Graduate School Applications and Rankings on the Rise

Applications to graduate programs at the University of Connecticut are on the upswing, while at the same time the programs are registering a rise in rankings.

Throughout the past decade, the number of applicants to UConn’s graduate programs has grown steadily – from 8,400 in 2006 to 12,200 in 2016 – and that trend is expected to continue.

Read more on UConn Today

Grad Student Well-Being at UConn

Have you ever felt over-stressed and under-rested in graduate school?

stress management

Due to the many academic and career stressors in graduate school, many graduate students find it difficult (and nearly impossible) to maintain a sense of mental and emotional well-being. Additionally, sleep, exercise and healthy eating are often compromised to fulfill other requirements of advisors, GA’s, and other academic work. Over time, we find that our vitality is fading, our backs are hurting from sitting all day, our thoughts are out of control and we feel exhausted. We realize that something about that system is not working for us.

Maintaining emotional, physical, AND spiritual well-being is imperative in order to achieve the highest potential in research and life. People who have a greater sense of well-being are more productive, creative, and able to achieve their long term goals.

Therefore  the Graduate Initiative Fellows have developed a 5 week workshop series on the “5 Habits of Healthy and Successful Graduate Students”

Habits of Healthy Grad Students Curriculum:

          ~ Finding Your Purpose

          ~ Relax the mind with mindfulness

          ~ Self Care Fair

          ~ Eating to Sustain the Brain

          ~ Exercising

You are welcome to take part in one OR ALL of the the workshops! Please RSVP for the topics you are interested in below.  Space is limited, so RSVP to reserve your spot today!

See more specific descriptions below.

This is the beginning of a longer term effort to provide wellness support for grad students. And to that end- If you haven't yet taken the UConn Grad Well-being assessment, please (click here) and take the 15 minutes to help us reveal the truth about health and wellbeing among graduate students at UConn!

For more information you can contact melissa depaolo at melissa.depaolo@uconn.edu. Or call 203-314-2588.

Week 1

Reconnecting You to Your "WHY" - Finding Your Purpose

Do you ever find yourself wondering “Why am I here?” “Why am I even in this graduate program?” or “Is it worth it anymore?” YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Often in graduate school, the higher purpose that brought us here can get buried underneath the stresses of to-do lists and tasks. How often do we realize we've worked ourselves to the bone meeting back-to-back deadlines, while forgetting the things that give us drive, energy and enthusiasm?

Research suggests that having a sense of purpose influences one's health and wellness. It has been shown to help people overcome struggles with addiction, depression and anxiety. And more recent findings show that having a purpose in life may even protect against Alzheimer’s disease and contribute to a longer life. For graduate students, a sense of purpose can mean the difference between losing our motivation along the way and successfully completing our degree.

The goal of this workshop is to help you reconnect to your higher purpose. We'll help you articulate this purpose in a mission statement that guides your work toward your graduate degree within the context of your life as a whole.

Date: Friday, February 17th

Times: 1:00 - 2:30 pm

Location: Alumni Center, Board Room

RSVP: This Session is Full

Additional Info: Contact melissa.depaolo@uconn.edu for more information

Week 2

Renewing the Mind with Mindfulness Meditation

Have you ever felt anxious or stuck in a pattern of negative thinking? As grad students we have many responsibilities to manage. Often we reach our stress threshold when we can’t manage any more social, emotional, or academic pressure. Join this mindfulness workshop for a FREE guided meditation. You will walk away with a sense of tranquility, feeling of connection to your fellow peers and practical tools and resources you can incorporate into a daily mindfulness practice.

Date: Thursday March 2nd

Times: 7:00-8:30pm

Location: Student Union (Room TBA)


Additional Info: Contact melissa.depaolo@uconn.edu for more information

Week 3

Self Care

As students, teachers, advisees, employees, mentors, parents, and siblings, we tend to give out to others with little to give to ourselves at the end of the day. Forgetting our own self care can leave us burnt out ! In this workshop we will practice multiple modalities to practice self care and make a self care plan to finish the semester with vitality and self love. Remember, one of the best gifts you can give to others is YOU showing up in your full true and healthy self.

Date: Week of March 6th 

Times: TBA

Location: TBA

RSVP: Upcoming

Additional Info: Contact melissa.depaolo@uconn.edu for more information

Week 4

Eating for Sustainability

The food we eat directly effects our moods, our energy levels, and our brain capacity! We need to be putting LIFE into our body so our brains and bodies have the right fuel to create, produce and THRIVE in our graduate schooling!

Attend our 4th workshop to practice ways to EAT FOR ENERGY! (Hint: it is not always about WHAT you eat).

Healthy Beverages and Refreshments and Socializing!

