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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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Workshop Series on Navigating the Ups and Downs of Grad School

Credit: niall62Grad school can be rough. But you don't have to figure it out all on your own.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will host a series of workshops called "Riding the Wave: Navigating the Ups and Downs of Grad School with Greater Ease." Each session will provide practical information and engaging discussions as well as individualized exercises to personalize your experience.

All sessions will be held on Thursdays from 3:30-5 p.m. in Elings 1605. See below for more information on dates and topics.

February 4: Optimizing Motivation and Well-Being

February 11: Defining Personal Goals and Making an Action Plan

February 18: Effective Communication

February 25: Achieving Work-Life Balance

Sessions build on each other but drop-ins are welcome. These workshops are open to graduate students in all fields of study. You can download the series flyer here.


UCSB Ph.D. Student Ester Trujillo Remembers Professor, Mentor, Friend Horacio Roque Ramirez

There are very few people I ha­ve ever met who are as truthful and kind as my former advisor: Dr. Horacio Nelson Roque Ramirez. The news of his passing over the holiday break has devastated me but it has also made me think of the multiple ways his presence at UCSB and in the academy changed my life.  

Dr. Horacio Nelson Roque Ramirez. Photo courtesy of the Ramirez familyIn January 2010, I received a phone call from Horacio. This came a few days after I learned of my admission to work under his direction in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UC Santa Barbara. He congratulated me and welcomed me to the program, indicating that he was excited about my research areas of interest. He said that work on Central American communities was “much needed” and he hoped to meet me at the admit day program the department scheduled for us.

Although I had read work written by him and had seen his name repeated in the acknowledgements section of almost every book I read in the field of Central American Studies, meeting him in person for the first time in March 2010 was a surreal experience. Not only was my future advisor brilliant, he was hilarious as well.

When he spoke to me, he code-switched from English to Spanish to Caliche [Central American Spanish slang] and back to English. This was the first time I was in the presence of a person with a Ph.D. who was of Salvadoran descent. Although it may seem like an insignificant detail, his ethnic background was more important to me than I could ever hope to describe.

Among all Latinas/os in the U.S., Salvadorans have the lowest levels of educational attainment at every level, including the doctoral level (Pérez Huber et. al. 2006). Horacio’s presence in the academy was not only proof that Salvadorans could hold a doctorate, he was also living proof that it was possible to earn a Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary ethnic studies program and get a tenure-track job at an R-1 institution. This was significant to me because at the time no one had graduated from the Chicana/o Studies Ph.D. program and we did not know what types of placement we could secure with our degrees. In a time of uncertainty, his example gave me hope.

Dr. Horacio Roque Ramirez’s presence at UC Santa Barbara was important and necessary for the development of our undergraduate student body.

Among my fondest memories is experiencing his dynamic and laughter-filled lectures as his Teaching Assistant. In his “Central Americans in the U.S.” course, he assigned banned historical fiction from El Salvador and enthusiastically read some homoerotic passages out loud in class with his own brand of eloquent sass.

He emphasized to students that themes of empire, capitalism, and hetero-masculinity were disrupted throughout this text to the extent that the military came after the author and he fled the country in fear for his life.

He encouraged students to “come out” as Central Americans on the first day of class. Although at first only three students admitted to the classification, by the time the class ended 10 additional students expressed their Central American origin.

Ester TrujilloIn the days since his passing, a handful of students who were in that class have contacted me to share their memories of our professor. Two of the young men I heard from told me that Horacio was the first person to ever validate their lived experiences as gay Salvadoran men through his mere existence. A Guatemalan young man who was our student told me Dr. Roque Ramirez lent him a handwritten notepad of ideas about the Central American wars and the commonalities among Isthmanian people. Our former student told me, “I never had a chance to return his notes,” as we reminisced about the Winter 2012 course. A young woman messaged and explained to me that with his humor and honesty, “Dr. Roque made it OK to be Salvadoran and in the university.” After his class she lost her fear of asking family where they came from and finally learned a rich family history she did not know before.

Another alum told me Horacio’s class changed her life because although she knew she was Salvadoran she did not understand what it meant to be Salvadoran until she sat through the class and learned the history she had never learned elsewhere.

The courses on Central American Studies Horacio developed at UCSB are the reason I came here to pursue a Ph.D. I wandered through my undergraduate years at UCLA questioning why there were no Central American faculty present on campus.

