Page 1

National Association of Graduate-Professional Students


26th Annual National Conference Duke University November 1–4, 2012 page 4 UC Davis: Six Months Later The inside story from one graduate student leader Colin Murphy, Univ. California Davis page 22

Fall 2012

Road Warriors What every grad student needs to know about presenting at conferences and meetings Robert Bochnak, Tufts University page 19

25,000 Signatures

NAGPS helps drive open access petition to the White House page 16


what’s inside 4 the value of relationships a welcome from the President and CEO of NAGPS Matt Cooper, Univ. North Texas

8 some thoughts on advocacy in an election and (lame duck session) year James Tsai, FaegreBakerDaniels

15 publishing while still in school? you bet. Rich Furman and Michelle Sanchez, University of Washington Tacoma

30 of salad and searches internet trends tell a story about graduate education Cresten Mansfeldt, Cornell Univ.

33 the voting market national media campaigns exclude graduate and professional students Tabatha Cirgenski, St. Leo Univ.


6 success with nagps delivering value to graduate and professional student organizations Kristen Hymel, Univ. Mississippi

12 can’t miss tips for writing a thesis or dissertation Robert Bochnak, Tufts University

27 creating a graduate student association twelve steps for success Joshua Wilson, Univ. of Notre Dame

33 jeopardizing voter rights





Northeast Region page 9

Southcentral Region pages 10-11

Southeast Region page 9

Western Region page 10

concern for recent action from the US Department of Justice Marialle Bell, Florida State Univ.

34 legislation targets your voting rights don’t get caught without your ID Melissa Mears, Florida State Univ.


Midwest Region page 11

welcome on the cover

Dear Reader,

NAGPS helped drive over 25,000 signatures on a White House petition calling for open access to federally funded research. Reaching this threshold now means that the White House will issue a written response to the petition. On the cover is an abstracted heat map of the locations of signatures to the petition from the US.

We are incredibly proud to introduce the new Postgraduate Voice magazine. The purpose of this magazine is to facilitate communication between student leaders. The product you are holding is the effort of a phenomenal network of graduate and professional student leaders. Within these pages, we hope you will find both information and inspiration. This issue includes stories from some of America’s most successful graduate-professional student organizations. Their commitment to positive change and dedication to helping others is unparalleled. We are truly proud to provide the pages on which their stories may be told. Of course, such a dialogue should never be complete. We hope that you will consider writing a piece about your own student organization, so that others may share in your success and better understand the obstacles you face. Please send an inquiry to if you are interested in submitting an article. Thank you for reading,

NAGPS Editorial Policy The Postgraduate Voice is a designated public forum. Editors have the authority to make all content decisions without censorship or advance approval and may edit submitted pieces for length and grammar, so long as the original meaning of the piece is unchanged.

Zach Aman NAGPS Director of Communications Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical Engineering Colorado School of Mines



the value of relationships Summer is a time of renewal and reinvigoration—an opportunity to examine our lives by getting the distance and perspective that come with time away from our work, colleagues, and regular routines. Whether you took a formal vacation or not, the change in pace that happens at most universities during the summer offers a chance to look at ourselves and our work in ways that are difficult to do during long semesters. This summer, I was lucky to spend time getting to know leaders of graduate-professional student organizations in the US and representing our interests with colleagues from across the globe (see page 16 for details on our participation in the R2RC General Assembly in Budapest this past July). I was consistently impressed by the determination and passion of our fellow leaders, and intrigued by the commonalities of our struggles. We all deal with many of the same issues and have many of the same problems. But we all have unique solutions. This experience reminded me that, no matter what degree you are pursuing or what professional path you’re traveling, you are not alone. If you look closely enough you can find friends and peers who share your perspectives, passions, and problems—potential confidants and connections who will enrich your personal and professional life. As a former student leader at my own university, I am empowered with the knowledge that I have access to a large network of friends and colleagues who offer support, advice, insight, and wisdom.


And that is the value of NAGPS. No other organization connects you with fellow graduate-professional leaders and provides training and development opportunities for enhanced leadership and advocacy skills. No other organization fights for the interests of all graduateprofessional students in the US and empowers you to advocate at local, state, and federal levels. The relationships you develop through NAGPS will help you navigate your role as a leader at your institution with best practices and lessons learned. As an active member of NAGPS, you are among the nation’s future business, political, and intellectual leaders, and are helping shape the future of graduate-professional education in the US. 26th Annual National Conference I hope you can join us November 1–4 join us for the 26th Annual National Conference at Duke University—the premier opportunity to share best practices and learn from other student leaders across the US (more details available online, at I hope your fall term is going well, and look forward to seeing you at Duke this November.

Matt Cooper President & CEO, NAGPS MBA Student, College of Business University of North Texas

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success with nagps this November!

by Kristen Hymel

NAGPS Director of Outreach On the behalf of NAGPS I would like to welcome all of the new and returning student leaders to the Association! NAGPS currently represents 500,000 graduate-professional students across 70 universities in the United States. Our mission is to increase the quality of life for students by developing a sustainable member network that connects students and their institutional graduate organizations. NAGPS provides resources, support and education that empower student leaders to advocate for their students at both local and national levels. We sustain our member networks through multiple events each year, including five Regional Conferences and the signature National Conference. Our Regional Conferences this spring were a great success and we couldn’t be more excited for our upcoming National Conference at Duke University


NAGPS provides critical resources for student members, including discounts on health insurance and car insurance, student loan insurance, news subscriptions and personal publication services. We also offer support and education to our members to help them become more effective leaders at their institutions and in the workforce. In May of 2012, we introduced the Graduate Leadership Summit, hosted by the Colorado School of Mines. With tremendous networking opportunities, team-building exercises and several informative and inspirational guest speakers, the event was an astounding success. Topics at the Leadership Summit ranged from effective communication to strategic planning, and we look forward to continuing this engaging topic as we approach the National Conference at Duke University. NAGPS advocates for graduateprofessional students through our bi-annual Advocacy Summit and Legislative Action Days. NAGPS members go to Washington, D.C. in the spring and fall to sharpen their advocacy skills and learn more about

current issues affecting graduate education. During LAD, attendees speak with their US Representatives and Senators about issues that affect graduate students. Our advocacy efforts focus on critical issues such as:   * Your access to graduate education * Your graduate student loans (interest rates and debt forgiveness) * Your right to read federallyfunded published literature without fees * International student visas * Education funding * Campus safety reporting We encourage all of our members and non-members to participate in the many events we hold throughout the year. We also encourage current members to consider serving in a National or Regional Board position. If you are interested in becoming a member or serving as a leader next year, please feel free to contact any of our current Board members (listed in the back of this issue). Again, welcome to NAGPS and we hope you have a wonderful year!


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some thoughts on advocacy in an election and (lame duck session) year

by James Tsai1

Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP Washington, D.C. during August is hot. It’s humid and the fact that the city was built on a swamp doesn’t help. It’s also decidedly quiet. The main industry of the town - government - is on recess or highly anticipated vacations and breaks. Federal workers take to refuge out of town or their stay-cations, and politicians go home to get some face time with their constituents. In election years, particularly even-numbered and presidential election ones, the town is even more ghostly, save for the perennial buses filled with tourists. Advocacy in such times requires some special attention and thought. Like anything, it depends on the issues and goals, but a few extra points to consider may make your governmental affairs agenda stronger. This article will focus mostly on U.S. Congressional examples, but it may have some wider application to other offices and state level legislatures.

