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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Winter 2016
Peer Advisor Availability

Writing Peer
Kyle Crocco

Mon: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Tue: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m.-noon

Funding Peer
Stephanie Griffin
Mon: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: noon-2 p.m.

Diversity Peer
Ana Romero

Mon: noon-2 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The peers sometimes hold events or attend meetings during their regular office hours. To assure you connect with your Graduate Peer Advisor, we encourage you to contact them by email and make an appointment.



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Professional Development Talk on How to Obtain Small Business Innovation Research Grants

Dr. Shravanthi Reddy. Credit: linkedin.comDr. Shravanthi Reddy. Credit: linkedin.comHave you thought about commercializing your research but feel unsure where to find the funding? Dr. Shravanthi Reddy will be giving a talk on how to obtain Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. Dr. Reddy (COO of ClearSight and Vice President of R&D at Sharklet Technologies) has been working with medical device startups for the last eight years. Her talk will focus on the SBIR programs that are offered by a number of government agencies to help fund startup companies with innovative technologies, with emphasis on the NIH SBIR program. The talk will discuss how to put together a strong proposal, how proposals are reviewed and scored, strategies on how to go after each “phase” of funding, and how to make sure the work you are doing is compatible with your business plan.

What: "Funding Your Startup with Non-Dilutive Funding: Keys to Success for Obtaining Small Business Innovation Research Grants"

When: Thursday, Jan. 7, 2-3 p.m.

Where: Elings 1601

RSVP here.

*Light refreshments available.*


Top 10 Tips for Negotiating Start-Up Packages

Credit: ImageSourceIn many academic fields, it is common for new faculty hires to receive a start-up package to help them establish their research at the new institution. However, the amount of the start-up package is typically not set in stone, so it is up to you to negotiate for what you need to start a new position. In a recent post on Naturejobs, Jack Leeming gives the top 10 tips for negotiating your start-up package:

  1. Know what you need before beginning any dialogue
  2. There’s no point having equipment if you don’t have any hands to use it
  3. Keep a detailed and prioritised inventory
  4. Remember the little things
  5. Take your time
  6. The process is a partnership
  7. Stay grounded
  8. Get everything in writing
  9. Be genuine
  10. Be positive

To read the full article, click here.

To get regular updates from Naturejobs, like it on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.


'What Can I Do with a Ph.D. in __?' Why That's the Wrong Question

Don't do what you love. Do what matches your skills, interests, and values.

Source: GotCreditThat is the overarching message in a recent article on Inside Higher Ed by Christine Kelly. A degree, Kelly says, is different from qualifications, and in order to get a job – whether inside or outside of academia – you need to assess what your own qualifications are and how they can lead you to a fulfilling career. There are three main steps in career planning:

  1. Assess your skills. Graduate school teaches you many different skills - not just researching skills - that you can use in a variety of jobs. But only you know what those skills are and you have to do a thorough and realistic self-assessment. As Kelly says, "You have to take the time to really discover what skills you have, your level of proficiency in those skills, which skills you want to use in your career, and where your skill deficiencies lie." Also, don't ignore the issue of whether you actually want to use your skills in your job. You may be really good at doing something but have no desire to do it professionally.
  2. Assess your interests. Look beyond your research interests and figure out what you enjoy doing in life and how that can fit into a career path. Career fulfillment can come in many different shapes and sizes, and your interests and values will change over time. "So rather than trying to find the one job you will have forever," Kelly says, "see your career as a series of interesting positions."
  3. Assess your values. What work environment and culture will make you happiest? "If you want the freedom to choose where you live, you dislike teaching, you want to work in a team structure or you want to earn a high salary, then academe is probably not the right environment for you," Kelly says.

Self-assessment can be a challenging process, and it's important to seek out help. At UCSB, we have a dedicated graduate career consultant to help you out, so don't hesitate to contact Lana Smith-Hale to set up an appointment!

Read the full article on Inside Higher Ed's website here.

To get regular updates from Inside Higher Ed, sign up for the newsletter, like it on Facebook, and follow it on Twitter.