Date: Week of March 20th

Times: TBA

Location: TBA

RSVP: Upcoming

Additional Info: Contact melissa.depaolo@uconn.edu for more information

Week 5

Exercise for Energy

Do you ever find yourself feeling fatigued, lonely, or like you can’t get yourself going?? YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Come see how movement can bring LIFE back into your body mind and spirit during this special Energizing for Exercise class for grad students. Exercise for Energy class is a fun, fast paced body weight workout to energizing music that you can do ANYWHERE at ANY TIME! join us and be AMAZED at how sweat, music and socializing can take your energy to the next level and help you be a beacon of positivity!!

(Students with any level of fitness can participate in this workout, no equipment needed. Please contact Melissa DePaolo with any physical concerns)

Date: Week of March 27th

Times: TBA

Location: TBA

RSVP: Upcoming

Additional Info: Contact melissa.depaolo@uconn.edu for more information

2017 National HWW PreDoctoral Fellow

Winifred Maloney Awarded Summer 2017 Fellowship from Humanities Without Walls at Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities

Winifred Maloney Portrait

Humanities Without Walls aims to create new avenues for collaborative research, teaching, and the production of scholarship in the humanities, forging and sustaining areas of inquiry that cannot be created or maintained without cross-institutional cooperation.

-Humanities Without Walls


Why did you apply?
I applied to the summer workshop because of its “alt-ac” focus. Coming into graduate school, I wasn’t sure about where I wanted to take my career, but I knew I wasn’t interested in entering the market for a tenure track job. Even if the market was robust, a position within the academy was just not going to be for me. When the history department won a career diversity grant from the American Historical Association, I was glad to see my department helping graduate students consider non-academic careers. Coming from this program that is now growing in its awareness of the need for career diversity in the humanities, I feel like UConn students can be frontrunners in shaping what “alt-ac” will look like for the next decades.

What do you hope will come from your experience?
The workshop will be held over the summer for three weeks in Chicago. I’m really looking forward to learning more about what careers are out there and to make meaningful connections with other fellows and speakers.

How did you hear about the fellowship?
My undergraduate advisor, Julie Mujic, sent me the call for applications post. She was instrumental in my decision to pursue history professionally by applying to Ph.D programs while in college. I have a lot to thank her for.

What can you tell us about Humanities Without Walls’ initiatives?
Humanities Without Walls is a consortium that connects the humanities centers of 15 research universities throughout the Midwest. Summer 2017 will be the third time they’ve run their summer alt-ac workshop, but the first time they’ve opened the search to a national pool. The first two workshops took fellows from the 15 universities that comprise the consortium. The consortium has been funded by a grant awarded to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

How did you first get involved with HWW?
I applied to the summer 2017 workshop in September 2016. I had to clear an internal selection process within UConn, as only one student per university can be nominated to the workshop. Dean Holsinger nominated me, and my application then went to one of the 15 consortium center directors who passed my application into a pool of 60 nominees. From there, the Summer Workshop Steering Committee selected me as one of 30 fellows.

What is the best experience or lesson that you have taken away from HWW?
Something I’ve taken away from the application process was how eager my mentors were to help me with the application. My advisor, Christopher Clark, was excited that I decided to work on the application. I got really helpful feedback from Professors Sylvia Schafer and Mark Healey in my department, as they were successful in securing the Career Diversity grant. Dean Holsinger was great to work with and optimistic about my chances of being awarded this fellowship, so his positivity rubbed off on me as I waited for the results.

What future plans do you have that involve your work with HWW?
The workshop begins in July. Once it concludes, I hope to maintain relationships with the consortium, the fellows, and speakers.

What is some advice you would give to future candidates?
When I was writing my statement for my application, a common critique from the colleagues I asked for help proofreading was that I wasn’t confident enough in my writing. To change that, I began to focus primarily on my desire to be a leader as graduate students in the humanities seek opportunities outside the academy. Changing my tone from passive to active rounded out my application.


To learn more about Humanities Without Walls and other opportunities please Click Here

The Graduate School-Communications Workshop Spring 2017

Negotiations and Professional Communication Skills

 Workshop Series for Graduate Students and Post-Doctoral Scholars:

 Sponsored by The Graduate School and The Ombuds Office.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where conflict arose?  Have you ever had an experience of miscommunication with someone?  Does your current success depend on other people? A faculty member? A colleague? An advisor?


Most graduate students would answer yes to these questions.  Communication surrounding conflict and negotiating outcomes is challenging and can lead to strained relationships, negativity, and missing target objectives.


Graduate students often navigate difficult waters throughout their time here at UConn as they prepare for their post-graduate work.  If you’re looking to strengthen your negotiation, listening, and conflict/opposition management skills and grow in other areas, please join us for a series of workshops focusing on negotiation and professional communication skills.


