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  • What Keeps Me Going during COVID: Journey of an International Graduate Student

    The COVID19 pandemic hit all of us differently. Staying away from home and family has been incredibly hard on all students, but especially international students who may need to go an extremely long time before seeing family. In this post, educational pyschology PhD student Ananya Tiwari shares what keeps her going amid the COVID-19 pandemic while far from home.  

  • Meet the 2020 - 2021 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. As we embark on a new academic year, we are excited to introduce our 2020 - 2021 SAGE board!

  • Five Questions for a Successful First Year

    As you settle in, it’s a good idea to start learning more about your program and thinking about what goals you want to accomplish while at Illinois. One of the best ways to understand departmental and professional expectations is to connect with your academic support network.

  • Taking Classes Online? These Tips Will Help

    Online learning has gained a prominent place in our everyday lives since mid-March, when the university switched to a fully online format of instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you are a returning online student or taking some of your first grad school classes online, staying organized and connecting with your peers online can all help you be successful. SAGE member and PhD candidate Olnancy Tzirides provides tips she’s learned from her research and teaching experience in online learning.

  • Meet Our Fellows: Raquel Escobar, Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow

    Graduate education prepares you for many ways to positively impact the world around you. For Raquel Escobar, recent doctoral graduate in History, the opportunity to have a broad and active impact on the community comes through a Mellon/ACLS Public Fellowship. The fellowship allows Escobar to marry her scholarly expertise in history, memory and public humanities with a position at the Humanities Action Lab (HAL) at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

  • Grading Is the Worst, or Why You Should Be a URAP Grad Mentor

    The Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program connects undergraduates who are new to research with experienced graduate students who mentor them through the research process. The application for 2020-21 Graduate Mentors is open through August 9. Learn more and apply at https://grad.illinois.edu/URAP. Below is a reflection by Teresa Greppi, a 2019-20 URAP Graduate Mentor.

  • Staying Creative During Quarantine

    Staying creative during quarantine can be challenging. New work conditions with more, or less, distractions and commitments, fewer in person arts and entertainment opportunities in your community, and an atmosphere of stress and uncertainty can all negatively affect creativity. In this interview, Nic Morse, Digital Media Specialist (and our in house illustrator!) checks in with Vincent Carlson, a PhD student in Theatre at Illinois to chat about what creativity and engagement with the arts looks like for him during COVID-19.

  • On the Job Hunt: How to Keep Your Options Open

    In the coming months, facing uncertainty head-on and doing what you can to prepare for multiple possible job outcomes is the best thing you can do for your future self, advises Derek Attig.

  • Working from Home with Kids

    The past several months have presented many of us with new challenges: stress and uncertainty, eroding boundaries between work and the rest of our lives, new and often not ideal workspaces, isolation, and more. Add kids to the mix, and things get even more challenging. 

  • Words we wish to share.

    We are living through a challenging time that demands we reflect deeply on our values and actions.

    Against the backdrop of stress caused by the pandemic, this nation has seen racism and xenophobia continue to deny people opportunities, services, access to education, and even life itself. Most recently, we grieve the tragic death of George Floyd along with too many others who have senselessly lost their lives.

    We are moved to share our thoughts with our graduate community.

  • How to Enhance Your Personal Brand Online this Summer

    Remember in the early 2000s when we used to create online pseudonym usernames like “plantlover101” or “sillys0pran0” for internet safety? Fast-forward to 2020, where personal branding is now one of the best tools to market yourself. Long gone are the days where you’ll be advised to hide social media accounts from employers - and why should you? They paint a picture of who you are as a scholar and as a person, too. But personal branding is a scary term. How do you embody a form of corporate personhood without hiding your authentic and multi-faceted self? The answer sounds too good to be true: You don’t have to!

