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  • Cher. Definitely, Cher: LLM Student Wins First Place at Illinois Global Talent Show

    LLM student Marie Joe Noon won first prize at the inaugural Illinois Global Talent Show for her vocal performance of "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston. Annie caught up with Marie after the show to learn about her singing inspiration (definitely Cher), her hometown, and how singing translates to confidence in the courtroom.

  • What's It Like to Compete in Research Live? Hear from a few pros.

    Each year, the Graduate College hosts the event Research Live!, which gives graduate students a chance to share their work with the campus and community and to practice their communication skills. The catch? Contestants only have 3 minutes to describe their work and it needs to be accessible to a generalist audience. Last year, a number of students took the challenge. We interviewed four about their experience and got some of their tips for public speaking. 

  • Creative and Collaborative: Trying out Careers in Publishing

    I recently had the opportunity to participate in a “Try-It-Out Experience” through the Grad College Career Development Office and the University of Illinois Press. This one-day professional development opportunity provides graduate students with a focused goal-setting session, industry connections, and the chance to explore new-to-them career paths.

  • Lessons From a Grad Student Job Search Support Group

    This Spring, Mike Firmand started the first-ever job search support group for graduate students at the University of Illinois. Over four weeks, around 12 master's and Ph.D. students from across disciplines came together for weekly, 90-minute meetings focused on one component of the job search: assessing fit from a job ad, crafting application materials, interviewing strategies, networking and so forth. I planned for the sessions to be highly interactive, with most of the time designated for participants to tell stories, ask questions and reflect on their job search experiences together. Here's what Mike learned from listening to them and leading the group. Read the original post on Inside Higher Education.

  • Bringing the Magic of Iranian Music to the Heartland

    The University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign is home to a highly diverse student body and their respective student associations, which aim to cultivate and share with each other their music, food, art and traditions.

    In this piece, we feature an event organized by the Iranian Cultural Association (ICA) on our campus during the Spring 2019 semester. ICE hosted Kayhan Kalhor, a globally recognized musician from Iran known for his transcendental music and for his ensemble collaborations with other musicians across the globe. Kalhor is known to play several instruments in particular the Kamancheh and the Setar. This event was made possible by the ICA along with support from Center for South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies and several other units on campus. 

  • Teaching and Performing to Find Her Voice

    This article is the first of a two-part series on students’ involvement in music and performances organized at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus. (Read the second part of the series here).

    The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts is a hub for exquisite music, cultural performances, ballet performances, theater, opera and lively events. From performances by musical virtuosos, symphony orchestras, ensemble groups to events like PechaKucha Night and Noche de Baila- Krannert is bustling with performers and audience goers year-round! The Lyric Theater at Krannert brings colorful and vibrant pieces of opera from throughout the ages alive to the audience!

  • A Month in Wellness with Katherine Hatcher

    Katherine Hatcher founded her blog and Instagram accout, "Grad Self-Care" in October 2018 as a way to share her story about health and wellness in graduate school. Through it, she connected with countless other graduate students from around the country who are working to find their own meaning of work-life balance. In her first post for the GradLIFE blog, Katherine shares with us her monthly wellness routine and tips for setting up and sticking to your own. 

  • Meet Our Fellows: Busra Karagobek, Visiting Fulbright Fellow from Ankara, Turkey

    In this special "Meet Our Fellows" post, SAGE member Meera interviews Busra Karagobek, a PhD student from Turkey, who is currently studying at the University of Illinois under a Fulbright Scholarship. Let's meet Busra!

  • Feel Like You're Drowning? The Counseling Center Can Help

    I’ve tried to start this blog post a dozen times, but every time, I get bogged down in the introduction. The thing is, for a lot of reasons and for a lot of people, it can be hard to talk about mental health. And that’s a problem because mental health is vital to our overall health and well-being as graduate students and people. But not talking about mental health can be incredibly isolating. This is especially the case when you are a graduate students experiencing severe anxiety, depression, or suicide ideation. It’s easy to feel like you are alone and no one is going to be able to understand what you are going through or be able to help you through to the other side.

    Let me start by saying, unequivocally, you are not alone. I know this because I’ve been there. With a lot of support and encouragement in the last year, I found helpful, supportive faces at the Counseling Center and at McKinley Health Center. These are just two of the resources available to you as a graduate student at Illinois, and for a lot of students, they are a good first step in the path to addressing and managing mental health problems and coping with the stress of life.

  • Grad School 101: Building Community in Graduate School

    By starting a graduate program at the University of Illinois, you have joined a large, vibrant community of people committed to exploring and understanding the world. You’re surrounded every day by tens of thousands of fascinating, dedicated, and creative people.

