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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Your Work Is Vital, Tell the World about It

    Laura Adamovicz is hard at work saving the world — one turtle at a time. Last year Laura, a PhD candidate in Comparative Biosciences, won first place in Research Live! — a competition that challenges graduate students to describe their work in three minutes or less. In her talk, titled “Turtles in Trouble: Applications of Health Assessment for Conservation,” Laura explained how her work combines math, science, and medicine to study the impact of the environment and infectious diseases on several box turtle populations, with the ultimate goal of improving conservation efforts in animal species.

    We checked in with Laura (who will serve as a judge at this year’s competition) to hear about why she decided to participate in Research Live! and to see where her research and fieldwork has taken her this past year.

  • 5 Tips for Talking about Your Work

    So, what do you do?

    This is a question graduate students hear frequently—whether from scholars in their field, people in an elevator, or family members. And while at first the answer might seem simple—it’s what you do every day, after all—finding ways to frame and explain your work to others can be a challenge. Thinking about your answer to this question is important since there are many situations when you might need to answer it: applying for fellowships or funding to support your work, job interviews or networking events, interviews with the media, or discussions with political leaders regarding policy. And recently, several UI students found themselves confronted with this question when former President Obama made an impromptu coffeehouse stop during his visit to campus!

    Below are some tips for talking about your work to help you prepare no matter the situation.

  • Using Job Ads for Career Exploration

    Reviewing advertisements of all sorts can help you identify appealing job types and sectors that you may never even have heard of, advises Derek Attig in this post originally published on Inside Higher Ed.

  • Where Are They Now?: Adam Brandt

    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?”.

    Adam Brandt graduated from the University of Illinois in 2014 with his PhD in Animal Sciences. With his love for teaching and research (some of his studies have focused on African elephants and the Hispanolan solenodon), a university job fit his career goals perfectly. Now, as an Assistant Professor of Biology at St. Norbert College (De Pere, Wisconsin), he teaches a variety of undergraduate courses including general biology, animal behavior, disease ecology, and African wildlife conservation & health, and conducts research in the field of molecular ecology.

  • Grad School 101: Get to Know the Scholarly Commons

    During open hours, the Scholarly Commons provides the technology and digital scholarship expertise you need to succeed in your research. We’re also a quiet comfortable study space where you can sip your coffee and use software like STATA, Photoshop, and SAS. Come to our workshops during the school year and go from Regular Boring Researcher to Savvy Researcher.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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? 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. 

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.