Tools of the Trade in Career Planning

Credit: MyIDPCareer planning takes a lot of effort. Fortunately there are many tools to help! The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is one such tool for Ph.D. students in the STEM disciplines. On December 8, Bill Lindstaedt, Executive Director at UC San Francisco's Office of Career and Professional Development, gave a virtual workshop which provided an overview of what an IDP is and how it can fit into your career planning at UCSB. IDPs can help graduate students examine their skills, interests, and values and set strategic goals to help them achieve a career that would be a great fit.

The new year is a perfect time to set and re-evaluate your goals related to your own career planning. A great first step is to check out MyIDP from Science Careers and utilize their tools to help you establish clear expectations and goals to keep you on track. Best of all, it's completely free! Here are some of the things you'll find on the website:

  1. Tools to assess your skills, interests, and values
  2. Discussions of 20 scientific career paths and which will fit you best
  3. Tools to help you set strategic goals (with reminders throughout the year!)
  4. Articles and resources to support you with achieving your career goals

Once you have completed your IDP, you can consider sharing it with a partner, advisor, and/or me to help hold you accountable.

And for the Humanities Ph.D. students in the audience… we are in the process of supporting efforts to develop an analogous tool that can provide the same type of career planning support to you as well. Stay tuned for more information!

Lana Smith-HaleIf you'd like to learn more about IDP or other career planning tools available to you through Career Services (such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator inventory and the Strengths Finder assessment), come visit me during office hours or call to set up an appointment.

Lana Smith-Hale
Graduate Career Consultant
Drop-in hours in SRB 1216: Tuesdays 10 a.m.-noon, 2-3 p.m.; Wednesdays 9 a.m.-noon; Thursdays 1-4 p.m.
Phone: 805-893-4412


What Does 'Career Options' Mean for You?

Credit: Alexey IvanovThe holidays are not always an easy time for graduate students, who often face incessant questions from family members asking some version of “So what are you going to do with your graduate degree?” This line of questioning can be especially difficult for grad students who may be struggling with whether to continue in their program, or realizing they don’t want to go into the academia, or not knowing where to look for information on industry or non-academic jobs.

In a recent article in Inside Higher Ed, Stephanie Eberle discusses the many different things graduate students can mean when they say they want to know what their "career options" are. This can often be code for such diverse things as "Should I get my Ph.D. or leave early?" or "I have decided I want to go into research academe, but I want to be sure I’m not missing something" or "I know academe is not for me, but I don’t know what is." No matter where you are in the career preparation process, there are no quick fixes because figuring out your career path requires self-exploration and complex considerations.

Consider taking a moment to read this article and think about how you can make next quarter meaningful for your career search.

Lana Smith-HaleIf you want to know more about how I can help, come visit me in drop-in hours or schedule an appointment starting January 4.

Lana Smith-Hale
Graduate Student Consultant
Drop-in hours in SRB 1216: Tuesdays 10 a.m.-noon, 2-3 p.m.; Wednesdays 9 a.m.-noon; Thursdays 1-4 p.m.
Phone: 805-893-4412


Recap: Info Session on Academic-Adjacent Careers for Ph.D.s

Did you know that the university offers many rewarding career opportunities for Ph.D.s in addition to faculty positions? On Tuesday, Dec. 1, five panelists discussed how they made careers in administrative positions after earning a Ph.D., how to advance one's career, and how to apply your graduate school skills in an administration position.


From left to right: Brandt Burgess, Barbara Walker, Rose Elfman, Julie Standish, Meredith Murr. Credit: Arica Lubin

How did you get into your field?

Common themes: Most of the panelists agreed that their admin position was an unplanned career choice, the result of simply following their interests in different ways after grad school. They didn’t necessarily set out with a master plan, but instead identified their broader career interests and networked in order to find opportunities. The panelists also noted that their job choices were often influenced by factors such as geographical limitations (had to get a job in the area), family life requirements (spouse and/or children who could not move), dissatisfaction with their chosen field, or no job opportunities in their chosen field.