Politics Matter

The immigration debate has tagged the Obama administration since before his


election. While other legislative agenda items such as health care, Wall Street reform and Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell were eventually passed, immigration languished on the sideline. In June of this year, the Obama administration issued a new policy through the Department of Homeland Security effectively allowing those that came to the United States before the age of 16, and with other conditions, to stay without fear of deportation. Republicans pointed out that the timing of such a policy, which came suspiciously around the time that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was planning to introduce his version of the failed DREAM Act, which also sought to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youth.2 The immigration issue is a sensitive one. It is wrapped in emotional, racial, economic and ... of course, political layers. The conventional view holds that the Democrats are the champion for immigration reform. Republicans argue that sensible reform cannot allow for anyone that comes into the country illegally to “jump the line,” or take resources and jobs from Americans. This is of course an oversimplification of a very complicated issue, but for the wide electorate, it represents the opposing views. Making a big move, either through policy

or legislation, by either party may serve to alienate loyal supporters or enflame the other side. In an election year where the electorate is even more sensitive, the political ramifications of these hot-button issues need to be considered even more. When making a strategic decision on characterizing what the “ask” is, from say a Member’s staffer, some subtle, careful considerations need to be made for the current state of politics. Research if the Member is up for reelection? Is she in a competitive district? What caucuses or groups is she involved with? What recent current events on the issue in the Members’ party have occurred that can influence her decision? Many of these questions are typical ones any time, any year, but they are heightened in an election year.

Lame duck sessions are wildcards

In every election year, there will always be lame ducks, and consequently lame duck sessions. The term “lame duck” originally referred to London stock brokers that couldn’t meet his obligations. The term later got co-opted into the American political vernacular to refer to those officials that had not been re-elected and were powerless in the intervening session.3

Regional Updates Continued from previous page Though many considered these lame ducks were the rubbish to be swept out with a new administration, instances of bitter, or possibly freed, representatives would vote or otherwise act in ways not tied to politics. (Contrast that with the previous subsection’s point.) If you’re on the way out of office, either voluntarily or involuntarily, why not go ahead and act without the prior restraints? Of course, some loyalists will not want to damage their party on the way out, so that is an additional consideration. Examples of lame duck actions include the Bill Clinton pardons on the eve of his departure from the White House and the 1980 congressional session, where several appropriations bills were passed and changes to military pay/benefits were made.4 In dealing with the impending lame-duck session after the November elections, considerations should be made to those lame ducks. If there are folks in powerful committees in Congress that are not returning, and there are pieces of legislation that must pass (so-called mustmove legislation), it may be the opportunity to get that piece of legislation finally passed by getting it on board a different vehicle. Or, if it’s non-controversial, perhaps it can get to the floor and some momentum with the right lame-duck official. Regardless of how it may land, the lame duck session offers unique opportunities.

Educating and long-term can be the key

A complete advocacy strategy will not put all eggs in one basket, especially a lame duck’s basket. Several tactics should be considered

in moving an issue along in addition to the above two. The final tactic deals with a longerterm view. So, politics and lame ducks present challenges and opportunities to move something along. Many groups may simply face the prospect that their issue will not be dealt with this year or session. Perhaps politics has just made the issue too dangerous to touch. Or you can’t find a vehicle to attach onto in the lame duck session; it’s a quiet one and like the high school seniors ready to get out for the summer, not much productivity is going to happen, especially if it involves tests and papers. So, make the best of it. The education of staffers or their bosses would be excellent at this time. They may have more time for meetings now in the lame duck session and they may also be planning for the next year. If you get in early and are able to line up some co-sponsors on a bill, it makes the next legislative session that much more effective the next year. Additionally, you’re playing some defense here by framing issues earlier and getting on the ground first. An education campaign may be effective and complementary with a strategy pushing lame duck Members along. Footnotes: [1] James is an NAGPS alum, now working at the firm FaegreBD Consulting in Washington, D.C. He is a public policy specialist providing clients in the insurance and financial services sectors advocacy consulting services. The statements expressed here are his own. [2] Justin Sink, “Pawlenty slams Obama immigration move as political,” The Hill, June 18, 2012. [3] Edward Stringham, “The Emergence of the London Stock Exchange as a Self-Policing Club,” Journal of Private Enterprise, Spring 2002, p. 1; OED Online. June 2012. [4] A short paper on the subject is Profs. Jenkins and Nokken’s piece. Jeff Jenkins and Timothy Nokken, “Contemporary Lame-Duck Sessions of Congress: An Overview and Assessment with Special Emphasis on the 110th Congress,” 2009, Extensions of Remarks, APSA Legislative Studies Section Newsletter 32 (January).


Southeast Region Amanda Blair Chair, NAGPS Southeast Region JD student, School of Law The Florida State University

Greetings from the Southeast! It’s been a hot, sweltering summer here and we’re excited for the upcoming change in seasons. For many of our members, a change in season truly means returning from “everything else” to football season! Our region is also looking forward to the upcoming NAGPS Fall Advocacy Summit and Legislative Action Days. We’re hoping for a great representation of our region as well as NAGPS as a whole. In November of this year, we’re very excited about having Duke University - a Southeast regional member - as a host for the 2012 NAGPS National Conference! We’re honored to host this hallmark event in the Southeast region, and to show you our renowned Southern hospitality. Hope to see y’all soon!


Regional Updates


Western Region

Nikko Collida Chair, NAGPS Western Region PhD Student, Division of Economics Colorado School of Mines Hello all! This has been an exciting year for the Western Region of NAGPS and these last few months have been no exception. After filling all of our vacant board positions at our regional conference in Flagstaff, Arizona, our meetings and discussions have resulted in an incredible amount of both solutions and ideas for the future. I am very excited about how our region will develop and continue to contribute to the organization in this and subsequent years. We are looking forward to having our all-time best regional attendance for the fall Legislative Action Days. It has been a primary goal of the Western Region Board to re-engage our member institutions on the political front, and this event will give our schools great exposure to the national political scene. We are also looking forward to the 2012 National Conference at Duke University and expect very strong representation. Make sure to check out the piece in this issue on the unfortunate events that occurred earlier this year at one of our Western schools, UC Davis. It is my personal opinion that one of the greatest takeaways from NAGPS membership is the experiences and learning we gain from other member schools. In this particular instance, a breakdown in communication between the GPSO and administration had very negative consequences. Learning from this incident and others like it is extremely important for all of us as we move our organizations forward. Myself and the rest of the Western Region look forward to seeing all of you at the 2012 National Conference!