  • Radical Healing / Collective Thriving

    Getting work done looks very different today than it did at the beginning of the Spring semester. For Amir Maghsoodi, PhD student in Educational Psychology, the shift from in-person, clinical counseling training has offered time to deepen his social justice work with the Radical Healing Collective, a group of psychology scholars who work in issues of culture, ethnicity, and race. 

  • Where Are They Now? Rick Deja

    Landing a teaching role outside of the US was always a goal for Rick Deja (PhD, musicology, '16). So when he was offered a job teaching in South Africa, he simply couldn’t pass it up. Deja is currently a lecturer (the equivalent to an assistant professor position) in ethnomusicology at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where he teaches courses on music and culture from Africa and other world regions, advises graduate students’ research and writing, curates a collection of traditional and historical instruments, and leads a student music ensemble performing Pan-African Jazz and Popular music.

  • Staying Active while Sheltering at Home

    Many of us grew up with a very rigid conception of ‘exercise’ that involves participation in a ‘formal’ exercise program, or joining a gym or fitness club, this kind of exercise almost always involves wearing special clothes, traveling to an exercise facility, and finding time in a busy schedule to fit it all in. There are countless enjoyable and creative ways to build physical activity into a daily routine, even during the cornavirus.

  • Coping with Compassion Fatigue

    Dr. Tara Powell's recent Zoom workshop on "Self-care, Preventing Burnout and Compassion Fatigue" struck a chord with over 1000 people in the university community, maxing out the potential registrants for a Zoom meeting. That's not surprising during these strange times when many people are doubling down on efforts to check-in (virtually or in-person) on friends and family members who are struggling. Powell offers some tips for those in caregiver roles during the COVID19 pandemic, but they are applicable in our everyday lives as well. 

  • Resilient and Ready to Lead, Teachers Make the World a Better Place

    In a time of uncertainty, as instruction and learning transition to digital technologies, College of Education students have an important message to share.

  • Life and Research in the Time of COVID

    On Thursday, April 9, PhD candidate Caitlin Brooks successfully defended her dissertation proposal on narratives of home at Burning Man, the global arts and culture festival held annually in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. The next day, Burning Man was cancelled for the first time in its 30+ year history. In this piece, she talks about what it looks like to pivot her research for the current times while honoring the loss caused by this disruption. 

  • How to Defend Your Dissertation, Virtually: Tips on Preparing, Presenting, and Celebrating from a New PhD

    On March 24, one day after in-person meetings and instruction at the university were halted and moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nitasha Mathayas earned a new title: PhD. She delivered her dissertation defense—on students’ sensemaking using gesture-augmented simulations—via Zoom to her committee of Curriculum & Instruction faculty, her family, and friends. Over the next several weeks, many doctoral students will face the same situation. Here, Nitasha shares her experience and advice for holding a successful virtual dissertation defense.

  • Wired to Connect

    As human beings, we are wired to connect in real life. Communicating with others calms our nervous systems and assures us that we are not alone in the world. We are, after all, social creatures. So how are we supposed to find meaningful connections while social distancing? 

  • Working from Home: Take a Breath

    Like many of us, I’ve recently and suddenly found myself working from home. While the work I’m doing is pretty different these days, working from home is bringing back memories of writing my dissertation on fellowship. With nothing else to do and nowhere else to go, I would spend days (and nights) hunched over my laptop. 

  • Navigating the Surprising Stress of a Job Offer

    Looking for a job can be pretty terrible, and it’s often a long slog. Amid that stretched-out stress, it’s easy to start thinking of a job offer as a kind of holy grail, a singular solution to all your problems. But what I see over and over again, among the hundreds of graduate students I advise each year, is that the job offer is often its own source of emotional turmoil. A sudden offer, or the sense that one might be incoming, can prompt as much panic as delight.

  • What exactly is professional development, anyway?

    When people talk about ‘professional development’, they tend to emphasize the ‘professional’ part. The type of capital P professional development, that in many people’s minds, is a formal process with a defined beginning and end. But this type of thinking minimizes the ‘development’ part, which is really where the growth takes place. 

