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Fellows 2000-2001

Thriving in the Ivory Tower

Bethany Barratt

While the academy has become increasingly open to gender diversity in recent decades, women -- still dramatically underrepresented in higher education careers -- often feel like outsiders, a problem which is exacerbated by lack of access to gender-based social networks which can help male graduate students get oriented. In response to these kinds of trends, my program has brought advanced and first year graduate women together to share the information most of us only wish we had when we started graduate school.

The Thriving in the Ivory Tower Program has served as a complement to more formally assigned faculty mentorships. The latter are helpful when first getting one's feet wet and becoming acclimated to a particular department and a particular discipline. On the other hand, Thriving in the Ivory Tower addressed broader, cross-disciplinary issues, and allowed first-year participants to learn from a broad range of advanced women, while individual mentoring relationships had the chance to develop more spontaneously. Each meeting has consisted of opening presentations and discussion by advanced graduate students and/or representatives of various university units. These have been followed by group discussion and an informal socializing period during which first-year participants can receive one-on-one mentoring advice from advanced graduate students, and established individual mentoring contacts.

The workshop series has also produced a set of written transcripts of our discussions, as well as an audio and video library documenting our shared experiences and insights, which will be archived at the Women's Resources and Research Center.

What's Identity Got To Do With It?

Michael Borgstrom (In conjunction with David Quijada)

We have structured a year-long series of conversations devoted to issues of diversity within the academy. These informal dialogues address some of the following topics that have particular resonance for minority scholars: What do we mean when we talk about diversity? How do we negotiate our lived experience to the university? How might we facilitate (and benefit from) interdisciplinary exchange? These discussions aim to mitigate some of the isolation that can accompany the graduate student experience by exploring issues not often discussed in an open forum.

A Practical Guide To Understanding Human Subjects Protocols.

Carmina Brittain

This 2 session workshop aims to help students in the social sciences who are conducting research with human subjects to learn how to successfully submit a human subjects protocol.

The sessions will cover topics such as:

• Ethics and human subjects research

• Understanding the review process

• Successfully address human subjects committee's concerns

• Guidelines for writing research protocols

The intent of the workshop is to help students understand the process of HSRC approvals. Even for those graduate students who do not submit protocols to the HSRC, the workshop will be of value since as future scholars and researchers they will have to go through a review process (either at UCD or other universities).

College Science Teacher Preparation: Course Development

Joaquin Feliciano

Experience with undergraduate course development is essential for all aspiring science faculty. Technological advances and the creation of entirely new fields of study require that fledgling professors have experience with creating new courses and updating existing ones. Furthermore, demonstrated experience with course design and having a portfolio which includes several prepared science courses can be significant assets during the interview process.

For my PFTF project, I created a course to give graduate students in the physical and biological sciences a chance to develop undergraduate course development skills. The seminar will rely heavily upon on the participants' own educational experiences to define good science teaching and identify ways it can be applied within the context of undergraduate education. Over the course of the quarter, each participant will create or update a science course of his or her own choosing. Students will develop a syllabus for their course and develop initial lesson plans while being exposed to advancements in teaching technology, issues of student diversity, and a wide variety of teaching and evaluation modes.

Utilizing The Natural Reserve System For Graduate Education

Correigh Greene

My project will focus on encouraging graduate students to use the Natural Reserve System for more than just ecological research (for which they were originally set up). I'd like to focus on reserves' use as teaching resources, sources for creative inspiration, and for personal skills building.

My personal experience is a case in point: as a result of getting involved in the NRS, I was able to teach my own class on California natural history class, and use that class to develop website [http://nrs.ucop.edu/reserves/stebbins/stebbins_cold_canyon.htm] and publication skills. My goal is to survey reserve managers for their vision of reserve use, set up a website through which graduate students can look for opportunities at particular reserves, and to run a panel discussion through which students can find out how they can get involved in the Natural Reserve System.

A Mentoring Handbook For Graduate Students Mentoring Undergraduates In The Biological Sciences

Valerie Hernadez

As of Fall 1999, individuals from underrepresented groups comprised 16.9% of the UC Davis graduate student population (see Data Reports). The trend is similar nationwide and contributes to the lack of diversity in the professoriate. The undergraduate population is replete with individuals from underrepresented groups who are extremely intelligent and motivated but aren't necessarily cognizant of the process of getting accepted to and completing graduate school. A mentor who would encourage these students to obtain a Ph.D. and help them navigate all phases of the process could have a significant impact on diversity in academia.

Graduate students are in an optimal position to mentor these students. Although graduate students are entrenched in academia, they're usually not far removed from the undergraduate experience and often relate to these students well. Thus, they conceivably could serve as a comfortable bridge between the undergraduate and graduate school by providing guidance and encouragement. Furthermore, learning and honing their mentoring skills before they attain their doctorate will not only prepare graduate students to be productive faculty members, it will also position them to effectively serve underrepresented students.

