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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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Webinar Wrap-up: How to Fund Your Graduate STEM Education

If you missed out on tuning into the free webinar from Pathways to Science on funding a graduate STEM education on Nov. 9, have no fear. Here are the major takeaways from the hosts:

  • It’s best to start early with applications. Several fellowship programs have Fall deadlines, so aim to start brainstorming ideas for your essays and personal statements no later than September.
  • If you have a diverse or sporadic academic and career history, try turning it into a more cohesive, linear story. Your applications will certainly stand out for being “interdisciplinary” or “well-rounded,” and it won’t sound like you’re unsure of what you want to do.
  • First-year students shouldn’t worry about being compared to other students who are further along in their degree program! Selection committees will be aware of your current status, and they will not penalize you for not having completed any research yet.
  • Be aggressive with networking and following up with applications. Don’t be afraid to ask your professors, advisors, peers, and undergraduate networks for help with referrals or nominations.
  • Be sure to look for professional development funds to support a variety of professional activities, including conference travel and networking or social events. For instance, the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate specifically supports professional development and mentoring for its members.

A project of the Institute for Broadening Participation, Pathways to Science supports STEM education and research. Check out their website for more opportunities related to funding, fellowships, postdoc positions, and mentoring.



Paid Research Participation Opportunity

The UCSB Cognition and Development Lab is seeking persons who (1) self-identify as Christian, (2) regularly attend church, and (3) are fluent English speakers, to participate in a psychological study on beliefs. The study will take place on the UCSB campus and will consist of one session lasting 45 to 60 minutes. Parking at the campus will be provided, if needed. All participants will receive $20, and the deep appreciation of the researchers.

For more information and/or to schedule a testing session, please email Spencer Mermelstein or call the Cognition and Development Lab at 805-893-8018. This is an ongoing research project being conducted until the end of the fall quarter.


Winter 2016 TAs Needed: Chicana/o Studies Department

image: Chicana/o Studies logoThe Chicana/o Studies Department is looking to hire TAs for Winter Quarter. Course vacancies are listed below. To apply, submit the following items to the Chicana/o Studies Graduate Affairs Office (South Hall 1722), or email them to Mayra Villaneuva at, no later than 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 26. Please also address any questions or concerns to Mayra.

Application materials:

  1. Application for employment form
  2. CV
  3. One letter of recommendation
  4. Any teaching evaluations from the most recent 3 quarters

TAs are needed for:

  1. CHST 1B: Introduction to Chicana/o Studies. Introduction to the historical and contemporary development of the Chicano/a community. Course is interdisciplinary in nature. Focuses by quarter on history, gender, and culture. Professor Miroslava Chavez-Garcia. Lecture: T R 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. See GOLD for section times. 50% time TA appointment.
  2. CHST 167: Chicana Feminisms. Different feminisms have contributed significantly to contemporary political thought. In this course, students survey the historical development and primary issues of Chicana Feminism, including its practices of political intervention, major writings, and comparisons to other influential feminisms. Professor Aida Hurtado. Lecture: M W 2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. See GOLD for section times. 50% time TA appointment.

What: Winter Quarter TA positions with the Chicana/o Studies Department (see courses above)

Deadline: Thursday, Nov. 26, at 4:00 p.m.

Submit applications to: Chicana/o Studies Graduate Affairs Office, South Hall 1722; or to Mayra Villanueva


Call for Applications: Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program

The Smithsonian Office for Fellowships and Internships has announced it has opened applications for the 2016 Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program (SIFP). The program allows researchers the opportunity to conduct independent study at one of the 19 Smithsonian centers, in conjunction with Smithsonian experts or centers. The program offers 10-week fellowships under the guidance of at least one Smithsonian advisor for graduate students, and 3- to 12-month programs for predoctoral students and postdoctoral researchers. Citizens of any country are welcome to apply, but English fluency is required.

The fellowship award amounts range from $7,000 for 10 weeks for a Graduate Student Fellowship to $48,000 annually and a research allowance up to $4,000 for the Postdoctoral Researcher and Senior Researcher Fellowships.

Smithsonian Fellowship

What: Independent research at a Smithsonian facility under the guidance of a Smithsonian advisor

Deadline: Dec. 1

Duration: 10 weeks (Graduate Student Fellowship) or 3 to 12 months (Predoctoral Students or Postdoctoral Researcher Fellowships)

For more information, please refer to the SIFP website.


Finding Funding Workshop: November 18

Credit: gsa.umbc.eduAll graduate students are welcome to attend the next Finding Funding Workshop. We'll be going over campus resources for your graduate careers, as well as resources and databases through the UC System and elsewhere. Please bring your computers and any questions pertaining to funding your graduate education or research. Light snacks will be provided.

Finding Funding Workshop

When: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 11:30 a.m.

