Interested in staying up to date on the latest news for UCSB graduate students? Subscribe to the UCSB GradPost.

University of California Santa Barbara
Campaign for the University of California Santa Barbara

Translate the GradPost:

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.



Campus Map


View UCSB Graduate Student Resources in a larger map

Entries in ucsb grad students (5)


Mellon Foundation Seeks Ph.D. for Program Officer Position

Here is a great job ad that came across my desk and I thought it could be a great fit for a UCSB graduate student who is looking for a non-academic job.

Job Details:




The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (“Foundation”) is a not-for-profit, grant-making organization that seeks to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies. It makes grants in five core program areas (higher education and scholarship in the humanities; arts and cultural heritage; diversity; scholarly communications; and international higher education and strategic projects). The Foundation seeks a Program Officer capable of assuming a wide range of responsibilities in the Scholarly Communications department.

Position Details:

The Program Officer in Scholarly Communications reports to and takes direction from the Senior Program Officer and cultivates, mentors, and supervises program staff. The Program Officer meets regularly with leaders in the field, invites and evaluates proposals, prepares grant recommendations, manages budgets, and participates in policy discussions. The Program Officer also contributes actively to various collective activities and special initiatives of the Foundation, and helps maintain an effective and collegial work environment.


  • Assists the Senior Program Officer in managing and monitoring Scholarly Communications program activity and its grant portfolio;
  • Manages and monitors grant-making budgets;
  • Interacts with scholars and leaders in higher education, libraries, archives, publishing, and information technology to stay abreast of developments in scholarly communication practices, especially as they affect and guide programmatic objectives;
  • Engages collaboratively with other staff in advancing aspects of the Foundation’s mission, including areas of joint interest such as the enhancement of diversity in and international collaborations among organizations devoted to scholarly communications;
  • Invites, evaluates, and offers guidance on the development of proposals;
  • Develops, facilitates, and monitors Scholarly Communications program initiatives across institutions
  • Prepares grant recommendations, essays and reports for the Foundation’s officers and board of trustees;
  • Attends Board meetings and presents grant recommendations;
  • Oversees staff responsible for post-award grant management and participates in the monitoring and reconciliation of grant narrative and financial reports;
  • Tracks and assesses the progress of Scholarly Communications-supported programs;
  • Represents the Foundation in meetings with current and prospective grantee organizations, Foundation partners, and professional organizations; and
  • Performs additional duties as called upon.

Required Skills and Experience:

  • An advanced academic degree (Ph.D or equivalent);
  • Personal initiative and a mature commitment to liberal education;
  • Several years of teaching and research experience in higher education, and familiarity with scholarly communications, its history and current concerns;
  • Outstanding interpersonal communication, team building, mentoring, and leadership skills;
  • Demonstrated competence in public speaking and written communication;
  • Advanced computer and office skills, including comfort using grant management systems and familiarity with social media, blogging, and web-based resources;
  • Experience in managing large and complex programs, facility with data collection and analysis, working knowledge of and interest in applied research;
  • Willingness to travel domestically and internationally; and
  • Commitment to a collegial work environment and to collaboration with colleagues in all of the Foundation’s program areas.

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, offering competitive salary, outstanding benefits, and excellent working conditions.

Qualified candidates should submit a resume and cover letter to: They will consider each response carefully, but only contact those individuals they feel are most qualified for the position.


Yardi Systems To Host Jan. 18 Technology Job Fair

Yardi Systems is having a Technology Job Fair at their office in Goleta on Monday, January 18, from 11:00 a.m.-6 p.m. They have full-time job opportunities for Masters students in computer science, computer engineering, economics, mathematics, statistics, and technology management. If you are a Ph.D. student, consider checking out the fair as well in order to gain valuable networking opportunities and a glimpse into industry positions that are available in the Santa Barbara community.






New Course: Science Communication for STEM Professionals

A new course will be offered during Spring quarter by Doug Bradley, an instructor in UCSB's Writing Program. The course, 'Science Communication for STEM Professionals,' is open to all students of graduate student standing.

The course will focus on "enhancing the delivery, understanding, retention, and engagement of scientific information for various target audiences, particularly the general public." Students in the course will learn to craft accurate, realistic, and compelling scientific stories for a variety of audiences and media. 

What: ChE 394: Science Communication for STEM Professionals

When: Spring 2015, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Where: Engineering 2, Room 3301

Enrollment is limited to 24 students, so act now to sign up.  See the course announcement for more enrollment information.


The Trials and Tribulations of the Campus Visit

If you're on the job market this season, then the time is getting ripe (or already has gotten ripe) to start fielding invitations for campus visits. The advice for campus visits currently available online suggests that the experience of a campus visit is something akin to sprinting a marathon: an exhilarating, but exhausting event. 

While there is a great deal of practical advice for campus visitees out there, a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed is particularly effective in tackling the 7 Hazards of the Campus Visit. Nancy Scott Hanway, the author of the piece, addresses the legitimate concerns of many graduate students, including being asked inappropriate questions, handling odd or random comments, and being offered alcohol. Hanway also provides a short quiz at the end of the article, which lets you put her advice into action. It's worth a read if you are gearing up for campus visits.


Preparation is Key: The Academic Job Search (STEM)

The job market is a fickle mistress, and often brings incalculable angst and misery to the graduate students who enter it.  Even those who do land tenure-track positions do so only after many rejections, making the process a difficult experience for just about everyone.