Southcentral Region

Eteri Svanidze Chair, NAGPS Southcentral Region PhD Student, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University As with many schools across the United States, colleges and universities in the Southcentral Region are approaching the beginning of the school year. Although not many of us get a summer vacation, your graduate-professional student organization (GPSO) officers did not rest—preparing for the upcoming year with a variety of events to cater to every student’s taste. Progress made by our member schools in the last few months goes to show that a GPSO’s budget or size does not determine success. Rather, a small group of dedicated people who share a vision for what needs to be done can improve the campus drastically, one small step at a time. The University of Oklahoma is eagerly anticipating hosting comedian Adam Ruben in early October for his presentation of excerpts of his book “Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School”. This event has received $3,000 in funding from the campus Speaker’s Bureau and student leaders are hoping for a great turnout of undergraduate and graduate students. At Texas Tech University, the creation of a Graduate Student Advisory Council was a major step toward improvement of graduate student life. The new government is currently preparing a number of events to involve graduate students from all over the campus Student leaders at the University of Missouri’s Graduate Professional Council are preparing to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their GPSO this fall, featuring a week of activities to celebrate the occasion. New initiatives include developing a Strategic Plan, assisting the university with its transition to the SEC, and improving on their overall service to graduate and professional students.

Regional Updates


Midwest Region

Daniele Balogna Chair, NAGPS Midwest Region MS student, Department of Psychology Xavier University The 2012 Midwest has provided more than merely intense heat this summer. NAGPS has been hard at work to meet the needs of its constituents. We have discovered firsthand that universities want a better sense of camaraderie and are looking for ways to better communicate between schools to share best practices and develop together. Although these priorities are not unique to the Midwest, we recognize and embrace them as core values of our region. At the 2012 Midwest Regional Conference, we hosted 52 attendees from 11 Universities, which is a substantial increase from last year’s 38 attendees. The Midwest witnessed a great deal of excitement at the conference, where conversations were passionate and knowledge and best practices were shared by the minute. The teamwork between Universities continued well beyond the Regional Conference. For instance, our member schools recently helped a non-member school to increase their graduate-professional student organization (GPSO) budget substantially. Through the information provided by member institutions, this non-member school was able to increase its budget by a factor of 40! Moving forward, we plan to continue our support of one another and look to increase our network of member schools. Our knowledge base is critical to our success as GPSOs. The Midwest looks for support in each other, and NAGPS provides an outstanding platform that provides this support.


Northeast Region

Brandon Milonovich Chair, NAGPS Northeast Region MS student, Departments of Mathematics and Teaching and Leadership Syracuse University Greetings from the Northeast! It’s hard to believe we are this far into 2012, and so close to beginning another exciting year of graduate school. We’ve had many great successes so far this year, including the joining of Drexel University and Cornell University to the NAGPS family. Since the regional conference, we also have had the pleasure of welcoming Burak Derkunt from Stony Brook University as our Regional Director of Employment Concerns. If you have interest in getting involved for the remainder of the year, or might be interested in a future position, please don’t hesitate to reach out! It was great to see so many schools from the Northeast (as well as all the other regions) at the inaugural Leadership Summit in May. From what I saw, there were many excellent conversations surrounding strategic planning and implementation. Hopefully you saw the same. We’re also not too far away from the National Conference at Duke University November 1-4, 2012. This will be an outstanding chance to meet with institutions across the country. Sharing best practices is one of the things we do best, and this is the prime venue to do so. Everyone has something to share – be it a success or a challenge – so I hope to see you there!

I look forward to seeing everyone at Duke University for the National Conference.


can’t miss tips


for writing a thesis or dissertation


by Robert Bochnak

Office of Graduate Studies, Tufts University No Time Like the Present Much like a political campaign, writing a thesis or dissertation can be a long, drawn-out affair. And in either case, whether it’s drumming up support from voters or penning chapter one, it’s imperative that you get started as soon as possible. “Propose your dissertation idea as early as possible,” said Patricia Allen, a GSAS psychology student whose dissertation is titled Effects of Dietary Creatine on Depression-related Gene Expression and Behavior: Implications for Sexspecific Differences. “You want to make sure you have enough time to meet the committee’s expectations. Also, the meeting is a contract of sorts. Once your committee members agree to your proposal, it would be unreasonable for them to object to anything later on if you fulfill your end of the agreement.” Mind Your Data There are few thesis- or dissertation-related activities more bothersome than searching for the critical information you need. This frustration—and hours of wasted time—can be avoided by knowing, from the outset, how you will organize your research.

Features Continued from previous page “Keep well organized notes, and use keywords to refer back to the literature,” said Jacqueline Furtado, G11, a GSAS urban and environmental policy and planning alumna whose thesis was titled Front and Center: Examining Frontline Service Delivery in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. “Years ago, people used index cards for this. The cards would have key terms and the names of authors written on them so the information would be easy to find. I use Microsoft Word to organize this info; it’s just a simple document with information on all the material I have read for my thesis.” There are also a number of software solutions graduate students can and should use. “Use a reference manager program like Refworks or Endnote,” said GSAS biology graduate alumna Jenny Lenkowski, G10, who is a research fellow in the Raymond Lab at the University of Michigan and whose dissertation was titled Exploring the Effects of the Herbicide Atrazine on Tadpoles in the Model Amphibian Xenopus laevis During Organ Morphogenesis. “Additionally, learn how to use Cite While You Write (which is a feature offered in Endnote) and find out how your word processing program formats things like section breaks and indexing figures; knowing this before you start writing will save you a lot of time when you need to

insert references and create a table of contents.” Have A Plan and Stick With It Graduate students, like many kids, are seriously overscheduled. Along with their coursework and research responsibilities, many students work full- or part-time (as teaching assistants or as employees of outside organizations) and have other responsibilities that demand their attention (spouses or partners, children and families). Because of these demands, finding time to work on a thesis or dissertation can be a challenge, but one that can be addressed with help from a well-developed plan. “It was helpful to plan out my writing time each week, especially in the beginning when I was transitioning from preparing for my comprehensive exam to beginning my dissertation,” said Nicole Flynn, an English GSAS student whose dissertation is titled Modern Times: Temporality and Genres of Interwar Modernism. “On Sunday nights, I would print out a blank schedule for the week, and black out the times when I was teaching or had appointments. I would then highlight the hours I planned to work on my dissertation. This helped me see how much time I actually had available during a given week.” Added GSAS drama alumna Jenna Kubly, G10, whose dissertation is titled Vaudeville and the American Experience of the

First World War as Seen by Variety. “Be disciplined. Write even when you do not want to write. Find a routine and force yourself to stick with it. For example, plan to write every day from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at a specific spot.”

Read More from Robert Bochnak on “what every grad student needs to know about presenting at conferences or meetings.”

Page 15

A longer version of this blog post is available at gradmatters/. GradMatters, a monthly blog published by the Tufts University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, provides information about careers, funding, and other items of interest for graduate students, faculty members, administrators, and other people interested in higher education-related issues. Follow Tufts’ GSAS on Twitter at http://

13 Features

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Publish While Still in School? by Rich Furman (left) and Michelle Sanchez U. Washington Tacoma Sooner or later, you are going to have to start writing for publication. The question is, when? My answer: what time is it where you are? Many graduate students are leaving school with several publications on their resumes; like it or not, you are competing with them for positions Writing an article or other type of publication does not have to take you away from writing your dissertation. In fact, article writing can serve as a “warm up” for working on your thesis, dissertation or other required work. Writing productivity is more a function of daily consistency than the actual number of hours you put in; much like exercise, the more we engage in it, the easier it becomes. If you spend fifteen minutes working on an article prior to starting work on your dissertation, you will find that you are more prepared to write your dissertation and that writing will be easier than if you did not write beforehand.

You Bet.