Julie mentored graduates and undergraduates as a Ph.D. student, then found a 50% time at Cal Lutheran teaching in her field. She then applied for and was offered a 50% admin position at UCSB.

Rose worked as a TA in Black Studies and was an editor for their journal. After being on the academic job market for a year, she found her current job at the Center for Black Studies Research listed on Craigslist. The minimum requirements were only for a B.A., but she showed how her graduate school experience made her the ideal candidate for the position. She started part-time and then went to full time after she graduated with her Ph.D.

Barbara came to UCSB as a postdoc in Geography and was very successful in writing her own research grants. The Office of Research recruited her to help other researchers write grants, and the prospect of a job based in Santa Barbara worked well with Barbara's family commitments.

Brandt knew that he didn't want to work in a research lab or in industry, and he went to an event for alternative careers in science and decided he wanted to get involved in science policy. During a postdoc at UCSB, he moved into policy administration by setting up a laboratory, and after a few years of experience outside UCSB, he was hired back here by the Office of Research.

What are the pros and cons of admin positions?

Common Themes: Panelists seemed to agree these jobs offered them a better and more enjoyable work life; however, it was less secure than the one provided by a tenured position.


  • Able to have a better work/life balance than afforded by lab work.
  • Unlike research, the work is done when you go home. You can have fun.
  • There is more flexibility for work schedules.
  • Unlike being a solo researcher, you have more colleagues and collaboration available.


  • Not having tenure.
  • Unsure of how to advance career. There is no defined career track path built into the job.
  • Sometimes wonder if you made the right choice.
  • Miss doing research or having a current project to work on.

How do you advance at an admin job?

The panelists stated that there is a ceiling to how high you can go, depending on the university. The top tier positions, such as assistant or associate chancellor, are reserved for faculty. However, undergraduate schools and non-top tier schools typically offer more flexibility for advancement. The panelists also mentioned that you can make lateral moves, change to other positions at a university, or look into the private sector or non-profits.

What are the skills necessary for an admin job?

The panelists agreed that the Ph.D. was good for many jobs. You have exactly the kind of skills that employers want. You can write, present, and think. You are detail-oriented and serious. In fact, more than half the panelists applied to jobs that did not require Ph.D.s but made a case for why their advanced skill set was an asset. They stressed that you need to spell out the skills you have to potential employers. For example, you can talk about your leadership or your work in a project organization. 

Lana Smith-Hale contributed to this article.


Post-Grad Opportunity: Science & Technology Policy Fellowship

CCST Policy Fellows logo

The California Council on Science and Technology announced the opening of the 2016-17 CCST Science and Technology Policy Fellowship application. This opportunity provides a unique professional development opportunity to scientists and engineers who are interested in improving the interface between science and legislative decision-making in California. Fellows work in Sacramento for one year.

Eligibility: US citizenship or suitable immigration status, with either a Ph.D., or a Master’s degree in engineering plus 3 years work experience

Application Deadline: Feb. 29, 2016

Fellowship Dates: Nov. 1, 2016 – Oct. 31, 2017

Compensation: $45,000 stipend, plus reimbursement allowances of up to $4,000 for relocation costs and $1,000 per month for health insurance

For more information, visit the CCST website


Advice for the Academic Job Search Process 

For those of you who are in the academic job hunt or just thinking about it, here is an overview of advice from Academic Job Search Panel on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

The session was moderated by Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti and the panel consisted of three Deans who shared their experience on both sides of the process – being interviewed as well as conducting faculty searches. 

  • Michael Furlong, Interim Co-Dean of Gevirtz Graduate School of Education and Professor of Counseling, Clinical, & School Psychology
  • John Majewski, Interim Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts and Professor of History
  • Melvin Oliver, Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology

The faculty panelists provided insight into all four steps of the interview process: assessing applications, first-round interviews, campus visits and job talks, and negotiating the job offer.

On Assessing Applications and Cover Letters

Read the Job Description: Make sure you are the right fit for the job by meeting all the minimum requirements for the position before applying. If you don't meet the minimum requirements, you are wasting your time and the search committee's time because they will throw out your application, probably while laughing.