Where: SRB 2154 (second-floor conference room)

Please RSVP to Steph Griffin at


Funding Opportunities: December 2015 Deadlines

While you’re getting holiday gifts for your family and friends, don’t forget to help yourself this month as well! The following scholarships and fellowships were found on the Pivot database. Be sure to check the award websites for specific application information and up-to-date deadlines. credit: pinterest.comCredit:

Social Sciences/Education

Jennings Randolph Peace Scholarship Dissertation Program (from US Institute of Peace): Open to all Ph.D. students who have completed all coursework. Peace Scholar awards of $20,000 are offered to doctoral students whose dissertation topics relate to peacebuilding and conflict management. Deadline is Dec. 11. For more information, visit the U.S. Institute of Peace’s website

International Peace Scholarship (from P.E.O. International): Only open to female students who are NOT citizens of the U.S. or Canada. An award of $10,000 is offered to in-need female graduate students with at least one year of coursework remaining (thus, ABD students are not eligible). Deadline is Dec. 15. For more information, visit P.E.O. International’s website

Applegate-Jackson-Parks Future Teacher Scholarship (from the National Institute for Labor Relations Research): Open to any education student. An award of $1,000 is offered to future educators. Deadline is Dec. 31. For more information, visit the NILRR website


SMART (Science, Math, and Research for Transformation) Scholarship for Service (part of National Defense Education Program/DoD); Open to U.S. citizens only. SMART scholars receive full tuition, stipend, summer internships, and employment placement after graduation. For each academic year of the fellowship, the recipient agrees to commit 12 months of civilian work with the DoD. Deadline is Dec. 1. For more information, visit the SMART website

Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Scholarship (from the National Space Club and Foundation): Open to U.S. citizens only. An award of $10,000 for the following academic year is available to students interested in space research and exploration. Deadline is Dec. 2. For more information, visit the National Space Club’s website.

Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship (from NOAA): Open to U.S. citizens studying oceanography, marine biology, or other science, engineering, or resource management of the ocean/coastal areas. This is award provides up to $42,000 annually in scholarship, plus reimbursement for attending a four- to six-week summer program collaboration with NOAA. Doctoral fellows are required to complete at least one program collaboration. Deadline is Dec. 10. For more information, visit the Foster Scholars’ website.

Novus Biologicals Scholarship Program: Open to all students. An award of $1,500 is offered to a student interested in a career in the life sciences. Deadline is Dec. 11 for the Spring 2016 scholarship. Application form and written statement topics are available on the Novus Biologicals website.  

Fine Arts/Humanities

Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship (from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): Open to all students in art, architecture, dance, theater, urban/regional planning, and music. The award ranges from $9,000-$20,000 (depending on field) for promising graduate students. Deadline is Dec. 1. For more information, visit the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship website

Sally Kress Tompkins Fellowship (from Society of Architectural Historians): Open to all graduate students in architectural history or related fields. SAH provides a $10,000 stipend and an opportunity to work on a summer project with the Historic American Buildings Survey. Deadline is Dec. 31. For more information, visit SAH’s website.  

All Fields

Career Development Grants (from the American Association of University Women): Only open to female master’s students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Grants of $2,000-$12,000 are available to female students returning to school since receiving their bachelor’s degree on or before June 2011 (doctoral work does not qualify). Funds provide support for tuition, fees, books, local transportation, and childcare. Deadline is Dec. 15. For more information, visit AAUW’s website


Free Webinar: Funding a STEM Graduate Education

The Institute for Broadening Participation (IBP) is hosting a free webinar on funding a STEM graduate education on Monday, Nov. 9, at noon. IBP is a nonprofit funded by the National Science Foundation and aims to connect students with STEM funding and opportunities.

Free Webinar:

When: Monday, Nov. 9, at noon PST. (Please note: although the registration site says 3 p.m., that is in Eastern Standard Time.)

Where: Online; be sure to pre-register here. You will receive a confirmation email with the event login credentials.


Recap: The Graduate Student’s Guide to Personal Finance

Emily RobertsIf you missed the amazing seminar by Emily Roberts held on Oct. 22, there's no better way to sum up how to guide your personal finance other than to use Emily's own words.

Note: This content should not be viewed as advice for financial planning or tax purposes for any individual situation.


First determine your top life values; then set goals and choose tactics appropriate to meet those goals that are consistent with your values and your personality.

Questions to help you determine your (financial) values:

  1. What is the purpose of money in your life?
  2. What makes you feel happy, proud, or satisfied?
  3. What do you wish you had more of right now?
  4. What do you want to focus your time, energy, or passion on?
  5. What do you want to characterize your future?
  6. What is the value that your goal promotes?

Questions from "Smart Women Finish Rich" and "Smart Couples Finish Rich" by David Bach. Free online chapter:


Four budget templates: Choose the budget style that works best for you and your values.

  • Anti-budget: Meet your goals first; then spend everything else as you like. 
  • Template budget: Line items for monthly fixed and variable expenses. (Best when you have regular income and expenses).
  • Targeted savings accounts: Save for irregular expenses (repairs, health) and short-term goals (holiday)/purchases (computer). (Works best with online banking accounts).
  • Zero-based budget: For each month, assign every dollar a purpose. (Best for irregular income).

When your stipend is not sufficient for your already reduced expenses, generate and use your savings, increase your income, or take out student loans (judiciously).

Budget Software: Mint (free), You Need a Budget (free), Mvelopes, Every Dollar, GoodBudget, Pocket Expense (app).

Types of Grad Student Pay and Taxes

Grad student income is either compensatory (you earn it in an assistantship or research position) or non-compensatory (you get "free" money in the form of scholarships/fellowships). You may receive both. Compensatory pay will be reported on a W-2. Non-compensatory pay will be reported on a 1098-T as will your qualified education expenses (useful for deductions and credits).

If you receive pay or a stipend for living expenses, you will likely pay income tax!

Unless you are exempt, you are responsible for paying tax throughout the year through tax withholding or quarterly estimated tax (Read IRS Publication 505).

Both compensatory and non-compensatory pay should be reported in line 7 of form 1040 with “SCH” denoted next to your non-compensatory pay (Read IRS Publication 970 Chapter 1).

Saving and Investing

Remember to simultaneously save for short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals (based on your values) and invest each category with an appropriate risk tolerance. Building an emergency fund that will last you through a few months of expenses should be a high priority.

There are many different investing styles; you should research your options and determine your own investing philosophy. The investing style presented is similar to the one championed by Jack Bogle. More information can be found at

A good way to get started investing is through mutual funds, which allow you to diversify your assets and reduce your risk. Look into index funds, which track the whole market's performance or particular areas of the market.


Use better/worse debt metrics when evaluating new debt and considering how to prioritize repayment. Consider the interest rate: is it fixed or variable?  Consider the underlying asset purchased? Does it appreciate in value like real estate or depreciate in value like a car? Also consider repayment flexibility, penalty and fee structures, and whether it is about to be discharged in bankruptcy.

Two popular debt repayment methods include the debt snowball and the debt avalanche: 

Debt snowball: Pay off the lowest balance debt first, while making minimum payment on other debts. This method has a high success rate and increases your motivation as you see debt obligations disappear.

Debt avalanche: Pay off the highest interest debt first, while making minimum payment on other debts. This is the best method for lowering overall cost, but more difficult to maintain your motivation.

Top 10 Tips for Financial Success in Grad School and Beyond

  1. Recognize that personal finance is personal.
  2. Identify your values, set your goals, and choose your tactics accordingly.
  3. Live intentionally within your means – pay taxes, save, spend, give.
  4. Increase your net worth by increasing assets and decreasing debt.
  5. Pay yourself first - as much as you reasonably can into tax-advantaged long-term accounts (IRA, workplace-based accounts).
  6. Save an emergency fund and general savings account.
  7. Keep your big fixed expenses low (housing, transportation).
  8. Don’t allow yourself to be sold any financial products.
  9. Know your benefits, including subsidized entertainment/socializing.
  10. Position yourself to take advantage of unique opportunities.

Take-away actions

  • Complete the values exercise (above) and set financial goals.
  • Determine how you are paid and prepare for taxes.
  • Create a budget that fits your personality and set up a tracking system.
  • Create a balance sheet: list all your assets and what kinds of accounts they are in; list all your debts including minimum payments and interest rates.
  • Automate a savings rates for each of your goals, including an emergency fund.
  • Make a plan for investing and debt repayment.

Contact information for Emily Roberts and websites:


Personal Finance for Grad Students Resource Website:

Facebook: Grad Student Finances

Twitter: @GradFinances

YouTube: Grad Student Finances

Stipends Database:

Personal Finance Blog:


Finding Funding Workshop on Oct. 26

Credit: wolfescape.comThere's another Finding Funding Workshop, open to all graduate students! Are you worried about finding campus and extramural funds for your research or tuition this year? Would you like to enjoy free snacks while learning about campus financial resources for graduate students?

All graduate students are welcome to attend the next Finding Funding Workshop. We'll be going over campus resources for your graduate careers, as well as resources and databases through the UC System and elsewhere.

Finding Funding Workshop

When: Monday, Oct. 26, 10:30 a.m.

Where: SRB 2154 (second floor conference room)

Please RSVP to Steph Griffin at


Switzer Foundation Environmental Fellowship Applications Now Open

Applications for the 2016-17 Switzer Fellowship Program are now being accepted. Sponsored by the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation, this program offers 10 graduate students in California (and 10 students in New England) a one-year fellowship to support studies in environmental improvement and leadership. Fellows receive a $15,000 award for academic studies, leadership training, and access to a network of over 570 Switzer Fellowship alumni. Fellows are also required to submit two written reports during their fellowship year.

The application process is highly competitive. Applicants are evaluated based on their leadership skills, commitment to environmental problem-solving beyond the classroom, and previous work/volunteer experience.

Deadline: January 11, 2016

Elgibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens and plan to be enrolled as graduate students for the entire 2016-17 school year. Master's students must have completed at least one quarter to apply; Ph.D. students must plan to have completed at least three years of coursework by July 1, 2016.

For complete information on application requirements, please visit the Switzer Foundation website.

Don't be like Ali G. Credit:

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