Productive writing is very much dependant on the creation of rituals; developing the ritual of writing academic work can ease some of the anxiety and perfectionism that are normally a part of the process of writing a dissertation.

- Don’t wait to publish; the stakes are high - Use article writing as a dissertation warm up - Actively seek a mentorship There are several types of scholarly articles you can engage in. One of the easiest types of articles for doctoral students is book reviews. Book reviews, are usually about 500-750 words in length, explore the nature of a book, the quality of its scholarship, and demonstrate how it connects to other scholarship, events, or knowledge. Another option is letters to the editor which are usually 250-500 words and respond to scholarship and ideas published in a particular journal.

Although these options are a good start, it is important to begin to think about peer-reviewed articles, or the “gold standard” in scholarly publishing in most disciplines. The best way to learn how to write a peer reviewed publication is to seek mentorship. Mentorship is extremely important to your development as a scholar. While you are undoubtedly seeking and receiving mentorship on your dissertation, I suggest you actively seek out mentorship on academic publishing. The costs of not doing so are great. Too many assistant professors assume that because they were able to write a dissertation that they automatically know how to publish peer-reviewed articles but the conventions of dissertation writing are very different from scholarly articles. In addition, you need to learn not only how to write an article, but to navigate the actual politics and processes of publication. Often, your dissertation


Features Continued from previous page chair or other faculty will ask you to participate on research and publications; however, you will need to be more proactive and assertive. If they are not including you on publications automatically, ask them if they have any articles you can help them with. Do seek out faculty with similar interests, but also those who are highly productive in related areas. Work with them to develop an understanding of the structure of an article, how to write the literature review (different than for your dissertation), how to write method and findings sections, and how to tailor your conclusions for the journal you are targeting. What happens if you cannot get good mentorship on publishing from faculty in your program? What if they are too busy or only use student labor without providing you with real guidance? Seek other students and form a writing group. Commit to each taking the lead on an article and working on them together. Find a senior faculty member who is willing to support your group. If you cannot read articles and books on academic publishing, seek outside mentorship and guidance; it can positively influence the rest of your career. Rich Furman is a professor, writer, and academic writing coach and mentor. He is the author of ten books, 200 poems, and over a 100 academic articles. Please visit his blog on scholarly writing: Michelle Sanchez is a graduate student at the University of Washington Tacoma. She has collaborated with Rich on article on masculinities and globalization.


recent action on

open access by Matt Cooper NAGPS President

Open access to federally funded research is a primary issue in the NAGPS platform, and is a centerpiece of our federal and international advocacy efforts. Over the last three months, NAGPS has taken action on three efforts to advance open access and increase collaboration on this important topic. First, NAGPS joined forces with the American Medical Student Association to publish an opinion piece in the June 7th edition of the Washington Post. This high-profile article called on President Obama to extend an NIH-style open access policy to other federal research funding agencies. Such a policy would unlock $60 billion in federal research every year by making the resulting articles freely available to the public. Second, we helped drive over 29,000 signatures on a White House petition focused toward implementing open access policies through all federal agencies that fund scientific research. The signatures will now prompt a written response from the White House, which responds in writing

to all petitions with more than 25,000 signatures. Finally, NAGPS participated in the July 2012 General Assembly of the Right to Research Coalition in Budapest, Hungary to discuss the path forward on open access policies and initiatives (pictured on page 17). The General Assembly included student leaders from 30 organizations spread across North America, Europe, and the Middle East. The Assembly convened to discuss the current state of open access policies and initiatives and cross-border collaborations that would advance open access among the groups’ constituents and in respective home governments. Our US federal advocacy efforts on open access served as an important model for other organizations, and many other groups provided excellent examples of advocacy within institutions, disciplines, and the European Union. Outcomes of the General Assembly included modifications to the structure of the coalition to allow for greater flexibility and communication to members, proposals for open access transparency initiatives, revised messaging and marketing campaigns, and ongoing conversations between NAGPS and similar organizations from across Europe and the Middle East.


Breakout Session Student leaders discuss opportunities to drive international change on open access.



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What Every Grad Student Needs to Know About Presenting at Conferences and Meetings Bring Band-Aids and Breath Mints…Seriously Band-aids aren’t just for ebullient rappers from St. Louis like Nelly and for kids with skinned knees. They can also be an essential part of your conference toolkit.

road warriors by Robert Bochnak

Office of Graduate Studies, Tufts University

“I made the mistake of not bringing band-aids to my first conferences,” said Lara Hwa, a GSAS psychology student who has presented her research at meetings of the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society and the Society for Neuroscience. “Nice shoes are just not part of a graduate student’s everyday life, and I found this out the hard way.” Adds GSAS drama student Danielle Rosvally, who has shared her research at the Rutgers Newark M.A. Consortium and the Université de Montreal Annual Graduate Student Conference, “Make sure you wear something professional and don’t wear sneakers. Nothing says ‘I’m a graduate student!’ like a suit with sneakers. Also, pack breath mints. You really don’t want to be introducing yourself to professionals in your field and have them repulsed by the tuna you had for lunch.”


Features Continued from previous page Don’t Be Like Sheldon Anyone who watches the television program The Big Bang Theory knows that Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) is, to put it kindly, a challenging person. A typical episode features Sheldon sparring with roommate Leonard (Johnny Galecki), and friends Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) over everything from Sheldon’s favorite chair being used by someone other than Sheldon to the identity of a cricket named “Toby.” In one episode in particular, the foursome are heading to a conference when Sheldon realizes that he forgot to pack a flash drive which contained a paper he planned to share with a prominent scientist.

“Practice your presentation with your adviser, lab mates, office mates, and friends as much as possible.” The best way to avoid Sheldon’s plight? Make sure you have multiple versions of your conference or meeting materials. “Have both physical and digital copies of everything you need for your presentation,” said Rosvally. “Also,


every time I have brought technology with me to a conference, something has gone wrong or has not gone according to plan. This is especially true if you’re an AppleMac user. Most campuses are personal computerbased, which means that the systems in place are not designed to handle Macs. So, make sure to have adaptors or anything else you need before you travel.”

manage your time.

Keeping Time

Danielle Rosvally agrees with her fellow drama graduate student.

Texting while crossing the street, wagering on the Buffalo Bills to win the Super Bowl, and forgetting to bring glitter to a Ke$ha concert are all very bad ideas—so is neglecting to give your presentation multiple run throughs. “Practice your presentation with your adviser, lab mates, office mates, and friends as much as possible,” said Donghui Chen, a GSAS mathematics student who has presented at the Copper Mountain Conference on Iterative Methods and the Conference on Numerical Linear Algebra: Perturbation, Performance, and Portability. “It will make a huge difference when it’s your turn to present.” It’s also crucial, according to GSAS drama student Matthew McMahan, to

“Time limits are very important,” said McMahan, who presented his research at the Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium. “If you have twenty minutes to speak, I would plan your talk for eighteen minutes. This would give you enough elbow-room to speak at a comfortable pace and make ‘onthe-spot’ asides.”