    Within such a large and dynamic community, though, it can sometimes be challenging to connect with others. You may be wondering how to find those connections and build relationships with people around you. Good news, though: everyone else is wondering the same thing.

  • Meet Our Fellows: Safiyah Muhammad, Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow

    Ford Fellow Safiyah Muhammad says that she learned to teach from the best – her mom. Her mother homeschooled her before she was old enough to enroll in kindergarten and served as her fourth grade teacher as well. “She never limited me in what I could do. She never told me I was too young. She was my very first and obviously most impactful teacher,” Safiyah said. With the help of the Ford Fellowship, she hopes to channel that feeling into her work as a researcher, teacher, and scholar at Illinois.

  • Meet the 2018 - 2019 SAGE Board Members

    Students Advising on Graduate Education (SAGE) is a student advisory board and leadership opportunity for graduate students at Illinois that fosters active engagement with Graduate College programs and initiatives. SAGE board members enrich graduate student community, build leadership and administrative skills, and strengthen Graduate College services and programs.

    This board contributes to the graduate student community at Illinois by providing varied perspectives that enhance the academic, professional, and social experience of graduate students at the university and collaborating with Graduate College staff on a project related to a program, initiative, or the broader goals of the college.

    As we embark on a new academic year, we are excited to introduce our 2018 - 2019 SAGE board:

  • Day in the Life: Liselle Milazzo

    Hello everyone!

    My name is Liselle and I am a second year PhD student in the Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism. My research interest is on film-tourism, specifically looking at sites of imagination (think Harry Potter World and Hogwarts!), in order to investigate culture, commodification, and meaning. This summer, I'm preparing for prelims and wrestling with big ideas related to theory and methodology for my work. It feels like everday I read something inspiring and thought-provoking!  In my department, the Prelim exam takes place before you can begin work on your dissertation proposal. I’m planning to take my prelim exam this fall, so I’m dedicating my summer to preparing for the exam. Here’s a look at a pretty typical day of prelim prep for this social sciences PhD student!

  • Meet Our Fellows: Matt Haugen, Fulbright Fellow studying Chinese Sport Industry

    Last April, after nearly a yearlong process and an arduous wait, Matthew Haugen was notified that he had been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, which would allow him the opportunity to complete his dissertation research project studying sport education in China. His fellowship experience ultimately encouraged him to pivot his dissertation research project to better represent and inform the future he sees for himself as a scholar.

  • Where Are They Now? Ryan McConnell

    Where can a graduate degree from the University of Illinois take you? In this series, we catch up with one recent Graduate College alum and ask the question: “Where are they now?”.

    Ryan McConnell works at salesforce as a Senior Demo Engineer, writing code for applications that show off what the company’s software can do. After completing his PhD in Classical Philology, Ryan McConnell eagerly began work as a visiting assistant professor. But with the uncertainty of the faculty job market, Ryan began exploring new career paths and found that his hobby in computer programming could actually be a career.

  • Broadening the Reach of Comedy in CU

    Stephanie Brown always thought she’d go back to grad school to get her PhD “eventually,” the winner of the 2018 Graduate Student Leadership Award said. But a few years working in the entertainment industry in LA and New York convinced her that the time was right. It would be several years until the #MeToo sexual assault awareness campaign took off in late 2017, but for Stephanie, enough was enough. 

    Stephanie is a PhD candidate in the Institute of Communications Research at Illinois. This semester, she’s wrapping up her dissertation and plans to defend this summer. When she’s not exploring issues of gender in comedy for her research, she’s living them. Stephanie founded and runs Broad Comedy, a local comedy group in Champaign-Urbana that is dedicated to diversifying voices in the local stand-up comedy scene.  

  • Meet the 2017-2018 SAGE Board Members

    Students Advising on Graduate Education (SAGE) is a student advisory board and leadership opportunity for graduate students at Illinois that fosters active engagement with Graduate College programs and initiatives. SAGE board members enrich graduate student community, build leadership and administrative skills, and strengthen Graduate College services and programs.

    This board contributes to the graduate student community at Illinois by providing varied perspectives that enhance the academic, professional, and social experience of graduate students at the university and collaborating with Graduate College staff on a project related to a program, initiative, or the broader goals of the college.

    As we embark on a new academic year, we are excited to introduce our 2017 – 2018 SAGE board!

  • Postcards from the Field: Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security

    In June, I had the distinct privilege of representing the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) at the 2017 U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security. Led by Purdue University’s Center for Global Food Security, the 2017 Summer Institute provided 40 of the top graduate students from across the nation with an intensive introduction to global food security, with special emphasis on the utility of multidisciplinary teams and complex problem solving of real-world challenges. 

