Grad LIFE

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  • Broadening the Reach of Comedy in CU

    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.  

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.