For my PFTF project, I am writing a guidebook for graduate students who want to help undergraduate students pursue a Ph.D. in the physical and biological sciences. Examples of topics that will be addressed are: the importance of mentoring, finding mentees and how to establish the mentor/mentee relationship. The guidebook will also include an extensive UC Davis campus resource section that may prove useful to both the mentor and mentee. Although the guidebook will be universal in scope, it will also address the specific needs of first-generation college students; these students are often from underrepresented groups. Additionally, it will useful for graduate students from other fields of study who may be mentoring these students due to shared experiences (e.g., race/ethnicity, parenting, re-entry students).

How To Write And Talk In Sound Bites

Dorothea Panayotou

As UC Davis graduate students, we're becoming experts in writing and discussing our research ideas. But our expertise is limited as we're gaining knowledge in communicating with others in our own discipline. So in order to make ourselves marketable and emphasize the importance of our research, we need to publicize our research to the general audience. Most of us have never had the opportunity to interact with the Press including newspaper and television reporters.

My project allows graduate students and post-doctoral scholars to interact and learn from experts how to take complicated ideas in their discipline and create clear, concise, simple messages suitable for publication in newspapers and television. UC Davis News Service experts will teach us how to communicate with news and television reporters. I have scheduled four repeat two-hour Media Training workshops that are open to all graduate students and post-doctoral scholars. These sessions will answer the following questions: 1) Have you ever wondered how to communicate effectively with the news media? 2) Why is this important? 3) What do you do when a reporter calls? Participants will learn how to share their knowledge and communicate their research with the public at a level of a general audience. There will be the opportunity to volunteer to go on camera in a mock television interview. UC Davis News Service will also explain how they can help researchers publicize their ideas and they will provide important information on their services.

The second part of my project encompasses one-hour seminars give by the various reporters in specific disciplines. The "beat" reporters in the following specialties will present more detailed information to students specific to the hot stories in their area of expertise. These beat reporters from the UC Davis News Service have the following specialties: 1) Arts and Humanities / Social Sciences, 2) Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, 3) Environmental and Hard Sciences, and 4) Business and Law.

My overall goal of "How to Write and Talk in Sound Bites" is to allow students from various disciplines to come together and learn from each other as well as from UC Davis News Service experts.

What's Identity Got To Do With It?

David Quijada (In conjunction with Michael Borgstrom)

We have structured a year-long series of conversations devoted to issues of diversity within the academy. These informal dialogues address some of the following topics that have particular resonance for minority scholars: What do we mean when we talk about diversity? How do we negotiate our lived experience to the university? How might we facilitate (and benefit from) interdisciplinary exchange? These discussions aim to mitigate some of the isolation that can accompany the graduate student experience by exploring issues not often discussed in an open forum.

Common Sources of Stress in Graduate School and Strategies for Overcoming Them

Andrew Stubblefield

Graduate school can subject students to a wide variety of acute and chronic stresses, leading to a depletion of emotional and physical well-being. Many campus resources and a wealth of experience are available to help students navigate graduate school successfully. However, students often are not aware of the help that is available or do not know how to access it. With my Professors for the Future Project I sought to bring newer graduate students into contact with the resources available to them both in campus departments and in the knowledge and experiences of senior graduate students, postdocs and faculty members.

I tackled this goal with two methods.

The first was to organize discussions and workshops where some of this interchange could take place. I organized a workshop called “Air Raids, Famines, and Graduate School: What do they have in Common”. The workshop was facilitated by Frank Greer and Diana Davis of the Student Counseling Center and focused on managing the many stresses of graduate school. The second workshop was called “Taking Your Dissertation off its Pedestal” and was led by John Stenzel of the Writing Resources Center. The workshop focused on tips and techniques for getting through the dissertation writing process. The third workshop was called “Secrets of the Stars: A Roundtable Discussion with Davis' newest Post Docs and Faculty”. The panel featured Erika Kreger and Riche' Richardson of the English Department and Anke Mueller-Solger a recent post doctoral scholar at UC Davis.

The workshops were well-attended and well-received. However, I wanted to find a more permanent repository of advice and wisdom passed on in these workshops. For this reason, I chose to make a web page that would be linked to the Graduate Studies web page. The title of the web page is “Ten Common Sources of Stress in Graduate School and Strategies for Overcoming Them”.

The Ten:

  1. Impossibly High Standards
  2. Overly Demanding Or Absentee Major Advisor
  3. Teaching Demands
  4. Coursework/Orals
  5. Research: Planning/Funding/Writing
  6. Social Outlets/Isolation/Strain On Relationships
  7. Delayed Gratification
  8. Uncertain Future. Getting A Job, Tenure, Publish Or Perish
  9. Uncertain Funding, Competition For TAs, Low Pay
  10. Low Status With Respect To Peers In Other Careers