  • Sloan UCEM at Illinois Helps Underrepresented Students Pursue Advanced Degrees and Career Paths

    “Illinois is committed to the goal of achieving diversity and excellence,” says Dr. Ellen Wang Althaus, director of Sloan University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM). 

    The Sloan UCEM at Illinois is one of the eight centers in the country funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. With a one-million-dollar, three-year grant, the Illinois UCEM was created to broaden participation and provide support for underrepresented minority graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. It  provides activities designed to support students toward doctorate completion, such as professional development opportunities, mentoring, research opportunities, workshops, and seminars. 

  • Giving Names to the Dead: Building the Philippines' First Skeletal Reference Collection

    Matthew Go, PhD student in Anthropology, spots it tucked into the foundation of a building on the grounds of a cemetery in Manila. An old rice sack, bulging in place and covered in dirt and grime, partially decomposing. Inside, a jumbled collection of bones showing their age and exposure to the elements.

    Matt and fellow Illinois Anthropology PhD student, Amanda Lee, spent last summer in Manila creating the world’s first reference collection comprised exclusively of contemporary Filipino skeletons. Their salvage archaeology work and the new collection, housed at the University of the Philippines Diliman, may potentially help identify victims of criminal cases, mass disasters, mass fatality events, and mass graves throughout Southeast Asia.

  • Postcards from the Field: Interviewing in Rural Tanzania

    You never know what you will find when you sit down to interview someone. Where have they lived? Who have they worked for? What challenges have they overcome? Who have they lost? After explaining that I am a history graduate student conducting research about gender change and the role of the church in Tanzanian society, I usual start by asking the most basic question. What is your name? It turns out that the answer isn’t always simple.

  • Day in the Life: Monica Chinea Diliz

    Hi, my name is Monica and I am a third year PhD student in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. My research focus is molecular neuroscience and in particular my lab studies the RNA binding proteins involved in Fragile X Syndrome, the leading cause of inherited cognitive impairment.

    As a graduate student doing research in a laboratory, most days there is an ebb and flow that is primarily dictated by the experiments that are taking place. The stereotype of a scientist hunched over test tubes 24 hours a day does not represent the many ways that science actually unfolds. One of the most valuable things that I have learned thus far in my graduate career is that the time I spend thinking about science is nearly as critical as how much time I am putting in at the bench. It is also very important to cultivate habits that contribute to overall wellbeing outside of the lab.

    This is my first semester without taking any classes, which has freed up more time to focus on my research. Here is what a recent Monday looked like.

  • Postcards from the Field: Global Young Scientists Summit in Singapore

    Excite, engage, enable. These three words are the driving mission behind the gathering of over 250 PhD and postdoctoral fellows at the Global Young Scientists Summit of 2017 in Singapore. Eric Epstein, Shama Barna, Gregory Hart and I had the distinct pleasure of representing the University of Illinois at this year’s summit.

  • Robin Holland: On Taking Chances

    Robin Holland, dual degree candidate in Pathobiology and Veterinary Medicine, doesn’t hesitate to throw her hat in the ring when contests and opportunities present themselves. Robin was awarded People’s Choice at the inaugural Research Live! competition last fall and took home first place in Image of Research the preceding spring.

    As if that weren’t impressive enough, Robin was awarded a prestigious NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) for individuals pursuing dual-doctoral degrees, both a PhD and an MD, DVM, or other medical doctoral degree. This award was created to increase the pool of highly trained clinician-scientists in the biomedical research workforce.

    We sat down with Robin to pick her brain about her career, academic contests, and getting involved. Read on for the interview.

  • More Than Just Buzzwords: Social Media as a Tool for Personal Branding in STEM

    nspired by nothing more than a joking remark from a colleague on the importance of securing a unique domain name before someone “stole it,” I made my personal website, RituRaman.com, in my second year of graduate school. Luckily for me, launching this website was the first step in an ongoing attempt to develop a coherent web presence and recognizable personal brand.

    Before I continue, I would like to acknowledge that terms like “personal brand” can often come across as meaningless buzzwords used by millennials to justify a relatively self-centered use of social media. When used without context, they make me cringe and feel pretentious – and I understand if they make you do the same – but this blog post isn’t about the philosophical clash between personal modesty and taking selfies. Rather, this post is about crafting your online presence in a way that best represents your personal history, your interests, and your future goals.

    Now that we’ve moved past the obligatory disclaimers, I will attempt to distill the social media lessons I’ve learned over the past few years into a few pithy steps.

