Graduate Student News

UConn’s PostDoc Seed Award Winners 2022

The Graduate School is delighted to announce this year’s Postdoc Seed Award Recipients.

Raquel Fleskes, from Anthropology, has been funded for the following project:

This pilot research project seeks to develop a new method to extract ancient DNA from clay tobacco pipestems from colonial archaeological sites in Connecticut. Pipestems are common artifacts in colonial period archaeological sites, and preserve the DNA of people who smoked from them. This project will use eight pipestems, with each divided into equal thirds, to test three different DNA extraction methods at UConn’s Ancient DNA Laboratory. The concentration and complexity (number of different DNA sequences) will be assessed to determine the most effective method of DNA extraction. This project provides a new method in DNA extraction from archaeological artifacts.

Jessie Turner, from Marine Sciences, has been funded for the following project:

What color is the ocean? Using satellites to measure the color of the ocean tells us about the productivity of phytoplankton, the base of the entire ocean food chain. To use data from satellites, we need extensive ground-truth measurements of ocean color at Earth’s surface. However, the sensors used to ground-truth ocean color satellites are expensive and difficult to build. I plan to build a set of do-it-yourself sensors to measure ocean color at low cost. I will also create instructional materials for adaptation into a course for students interested in building sensors for their research.

Deborah Good, from Physics, has been funded for the following project:

I am an expert in timing millisecond pulsars – modeling the dynamics of rapidly-spinning, small, dense leftovers from supernova explosions – to detect gravitational waves from supermassive black holes. When timing pulsars, we model and remove the effects of the interstellar medium (ISM), especially ionized gas between the pulsar and the observer. Though “trash” in the search for gravitational waves, these gas models can be “treasure” for ISM scientists. I propose to lead a task force to improve our models and bring together pulsar timers, ISM scientists, and experts in mathematical modeling, maximizing our scientific output for ISM science and pulsar timing.

Kristel Schoonderwoerd, from Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, has been funded for the following project:

A single tree can bear leaves with widely varying shapes and functions. Smaller and thicker leaves that photosynthesize rapidly occur in parts of the crown that receive ample sunlight. On shaded branches, larger, thinner leaves are borne that photosynthesize comparatively slowly. Little is known about when during development these genetically identical leaf types diverge. This project seeks to understand how leaf development of sun and shade leaves aligns with seasonal changes in light availability within deciduous canopies, from leaf loss in the fall through new leaf expansion in spring.

Upcoming GA Registration Deadline

As a reminder, all students employed as Graduate Assistants are required to maintain full-time student status (6 or more credits), as noted in their offer letter and The Graduate Catalog. Employment as a GA is a result of student status, therefore GAs are expected to be registered for a minimum of 6 credits before the start date of their employment (August 23, 2022). Please be aware that if you do not enroll in the minimum 6 credits required to maintain full-time student status, the University cannot employ you as a GA.

To register now, log into Student Admin. You can also find helpful information, resources, and to-do items specific to your role as a GA, including information about GA health insurance and deadlines for enrolling in GA payroll deductions to pay our fee bill, at the Graduate Assistant Onboarding page.

If you have any questions about this requirement or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to megan.petsa@uconn.edu.

Faculty Affiliates for Inclusive Excellence

Colleagues,

The Graduate School is pleased to announce that we will host two Faculty Affiliates for Inclusive Excellence each academic year beginning in Fall 2022. One affiliate will focus on improving support for students from minoritized communities. The other will focus on improving faculty mentoring of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars with a particular focus on improving mentoring for those from minoritized groups. For both affiliates the goal in 2022/2023 is to develop resources and establish programs that future faculty affiliates can sustain with support from The Graduate School staff. The affiliates will work very closely with one another in addition to working with The Graduate School staff and with relevant faculty and staff throughout the University.

We anticipate that each affiliate will devote an average of 3-4 hours per week to their service for which they will receive a modest stipend. There will also be some funds available to support initiatives that the affiliates develop.

We invite both applications and nominations for the affiliate positions. Please contact Kent Holsinger (kent.holsinger@uconn.edu) if you would like more information about becoming an affiliate program or if you would like to nominate someone for one of the positions. To apply, email graduatedean@uconn.edu identifying which of the two affiliate positions you are interested in and including a brief statement (no more than 1-2 pages) describing why you are interested in the position, the experience you have that makes you a good candidate for the position, and an initial idea or two about what you would plan to accomplish if you were selected as an affiliate. We will begin considering applications and nominations on 8 August, and the review will continue until affiliates have been selected.

Affiliate for improving support

The affiliate who focuses on improving support for graduate students will develop and execute a program that contributes to an equitable and supportive educational environment and that fosters a sense of community. The program should include a particular focus on providing support for graduate students and postdocs from minoritized groups. We anticipate that this affiliate will collaborate extensively with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, including the cultural centers on the Storrs campus.

Affiliate for improving mentoring

The affiliate who focuses on improving mentoring of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars will design and develop a program to provide mentorship training for faculty. The program will place special emphasis on helping faculty understand the challenges faced by graduate students and postdocs from minoritized groups.  We anticipate that this affiliate will draw on resources provided through the Center for Improvement of Mentored Experience in Research (CIMER – University of Wisconsin) as well as other resources. This affiliate may also participate in a “train the trainer” workshop at CIMER.

Kent Holsinger

 

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Kent E. HolsingerBoard of Trustees Distinguished ProfessorVice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School

Graduate School News from UConn Today

Community, Collaboration, and Preparation

The Graduate School is dedicated to the welfare and progress of its students. We strive to strengthen this through a commitment to the ideas of creating community, promoting collaboration, and addressing your academic, professional, and career preparation. UConn is committed to fostering a diverse and dynamic culture that prepares you to meet the challenges of a changing global society.

The Graduate School leads and coordinates a variety of activities and resources to navigate your pathway through graduate school and to enrich the overall personal and professional experience of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.  Our vision for training of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars rests on three pillars as outlined in our academic plan.

Community: The Graduate School will enhance the quality of life for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars by nurturing an engaged community of scholars that includes all disciplines and all campuses.

Collaboration: The Graduate School will foster the development of inter-, cross-, multi-, and trans- disciplinary research and teaching programs by removing barriers to cross-departmental, cross-program, and cross-campus graduate and postdoctoral education.

Preparation: The Graduate School will enhance career and professional development of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars through programs designed to enhance discipline-independent, transferable skills. We utilize a framework of three categories to help students and scholars prioritize their activity: Professional Engagement, Career Development, Personal Growth.

By The Numbers

Student Life Edition

8,300+

Graduate and Post-doctoral Students

1500+

Tenured & Tenure-track Faculty

14

Schools & Colleges

90+

Fields of Study

2,199

Students awarded graduate Assistantships, Fall 2016