Do Your Homework: Research the university, department, and program you are interested in to see if you canreference bookDo your research. Credit: be the right colleague for the faculty in that department. What can you bring to that department through your research and other experience?

Explain Your Research: Clearly explain what your research agenda is and how your dissertation and publications (if any) move this agenda along. How do your conferences and presentations relate to your research? How does it apply to the field at large. If you cannot communicate your research agenda clearly, you are not ready for the job.

Get Good Reference Letters: Get good detailed letters from people who know you well (who are either ladder faculty or leaders in the field). People who can talk in detail about your research and your ability to teach, mentor, or provide other service to the university.

Provide Something Extra: What can you bring to the department besides the minimum requirements? What other experience do you have that will help members in that department with their research or help the department with teaching their courses? Do you have experience across disciplines and can you teach in other areas?

On First-Round Interviews

Do Your Homework (Again): Research the university, program, and department. You need to know the job interviewPrepare for typical questions. Credit: openclipart.cominstitution in and out and have a vision of how you fit into the department with your research and other experience, such as what courses can you teach to help the university or the program.

Research The Committee: Find out what faculty members will be sitting in on your first-round interview before the interview takes place. Will it be just one or two members or the full panel? Find out their research interests and backgrounds so you can prepare to address their concerns.

Prepare for Typical Questions:

  • What is your background, your interests, and your research? (Your basic elevator pitch that you should always have in your back pocket.)
  • Where do you see you yourself in five years? (Create a plan of what you want to do and where you want to go with your teaching and research before they ask. This may not be the plan you ultimately follow but you need to sound like you have thought about your future goals.)
  • Why do you want to come to our university? (Are you coming for the right reasons, such as the research, faculty, and/or teaching opportunities offered there? Or are you applying for the wrong reasons, like the nice weather?)
  • What topics would you cover in a course for undergraduates? For graduates? What other courses would you be able to teach? (If you can cover a wide swath of curriculum, you would be a good candidate for another interview.)
  • What new courses would you like to develop? (If possible, have syllabi prepared for some of your dream courses.)
  • What is your experience with advising and mentoring students? (Or working with diverse groups?)
  • How would your research contribute to the faculty in the department? (Or, what kind of interdisciplinary connections can you make?)

Create A Syllabus: Draft a syllabus (or three). Some universities ask for an undergraduate or graduate course syllabus for a course you have taught before or might teach for them.

Be Ready For Skype Interviews:

  • Test Your Equipment: Make sure the camera and sound work well. Test the system with a call to ano pantsKeep your pants on. Credit: 9gag.comfriend. If possible, use a hard-wired connection and not wifi for better signal strength.
  • Choose A Good Location: Pick a quiet location with a non-distracting background. A plain background is best.
  • Dress Professionally: Wear professional clothing. It doesn't have to be a suit, but just because you are at home doesn't mean you should skip wearing pants.
  • Watch Your Angle: Look straight at the camera when talking. Choose a good camera angle so you're not staring down at the committee or showing an unflattering view of yourself.

Campus Visit

Know What You're In For: Prepare for a visit that lasts two days; it goes from morning to night, and consists of non-stop meetings and meals with graduate students, faculty, and the Dean.

Hone Your Job Talk and Q & A: Create a balance between theory and practice. The job talk is the centerpiece of your visit, so make sure you run through it several times with colleagues until it is polished like a diamond. Bad job talks can doom you. Find out how long the talk is and what aspects are expected. A good Q & A is just as important for a successful talk. Practice taking and answering questions until you seem like the poised, confident presenter they want to hire.

Handle Your Stress: Don't freak out. Calm yourself by imagining that you are meeting with a bunch of colleagues to give a lecture.

Prepare For Individual Faculty Interviews: Make the conversation easy for the both of you. Learn about the individual faculty in the department and their research interests so you are prepared to ask them questions and to explain how your research will benefit them or the department. Don't dominate the conversation.

