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  • Welcome to Grad Life, a New Blog about the Illinois Graduate Experience

    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.

  • Going on the Market? Time to Get Started on those Applications

    Back to school is almost back. Soon, it’ll be time to put away the sunscreen and dust off your research. Time to fold up that beach umbrella and pull out those freshly sharpened pencils. With the start of a new semester, you may find yourself busy to bursting with things to do—new classes to prep and new deadlines to meet—but now is also a great time to get ready for the academic job market.

  • 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.

  • Teaching (and Learning) Beyond the Classroom

    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.

  • Stop the Hamster Wheel: Making Plans in Grad School

    Graduate school can sometimes feel like running on a hamster wheel, like you’re in constant motion but not really sure that you’re getting anywhere.

    There are a ton of one-week deadlines (I have to write that literature review by Tuesday!) and a few five-year deadlines (I’ll defend my dissertation!), but bridging the gaps between those can be tough. And that makes it hard to figure out whether you’re headed in the right direction. Planning can help you build those bridges effectively, preparing you to make choices with your goals in mind so you don’t just keep spinning until you’re dizzy.

    So what makes a good plan? What will help you leave the wheel to the hamsters and make the most of grad school? Here are some approaches we recommend...

  • 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.

  • Four Ways to Make Your Research Presentation Stand Out

    It’s after midnight, you’re taking a quick look at the slides for your research presentation the next morning, and you have this distressing thought: “I think my research is interesting, but will anyone else?” No one wants years of hard work to be met with blank stares or a fascinating discovery to be dismissed by wandering minds. Your research is interesting, but how do you get people to realize that?

  • Make the Most of Fall in C-U

    Fall is upon us in Champaign-Urbana! As the semester marches to a close, we all have to take some time away from our computers, labs, offices, and library couches. Let your final papers simmer for a while, put that grading on hold, and give yourself a break. Research says it’s a good thing! Central Illinois offers many ways to take in the new season. Read on to find out some of our favorite ways to enjoy fall and the coming holiday season.

  • 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.

  • Where Are They Now? Nile Blunt

    Where can a graduate degree from the University of Illinois take you? In this new monthly series, we catch up with one recent Graduate College alum and ask the question: "Where are they now?". Our first interviewee, Nile Blunt, completed his PhD in History in 2011. After leaving Illinois, he began work at Phillips Academy, an independent secondary boarding school in Andover, MA. There, he serves as an instructor in history, the curator of the Academy’s Collection of Art and Antiques as well as the Academy’s Geographer at Large. 

  • Grad School 101: The Faculty Interview

    There’s nothing quite like a faculty interview to get you tied into knots. The stakes are high, the formats can be awkward, and it’s not really like anything you’ve done before. So it’s easy to be scared, anxious, worried, nervous, apprehensive—or just plain super-freaked-out. And that’s normal. But it’s a good idea to be some other things, too. Here are some ideas...

  • Day in the Life: Living and Researching in Barcelona, Spain

    Hello again from Barcelona! Since I last wrote, I’ve settled into my life as a Fulbright Research Fellow conducting research in the Chemical Engineering Department of the University of Barcelona. The work on my project is going well and overall my experience so far in Barcelona has been a rewarding one, both on an academic and personal level.

    As you might expect, my life here is quite different from what it was living in Champaign, but I have been enjoying the change and have met so many kind and supportive people in the process. I’d like to show you what a typical work day in Barcelona is like for me.

  • Where Are They Now? Cecily Garber

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

    Cecily Garber completed her PhD in English (literature) in 2014. Now, she works as a Communications Officer and ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies) Public Fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges, an association that supports small liberal arts colleges. There, she runs social media channels, updates a website, writes and edits, helps organize a large symposium, and occasionally edits video and audio all with the goal of promoting the liberal arts.

  • 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.

  • Where Are They Now? Mert Bay

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

    Mert Bay completed his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engingeering (ECE) in 2012. Now, he works as principal data scientist at Conversion Logic, an early stage marketing analytics startup in Santa Monica, California. In this capacity, he builds models that are deployed in the company's software product to help their clients understand the effectiveness of their marketing investments in online and offline media channels.

  • Grad School 101: Making Your Skills Make Sense Outside Academia

    I’ll start with the good news: as a graduate student, you have a ton of fascinating, impressive skills. You know how to do lots of different things, and you know how to learn even more of them. The bad news really isn’t so bad, just initially frustrating: many of those amazing skills you have aren’t always going to make a ton of sense to people outside your field, let alone outside of academia entirely. At least not at first.