“The timing and rehearsal thing is huge,” said Rosvally. “Know what you’re going to say, and make sure you say it in a succinct, articulate, and entertaining way. If you’re entertaining, you will stand out. Try to eliminate words like ‘uhm,’ ‘uh,’ and ‘like’ from your speech. This is a general good life tip, but especially important at a conference or meeting.” A longer version of this blog post is available at gradmatters/. GradMatters, a monthly blog published by the Tufts University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, provides information about careers, funding, and other items of interest for graduate students, faculty members, administrators, and other people interested in higher education-related issues.


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UC Davis

by Colin Murphy

2011-2012 GSA External Chair University of California Davis It is sometimes hard to believe that six months ago, the University of California Davis dominated almost every media channel in the U.S. After an “occupyinspired” protest escalated into a clash with campus police, Lt. John Pike walked down a line of seated students casually dousing them with concentrated pepper spray. Front page news breathlessly re-hashed the spectacle, bloggers and


pundits debated over its larger meaning and whether it would touch off a more vigorous phase in the Occupy Movement. A horde of Photoshop-aficionados and associated meme-builders relentlessly satirized the situation. Amateur video editors compiled the recordings from dozens of cell-phone cameras into split-screen multimedia forensic reconstructions of event. Six months later, it’s difficult to find any obvious evidence remaining of the event. Life has, more or less, returned to normal. The Occupy encampment,

six months later

which sprung up after the incident, has since disappeared – a victim of academic schedules and poor weather. Our quarter ended about three weeks after November 18 and few occupiers were committed enough to wait out a long, rainy winter break on an empty campus. For a while, the tents remained unoccupied, a symbolic reminder of the event, but their numbers rapidly dwindled once the weather improved enough for the quad to be in demand as a social venue.

Photo credit: Bev Skyes from Davis, CA

Features Continued from previous page The November 18 incident thrust student governments into a role of unusual prominence. It will probably surprise no one that I, as an officer of the UC Davis Graduate Student Association, feel that student leaders performed admirably during the chaotic weeks that followed the event. None of us expected to be involved in a legitimate, national newsworthy crisis when we assumed our positions. The UC Davis GSA, LSA (Law Student Association), and undergraduate student government (The Associated Students of UC Davis, ASUCD) managed to navigate a treacherous landscape of conflicting accounts and competing narratives to provide thoughtful leadership and to ensure that student voices were heard as the campus began to heal and move forward. With the emotional furor died down, now we can look back and take stock of what happened and of lessons learned, as a campus and as graduate student leaders.

stakeholders to participate. Critically, students were well-represented on the panel by two undergraduates (chosen by ASUCD), one law student, and one graduate student (Kathryn Kolesar, who was then Chair of our Graduate Student Association). The U.C. Office of the President commissioned the Kroll group, a risk-management consultant with a strong background in security and law enforcement, to gather evidence and conduct the fact-finding part of the investigation, under the direction of the Reynoso Commission. This decision did not proceed without controversy. Kroll had advised on many of the law enforcement policies that were under scrutiny, and they employed William Bratton, a former Chief of the LAPD whose tenure was marked by accusations of excessive police force and corruption. Since Kroll’s involvement was limited to fact-finding and interviews, it appears to have been sufficiently thorough and impartial. The Reynoso Commission did not feel hampered by the investigators.

Almost immediately after the incident occurred, there was quick action to begin an investigation, while the issue was still fresh. Chancellor Linda Katehi and U.C. President Mark Yudof both pledged full cooperation with any investigation. Cruz Reynoso, a respected former California Supreme Court Justice and current law professor at UC Davis, was chosen to head an investigatory committee and invited many campus

The investigation was comprehensive and was greatly assisted by the number of YouTube videos available of the confrontation; the site is cited over 70 times in the Kroll factfinding report. The central conclusions surprised few. The primary responsibility for the incident lay with Lt. Pike, who made the decision to use pepper spray. Lines of communication between the on-scene officers and decision-makers

in the administration were tangled and sclerotic. Most critically, few in power seemed to take the situation seriously. The Chief of Campus Police was on the Quad during most of the event, but had little direct role in supervising the officers, and was spotted taking video on her cell phone. The officer listed as the situation commander apparently had no role in authorizing the deployment of pepper spray. There was no clear policy for dealing with a rapidly evolving protest, and where crowd-control policies existed and were not followed. The pepper spray used was a high-potency formulation, purchased independently by the officers and deployed in ways that contradict its warning label. The Reynoso committee identified failures throughout the chain of command, any of which could have prevented the escalation that led to students being pepper-sprayed (The full report is available at http://

A few key principles stand out: The administration did not invest enough time and resources in understanding the situation on the ground, before deciding to remove the encampment. They cited fears that noncampus actors were in the encampment and might present a safety risk, but never attempted to ascertain whether this was actually true. They were concerned about


Features Continued from previous page health risks from lack of sanitation facilities, but never attempted to determine whether the threat was real. The administration’s actions better reflect an attempt to justify removing the encampment to minimize liability, rather than engagement with actual problems. There must be a clear chain of command and attribution of responsibility. At UC Davis, the Campus Police are nominally a part of the Student Affairs department but had been listed in organization charts under the office of Administration and Resource Management. Up to four administrators could be said to supervise the Campus Police in some way. Normally this created a relaxed and collaborative leadership structure, but ended up leaving no one in charge during critical moments. In order to maintain good campus-police relations, someone within the administration must know that it’s their job to oversee police and that they bear responsibility if police are improperly deployed. Similarly, there must be a clearly identified incident commander who has final authority over police tactical decisions. On November 18th, Campus Police Chief Annette Spicuzze was present on the Quad, but not in command of the forces, while the nominal situation commander was unaware of changing conditions or the decision to use pepper spray. Confrontation should be avoided


wherever possible. Chief Spicuzza failed to argue in favor of removing the encampment in the middle of the night, when there would be fewer people around to spark a confrontation. When Chancellor Katehi gave the order to remove the tents, she had intended that no confrontation occur and police back off if the situation got tense, but she failed to effectively communicate that to the Police. There must be a clear line of communication between students and administration officials. Many elements of the encampment were willing to work with officials to resolve concerns about health, safety and damage to the campus. Several occupiers temporarily moved their tents so groundskeepers could mow the lawn. To many, the administration’s communication was seen as a one-way affair, passing edicts to the occupiers with insufficient effort toward creating dialog. Whoever takes responsibility for authorizing police deployment needs to be more available and more up-to-date on conditions. It apparently took several hours before the Chancellor knew of the pepper spraying and some stories say she didn’t learn until one of her children directed her to the YouTube videos. The first statements to come from the administration praised the police for their action and several hours passed before any statements of concern or regret were issued. It appears that many of these statements were pre-written

and set in motion before news of the spraying reached the administration. When the campus community heard the administration’s praise for the officers, it created a deep and lingering perception of malicious intent. Looking back on the event with the benefit of several months of hindsight, there are several lessons that we, as student leaders, can take from this experience. The most important lesson is “know thyself.” Graduate student governments wield fairly limited power, in an absolute sense, but we have considerable “soft” resources. We have access to administration, communication networks, a modest amount of funding and (hopefully) a position of trust. We cannot command or veto policy, but when we speak, the administration and the campus community typically listen. These “soft” resources are the result of years of diligent work by the officers who came before us, sat on a plethora of committees, listened respectfully, advocated thoughtfully and worked for the long-term good of the campus community. Because we had these resources at UC Davis, we were able to quickly establish communication with the administration, Academic Senate, Alumni Association as well as other student interest and representative groups. Where and when official lines of communication broke down, we had personal or collegial relationships with most of the key stakeholders that let information flow to our