Prepare For The Chair: Department chairs like to get questions. Ask about the specifics of the job: teaching load, type of courses taught, salary (how it is determined, if it is negotiable or not), benefits, sabbaticals, expectations for the department and campus committees, what kind of support you have for teaching, and how many students are in the major.

Prepare For The Dean: Have your two minute spiel down for research/dissertation. Be prepared with questions that for the Dean that will help you and the Dean make a decision on an offer (research needs, equipment, spousal hire, tenure process, etc). Dean will give you the parameters of the position so take notes.

Mind Your Manners: Don't drink too much alcohol or order food that is difficult or messy to eat when going outcakeMind your manners at the dinner table. Credit: with faculty. Try to engage all faculty members in conversation because you never know who will benefit you. Don't assume you know who is the most important or powerful person at the table.

Be Genuine: Be who you are. It doesn't benefit you or the department to pretend to be someone else. You want to find the right fit for you since you will, hopefully, be spending most of your life with these people.

The Job Offer

The job offer package normally consists of three things: salary, moving expenses, and start-up research funds. (Moving expenses is usually standard and non-negotiable).

Your Salary: The amount depends on how the university determines funding. Some have salary scales and tables, and take into account different factors like previous experience, publications, or if you're famous in your field. The groundwork for the salary is usually laid beforehand on the campus visit when you talk to the chair and Dean.

Multiple Offers: Be honest. If you are interviewing with other institutions, keep everyone in the loop. It's better for all parties if you are honest. It lets each university have a chance to make you an offer and also allows them to match an offer that has been made by another university.

Negotiating: Negotiate salary or benefits if you can. Find out beforehand on your campus visit (Dean or Chair) or from other faculty at the university what is negotiable. For example, salary is sometimes fixed but you can negotiate research funding, office location, and furniture.

Spousal Accommodation: Hiring a spouse has become common practice these days. Many universities make antalking manDon't talk all the time. Credit: effort, so do your research beforehand to see if this possible. Also, mention this on the campus visit so they can prepare an offer, since offers take a long time to put together.

Don't Be That Person

Some common gaffes to avoid:

  • constantly talking about yourself
  • not having done your research on the department (making errors about what they do or don't do)
  • not engaging everyone in conversation (only talking to certain people)
  • not showing your genuine interest in the university or department (talking about how this place is just a stepping stone to your real aspirations)

Shawn Warner-Garcia contributed to this recap.


University of Nevada, Reno, Seeks Senior Advisor of Graduate Student Services

University logoThe University of Nevada, Reno, is accepting applications for an administrative faculty position through Dec. 2. The Senior Advisor responsibilities will include:

  • Advising the GSA Leadership and Council, by
    • Training GSA Leadership and Council
    • Working with clubs and organizations.
    • Mentoring and advising graduate students
  • Budget management, including
    • Personnel management
    • Graduate student professional development activities.


  • Bachelor’s and four years of related professional experience, or
  • Master’s and two years of related professional experience, or
  • Doctorate and one year of related professional experience.

Closing Date: Dec. 2

Please note, a flexible work schedule (some evenings and weekends) is required. For a full description of the position and online application materials, refer to the job posting.


Versatile Ph.D. STEM Online Panel Discussion: 'Careers in University Administration'

Versatile Ph.D. will host a free web-based asynchronous panel discussion on "Careers in University Administration (STEM)" from November 16 to 20. All panelists are Ph.D.s from STEM fields:

  • An Inorganic Chemist who has been an Assistant Dean of STEM Programs and Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs
  • A Molecular Biologist who is Administrator of a biological sciences research center
  • A Pathologist who is Director of Academic and Professional Development at a university graduate school
  • An Astronomer who is Senior Analyst in the central office for a state university system

You can interact with panelists throughout the week on the site, or follow the discussion via email. All questions welcome, from the most general to the very specific.

As a UCSB graduate student, you have free access to the information and resources on the Versatile Ph.D. website. To learn more about accessing its premium content, such as the panel discussions, follow these simple instructions provided by the Graduate Division.