A Semester in Review

Published: Tues., December 12, 2017

As the semester wraps up, we would like to take some time to reflect on the previous semester and celebrate some of the accomplishments of our office and of graduate students around campus.

Graduating Students

On December 15, 2017, 341 graduate students will be receiving their degrees. This includes 250 students earning master’s degrees, 79 students earning Ph.D.s, four earning Ed.D. degrees, seven earning D.M.A. degrees, and one earning an Ed.S. degree. These new alumni represent departments including Educational Administration, Food Science & Technology, Chemistry, Communication Studies, and many others.

In August, we also recognized 321 students who completed their graduate degrees.

We are so proud of all of these students’ accomplishments.

Events and Programs

For the 27th year, we hosted the Campuswide Workshops for Graduate Teaching Assistants. Nearly 300 graduate students attended this day-long series of workshops. Our plenary speaker, Anton Tolman, spoke about the reasons for student resistance in the classroom and ways to overcome it. Participants attended a variety of teaching workshops on topics such as Teaching with Technology, Active Learning, and Grading, as well as sessions on teaching in their discipline.

In late July and early August, we sponsored the Institute for International Teaching Assistants. Sixty-nine international students who expected to serve as teaching assistants participated in this two-week program. Participants showed improvement in their teaching skills and comfort presenting in from of others and most were rated ready to teach at the completion of the program.

Graduate Ambassadors
2017 Graduate Ambassadors

The Graduate Ambassadors and the International Graduate Student Association hosted at Eat & Greet for new graduate students at the Nebraska Union on August 17th. Many students celebrated with appetizers and refreshments, prizes, and conversation. Ambassadors provided tours of campus and downtown, which culminated in a social gathering at the Railyard.

We hosted a webinar series to help new graduate students successfully begin their graduate career. These sessions focused on Time Management, creating an Individual Development Plan, Campus Safety and Preparedness, and Mapping your Degree Program. Recordings of these Square One webinars are available on our website.

We have also hosted workshops and seminars on building teaching portfolios, writing CVs and cover letters, and a feedback session on teaching statements.

New and Upcoming Opportunities

As of this semester, we now offer 30-minute drop-in consultations on job documents every Friday morning. This is in addition to the more extensive feedback provided when you submit your materials digitally.

We will also continue to offer teaching observations and consultations through our Teaching Development Program. If you are teaching and would like feedback on your teaching, schedule a teaching consultation visit from our office.

Beginning this fall, our online Research Writing Modules are available to help graduate students and postdocs improve their writing. These modules focus on topics ranging from citing appropriate sources to editing and effective writing habits.

Next semester, we will host workshops on communicating your research to outside audiences, writing resumes and cover letters, and balancing your personal and professional life. Many of these workshops will be offered on both City and East Campus to make it easier for all graduate students to attend.

Selected Graduate Student Accomplishments

In addition to their coursework and thesis or dissertation research, our graduate students are doing so many other wonderful things. Here is a selection of awards and honors, publications, and outreach efforts from some of our graduate students. We would love to feature more accomplishments of graduate students, so please share those with us.

Ethan Hill, a doctoral student in Nutrition and Health Sciences, has been awarded two grants for his research. His work focuses primarily on neuromuscular and morphological adaptations to resistance training exercise in men and women. The National Strength and Conditioning Association awarded him $10,000 to examine the effects of low-intensity blood flow restriction resistance training on indices of skeletal muscle strength and size. These results will challenge current recommendations for increasing muscle strength and eliciting muscle hypertrophy.

In addition, NASA awarded him $4,000 to examine the effects of blood flow restriction resistance training as a potential mechanism to delay the effects of microgravity on astronauts’ skeletal muscle mass and strength during prolonged spaceflight. Collectively, these projects will help us to better understand the mechanisms underlying muscle adaptation and will allow coaches, practitioners, and researchers to effectively prescribe exercise to maintain or increase skeletal muscle strength and size under a variety of conditions.

Molly Chapple, a master’s student in Journalism and Mass Communications, recently began a new Registered Student Organization—Unleash Strong Women—focused on empowering and providing support for women in the Lincoln community. Inspired by a video on VICE about homeless women and how they cope with being on their period, she realized the need for other community or campus organizations to support their needs. She observed, “They already have so much to worry about, and it hurts me to know that some of them even skip meals in order to pay for feminine products.” The organization plans to a tampon drive benefitting People’s City Mission, and possibly other organizations, in the spring. Ultimately, she hopes to “spark a conversation about women in need and how we can support them” including “women from all walks of life”. She added, “incarcerated women, homeless women and women in need – all deserve to feel clean and dignified.”

Jason Headrick, a doctoral student in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, was recently awarded 2017 Founding Mothers’ Student Scholar Award from the Association of Leadership Education. The award is given to students who contribute to the leadership discipline and have demonstrated through research, teaching, or other avenues a commitment to the field. It provided free registration to the Association of Leadership Educators conference.

A Proper Lover book

Adrienne Christian, a doctoral student in English, recently published a book of poetry entitled A Proper Lover. The book is available for purchase here.

Jess De Silva, a doctoral student in Mathematics, received a grant from the Institute of Advanced Study Women and Mathematics Program to organize a conference for undergraduate female math majors. This conference will take place at Carnegie Mellon University since UNL already sponsors the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics, which Jess has helped organize previously.

She was also nominated for the Midwest Association of Graduate Students’ Excellence in Teaching Award. Jess has taught a variety of mathematics courses including College Algebra, Calculus, and Mathematical Modeling at UNL over the last several years.

Final Thoughts

Take some time over the holiday break to reflect on your accomplishments and progress and to set goals for the future. Look back over the last semester. What have you accomplished? Have you completed a research project? Published or presented your research? Completed a professional development program? Received an award or honor from UNL or elsewhere? If you taught this semester, you should look at the course evaluations for information on how to improve your teaching. Then, think about what would you like to do over the next semester. Set some concrete and achievable goals for your next semester or year.

The Office of Graduate Studies would love to celebrate all of the accomplishments of our many talented graduate students. Please feel free to share your own accomplishments or those of your friends and colleagues with our office.