Features Continued from previous page members. As the campus considered its responses, communication among diverse parties was key to ensure that overly hasty reactions did not exacerbate the situation. In a highly politicized situation, like the one we found ourselves in after Nov 18, it is natural to hear many groups trying to fit events to their narrative. UC Davis, like all other California schools, had been embroiled in an increasingly acrimonious fight over budgets and administrative priorities. The UC Regents and CSU Trustees had become a lightning rod for criticism. Part of this was their own fault; they lacked transparency, and were insensitive to student opinions. There had been several acrimonious confrontations between protesters and law enforcement at high-level administrative meetings. The governor appoints the Regents and Trustees for long terms, and these positions had been traditionally used by as a patronage reward for major donors. Both boards were dominated by rich business, real estate and legal professionals, presenting strongly, and often deservedly, unsympathetic figures during early rounds of tuition hikes. A common narrative emerged in the aftermath of November 18, which claimed that incidents of police violence were specifically directed by administrators or Regents, as part of a concerted effort to break the protests

and resume extorting profit from the university. The presence of social media made dozens, if not hundreds, of stories about the incident available to anyone. It was often hard to tell the factual accounts from the subjective interpretation. Most people got news of the event from Facebook and Twitter, rather than from formal news sources. With so many stories flying around, confirmation bias quickly became apparent. The situation was not helped by the delay in the administration’s understanding of what had transpired. The GSA Executive Committee learned that the incident was not what the administration had intended and we wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, until the investigation was complete. We did not want to stand in complete support of the administration, but at the same time, we wanted our members to hear about more than the conflict between the administration and students. Some activist members of the graduate student community wanted to immediately call for the resignation of several members of the administration and the complete transformation of UC governance, including the dismissal of the entire body of Regents followed by democratic elections for their replacements. This is problematic, since the selection procedures for Regents are established in California’s constitution. The situation was not helped by the publication, one week later, of an editorial by Naomi Wolf

in The Guardian, which asserted that there was a concerted effort by the Federal government, on the orders of rich corporate donors, to stamp out the Occupy movement. Our concern, as student leaders, was that this narrative would come to dominate the discussion of the issue and drown out the push for more realistic reform of campus police, administrative and financial policies. We were, however, torn between competing responsibilities. On one hand, our job is to represent grad student interests and convey the message of our constituents to the administration. On the other hand, our jobs also call us to lead, and we were all convinced that the vocal minority was, in fact, a minority. Most graduate students were not as passionately moved towards confrontation. Balancing these goals, we made several key decisions. We quickly released a statement condemning the police brutality, while recognizing the positive steps the administration had taken afterwards, including the suspension of officers involved, waiving charges against those who were arrested, paying the medical costs of anyone injured and granting the occupiers permission to remain on the quad indefinitely. We quickly called a special meeting of graduate students to discuss what happened and what our constituents would like the GSA to do. This meeting was extremely helpful and, while we had to strictly enforce speaking time


Features Continued from previous page limits to keep the meeting under four hours, it allowed for a wide range of discourse. At the meeting, we solicited potential resolutions to be brought to a vote at our next GSA General Assembly meeting, which was a little over one week away. We received dozens of suggestions, which we were able to consolidate into approximately 20 distinct ideas. This allowed each consolidated suggestion to be efficiently considered for votes at the next Assembly meeting. Had we not been able to pre-emptively solicit and discuss proposals, we would have required an onerously long General Assembly meeting to allow everyone to be heard. If I had to offer one piece of advice to other student government officers who are put in a similar situation, I believe they should give their constituents a venue at which to voice their opinions. Many students feel their opinions are irrelevant and, even though we as GSA officers could often do little to help, we could easily listen and acknowledge. While the loudest voices were, unsurprisingly, the most radical, the overwhelming majority of graduate students were thoughtful, respectful of others views, and willing to focus on constructive engagement. Our responsibility as GSA officers was focused mostly around controlling the most outrageous rumors, facilitating


communication and providing avenues for students to engage with the administration. While I don’t know whether our fairly equivocal initial statement, issued immediately after the spraying occurred, made much of a difference, it was important for the GSA to have a starting point. As time went on and we gained more of an understanding about the feelings of our constituents, we were able to be slightly more assertive in our communication. I published an opinion piece in the local paper, which provided a good venue to let non-campus community members understand the complex view from inside. One of the biggest dilemmas that graduate student leaders will face is how to balance the desire to establish broad consensus with other campus groups against the ability to make clear, direct and timely statements. The UCD Alumni Association made a strong drive to produce one statement on the incident that could be signed by every representative group on campus. Ultimately, the GSA declined to join because there were several subtleties of language that we felt would not be agreeable to our constituency. Even within our Executive Committee – which is a collegial and cooperative environment – we had to work hard to generate an agreeable statement. During my time as an officer in student government, I’ve been a member of

many different types of executive committees. I shudder to think what would happen if our executive team did not have a strong working relationship. It’s important that student leaders are able to effectively communicate with each other, as well as with outside bodies. The final lesson I’d like to share from this experience is the value of maintaining communication between the GSA and other campus groups. UC Davis has very active and organized groups that advocate on behalf of particular communities. We noticed that we were able to quickly and easily communicate within our pre-existing relationships, but some groups were difficult to reach. Often, we had to rely on personal connections to get in touch with leadership from other groups. In normal times, many of the routine committee meetings and interactions between the GSA and other groups are delayed or cancelled because there is often little to do. Establishing relationships with leaders from other campus organizations can help secure lines of communication in time-sensitive situations. In our case, nothing critical was lost due to inability to communicate, but it’s an oversight that should be corrected in the future. We realize now that it’s important to have strong relationships and clear lines of communication with other campus stakeholders.


Creating a Graduate Student Association Help Graduate and Professional Students Be Successful at Your Campus by Joshua Wilson Prog. Coordinator, Stu. Activities University of Notre Dame Graduate and professional student’s acclamation to graduate study and involvement with the university can lead to higher success in the classroom and co-curricular experiences. It’s key that graduate-professional students gain social networking and professional development opportunities through their experiences. “The transition to graduate or professional student can bring about new self-doubt and self-awareness and can change relationships with family and friends” (Gasemer-Topf, Johnson, & Ross, 2006). Positive gains and outcomes are associated with engaged students in cognitive and intellectual skill development, college adjustment, moral and ethical development,

persistence, practical competence, and psychosocial development and positive images of self (Harper & Pontius, 2006). Without a student association, colleges or universities speaking on behalf of their graduate and professional students may unintentionally disregard the important development of these students. The value of creating a graduate student association lies in the opportunities it can bring to students, such as a unified voice on behalf of graduate students on a college or university campus. The association should be recognized as a legitimate source for graduate and professional students, which can also play important roles in their development. Limited socialization opportunities, high stress, and poor health have been found to be prime determinants to the success of graduate-professional

students. Graduate students need involvement plus community to build socialization efforts across campus (Harper & Pontius, 2006). There must be balance in life’s components such as health, work, family and social relationships, and spiritual dimensions (Hagberg and Leider, 1988). Astin (1985) asserted that not only did involvement benefit students, but also educational policies and programs. Community can play a major role in the satisfaction of the graduate and professional student (Bakker and Krallman, 2005). Community takes the support and commitment of all faculties, staff and university personnel, and the student association.