As a result of attending this workshop series, participants will:

  • Better understand their personal conflict and communication style including ways to apply this knowledge to their work
  • Understand Negotiation theory and strengthen negotiation skills helping to navigate challenging situations to reach positive outcomes
  • Understand the importance of listening, reframing, and paraphrasing in effective communication and grow these skills through practice opportunities
  • Develop an awareness of, and strategy for, the role emotion plays when negotiating your interests



Workshop Information and Session Descriptions:

Here are five important things you need to know about the workshop series:

  1. Please register as soon as possible as we have limited seats.
  2. Register Here

  3. ATTENTION: This workshop series is currently full. If you are interested in being placed on a waitlist, please Click Here. The waitlist will be used if current registrants decide not to participate and for notification of future programming of this kind.
  4. Each person who registers online and attends the workshop will receive a free book by Robert Fischer and William Ury, “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (3rd edition).”
  5. We encourage you to attend all five sessions to get the most out of the workshop series, however we understand that may not be possible, so please register for the sessions you can attend (Note: Session Three is only open to participants who attended Session Two)
  6. This workshop series is open to Graduate Students and Post-Doctoral Scholars from any University of Connecticut campus (Note: workshop location is on the Storrs campus).
  7. Workshop Location: Storrs Hall, Carolyn Ladd Widmer Wing 01 (WW01)- (Map location)

Session One

Overview of Professional Workplace Setting: How do Organizations and Individuals Respond to Challenging Situations?

Friday, January 27, 2017- 1:30pm-3:00pm

Storrs Hall, Room WW01

Have you ever wondered why things are the way they are in a given situation? In groups, the work place, or even in one-on-one relationships, navigating a challenging situation can be a particular challenge for most! Join us for an opposition management session addressing the typical ways organizations and individuals respond during challenging situations.

Session Two


Friday, February 10, 2017- 1:30pm-3:00pm

Storrs Hall, Room WW01

Negotiations are far more than the conversation one has about their salary. We are negotiating spaces, relationships, and opportunities every day whether or not we concretely recognize it. Please join us for a negotiations workshop and learn more about the art of negotiation. (Note: The two sessions on negotiation are designed as a two part series, in order to attend the follow up in Session Three, you need to have attended this session, Session Two)

Session Three

Negotiations Part II (follow up to Session Two)

Friday, February 24, 2017- 1:30pm-3:00pm

Storrs Hall, Room WW01

The best way to get better at any skill is to practice, right? This session on strengthening negotiation skills is a follow up to Session Two-Negotiations, and only open to those who attended the Session Two workshop. Participants will have the opportunity to further engage their negotiation skills and learn more about optimizing outcomes. (Note: Session Two: Negotiations is a prerequisite for this session)

Session Four

Communicating Through Difficult Situations in Professional Life- Listening, Reframing, Narrative and Metaphor

Friday, March 10, 2017- 1:30pm-3:00pm

Storrs Hall, Room WW01

Looking to add to your tool kit when responding to difficult situations? Here is your chance! Listening, Reframing, Narrative and Metaphor are core components to effective communication in the various dimensions of our lives. Please join us to learn more about your communication style and the impact these core components can have in difficult situations.

Session Five

Navigating Power Dynamics in Professional Work Settings

Friday, March 24, 2017- 1:30pm-3:00pm

Storrs Hall, Room WW01

If all of our relationships were easily defined wouldn’t that make for a better day? The navigation of power dynamics in the work setting is a practical skill of every successful professional. Please join us for a workshop exploring the navigation of power dynamics in professional works settings. The keys are the ability to check your emotions and hold people accountable while managing power relationships.

Session Six

This date is reserved if we need to make up a session due to weather

Friday, April 7, 2017- 1:30pm-3:00pm

Storrs Hall, Room WW01

UConn’s National Fellowships Incentive Program (NFIP)

National Fellowship Incentive Program

The Graduate School, in collaboration with the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships (ONS&F), is pleased to announce an incentive plan to encourage faculty to support students who apply for prestigious nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships. Faculty are eligible for up to $5,000 in rewards for mentoring students through the process of developing proposals and submitting applications for eligible awards. Faculty interested in the incentive plan should read the eligibility requirements before applying.

Read more Here.

Grad ListServ Moved to Soapbox!

As many of you are aware, The Graduate School has moved its announcement system from ListServ (GRAD_ANNOUNCEMENTS-L@LISTSERV.UCONN.EDU) to a new digest-like Soapbox platform. This platform will allow more streamlined way for your announcements to be shared with other graduate students.  This is to help decrease the number emails of you will receive each day in addition to it being an overall more efficient and intuitive submission system.


