Graduate Student News 10/04/01

J.P. Goodwin

The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) is off and running for the new academic year. At their September 27 meeting, the GSA elected 15 members. They are Rikke Siersbaek, Tom Menino, Jason Kim, Ryan Dorland, Dimitris Liarokapis, Fola Ogunlesi, Gregory Banks, Frank Campbell, Antonia Coppin, Mami Fujii, Christine Gagliardi, Robin Myers, Kelly Johnson, Teresa Sherrick and Jay Bulot.

Tom Menino was elected treasurer and Ryan Dorland was elected vice president. The election for the GSA presidency will be held at the next meeting, on October 11, at 4:00pm in the Wheatley Student Lounge. The position of secretary remains unfilled. Any graduate student interested in this position, or in joining the GSA (there are still a few seats open) please attend the next GSA meeting or contact Dev at 7-7975 for details.

Current GSA President David Prugh, who will serve as co-president during the fall semester, reviewed the GSA budget for Fiscal Year 2001-2002. The proposed budget of $120,000 was approved. Anyone who would like a copy of the GSA budget, stop by the GSA office at Wheatley 4-170.

The GSA voted to donate the 1,000 cans of soda, water and juice, which was purchased for the September 12 GSA cookout (which was cancelled), to the Salvation Army. They will be added to the items collected during the recent relief drive on campus.

Chancellor Jo Ann Gora attended the meeting, spoke briefly to the Assembly, and then listened patiently as each member spent a few minutes sharing their graduate student experience (both positive and negative) with the Chancellor.

Srivanas Rao was appointed GSA representative to the UMass Faculty Council. The election of a representative to the GEO/Parking Committee was tabled until the next meeting. Members of the GSA were invited to attend a meeting of that group to be held on September 4 at 12:30pm in the Wheatley Student Lounge.

SCHWEITZER FELLOWSHIP: Daphne Mitchell, from the UMB Clinical Psychology Program, is one of thirty-one students from 18 Boston-area health profession schools that are beginning their year as Fellows with the Boston Schweitzer Fellows Program. The students participating in the Boston Program are among 142 Schweitzer Fellows selected for the 2001-2002 fellowship year in six such programs located in Boston, Chicago, New Hampshire/Vermont, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh.

The Fellows design and carry out health-related community service projects to assist individuals or communities that lack adequate health services. The fellowships are inspired by the life example of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who gave up a promising career in music and theology to work as a physician and found a hospital in what is now Gabon. Each Schweitzer Fellow is carrying out a community service project with a local agency, with the support of mentors at their community site and their school. The Fellows have been identifying sites at which they can work and developing their project ideas. Mitchell’s project is at the Martha Eliot Health Center to develop, implement, and evaluate an asthma program for families to improve psychosocial functioning in children.

GERONTOLOGY PROGRAM: Each year, the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards 20 doctoral dissertation research grants to students pursuing dissertation research topics of interest to HUD. This year, Richard McConaghy, a doctoral student in the UMB Gerontology Program, is one of the recipients. His dissertation examines the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), a type of reverse mortgage for seniors the HUD insures. In one of the first studies on the subject of HECM, McConaghy will be using HUD data to determine the length of time these loans (which have no fixed due date but are payable when the homeowner dies or moves out) remain outstanding.

In his research, McConaghy will (1) calculate hazard rates for loan termination (2) identify factors that explain variability in these hazard rates (3) compare the rate at which HECM borrowers repay their loans against population-wide mortality and moving rates for the elderly, and (4) determine when and under what circumstances refinancing of reverse mortgages (which is presently nil) might be an important cause of loan terminations. Understanding these issues is critical for the lending and investment community and for HUD.

Gerontology Speaker Series Fall 2001: October 29, Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, Harvard Medical School, “The Advantages of Living to 100” (from 1:00-2:15pm in Wheatley, 4-147-2); December 3, Professor Frank Caro, Director, Gerontology Institute, UMB, “Long-Term Care Research Initiaves: The Politics of Research Funding” (1:00-2:15pm, sit to be determined, call 7-7300); December 10, Prof. Frank Porell, Gerontology Center, UMB, “Disability Outcomes and Access to Care: Findings from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey” (1:00-2:15pm, Wheatley, 4-147-2).

TALES FROM THE GRAD SCHOOL FRONT: Tips from Kathleen Carmichael, Ph.D., on Applying for Grants. “How do I even begin to find grants appropriate for my field of study?” One of the best places to start is your friendly library reference desk. Most university research libraries will hold books listing grants and fellowships available across a wide range of disciplines. These reference resources will give you details on the parameters of the grants – to whom they are available, how much the award is, whether travel is necessary, along with an address to which you can write for full application materials. In recent years, however, more and more of this information has been made available on-line. Now grant seekers can look up this information through various services on the internet, decreasing the time it takes to get this information. Some foundations even make their applications available on-line. Again the library reference desk is the best place to get this information.”

A couple of suggestions to pursue grant opportunities on the internet are: (for a general listing), (This is GRAPES: Graduate and Postdoctoral Extramural Support Database.); and GrantsWeb: n

GRADUATE WRITING CENTER: The Graduate Writing Center (which had been in the Graduate Studies Office) has moved to the 3rd floor of the Science Building, Room 001-33 (Learning Resource Center). The Center offers free tutoring in writing, critical analysis of texts, course research preparation and organization, and time management. Advance appointments are required. Call (28)7-5708.