  • Where Are They Now?: Sam Chadwick

    Triple Civil Engineering Alumna, Sam Chadwick's career as a Rail Engineer for WSP USA in Chicago, IL took her all the way around the world to teach at the Tashkent Institute of Railway Engineering in Uzbekistan. Read all about her career trajectory which started at Engineering Open House back in 2008!

  • Fellowship Tips: Crafting a Good Research Question

    A typical fellowship application contains many components of varying lengths, yet it’s the shortest component — the research question — that’s the most important. Without a strong and explicitly-stated research question, a funding proposal never gets off the ground. So, what constitutes a good research question?

  • 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.

  • Where Are They Now?: Keith Taylor

    Growing up in the rural Midwest, Keith Taylor never thought that he would make a home near the sunny, sandy beaches of California. Keith earned his PhD in Human and Community Development in 2013 and now has his dream job as a Community Economic Development Specialist (another way of saying Extension Professor) at the University of California at Davis. In his position, the community is his classroom, and he works with community economic development stakeholders on research and development.

  • Grad School 101: Sustainability and the Productive Life

    A critical aspect of our work in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is encouraging a sustainable student experience. In this post, Daniel Wong talks about how we think of sustainability, especially in relation to the concept of productivity, and how you can maximize your effectiveness while finding balance and purpose in your work.

  • Where Are They Now?: Sarah Eckhardt

    Whether going to museums, taking classes, or creating her own pieces, Sarah Eckhardt was always fascinated with art. While working at the Krannert Art Museum as a graduate student in Art History (MA in 2003 and PhD in 2012) she discovered that art curation was the right career path for her. Now, she works at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as an Associate Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art. Working in a team, she chooses and interprets the works of art displayed at the museum.

  • 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. 

  • Meet the 2019 - 2020 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. As we embark on a new academic year, we are excited to introduce our 2019 - 2020 SAGE board!

  • Meet Our Fellows: Daniel Raudabaugh, Schmidt Science Fellow

    It’s not every day you get to name a new species of fungi, but Daniel Raudabaugh (PhD Plant Biology, 2019) named two during his time as a graduate student at Illinois. Hongkongmyces snookiorum, named to honor his grandparents who let him collect on their land for his pilot study, and Coniella lustricola, Latin for “bog-loving.”

  • Postcards from the Field: The Future of Science at the Lindau Meeting

    What is the future of science? How can scientists better impact society? These are just two examples of the many profound questions that I had the opportunity to ponder and discuss at the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting that took place in July. The annual Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is a gathering of Nobel Laureates and young scientists (undergrads, grads, and postdocs) from around the world with the purpose of engaging in an international and intergenerational science dialogue. 

  • Day in the Life: Illinois Summer Research Symposium

    Anna Flood is an incoming graduate student in the Department of English. This summer she participated in the Summer Predoctoral Institute and conducted independent research with Dr. Candice Jenkins as her mentor. Her summer work revolved around speculative fictions of slavery, particularly the novel "Kindred "by Octavia Butler. Anna and 38 other SPI fellows, as well as undergraduates from a variety of programs,  had the opportunity to present at the Illinois Summer Research Symposium. In this post, see a “Day in the Life” during the second day of ISRS, when the roundtables and oral presentations take place.

  • Where Are They Now?: Fatimeh Pahlavan

    Fatimeh Pahlavan lives at the intersection of law, business, and technology. She graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a JD in 2016 after previously earning a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2018, she founded Legal Intelligence to Entrepreneurs LLC (LITE), a law firm devoted to providing proactive and holistic legal advice to early-stage entrepreneurs.

  • 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. Here's what Mike learned from listening to them and leading the group. Read the original post on Inside Higher Education.

