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  • 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!

  • 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. 

  • 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: 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.