    Does that mean those skills aren’t valuable outside academia? Absolutely not. It just means you have to be creative and translate them. By shifting how you think and talk about your skills, you can help potential employers see the links between what you've done and what they need—and make it easier for them to hire you. And you’ll also make it easier for yourself to discover and explore broad, interesting career options.

  • 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.

  • Where Are They Now? April Warren-Grice

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

    April Warren-Grice completed her PhD in Educational Policy Studies in 2014. Now, she works with K-12 public school districts and schools on issues of equity in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska while also teaching graduate courses in the graduate social justice certificate program as the Coordinator for Professional Development and Assistant Professor of Curriculum Instruction at Midwest Equity Assistance Center (MEAC) at Kansas State University.  

  • 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!

  • Where Are They Now? Heather Salus

    Where can a graduate degree from the University of Illinois take you? In this monthly series, we catch up with one recent Graduate College alum and ask the question: "Where are they now?". Heather Salus graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Poetry) in 2010. She works as a permissions researcher at The Permissions Group in Glenview, Illinois where she helps writers connect with the permissions they need to include third-party work in their own writing.  

     

  • Learn a New Skill (or a New Language!) for Free this Summer

    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.

  • Gain Valuable Mentoring Experience with URAP

    Are you looking for a mentoring opportunity? Whether you are interested in a career in academia or industry, you should be.

    A recent University of Washington (CIRGE) study of PhDs five years after the attainment of their doctorates found that PhD students generally feel well prepared for careers both inside and outside of academia, but additional training in essential professional competencies is still needed. Managing people and projects ranked high on this list, with 31% of respondents in academia and 47% of respondents in the public and private sectors rating this skill as “very important” but only 3% of the respondents rating their training in these areas as “excellent.” Acting as a mentor while you are in grad school can help narrow this gap.

    The problem is, opportunities for graduate students to serve as mentors can be hard to come by. That’s why Graduate College Educational Equity Programs and the Office of Undergraduate Research joined forces to start the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program at the University of Illinois (URAP). Now in its second year, URAP offers the opportunity for first- and second-year undergraduate students to assist graduate students who are ABD with their research projects.

    Hear what some of our inaugural mentors and mentees had to say about their mentoring experience with URAP at a recent panel discussion...

  • Where Are They Now? Marios Georgiou

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

    Marios Georgiou graduated with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering in August of 2014. He currently lives in Orlando, Florida, where he works as a Value Engineer for Addison-HVAC, a brand of Specified Air that specializes in 100% outside air units. In this position, he's responsible for eliminating waste in every manufacturing process for Addison-HVAC.

  • Postcards from the Field: Investigating Sustainable International Development in Ecuador

    In May I had the opportunity to travel to Lumbisi, Ecuador, to study what makes international engineering design projects sustainable and durable. With a team of other graduate and undergraduate students and three faculty members, we spent two weeks conducting surveys and interviews and learning the cultural, political, and social atmosphere of the Lumbisi. 

    Many international engineering projects (think water distribution systems, water filtration, agricultural irrigation systems, etc.) are rooted in good intentions: technically trained people want to use their skills to better those around the world who are less fortunate than themselves. But sadly, many of these good intentions lead to projects, especially in rural communities, that ultimately fail. The research in Lumbisi is designed to understand the importance of viewing an engineering project holistically, even if it seems purely technical at first glance. 

  • Where Are They Now? Irene Aninye

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

    Irene Aninye earned her PhD in Molecular and Integrative Physiology (MIP) in 2012. She currently serves as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. In this capacity, she conducts laboratory research to study the genetic pathways that regulate thyroid hormone action in the brain. She also works as an Adjunct Faculty at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, where she teaches biology courses. 

  • 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.

  • What We Learned at the Faculty Job Search Retreat

    On an especially hot and muggy day last month, nearly 250 graduate students and postdocs peeled themselves away from the bench, left the library, set aside their dissertations, and trekked over to the Illini Union for the Graduate College’s seventh annual Faculty Job Search Retreat.

