blog postsFeel Like You're Drowning? The Counseling Center Can HelpJan 21, 2019 3:15 pm514 views 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.Meet Our Fellows: Nubras Samayeen, American Association of University WomenJul 20, 2018 1:45 pm583 views When she finishes her degree at Illinois, Nubras Samayeen may be the first woman in Bangladesh to hold a PhD in Landscape Architecture. This is the realization of a goal she's had since she was a child and is, in no small part, something she's doing for her own two young daughters and for other Bangladeshi women who, like her, have unconventional dreams. Here’s her story.Broadening the Reach of Comedy in CUApr 4, 2018 10:45 am768 views 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 MembersSep 18, 2017 1:00 pm1219 views 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!Meet Our Fellows: Ford Fellows on CampusJul 26, 2017 10:00 am1734 views To increase diversity in higher education, the Ford Foundation offers predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowships. The goal is three-fold – increasing university’s ethnic and racial diversity, maximizing the educational benefits of diversity, and increasing the number of professors who use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. We talked to three University of Illinois graduate students from across campus who received a Ford Fellowship to learn more about the program.Giving Names to the Dead: Building the Philippines' First Skeletal Reference CollectionFeb 28, 2017 8:30 am1664 views 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.Robin Holland: On Taking ChancesOct 12, 2016 11:45 am355 views 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.Stuck in a Rut: Exploring an Outside Interest Can Shape your Grad School ExperienceAug 1, 2016 3:15 pm1023 views “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.Learn a New Skill (or a New Language!) for Free this SummerJun 6, 2016 4:30 pm752 views Summer “Break” can be a definite misnomer when you are a grad student. You may not be sitting in class or teaching section, but experiments, research, and writing don’t stop just because the academic year has come to a close. Even though you’re still busy, the change of schedule for summer can make it a great time to develop skills you need to be successful in graduate school. Whether you’re trying to master an old skill or need to pick up programming/conversational French/business-plan-writing or any of hundreds of other skills you can think of – the university has free and/or low-cost tools to help you get the job done. Read on for some of the services you should take advantage of before school’s back in session.Marrying Math and Art through OutreachApr 7, 2016 10:15 am113 views 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 ScholarMar 9, 2016 9:15 am697 views 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.Teaching (and Learning) Beyond the ClassroomSep 21, 2015 11:45 am221 views For many Illinois graduate students, the classroom is just one avenue for teaching and learning. We asked three graduate students to reflect on their experiences working with programs that served middle school, high school, and incoming graduate students. Although their research interests and programs differ, they shared a common outcome. Through mentoring, they’d learned as much as they taught. They shared their thoughts with Grad Life.Welcome to Grad Life, a New Blog about the Illinois Graduate ExperienceJul 10, 2015 11:45 am264 views Welcome to Grad Life. With over 10,000 graduate students on the Urbana Campus, there are as many narratives to the University of Illinois Grad experience as there are individuals. Our grads hail from all corners of the world and are researching, studying, and teaching to try to solve some of the toughest problems of our time. Whether you’re attending classes in person or online, pursuing a Master’s degree or a PhD - this is a place to share and shape your graduate school experience.