Features Continued from previous page Participating in student government was linked with greater-than-average increases in political liberalism, hedonism, artistic interests, and status needs, as well as with greater-than average satisfaction with student friendships (Astin, 1985). Studies on the academic success as it relates to student involvement has found positive correlations with active students’ involvement (Ullah and Wilson, 2007; Carini, Kuh, Klein, 2006). “Contemporary student government associations, however, are often structured to fit the needs and schedules of full-time, traditional-aged students” (Miles, 2011). Hannegan (1999), former president of the National Association of GraduateProfessional Students, developed twelve steps to starting a graduate student organization. Setting up the student association and rallying administrators and students is only part of what is necessary to get a graduate student association off the ground. So, if you have successfully followed Hannegan’s steps (1999), you are ready to move along with starting your association. Naturally, a strong foundation will be part of what keeps students involved and graduate and professional students motivated to the work needed to run an organization.


12 Steps

to Creating a Graduate Student Association (Hannegan, 1999)

1. Identify common issues. 2. Form an interest group. 3. Meet with your elected student officials. 4. Meet with campus administration. 5. Invite elected student officials and administrators to your meetings. 6. Attend meetings of the existing student government. 7. Publicize your organization. 8. Pass an Official Resolution establishing your association. 9. Negotiate detailed agreements to split money, rights 10. Authorize you Graduate Student Association with a campus-wide referendum. 11. Do whatever else necessary to create you GSA. 12. Making your new GSA work. The hidden benefits to creating a graduate student association lie in the opportunities to help graduate-professional students’ better transition to student, work, and life experiences associated with being a student. Speaking on experience from having created and organized a graduate student association, success was limited to a full commitment from me and the team. We also had to believe in what services we wanted to provide to students. Looking back, it was worth it. References Astin, A. W. (1985). Achieving Educational Excellence. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Bakker, A. I., Krallman, D. (2005). An exploratory survey of graduate student experiences and satisfaction. Retrieved on January 29, 2011, from 20U%20results.pdf Gansemer-Topf, A. M., Johnson, R. M., & Ross, L.E. (2006). Graduate and professional student development and student affairs. New Directions for Student Services, (115) 19-30. Doi: 10.1002/ ss.213n Hannegan, B. Finding your voice: Starting a graduate student association. National Association of Graduate-Professional Students. Retrieved on January 30, 2011, from Hagberg, J., & Leider, R. (1988). The inventurers: Excursions in life and career renewal. Woburn, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc. Harper S.R., & Pontius, J.L., (2006). Principles for good practice in graduate and professional student engagement. New Directions for Student Services, (115), 47-58. Doi.10.1002/ss.215 Ullah, H., & Wilson, M. A. (2007). Students’ academic success and its association to student involvement with learning and relationships with faculty and peers. College Student Journal, 41(4), 1192-1202. Retrieved from direct=true&db=e ric&AN=EJ816846&site=ehost-live

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of salad and searches A Primer

by Cresten Mansfeldt Cornell University

We all are searching for something. Most mornings, it is my keys. I have a tendency to randomly place them in hidden locations around my apartment. Once, I discovered them in the fridge, in the vegetable drawer, inside a head of lettuce. Every time I move, though, the time to discover my keys increases for a bit and then decays back to a baseline level. I learn from each of my searches and discover patterns in both the way I hide my keys from myself and how I go about looking for them. As a graduate student, I am obsessed with searching. I spend the majority of my day conducting experiments or pouring through volumes of data looking for answers to scientific riddles. With around 1.8 million other likeminded graduate students scattered across America, what can we learn about who we are from how we search?


The internet is both a godsend and time sink for graduate students. Through that network, we can exchange valuable datasets as well as a seemingly infinite number of cats (in almost any form). However, a lot of the activity siphons through the search giant Google. Wisely, they started to track and share the searching behavior of users through a suite of tools. Google TrendsTM is a particularly great way to lose an afternoon by plugging in different search terms, especially for those who get excited by data logging and statistical analysis (like me). However, for those who are like me, you must forgive, I will not be presenting rigorous statistical analysis. This is more a holistic romp through searches specific to graduate school on the internet.

Getting In You finish your undergraduate degree, however you still wish to hide out in academia. You are probably a slightly savvy searcher. Where do you turn? The internet!

What if we look at the term “graduate school” as the general search term and a plausible key phrase in all our early searches about higher academics? The trend of the search volume displays a natural rise and fall with the peak occurring around mid-January and the trough occurring in mid-summer. This potentially reflects the increased interest in graduate school applications in the winter and the gradual notice of acceptance throughout the Spring. Additionally, the month of December is an outlier, as a sharp drop-off occurs halfway through that month and recovers after the first of the year. We’ve stumbled upon winter break! Surprisingly, this departure from the standard wave form of the curve is also seen in the trend of “research” in a more dramatic fashion. Apparently, over the holiday break, less people are willing to think about graduate schools and their research.

Opinion Graduate school, used as the general search term, has declined significantly from 2004-2012. However, this may not be due to fewer searches, but a higher overall volume of searches using Google. Graduate students tend to be forced to use technology prior to the public adopting it. Perhaps the increased interest and availability of cats is dwarfing the steady volume of higher academic searches (similar downward trends are noted for “college”, “university”, “undergraduate”, “law school”, “medical school” and “academia”).

Getting Funding You got in! Great. Now it’s time to get paid. Funding comes in cycles. “Grant” peaks in January, declines almost linearly until the end of December, and then spikes again. Searches for “stipend”, like the actual value of stipends on average, is increasing since 2004. The trend is dual peaked, one around August and another around January. Speaking from experience of being paid on a semester stipend basis, my savings account often looked this way. Looking even more specifically, the trend of “NSF GRFP” the acronym for National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program returns two large spikes, one around November when the submissions are due and another

around April when the decisions are announced. If you ever applied for a national grant, just realize you are not alone.

Getting Published You are in grad school. You are funded. Now you get down to the nitty-gritty of working and publishing. You become obsessed with your mythical “thesis”. This magical term, “thesis”, correlates strongly with “theoretical”(r=0.932). I’m not surprised, my “thesis” has been in the “theoretical” state for the past five years. “Thesis” search volume also displays a seasonal response. From January to the end of December, the trend for the dreaded word “thesis” looks like the letter M, increased interest during the fall and spring academic semesters with procrastination filling the summer and the winter breaks. “Published”, oddly, follows this same trend. Surprisingly, the general term “work” does not see any decrease in the summer, but the sudden decline during the holidays still occurs. This M pattern appears to be unique to academic searches.

Getting Out You are done, time to celebrate. However, all graduation ceremonies are not created equal. The trend for “graduation” looks like a mountain in May and a mole hill in December. The

small blip of a December graduation is not detected for “high school graduation” but is detected for “college graduation”. Rationally, this models the fact that the majority of high schools do not hold a winter commencement ceremony. Additionally, the peak for high schools occurs slightly later than that for college, confirming the fact that high schools’ commencements are often later than colleges’. One last note, “high school graduation” outperforms the peak of “college graduation” be nearly a factor of 1.5. Said another way, the peak of “college graduation” is about 1/3 or 66% of “high school graduation”. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2010 nearly 68% of recent high school graduates were enrolled in college, mirroring almost exactly the difference in search terms.