Dr. Roque Ramirez was one of the first Central American professors in the entire UC system and he developed the first Central American Studies courses the UC system has on its catalog, “Central Americans in the U.S./The U.S. in Central America,” and “Salvadoran Diasporas.” These were courses I wished to take and teach. I longed for the knowledge these courses provided in the same way I know others like me longed for them. Our students continue to ask for these courses, demonstrating the desire they have to learn about their history and the history of these regions. Those who were able to take the courses with Horacio remember him warmly and the stories they tell about the central role he played in their life are a testament to his impact.

I experienced many gleeful and challenging moments during my three years as his advisee. Perhaps one of the most vulnerable moments for any new graduate student is the moment when our originally proposed research project shifts based on the information we learn in seminars and the discussions we have with the faculty who teach and mentor us.

After multiple instances of faculty discouraging my interest in Central American issues in seminars and mentoring meetings, I began to shift my sights toward a topic I was told would be more marketable and more in line with the mission and history of the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. Like most scholars, I have a barrage of ideas to draw from so I selected my secondary interest and began to read about it. I met with Horacio after months of half-heartedly reformulating my ideas and poorly developing a plan to pursue my new topic. He listened intently to my musings and scribbled notes on the back of an envelope. When I was done talking, he asked, “So … am I to understand that you have completely dropped your research on Central Americans and have taken up a new topic?” When I replied to confirm, he asked, “Why?” I told him my original topic seemed too narrow, too specific, and I feared I would not have a marketable dissertation. He looked at me, he looked at the ceiling – then back at me. He made a grunting noise and let out a quick laugh before asking, “Who told you that your topic is not marketable?” He quickly followed up saying, “No, don’t tell me. It doesn’t matter,” and proceeded to explain to me that there is no way to predict the job market five years or even one year in advance.

Horacio asked me why my original topic was important to me and I explained how painful it was not being able to find books in the library about Central Americans, and not being able to speak freely about Mexican dominance in Latina/o Studies. I told him how painful it was to learn about the genocide of our indigenous ancestors, about the effects of U.S. intervention in our homelands, about the deaths and destruction the civil wars brought to our families, about the ejection of our people from the Isthmus and the dejection their abandonment makes them feel.

I was in tears in his office condemning the trauma and violence our people are subjected to. He handed me a box of tissues and told me that this research was important enough to have me in tears because it came from a place of urgency and love for our communities. He said that the love for our communities and the defense of their human rights was the driving force behind our work. He told me that when we truly care about the work we do and the communities we work with, we will do good work in honor of them. He told me not to worry about being marketable for marketability’s sake. He said, “Do good work and the rest will come.” I reverted to my original line of research and I am on my way to completing my project. I would hope that he knows I am doing my best to do good work.

In the years that I knew him, Horacio collected and interpreted oral history testimonios from members of marginalized queer, transgender, impoverished, and Central American communities. He encouraged us to look beyond truth and facts and to focus on the essence of memory and why people remember things in ways that are important to them. My truth with him, like my truth with anyone, is fragmented and imperfect, but the memory I have of him is of someone who was kind and generous.

More than anything, Horacio wanted us to get along and to help our communities. He gave everything he had. There is not a single person I’ve talked with about Horacio who has not regaled me with stories of Horacio gifting or lending them books, notebooks, or cassette tapes of intellectual material. His mentorship extended beyond setting meetings or reading drafts. He adamantly shared his knowledge to the benefit of all. He treated staff, adjunct faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students with the same respect as a dean or chancellor because he truly understood community and respect. He was a scholar-activist who served as an expert witness in legal asylum court cases. He reveled in the victories granted by our imperfect legal system to queer Central Americans who faced violence had they been returned to their countries of origin. I hope to follow in his footsteps by testifying in the courts some day.

Horacio was not just my advisor. He was my mentor, my role model, my colleague, and my friend. His contributions to academia and to the UCSB campus, his brilliance of spirit and mind, and his resounding gregariousness pushed us to polish and meld the multiple pieces that make up who we are. With his kindness, Horacio gave us the courage to become more complete humans.

Profe Horacio, I know that wherever you are you are telling jokes about tropical fruits and dancing cumbias. Thank you for your dedication and for your example. You did good work, my friend. You did good work.


Editor’s Note: Ester Trujillo is a Ph.D. candidate in Chicana and Chicano Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on U.S. immigrant integration, ethnic identity and socialization, and Salvadoran diasporas. Read about a candelight vigil held in honor of Professors Horacio Nelson Roque Ramirez and Otis Madison in this Daily Nexus article.