  • Grad School 101: Time Management Strategies

    Graduate school is full of exciting new experiences and challenges as you develop advanced skills and use them in new ways. Graduate school takes time, and finding the right way to balance your time is critical to accomplishing your goals. In this video, I give you some time management tips that will help you with prioritizing, setting goals, and creating a plan. Prefer to read the content of the video? The full transcription is below so you can access the material in the way that works best for you. 

  • Making the Most of Summer: Developing Skills Employers Want

    As you move into your first summer as a graduate student at Illinois, now is a perfect milestone to take time to reflect on your progress as a student and scholar.

    Over the past year, you’ve gained new skills and knowledge in your field, but success beyond graduate school requires taking a comprehensive approach to your professional development. It requires more than technical skills and field-specific knowledge.

  • 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. 

  • Where Are They Now?: Shantel Martinez

    Shantel Martinez graduated from the University of Illinois with a Ph.D. in Communications & Media from the Institute of Communications Research in 2016 after earning an Ed.M. in Educational Policy Studies in 2011. She currently works as the Assistant Director of the Otter Cross Cultural Center at California State University, Monterey Bay where she oversees the daily operations of the center.

  • Teaching and Performing to Find Her Voice

    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!

  • Staying Organized During a Job Search

    In his newest article on Inside Higher Education, Director of Career Services, Derek Attig, gives his tips for staying organized on the job search. 

  • Finding Funding Opportunities: Insights from a Current PhD Student

    Funding is one of the biggest factors in determining what kind of financial decisions you make as a graduate student. Taking on federal student loans, using your employment to fund your degree, using your savings, getting help from family members, etc. We all want to make decisions that will benefit us most - and while the above are all good options depending on your individual situation, nothing beats “free money” like fellowships, assistantships, grants and scholarships. As a former fourth time Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) Fellowship recipient, current Illinois Distinguished Fellow, and Graduate Assistant, I have searched and applied for many funding opportunities during my college career. It is a long but worthy process. Below are six tips on how to find and secure funding.

  • A Month in Wellness with Katherine Hatcher

    Katherine Hatcher founded her blog and Instagram account, "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 this post, Katherine shares with us her monthly wellness routine and tips for setting up and sticking to your own. 

  • Grad School 101 – Funding Graduate School

    Graduate school is one of the most important investments in your future you can make, To ensure that you invest wisely, it's essential thatyou identify your main expenses, as well as develop a funding plan and a budget. Think of this as planting the seeds for a successful financial future in graduate school. It’s important to start thinking about these financial questions early and to seek out University resources that can help answer your questions.  

  • Where Are They Now? Daniel Harnos

    A close call with a tropical cyclone as a child led Daniel Harnos to become fascinated with the weather. This led him to earn degrees in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Illinois in 2010 (MS) and 2014 (PhD). Now, he works as Meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Climate Prediction Center where he helps others prepare for weather and climate changes by delivering real-time meteorological information and forecasts.

  • 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 student 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.

  • Where Are They Now?: Karen Barton

    Karen Barton graduated from the University of Illinois in 2013 with an M.S. in Library and Information Science and certificates in Community Informatics and Youth Services. She currently works at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio), where she is the Liaison to the School of Health Professions and Community Engagement Librarian. Karen is the single point of contact for library services for students, faculty, and staff for one of five schools within the institution and works on various campus and community engagement initiatives to promote library resources and services in support of education, research, and community health.

  • Postcards from the Field: Setting Up Research Collaborations in India

    We landed in Bangalore International Airport after a journey of about 20 hours then took a bus for 6.5 hours to reach our destination: Shimoga - the original site of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) and the topic of my dissertation. Shimoga is part of the Malenadu region which means ‘heavy rainfall’ region in Kannada, which is the local language. The landscape of Shimoga is interesting; it is crisscrossed with tons of paddy fields, coconut trees, areca, paper and rubber plantations. 

    Nestled in the Western Ghats of India, Shimoga is the district headquarter and our primary location for research on the epidemiology of KFD, a highly infectious disease system transmitted by ticks in India.