Here is a brief overview of how to use Soapbox:

From the landing page on soapbox.uconn.edu click “Submit Announcement” , choose “Announcements for UConn Graduate Students”, and select which issue, or date, you would like your announcement to published.  It will ask for you to sign in with your NetID and password to officially log in. It is important to note that all submissions must be placed a minimum of 48 hours in advance of the issue’s publication. After you have selected an issue, fill out the necessary information for your submission. All submission’s must have a title, and either a link to another page or a description for the announcement. A name and way of contact must also be supplied. Once complete, you can preview the announcement, and determine whether or not to submit the article or go back and make edits. If the announcement is approved, it will be placed into a category of the Digest.  Please add that to the end of your announcement which category you would like it to be in from the list below. It can be removed during the review process and will make organization much easier.  As Soapbox is tied to your NetID you can always go back and make edits to an announcement,  but it will need to be resubmitted and approved each time.


The categories for the Digest are:

  • University Policy and Emergency Information
  • Graduate School Important Dates & Deadlines
  • Academic and Scholarly Events
  • Class and Course Information
  • Research, Funding and Awards
  • Technology and Computing
  • Individualized Planning for Career Engagement and Professional Development (ICP)
  • Social/Special Events and Receptions
  • Arts and Culture
  • Health and Wellness
  • Family and “Non-Traditional” Graduate Student Events
  • Especially for International Students
  • Graduate Student Senate Announcements
  • GA Announcements
  • Cultural Center Announcements
  • UConn Job Opportunities
  • Volunteer Opportunities
When submitting announcements please follow the format of the example below. Add your preferred category in asterisks above the body of your email. (And don’t worry, we will make sure to take it out before it is published).

**Academic And Scholarly Events**
Tomorrow, the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life is hosting a faculty colloquium. Dr. Yonatan Adler is directing the excavation of a 2,000-year-old limestone workshop located in a cave in the Galilee region of Israel. This workshop served as a stone vessel factory during the period of the Second Temple and perhaps later. Dr. Adler’s presentation will be a conversation with Professor Stuart S. Miller, the Center’s Academic Director who has written extensively on this topic. The event will begin at 12:30PM, in room 304B of the Student Union. A free kosher lunch will be provided!
When submitting announcements that are only links please provide the category after the link.
http://www.langsa.uconn.edu/call-for-papers-2016 **Research, Funding and Awards**

We hope that this new service will help make navigating through your daily email easier in addition to submitting any announcements in the future. 

Vena Haynes awarded EPA STAR Fellowship

Vena Haynes was recently awarded the EPA STAR Fellowship for her environmental toxicology research with Dr. J. Evan Ward. Vena is a PhD student in the UConn Marine Sciences program, where her research is focused on the effects of environmental pollutants on marine food webs. Manufactured nanomaterials are entering aquatic environments from product usage, industrial waste, and wastewater treatment plant effluents. Specifically, titanium dioxide nanoparticles found in consumer products, such as sunscreen and personal care products, can be toxic to organisms and its toxicity can increase with exposure to light. Very little research has been done on the effects of these nanoparticles in the marine environment with exposure to natural light. The objective of this project is to examine the effects of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on ecologically important food web grazers that inhabit coastal waters, using environmentally relevant experimental conditions. This work will aid in the development of safer nanomaterials and help predict impacts on grazer populations and organisms that rely on grazers for food (primarily fish).

OEM: New Emergency Hazard Guides

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is excited to announce new additions to the Emergency Hazard Guide. The Emergency Hazard Guide offers readers a “what-to-do” for various hazards, including how to prepare for, respond to and special considerations for different types of emergencies. The Guide also defines emergency terminology used by UConnALERT, the University’s official emergency notification system. The new additions include:

  • Suspicious Package
  • Infectious Disease

The Emergency Hazard Guide can be accessed here:


Currently under development and up next:

  • Tornado
  • Extreme Temperature

As always, the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) appreciates any feedback the community has to offer.

For more information, contact: OEM at oem@uconn.edu or 860-486-5174

UConn Environmental Engineering student wins EPA STAR


Rebecca “Becca” Rubinstein was recently awarded the EPA STAR Fellowship for her research on wastewater treatment with Dr. Ranjan Srivastava. Becca is a PhD student in the UConn Environmental Engineering Program, where her research is focused on understanding and modeling biological wastewater treatment. Nutrients commonly found in wastewater streams, particularly nitrogen species, can seriously damage aquatic ecosystems near the outfall, and as a result are carefully regulated. The microbial community that is largely responsible for nutrient removal from wastewater streams is very complex, changing in response to both nutrient loading rates and ambient environmental conditions. The objective of this project is to characterize the chemical and microbial system in the activated sludge basin of the UConn Water Pollution Control Facility through daily sampling and analysis at various locations in the treatment basin. A machine learning approach will be applied to model the system. The model will then be used to dynamically optimize treatment conditions. In developing this model, Becca hopes to provide a useful tool for evaluating the impact of different treatment techniques or system perturbations on treatment efficiency.