disabilities

Respondents with disabilities were less comfortable with the overall climate, with the workplace climate, and with the climate in their classes than were respondents without disabilities.

Unwanted Sexual Contact

8% of all respondents believed they had experienced unwanted sexual contact while at UC Santa Barbara within the last five years

However, only 2% of all Graduate/Professional Students reported this experience.


Most Non-Surprising Climate Report Fact

Dominate culture feels okay

White, heterosexual men with no disabilities felt the most comfortable of all groups on campus. (Strangely, this last fact was actually in areas of strength in the original report).


A Different Sort of March Madness: Measuring Universities' Influence

E-CardCredit: Funding PeerTime magazine has created a new way to rate and rank universities: by their influence.

The process is simple, unlike the system devised by U.S. News & World Report to rank schools. Time examined the Wikipedia profiles of each university's alumni and gave each alumni a score according to the length and breadth of their page.

Size does matter: the longer the length and the wider the breadth equals greater influence.

By this measure, UC Santa Barbara is two times more influential than UC Irvine, despite them having a graduate program that is two times larger that UCSB's. UC Santa Barbara scores a 45.8 on the influence ranking compared to UC Irvine's 21.3. I guess Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow being UCSB alumni really count for something.

This is not to be taken too seriously. Time devised the measure to make universities compete in a different way than basketball during March Madness.

If you want to play their bracket game and see how influential a school is, check out Chris Wilson's article, "Interactive: How Influential Is Your School?"  You might even find out that Harvard University scored a 666 on the scale. Not that that means anything.



UC President Janet Napolitano's Message on the New Presidential Policy against Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence

On March 7, 2014, University of California President Janet Napolitano sent an important message to the UC community on the new presidential policy on the protection against sexual harassment and sexual violence at the university (

Representatives from Academic Personnel, Human Resources, Student Affairs, Office of the General Counsel, and Title IX offices, have collaboratively worked to modify the existing policy to meet the federal requirement of adopting the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), signed by President Obama last spring. VAWA requires all institutions to comply with new regulations about responding to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

According to President Napolitano, this new presidential policy:

  • Identifies procedures for reporting and investigating an incident;
  • Specifies sanctions against perpetrators that may be imposed after disciplinary proceedings;
  • Protects the confidentiality of the victims;
  • Provides information on victims’ rights, support services, and requests for accommodation; and
  • Outlines training for faculty, staff, and students, as well as for people who investigate and conduct hearings.

President Napolitano mentioned that this policy “will continue to evolve” to strengthen the security and to increase support at the UC. The UC also anticipates new regulations related to VAWA from the Department of Education in November 2014. For more information about the policy, please get in touch with the Office of Equal Opportunity & Sexual Harassment / Title IX Compliance (OEOSH/TC).


The Up's and Down's of Graduate School

Credit: PhD Comics

In the recent article, "The Six Stages of Graduate Education," author William Pannapacker paints a dreary picture of graduate school. Pannapacker details his thoughts and anxieties during his six years in a graduate program in English. While there are a few exciting parts, such as getting accepted into a graduate program with funding, passing exams, and publishing articles, the majority of the article focuses on Pannapacker's overwhelming anxiety and depression.

It is normal to experience anxiety, depression, and isolation during graduate school. Graduate school is extremely challenging - don't let anyone tell you otherwise! However, rather than seeing yourself as the victim of all of the stressors and challenges in graduate school, think about what you can do to improve your situation.

Interestingly, after reading this article, I came across Carol Morgan's essay "13 Things to Remember when Life Gets Rough," which provides good advice for making it through the low points of graduate school. Morgan focuses on actions you can take (e.g., making changes, letting go, reframing your mindset) to make the most of your situation. One of my favorite suggestions from this article is "Appreciate the Moment." It's so easy in graduate school to worry about the future (e.g., "What if I freeze in the middle of defense? What if I don't pass my exams? What if I don't get a job?"). Take some "me time" daily to sit back, relax, and enjoy the present moment. Practicing gratitude is another thing you can do to appreciate the moment.

So, the next time you hit a rough patch in graduate school, think about the actions you can take to transform the negative into a positive.


Do You Suffer from Fragitidy: The Fragile Rigid Ego?

Fragitidy e cardFragitidy can happen in close relationships. Credit: Funding Peer.Are you frarigid? No, not frigid. I mean, fragilely rigid? As in, your, you know, ego.

Do you find that people are attacking you wherever you go because they are stupid and judgmental? Do they deliberately provoke you with what they claim to be are "innocent" questions, but are truly passive-aggressive attacks on your awesomeness?

Well, then you might suffer from Fragitidy, a term and condition that is definitely not made up.

In an article by Jerry Sherman, he describes that fragitidy is something that can happen to any of us from time to time. It is the opposite of resilience and adaptiveness. We perceive attack from everywhere and attack back to protect our ego.

For fragitid people there is only right and wrong. They are right and you are wrong.

Fragitidy can happen to everyone: in close relationships, in times of economic downturn, and political debate. Maybe you know a graduate student or professor who is fragitid. Maybe it's you.

It's also contagious. If you're around fragitid people, it's hard not to react in the same way. The best way to know if you have fragitidy is if you're accusing others of having being fragitid. The best way to avoid being fragitid is to stay away from people who are.

For more on this topic, check out Jerry Sherman's article in Psychology Today, "Fragidity: The Fragile Rigidity of the Brittle Ego."


Important Research Explains Why We Hate Hawaiian Shirts

Hawaiian ShirtWorld's Largest Hawaiian Shirt Credit: Tammy GreenIf you're like me, you probably have spent many late, lonely nights wondering why you hated Hawaiian shirts so much. Fortunately, science has come to our rescue with an answer as obvious as it is well-researched.

In their article "Funny Kine Clothes: The Hawaiian Shirt As Popular Culture," Marcia Morgado and Andrew Reilly, from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, used a semiotic framework, paradigmatic analysis, and other terms I don't quite understand to show that the Hawaiian shirt has been associated with a stereotype of the tourist as a "sartorial clod;" as a preeminent symbol of casual dress; and a revered icon of the spirit of local Island culture.

Basically, the meaning of the Hawaiian shirt revolves around its contrast to customary dress: its peculiarity; its brightness; and association with sloppiness. Or in regular terms: weird, ugly, and lazy.

Which fit in well with what they discovered to be the popular image of the tourist in a Hawaiian shirt: fat, foolish, and inferior.

So, the reason you hate the shirt so much is not because the shirts are so ugly, it's because you think you're better than tourists. And, let's face it, you are. Have you seen the shirts they wear?

For more positive associations of the shirt and an in-depth explanation of their analysis techniques, read their study Funny Kine Clothes: The Hawaiian Shirt As Popular Culture.

Or for another take on this pressing issue, see the Popular Science commentary on this article by Colin Lecher, "A Scientific Look At Why You Hate Hawaiian Shirts."

Disturbing Note: The authors revealed there was a large body of literature for studies on the Hawaiian shirt. Think about it.

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