  • Meet the 2016-2017 SAGE Members

    SAGE is a student advisory board and leadership opportunity for graduate students at Illinois that fosters active engagement with Graduate College programs and initiatives. SAGE board members enrich graduate student community, build leadership and administrative skills, and strengthen Graduate College services and programs.

    This board contributes to the graduate student community at Illinois by providing varied perspectives that enhance the academic, professional, and social experience of graduate students at the university and collaborating with Graduate College staff on a project related to a program, initiative, or the broader goals of the college.

    As we embark on a new academic year, we are excited to introduce our 2016 – 2017 SAGE board...

  • Stuck in a Rut: Exploring an Outside Interest Can Shape your Grad School Experience

    “I think a common experience for grad students, particularly at major research institutions, is the single-minded focus on producing excellent research. It’s so easy to get tunnel vision and lose track of what you are excited or passionate about. And, it’s easy to get caught up in a pattern of obsessing about whether you’re smart enough or ‘good’ enough.” Kaye Usry, PhD candidate in Political Science, said. “I was feeling a lot of pressure to meet these expectations that, when it came down to it, I was really setting for myself. It wasn't healthy or good for me.” It was at that point that Kaye started exploring ways to engage with the community and issues that were important to her, outside of her research.

  • Postcards from the Field: Inheriting the City Conference in Taipei

    Last month, I traveled to Taipei with my fellow PhD candidate in Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Lassamon Maitreemit, and our dissertation adviser, Lynne Dearborn. Lassmon and I presented our dissertation projects to international cultural heritage academics and experts at the “Inheriting the City: Advancing Understanding of Urban Heritage” meeting. “Inheriting the City” afforded me the opportunity to share my work with some of the best minds in heritage preservation and now my name and ideas are out in community. I got great feedback on my project and have motivation to move forward with my work on a larger scale. Both during sessions and in our free time, Taipei offered great hospitality, so much to see and do, and warm weather!

  • Marrying Math and Art through Outreach

    When Michelle Delcourt was presented with the choice between math or art summer programs in high school, she knew that by choosing mathematics, she’d never leave art far behind. “For me, math is a very creative process,” she said. “Math and art are very similar, the process of doing research in doing mathematics is similar to the way that I approach making a painting or seeing a piece of artwork.”

    Now, the 5th year PhD candidate and winner of this year’s Graduate Student Leadership Award uses her love of math and art to engage young girls and underrepresented minority students in math through community outreach programs. She hopes that her approach could help attract students who might not otherwise choose mathematics.

  • Meet Our Fellows: Lauren Hagler, Illinois Sloan Scholar

    Lauren Hagler fell in love with Chemistry during her first general chemistry class at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. The lab, which was set up like a fictional crime scene, was designed to provide hands-on opportunities to learn different lab techniques, the results of which lead students to a fictional suspect. Hagler loved the science, but not the crime – during her undergraduate career she quickly decided she’d rather solve medical queries than criminal ones.

    Fast-forward to the summer of 2015 and she officially embarked on her journey to do just that as a first year PhD candidate in chemistry and one of six Sloan Scholars at the University of Illinois.

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of three institutions awarded a grant by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's expanded Minority Ph.D. Program to support underrepresented minority doctoral students in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

  • Day in the Life: Donzell Lampkins

    In this new series, Illinois graduate students share a look at a more-or-less typical day in their lives in their own words. Our first "Day in the Life" author is Donzell Lampkins, a 1st year graduate student pursuing a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Healthcare. In addition to his coursework, Donzell works as a graduate assistant for the school of social work and as a graduate mentor for the College of ACES. He also works as a research Assistant for Dr. Venera Bekteshi (Assitant Professor, School of Social Work) whose research investigates Breast-cancer related health (cancer) disparities and immigrant populations, integration challenges, and immigrant women.

  • Meet Ana Martin: Fulbright Research Fellow in Barcelona, Spain

    Hola! My name is Ana Martin, I am a 6th year PhD student in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Illinois. This month has been pretty exciting for me as it marks the beginning of my Fulbright Research Fellowship in Spain. Although it was a long process getting here, I’m excited to embark on the adventure of living abroad while I complete my PhD research at the University of Barcelona. For anyone interested in teaching English or conducting research abroad, I highly recommend applying for a Fulbright Fellowship. Hopefully through this post you will gain some insight into the application process and some aspects of moving abroad.

  • SAGE Advice for My Past Self

    We caught up with some of the members of this year’s SAGE (Students Advising on Graduate Education) board to ask them just one question: If you could give your first-year-grad student self one piece of advice, what would it be?

    Their responses were funny, honest, and totally on point.