In Parting Most of these findings are rather intuitive. Our searches in this world reflect us as a society and us as an American graduate student body. Just as me finding my keys in a head of lettuce is slightly indicative of my personality; these wider trends may indicative of our social construction. Additionally, consider if how we search reflects who we are, what does it mean to be at a lab bench, in a library, or a field site? What does it mean to be the individual rather than the whole? For that answer, we are all searching.



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jeopardizing voter rights by Marialle Bell

J.D. Candidate Florida State University Historically in this country, minorities and the economically disadvantaged were excluded from the democratic process by discriminatory voting practices. In 1965, the United States Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to reinforce Fifteenth Amendment protections. Recently, Eric Holder (the United States Attorney General) and the Department of Justice commenced suits alleging VRA violations. In fact, the State of Florida is facing a suit for altering voter registration statuses months before the 2012 Presidential Election. The State of Florida contends that, to ensure the integrity of the voting process is upheld, the State must heighten voter registration practices and purge ineligible voters from the voting rolls (compiled list of registered voters in Florida.) Purging will rid voting rolls of ineligible and deceased registrants and ensure the accuracy of elections. The Federal Government has compelled the State of Florida

to cease all purging practices, but it has failed to comply with federal orders. State efforts may jeopardize the voter registration statuses of eligible citizens. In addition, State practices can disproportionally impact minorities, economically disadvantaged and even graduate students. Students relocate and change addresses in Florida every day. This frequent relocation may erroneously suggest voter ineligibility and thereby threaten the statutes of eligible students. The Department of Justice argues that unsubstantiated State purging undermines VRA by denying poll access to eligible State voters. This suit has received particular attention because of its proximity to the 2012 Presidential Election. Considering the individuals most affected by these practices are young individuals and Democrats, many question the State’s motives. If the Department of Justice prevails in this suit, the State of Florida must forgo all voting practices found in violation of the statute. If the Department of Justice is unsuccessful, our entire democratic system may be compromised.

the voting market by Tabatha Cirgenski St. Leo University

Election time is nearing, as an opportunity for Americans to exercise our “God-given” right to vote. This is our opportunity for a nation, a community, or a city to appoint the person that we feel is going to have our best interest at hand. All elections – from Presidential to mayoral – play a vital role. But I beg the question: is the message getting across to the voters? We often say that a knowledge of the facts is required to make a good decision. One fact stands out today; there is a lack of effective marketing and, as a result, many people miss the opportunity to vote. Take college students, for example. In between studying for classes, working two jobs and juggling personal commitments, it is easy to get lost in translation. Prominent groups and programs like “Rock the Vote” or “Vote or Die” are no longer prominent. What happened to coverage on popular shows that appealed to the college demographic? What happened to the team of volunteers to aid in registering new voters? Marketing tactics that catered to the younger generation have become, in some places, obsolete. How is do we expect the average college student to make a good decision when voting? Yes, we can argue that the individual should burden the responsibility of informing themselves about policy issues. Though we may also argue that the politicians’ responsibility is to earn our vote, they must first capture our attention. The college demographic is one of the most vital in political campaigns, yet the most forgotten in terms of marketing. National and local marketing efforts alike have faltered. With this year being a crucial year for the political arena, marketing efforts cannot afford to disregard the younger college generation.



legislation targets your voting rights by Melissa Mears

J.D. Candidate Florida State University The right of citizens to exercise full participation in the democratic electoral processes of our nation is one of the key attributes of the United States’ government and its obligation to the people. Today more than ever, these rights are being threatened in such a manner that directly affects the graduate and undergraduate student population. With the upcoming General Election scheduled to take place in November, it is imperative that we make ourselves aware of the latest voting requirements, implemented in the months preceding the 2012 presidential election. Currently, 33 states require identification in order to vote. 17 of these require all voters to present photo identification in order to cast a regular counted ballot. Eight states enacted legislation to this effect in 2011 alone. Under state law, any citizen who is not able to present identification matching their state’s requirements will be provided with a “provisional” ballot. This ballot is only counted if said voter returns with a proper form of identification within the specified time period.


For students, this is particularly important as many of these states do not accept certain forms of student identification – some not at all. Wisconsin, for example, only accepts student IDs that display “a signature, an issue date, and an expiration date no later than 2 years after the election.” Kentucky will only accept a current driver’s license, Social Security card, or credit card as a valid form of ID. Mississippi requires government-issued identification, and Texas – though accepting the standard gun license – does not accept any form of student identification. There has been a flurry of legislative activity aimed at eliminating or severely reducing the period of early voting in many states. There are currently fifteen states that do not offer any early voting system, and require an approved excuse in order for voters to cast an absentee ballot. Coincidentally or not, limitations on early voting strike most heatedly at the livelihood of many campaigns organized for the sole purpose of increasing the amount of voters casting their ballots at each election. These campaigns have been known to target a specific sub-population that has been historically less likely to vote, such as students, African Americans, Hispanics,

or the elderly. It is no surprise, then, that these recent alterations to state voting laws will potentially harmful to “minorities, students, [and] the poor and disabled.” In other words, the citizens who flooded the polls four years ago in exercise of their constitutional rights and therein achieved a miracle. In 2008 alone, approximately 22 million young voters cast their ballots, making youth turnout the second highest since 1992 and the third highest in history. The vast majority of these voters were college students or recent college graduates – the population most instrumental in propelling the Obama campaign to victory. This is a call to all students and citizens. Do not fail to make yourself aware of the new voting laws particular to your state. Be knowledgeable about the places and dates of polling in your district. Make every effort to acquire the forms of identification specified by your state legislation. It is your duty, as a citizen and as a student, to protect and preserve your right to vote from any calculated infringements upon it. Visit the National Conference of State Legislatures Website to identify your state’s voting requirements.

nagps leadership


Matt Cooper President & CEO

Reetika Bhardivaj Vice President

Rosario Michelle Ramirez Director of Administration

Zach Aman Director of Communications

Sophie Ni Director of Finance

Jared Voskuhl Director of Relations

Kristen Hymel Director of Outreach

Eli Paster Chair, Legislative Concerns

Vijay Gadepally Chair, Employment Concerns

Tursunjan Ablekim Chair, International Student Concerns

GC Murray Chair, Social Justice

Nikko Collida Chair, Western Region

Daniele Bologna Chair, Midwest Region

Eteri Svanidze Chair, Southcentral Region

Amanda Blair Chair, Southeast Region

Brandon Milonovich Chair, Northeast Region

Jon Kowalski Immediate Past President

NAGPS has a threefold mission for the graduate and professional student community in the United States of America: (1) develop and sustain a member network to connect graduate and professional students and their associations, (2) provide resources and support to empower members, and (3) advocate at local and national levels on their behalf.


National Association of Graduate-Professional Students PO Box 96503 #36821 Washington, DC 20090-6503 202.643.8043


Postgraduate Voice: Fall 2012  
Postgraduate Voice: Fall 2012  

"The Postgraduate Voice" is the official publication of the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS).