Graduate Student News

J.P. Goodwin

The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) held a meeting on October 25. A committee has been formed to determine how the GSA should spend its “carry-over” funds. The GSA has approximately $50,000 (about half their current carry-over) that it would like to allocate to a new program or programs. The GSA constitution does not allow for putting these funds into existing programs which have already been allocated funds in the current budget. It was decided that since these funds are generated by graduate student fees, graduate students should have input into where the money goes. Consequently, GSA Treasurer Tom Meninno has set up a website to field suggestions/recommendations from any interested graduate student. At this point, the only criteria is that the money go to an academic or social program or activity, not currently in existence, that would benefit graduate students at UMB. The e-mail address is: [email protected]. Please forward your suggestions to this address.

The GSA also discussed plans for the Third Annual Graduate Student Research Conference, scheduled for April 2001. It’s not too early to start thinking about submitting an abstract. For more information, contact the GSA office at 7-7975.

The GSA is also planning “Open Houses” for the second week in November. These are opportunities for graduate students to learn about the GSA, get on the e-mail list, and enjoy a cup of coffee and snacks. The next GSA meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 8, in the Wheatley Student Lounge (4th floor). As always, all graduate students are invited and dinner will be served.

SPAYNE AND BOLLINGER RESEARCH GRANTS: The application period for the Fall 2001 semester for the Robert W. Spayne Research Grant (for work leading to a Master’s thesis) and the Craig R. Bollinger Memorial Research Grant (for work leading to a Doctoral dissertation) is from November 1 through December 15. These competitive grants are awarded to assist graduate students in defraying research expenses. Each semester, four $500 Spayne Grants are awarded and four $500 Bollinger Grants are awarded. Applications are available in the GSA office (W-4-170) and the Student Life office (4th floor Wheatley). Applications are also available on-line at: For further information, please call the GSA office at 7-7975 or e-mail [email protected].

THE WOMEN’S CENTER: “ABD to PhD: A Workshop for Women Having Trouble Writing Their Dissertations.” Stuck at the last step before receiving your PhD? These workshops are for women who have completed all requirements for their Ph.D., except for the dissertation. We focus on ways to work through that last hurdle and mutual support. Facilitated by Gabrie’l Atchison. Free. At The Women’s Center, 46 Pleasant St.< Cambridge, MA., on Thursday, November 15, 7:00-9:00pm and December 13, 7:00-9:00pm. For more information, call (617) 354-8807.

GRADUATE STUDENT PUBLICATIONS: Jennifer Moorehead, a doctoral candidate in gerontology, and Nina Silverstein, an associate professor in gerontology, published “Responding to Social Service and Health Care Needs of Aging Women Veteran” in the Journal of Women & Aging. The article was based on research conducted jointly in the Gerontology Institute and the Joiner Center…P. Satish Nair, a recent ECOS Ph.D. graduate, and William Robinson, professor in the ECOS Department, published “Cadmium Binding to a Histine-Rich Glycoprotein from Marine Mussel Blood Plasma: potentiometer Titration and Equilibrium Speciation Modeling” in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

TALES FROM THE GRAD SCHOOL FRONT: Tips from Kathleen Carmichael, Ph.D., on writing successful grant proposals. “Writing a grant proposal is a daunting process. It should be. Your proposal is the most important document you will submit to a committee reading through hundreds (sometimes thousands) of similar documents submitted by worthy scholars. So how can you make your proposal stand out? Obviously the answers will vary from field to field, just as the structure of the proposal will differ depending on whether you hail from physics or philosophy. Nevertheless, there are a few simple tips and questions that you can refer to in order to keep on the right track.

What’s at stake in my project? As simple as that question seems, it’s all too frequently overlooked. Which is too bad – for this is probably the single most important idea that you will have to convey to the selection committee. No matter who is making the decisions to fund your project – business executives, scholars, collection curators – they will all want to know one thing: Is your project a good investment? In other words, will your work trumpet the glory of their institution and give something back to the community and world at large? Hyperbole aside, these are good questions, and ones that you should be asking yourself as you work towards the completion of your degree. But your proposal should answer these questions for two audiences: the professional audience of peers in your field as well as the potentially generous layperson who knows nothing about medieval medical theory (for instance) but is willing to be convinced that it deserves support.

So, for example, you might open an account of a scientific research project with a brief non-technical paragraph stating what future studies or scientific advances your conclusions might support. If you work in the humanities, you might want to draw parallels between the field you are studying and a phenomenon in pop-culture. Anything that makes the arcane familiar will help you convince the grant committee that yours is the project to support.

Regardless of what tack you take, your statement of what is at stake in your project should occupy a prominent position in your proposal – usually at the beginning or he end – or both.”

E-NEWS: The GSA publishes an electronic newsletter that contains important dates, programs and activities of interest to graduate students. If you would like an event or program advertised in the E-NEWS please forward it to: [email protected]. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, e-mail [email protected].

GRADUATE STUDENT OMBUDSPERSON: “I’m so frustrated, I feel like I’m caught in a bureaucratic maze and don’t know where to go next…This policy seems unfair; I wonder if there is someone I can talk to about it?” Does this sound familiar? Are you in this type of situation and need to talk to someone privately and confidentially? Get confidential help from the Graduate Student Ombudsperson (GSO). The position of GSO was designed to compliment the University’s existing communication and dispute resolution channels. If you are unable to resolve a concern or are uncomfortable with existing channels, you may wish to contact the GSO. The GSO offers a neutral place to voice concerns, evaluate situations, organize thoughts, assess feelings and explore your options for handling problems.

The ombudsperson is not an advocate. Instead, the ombudsperson is designated “neutral” with no vested interest in a specific outcome. She/he provides an impartial and confidential environment to discuss university-related matters. The GSO can help you develop the tools necessary to resolve issues more effectively on your own. In addition, she/he will gather information, serve as a “shuttle diplomat,” or direct the problem to the relevant authorities upon your request.

The GSO is a student enrolled in the Dispute Resolution Program at UMB. As a result, you have an opportunity to discuss your concerns with someone who understands the student’s point of view, yet has training and experience in resolving conflict. To reach b the Graduate Student Ombudsperson, call (617) 287-5714 or e-mail [email protected].