Living and Thriving as Stewards of Peace and Justice Amid World Tragedies

Credit: Kate Ter Haar, Flickr Creative CommonsIn light of the recent violence and terror in the world, I’ve been reflecting on the topic of peace and justice, and how we at UCSB, coming from different cultures, genders, races, religions, and languages, could talk about these topics. We need to go beyond "being aware" of what’s happening in our world and have a conversation. But how do we exactly do it? What should be our discourse when talking about peace and justice? And what should be the context of our conversations?

I am currently a teacher to young immigrant children at a local organization. Last week, I told the kids that we need to pray for world peace and that we need to pray for those who were affected by the Paris attacks. Suddenly, a child asked me, "What is 'peace'?" Another child asked, "How do we create 'peace'?" I responded to them by saying, "GREAT questions! Let me find that out and let you know, OK?" I blurted out my typical teacher feedback whenever I don’t know the answer. I mean, what would you have done differently?

I went home that night and sought Merriam-Webster’s help to understand what "peace" is: "a state in which there is no war or fighting." Upon reading this rather simple definition, I became more devastated. We are not currently in war and no two parties were physically fighting when all these terrorist activities happened … right?

Hala SunOn one fine day, innocent lives were taken. Some of us continue to tremble in fear, as we search and wonder who will be the next target. Children lost their parents and others lost their homes. But why is it that current news is overflowing with political agendas on what to do with people from certain religious, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds, including refugees – those who come not in disguise, but as "refugees" seeking a safe place? Conversations have now shifted from "hashtag Pray for Paris" to how to identify terrorists. Not that the latter topic is less important, but where are our deeper conversations around the topic of peace and justice?

Of course, conversations won’t immediately solve our world problems. However, I believe that talking about peace and justice is where we should start, at least if bringing peace and justice is our ultimate goal. I personally do not know how to talk about these topics; hence, I am writing this article, because I want to learn more and I want to start a conversation here at UCSB.

At the end of the day, in whatever ways, we ALL need to be stewards of peace and justice. We tend to forget, but these issues are not just for the politicians, the United Nations, or the media. We are all stewards of this world, because whether we like it or not, this place is our home, where we need to live and thrive together.

UCSB Education Ph.D. student Hala Sun was previously the Graduate Division’s Diversity and Outreach Peer Advisor and a writer for the GradPost.


Keep It Safe, Keep It Local: Important Notice to Isla Vista Residents for Halloween

In light of Halloween celebrations this weekend, the UC Santa Barbara Associated Students has issued information on parking, events, resources, restrictions, safety, and more. Below is some of that information. For more, see the page “Keep It Safe, Keep It Local; Halloween 2015 @ UCSB.”

Police roadblocks will be placed at six intersections by 4 p.m. on Friday, October 30, through 6 a.m. on Sunday, November 1. Residents on some streets will be asked to move their vehicles (look for signs posted in these areas) to allow emergency vehicles to better access the area. All vehicles affected by the roadblocks must be moved off the street by 3 p.m. on Friday, October 30, until 6 a.m. on Sunday, November 1. Vehicles will not be allowed to enter or exit the area through roadblocks from 4 p.m. nightly to 6 a.m. the following morning during this time. Vehicles not moved will be towed. Residents on the following streets must move their cars:

  • Del Playa residents on 6500, 6600, and 6700 blocks
  • Camino Del Sur residents between Del Playa and Trigo
  • Camino Pescadero residents between Del Playa and Trigo
  • El Embarcadero residents between Del Playa and top of the loop
  • Trigo residents on 6500 block only

There will be a first aid/minor injury station located at the Embarcadero Loop (Embarcadero del Mar/Embarcadero) on October 30 and October 31 in the evenings.

The Festival Ordinance will be in place from October 26 to November 4 from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day. No loud or amplified music can be heard outside your residence or citations and fines will be issued.

IV Foot Patrol encourages students and IV residents to be responsible and have respect for others.

Remember to lock your doors and windows to prevent theft.


Kick Off the Year With These Events

Add in a little fun to the beginning of the school year by checking out some of the welcome events being hosted around campus. Here are a few highlights from the "Week of Welcome" event schedule that graduate students might particularly enjoy! 


Women's Center: Discovery Days Ice Cream Social
1-3 p.m.
Women's Center, First Floor of Student Resource Building

The Women’s Center invites you to stop by for free ice cream and other frozen treats while you check out all of the wonderful resources the space has to offer!

MultiCultural Center (MCC) Kickoff: La Misa Negra
7:30-9 p.m.
MultiCultural Center Courtyard

Kick off with this year’s MCC event calendar with a free concert featuring La Misa Negra! La Misa Negra is a 9-piece band from Oakland, California that plays a unique blend of 1950's and 60's style cumbia and high energy Afro-Colombian dance music.

Swing and Ballroom Dance Club: Discovery Days Swing Dance
8-10 p.m.
Robertson Gym, Room 2320 (upstairs)

This event is free for everyone! They will start with a basic swing dance lesson from 8-9 p.m., followed by the Swing Dance from 9-10 p.m. They will be providing DJ Swing Music for your dancing pleasure, and light refreshments for your eating pleasure. Everyone is invited, no dance partners are needed. “First timers” are especially welcome.


On-Campus Job & Internship Fair
9 a.m.-noon
Santa Rosa and De La Guerra Commons Lawn

The On-Campus Job and Internship Fair hosts a variety of on-campus departments who have part-time, work study, internship and research positions open throughout the year. Co-hosted by UCSB Career Services and Residential Life, this event is open to all students.


Fun Fitness Festival
1-5 p.m.
UCSB Recreation Center

Show up in your best work out gear and learn about the various Intramurals, Sport Clubs, Adventure Programs, and fitness classes that the Recreation Department have to offer! There will also be performances by student groups, sponsor tables, fun games and prizes, music, and much more! See event flyer.

Into the Night Dance Party and Drag Show
9 p.m.-midnight
Student Resource Building, Room 3112

Annual welcome (back) event for all UCSB students featuring music, food, and entertainment. Hosted by the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. See event flyer.


LGBTQ Graduate Student Mixer
5-6:30 p.m.
San Clemente

Hosted by the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity and Graduate Students Association. RSVP to Alex Kulick. See event flier.


Welcome Fair and Emergency Preparedness Event
10 a.m.-noon

Storke Community Center

Save the date for this event that's both fun and informative for all residents! Free lunch, giveaways, firetruck and patrol car for the kids, demonstrations for adults, and so much more!


Affordable Fall Events Near Campus for Student Families

Photo courtesy of Lane FarmsWith the start of the quarter, graduate students can look forward to some wonderful local fall events. This month, try visiting the Lemon Festival, Pumpkin Patch, or Depot Day.

Lane Farms Pumpkin Patch

Be a part of this fall holiday tradition. The pumpkin patch offers hayrides, farm animals, tractors, scarecrows, a corn maze and educational displays. Kids will love the loads of pumpkins, from extra small to extra large, in every shape.

When: Sept. 26-Oct. 31, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Halloween: until 5 p.m.

Where: Lane Farms, 308 S. Walnut Lane, Santa Barbara

Cost: Free

The 24th Annual California Lemon Festival

Celebrate modern Goleta at the local Lemon Fest, less than a mile from campus. The Lemon Fest features music, carnival rides, pie eating, and more.

When: Sept. 26-27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Girsh Park, 7050 Phelps Rd., Goleta

Cost: Free

33rd Annual Depot Day Celebration

Depot Day is held each fall to commemorate and celebrate the preservation of Goleta Depot. The event will feature live music, a silent auction, and food.

When: Sept. 27, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where: South Coast Railroad Museum, 300 N. Los Carneros Rd., Goleta (next to the Stow House)

Cost: Free admission for children under 34 inches; $1 donation is requested for others. Unlimited train rides for $3


Finding Your Way Through the Anxiety and Isolation of Graduate School

Credit: Kaitlin GrantThere is a culture problem in graduate school. Granted, earning a doctorate is – and, to many, is supposed to be – tough. But there is a growing awareness at many graduate schools that not only is student well-being crucial to performance and productivity, it is also important in and of itself.

In a recent article on The Chronicle of Higher Education, Vimal Patel reports on a recent survey of graduate students at Berkeley that provides a snapshot of just how heavy the toll of graduate school can be on students' mental health. About 37 percent of master’s students and 47 percent of Ph.D. students scored as depressed. Graduate students in the arts and humanities fared the worst, at 64 percent.

"Graduate student well-being is baked into the whole system," says Galen Panger, a fifth-year Ph.D. student in Berkeley’s School of Information and lead author of the report. While psychiatrists can play an important role in helping students with personal crises, they can’t do much about poor adviser relationships, social isolation, precarious finances – or career prospects, which the report found was the top predictor of graduate students’ levels of both life satisfaction and depression.

The report concluded that academe must change the attitude that doctoral education needs to be a time of anxiety and low morale. Some of the ways that universities can help change their graduate school culture are:

Ensure that students are not overworked in academic appoints by communicating policies to faculty and letting students know that they have recourse if these policies are not upheld.

Resources for UCSB graduate students:

Provide structured support for students facing isolation, particularly in the dissertation-writing phase.

Resources for UCSB graduate students:

Connect graduate students with their campus culture and resources.

Resources for UCSB graduate students:

Address the specific mental health needs of graduate students.

Resources for UCSB graduate students:

Change the culture around what counts as career success.

Resources for UCSB graduate students:

To read Patel's full article on The Chronicle's website, click here.

To get regular updates from The Chronicle, sign up for the newsletter, like it on Facebook, and follow it on Twitter.


Opportunities to Get Involved Locally and Statewide through the Graduate Students Association 

The UC Santa Barbara Graduate Students Association (GSA) would like to invite graduate students to participate in student government at the local and statewide level. Some of these opportunities offer stipends and many offer free food at meetings. 

The GSA is the official graduate student government at UCSB, and the University of California Student Association (UCSA) is the official statewide UC student government.


Each graduate program qualifies to select one graduate student per 50 registered graduate students in their program to be a UCSB GSA Assembly Member, and there are over 70 committees where a graduate student may represent graduate students as a UCSB GSA Committee Representative.

  • Assembly Member: An Assembly Member is a department’s connection to the UCSB graduate student government and is responsible for disseminating important information about services and events to graduate students in their department. Equally important, an Assembly Member is responsible for bringing forth concerns or new ideas shared by fellow graduate students in their program. Additionally, an Assembly Member has authority to vote in official GSA matters.
  • Committee Representative: A Committee Representative is the voice of graduate students on key UCSB committees. Some committees are run by UCSB administration, and others are run by student organizations. There is a committee for almost everything, from search committees for important administrators, to committees on sustainability and student health. Committee participation offers a small stipend for hours worked as an incentive.

To view all committees possible for a UCSB graduate student to join, please click this link.

For more information about what Assembly Members or Committee Representatives do, see this website: free to email questions to the UCSB GSA Office of the Vice President of Committees and Planning, at:

Statewide UCSA

UCSA is the official statewide student government body representing over 200,000 UC students, both undergraduate and graduate. UCSA primarily consists of a Board of Directors comprised of student bodies’ External Affairs delegations from each UC campus. Students can get involved as part of their campus’ delegation, or they may apply to appointments as special officers or members of select UC Regents committees.

This is a very exciting way to be involved and make an impact on important issues that affect all UC students!

For more information about what UCSA does, see this website: Or, email questions to your UCSB GSA Office of External Affairs at:


What If There Were an Official Support Group for Grad Students?

Credit: Got CreditWe all need a little support along the way.

In a recent article on Inside Higher Ed, Robert Greim discusses a group of graduate students that decided to address that need directly by creating an institutionally recognized and supported student organization dedicated to student success, retention, and satisfaction in their doctoral program.

The group sought to address many of the all-too-common problems that graduate students face: overworked and unavailable faculty members, heavy courseloads, and personal challenges, resulting in a great deal of uncertainty, confusion, and isolation. They found that by forming an official student group, they were able to:

  • develop a collective identity
  • give formal feedback on their program's structure and effectiveness
  • serve as informal academic advisors and peer mentors
  • provide organized emotional support for new cohorts

Additionally, the group contributed to increasing the graduate student retention rate in their department to 100 percent over the course of three years.

To read more about the benefits of creating a graduate student support group, read the full article here.

To get regular updates from Inside Higher Ed, sign up for the newsletter, or connect via Facebook or Twitter.


What's Happening at UCSB and in Santa Barbara

Guy with bullhornCredit: openclipart.comLooking for something to do in Santa Barbara? There are many sites that can fill you in on what's happening here on campus, downtown and in the region.

Be in the know. Bookmark these sites and always have something to do.

Santa Barbara Events

Big City Buzz (Santa Barbara News-Press): Events listed by venue and county.

Downtown Santa Barbara: Get the low down on what's happening downtown.

Event Calendar ( Daily events, plus links to calendars around town, like Santa Barbara Bowl and Chumash Casino.

Local Event Guide (Santa Barbara Independent): Events everywhere, big and small.

Santa Barbara Events Calendar ( Santa Barbara Events and Festivals.

Upcoming Local Events ( An easy listing of local events.

UCSB Events

Highlighted Events (UCSB Current): The best of what's going on at UCSB.

UCSB Events and Tickets: The rest of what's going on at UCSB.