Panel members prepare for discussion while the audience awaitsLuckily, however, UCSB’s Graduate Division and the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships has stepped in to alleviate as much of this misery as possible in the form of an Academic Job Search Panel on Wednesday, November 19, for STEM students and postdocs.

Bruce Kendall, Associate Dean of the Graduate Division, led the panel, which consisted of three sciences faculty members: Omer Blaes (Physics), Aaron Ettenberg (Psychological and Brain Sciences), and Megan Valentine (Mechanical Engineering). In an engaging, witty series of exchanges among both one another and the audience, these four faculty detailed the process of the job search from interview to job offer.

The members of the panel, led by Dean Kendall, decided to take it from the top, opening with an explanation of how search committees get from the stack of applications on their desks to a bottom 20 or so. The committee, very early on, pointed out that the more detailed elements of the application, such as the research and teaching statements, may not even be read in the first pass. Those documents, Dr. Ettenberg noted, only come into use after the pile has been winnowed down into a manageable size.  Early on, the CV, cover letter, amount of publications on the CV, and letters of recommendation get people into the top twenty.  

The letters of recommendation were particularly important to the panel, as was the process of networking and getting your name out there in the field.  As one of the panelists pointed out, “The Good Old Boy or Girl network is in full must be known to your community.”  While being known in the field is important, a letter of recommendation - particularly, from your advisor - is a crucial document for moving your application beyond the initial stages of the search.

The Phone or Skype Interview

Interviewing with the search committee, either by phone or via Skype, is the next step for candidates who make it into “the twenty.” The panel recommended that students prepare for this part of the process intensively, since they only have a short time to impress the audience. One member noted that a phone interview does beat a Skype interview in terms of effort, since it doesn’t matter how you are dressed.Panelists engage in Q&A with the audience

The Job Talk

The campus visit is, of course, the major event for a job candidate, and the job talk is sort of the crown jewel of the entire visit. Candidates generally have about a week or two to prepare for a campus visit.  Because of the quick turnaround time, the panel recommended planning your job talk in advance of the invite.  Because the core of the job talk is your dissertation research (or current project, if you are a post-doc), much of what you prepare won’t change from one job talk to another.  

A campus interview differs from the phone or Skype interview because there are more opportunities to tell a compelling story about your research, to speak to a wider audience, and to excite that audience about your intellect and imagination.  The job talk itself runs about 45-50 minutes, with extra time afterward (10-15 minutes) for discussion.  The panel suggested using 40-45 minutes to talk about your research, and using the final five minutes to look forward into future projects and ideas.  As Dr. Blaes noted, “The challenge of the job talk is to reach everyone in the department and convince someone who knows nothing that what you do is exciting and the one expert in your department that you’re good at what you do.” Time management is particularly important: “When they say it’s fifty minutes, it’s really fifty minutes!” Failure to manage time properly is a sign of being unprepared, something that does not go over well with the audience.

Panelists converse with students over pizza after the panelOne of the big challenges with the job talk is using technical language.  Used accurately, technical language shows that you know what you are talking about, although, of course, it can leave an audience not specialized in your sub-discipline a little bit lost.  The panel recommended starting wide, showing a broad vision, and then getting into “some meat” in terms of your detailed study - in other words, tying the technical detail back into the big picture, showing the audience that you can see the bigger picture into which your study fits.  A good job talk, they noted, tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end, with the end pointing out the result of the story: what do we know now that we didn’t know before?

The job talk is the single, shared experience that everyone in the department will have about you and your research, so it’s important to do it right.  The best way to prepare is to practice it - there is no greater aide than repetition and regular feedback from peers.  

Some schools ask for more than a single job talk.  Several panelists pointed out that a general colloquium and a separate talk with field-specific faculty sometimes occurs.  Furthermore, a separate, sample teaching lesson is sometimes asked for at different positions.  

General Advice for the Campus Visit 

  • You are being evaluated from the moment you step off the plane to the moment you get back on the plane.  The plane is probably a pretty safe place.

  • If you are offered a drink at dinner, you can feel free to take it.  But take only one, and nurse that drink.  If you don’t drink, try to find a polite way of refusing the drink.

  • You often don’t get time to chew your food at whatever restaurant they take you to, so choose your meal accordingly.

  • Never show up without a schedule of the events - you should have one emailed to you ahead of time.

  • Be prepared to hit the highlights of your research quickly - have your elevator talk ready.

  • Show an interest in what they are doing and their research areas.  Be prepared to ask questions of them.  

  • Try to find the latest papers by the faculty at the campus and read them on the flight over.

  • There is no break during the campus visit.  Ever.

  • During one-on-one interviews with faculty members throughout your campus visit, you will need coffee, or some other way to consume caffeine.  

Preparation: The Key Ingredient

From the entire discussion of the academic job search, the key takeaway that I found was preparation: prepare your CV, cover letter, and other application materials; secure letters of recommendation early; prepare for your interviews; prepare your job talks ahead of time; research the institution before the campus visit.  If you are entering a postdoc position, prepare for the later job market by acquiring teaching experience while at the position.  Use your conferencing during the job search process to make connections that will help you with the tenure and promotion process later on.  Prepare, prepare, prepare.  It’s a good mantra, and a good way to make sure you are ready for what the job market throws at you.