    The retreat featured sessions on application documents of all kinds (cover letters! teaching philosophies! research statements!), helping attendees get ready to write excellent materials. But as it is every year, the highlight of the day was a panel of faculty members who offered a window into everyday life and hiring practices at their very different institutions. This year’s guests were: James Matthews, Associate Professor of French at Illinois Wesleyan University; Angela Glaros, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at Eastern Illinois University; and Jeremy Guest, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois.

    Since not all of you could attend this year, we thought we would share some highlights in the form of 3 tips from our panelists....

     

  • Postcards from the Field: Human Occupation and Competition for Resources in Laos and Vietnam

    The humidity outside of the sprawling cavern is oppressive, but in the murky depths of Tam Pa Ling it is cool, almost cold. We sit in a 5 meter deep pit under flickering generator-powered lights, squeezing the clay soil through our fingers, looking for the remains of our ancestors. The precision of my traditional archaeology training is thrown out the window as the team scrabbles at the muddy soil with hands and trowels, feeling more than seeing anything contained within the clay. Tam Pa Ling, or the Cave of the Monkeys, is located in northern Laos and since its discovery in 2008 has been a site of emerging human fossils that continue to push the date of human occupation in Southeast Asia back.

  • Where Are They Now? Michelle Voss

    Michelle Voss earned her PhD in Psychology with a focus on Brain & Cognition (now Cognitive Neuroscience focus) at the University of Illinois in 2011. Now, she works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate students, she runs a lab that does research on how the brain changes with aging and brain injury, how these changes to the brain impact the way we think, perceive, and act, and what factors (like exercise) improve cognitive and behavioral outcomes associated with aging and brain injury.

  • 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...

  • Grad School 101: How to Find Fellowships That Are Right for You

    Let’s talk funding.

    Maybe you've heard someone say, “There’s a lot of money out there, you just have to look for it,” and thought to yourself, "Great, but where do I look?" Don't worry - we've got you. Our brand new Fellowship Finder database is now live. It showcases over 1,100 fellowship and grant opportunities that help students fund their graduate studies, and it features a new search process, with lots of options to make your search quicker and more precise.

    Fellowship Finder specializes in awards offered by external funders: government agencies, private foundations, corporations, and other entities outside of the university. We also include a handful of campus opportunities such as those offered by the Graduate College. Best of all, Fellowship Finder is a curated database, meaning that real people (we here in the Office of External Fellowships) make sure that the listings we include are truly useful to graduate students.

    How does the database work? Let’s take a look.

  • 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.

  • An Internship Can Help Change the Direction of Your Career

    Should you do an internship in grad school? Kristin Divis says “Yes!” and once you hear her story, it’s easy to understand why.

    This summer, after graduating with a PhD in Psychology from Illinois, Divis started an exciting, full-time job at Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia is also, as it turns out, where she’d worked as an intern for several years while in grad school.

    I spoke with Divis earlier this year, shortly before she graduated and not long after she accepted that full-time offer. She wanted to share her reasons for doing an internship, what she learned, and why you should consider doing one, too. Here’s what she had to say...

  • Where Are They Now? Norman Atkins, Jr.

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

    Norman Atkins, Jr. graduated from the university with a customized joint MBA/PhD (Neuroscience) in 2009. He joined the team at Shire Pharmaceuticals as a Senior Medical Science Liaison for US Neuroscience Global Medical Affairs. After a series of promotions within the company, in June 2016, Norman was promoted to Franchise Global Medical Lead on the Shire Neuroscience Medical Affairs team. In this new role, he heads a cross-functional Global Medical Team for one of the company’s ADHD products. This entails being responsible for articulating the medical strategy for educating/supporting healthcare providers regarding ADHD disease state and clinical/scientific data regarding the company’s ADHD therapies. He also contributes medical/scientific input as a member of the larger Product Strategy Team for the marketed product.

  • 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.

  • Where Are They Now? Christine Herman

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

    Christine Herman graduated from Illinois in 2012 with a PhD in Chemistry and then again in 2014 with her MS in Journalism. Now, she is a multimedia producer at Illinois Public Media, working on a new statewide talk show called "The 21st." Every day, she monitors the news and social media platforms to get discussion ideas for the daily radio talk show. She also reaches out to potential guests and assists the host of the show prepare questions to guide the conversation. 

  • Takeaways from the Wellness Fair for Graduate Students

    We’re in the home stretch of the Fall semester and winter break is tantalizing close, but there’s still a lot of work to be done before the last exam is submitted. On Wednesday, November 9, The Graduate College hosted the first Graduate Student Wellness Fair to help graduate students take control of their health and wellness for the rest of the semester and beyond. The Wellness Fair featured dedicated staff and students from across the university representing the many resources that our campus has to offer for practicing self-care, work-life balance, campus safety, and stress management, to name a few.

    As a graduate student, it is important to remember that if we do not practice adequate self-care, we are at higher risk of burning out (which isn’t good for anyone, including the precious research we work so hard on). For those students who did not attend the Wellness Fair, here are some highlights of campus resources that will put you in tip top shape faster than you can say winter break.

  • Putting the Break Back into Winter Break: Managing Work and Play During Winter Break

    Semester breaks are the perfect time for some relaxation, spending time with friends and family, and filling up on delicious holiday snacks. But for graduate students working on their theses, winter breaks also mean ample time to get some research and writing done. During my seven-year career as a graduate student, I’ve spent plenty of time trying to achieve the best of both worlds. Though balancing data analysis and cookie baking can be difficult, below are a few tips to help you maximize your research time, and still have fun during the holiday season.

  • Where Are They Now? Meredith Sellers

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

    Meredith Sellers graduated in 2011 with a PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Now, she works as a Managing Engineer in the Materials and Corrosion Engineering Practice at Exponent Failure Analysis Associates. She specializes in proactive materials characterization and reactive incident investigation, particularly as they relate to oil and gas pipelines, integrated circuit fabrication, and chemical process safety.

  • 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.

  • Where Are They Now? Tori Davis

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

    Tori Davis graduated from the Illinois Professional Science Master’s Program in December 2015 with a master’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition. A month later, she started her career with AB InBev as a Group Manager in the Research Pilot Brewery. In this role, she supports the development of new products as well as the continuous improvement of AB InBev's current products and processes. 

  • 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.

  • Grad School 101: Copyright and Your Thesis

    Copyright can be a tricky topic for students working on their theses. With complex contractual language and so many rules and exceptions, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Luckily, University of Illinois Copyright Librarian Sara Benson is here to help!

  • Stretching Your Imagination Can Help Keep You Physically Active

    It’s that time of the year when we start settling into the routine of the spring semester. The days are getting longer and so are the to-do lists. It’s about this time when many of us who made New Year physical activity resolutions start to give up. I want to urge you to be creative, flexible and forgiving when it comes to setting fitness goals.

    As a graduate student, your brain may be getting a good daily workout as you work toward your academic goals, but there are countless enjoyable and creative ways to build physical activity into your daily routine as well. One secret to success with any exercise plan – especially for those who find it difficult to stick with a traditional routine – is to stretch the imagination before stretching other body parts.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Where Are They Now? Hannah Chan-Hartley

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

    Hannah Chan-Hartley graduated with a PhD in Musicology from the University of Illinois in 2014. Now, she works as the Managing Editor and Musicologist at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In this capacity, she oversees the production of the TSO’s program books and other print publications such as the subscription brochure, which includes the creation, commission, editing, and proof-reading of content. She also works with graphic designers and printers to shape the look of these publications.

  • Day in the Life: Beth Ann Williams

    Beth Ann Williams is a fourth year African History graduate student. She is currently living near Arusha, Tanzania conducting research for her (tentatively titled) dissertation: Women We Must Learn: Christianity and Gender Change in Post-Independence East Africa. Take a look at what a typical "Day in the Life" looks like for Beth Ann this year.

  • Applying for Fellowships: Telling the "Story of You"

    When applying for fellowships, you may be asked to provide a personal statement, professional goals statement, or something similar.

    A personal statement gives you an opportunity to elaborate on and offer context for information contained in other documents, such as a résumé, CV, research statement, or letters of reference. It gives you a chance to write the story of you:  experiences that have motivated you, people who have inspired you, ideas you’ve pursued, and choices you’ve made. I’ll offer some strategies for approaching these kinds of statements, but first are some suggestions for what to avoid.

  • Where Are They Now? Mariela Fernandez

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

    Mariela Fernandez graduated from Illinois in 2015 with a PhD in Recreation, Sport and Tourism and a minor from the Latina/Latino Studies Program. Now, she works at Clemson University as an Assistant Professor. Her research examines why lack of access to park and recreation resources occurs in Latino communities, what the health implications of this are, and what strategies can be used to address the problem.