The Graduate College

Spring 2010

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Reflections from the Dean
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Not Your Average Graduate Student...
Finding a Science Postdoc
"Anyways": An African Experience
NAU Grad Students Host New Conference
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Reflections from the Dean
Ramona N. Mellott, PhD

I encourage all our readers to read through the various feature articles and other news items in this newsletter. As you learn about the various happenings in graduate education at Northern Arizona University, you cannot help but feel proud to be part of the wonderful community of faculty, staff, administrators, and graduate students here.

Grad Student Accomplishments
We are very pleased to acknowledge the many accomplishments of our students. Especially noteworthy are the following, detailed in our Ones to Watch column:

  1. Luke Evans (PHD Biology) received a $15,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant.
  2. Cindy Liu (PhD Biology) was selected for a $15,000 P.E.O. Scholar Award.
  3. Hesham Elnagar (MM Theory and Composition) was chosen for a $15,000 National Society of Collegiate Scholars' 15th Anniversary Scholarship.
  4. Robert Miranda (PhD Biology) was recommended for an Environmental Protection Agency Star Fellowship of up to $37,000 per year for three years.
  5. Lucy Mullin (PhD Biology) was awarded a Department of Energy Graduate Fellowship of $50,000 per year for three years.

See Accolades for other graduate student honors and achievements. There are many more students who have been recognized for work in their discipline that are not mentioned in this newsletter. We encourage you to submit this information to us so we can include it in our graduate publications.

Graduate Student Organization
GSO has been hard at work and in the process of building an independent organization for graduate students. For more information, please read GSO president Citlali Cortés-Montaño’s article on the various activities and accomplishments of the GSO. I would like to thank Citlali and the executive committee for their dedication, leadership, and hard work. A special thanks to all of the members of the subcommittees who helped with the various projects of the GSO.

Social Networking
Our efforts in the Graduate College to reach our students through social networking have been successful. Just last week we experienced almost 700 Facebook hits, and we acquire new fans every week. The NAU Grad Students social group that resulted from this effort is a huge hit and has helped many Flagstaff campus students connect with their counterparts across different disciplines and provide a support system that helps with both the navigation of graduate school and an opportunity for some fun times. Thank you to Sheena Kauppila for taking the lead on this.

Professional Science Master’s Programs
We were pleased this year to host our first official Professional Science Master’s program in Applied Geospatial Sciences, Geospatial Technologies emphasis, at NAU. We are in the midst of solidifying a new program for fall, Climate Science and Solutions, which should qualify for PSM status as welll.

University Graduate Committee
Under the able leadership of Karen Plager from the School of Nursing, the UGC worked hard this year and reviewed 82 curricular items, including approval of one new program (M.S. Climate Science and Solutions), six new graduate certificates, and one integrated program. Committee members were also responsible for developing new and changing existing policies to support graduate education and graduate students. For more information on the new programs and policy changes, see our Need to Know section.

Faculty Development Program
Faculty Development continued its tradition of selecting excellent speakers and programming aimed at enhancing the skills of our graduate teaching assistants. At the request of attendees at the one-day January workshop for teaching assistants, this seminar will be expanded to a longer format.

Many Thanks...
Finally, I would like to thank our hardworking and dedicated staff at the Graduate College and the Bursar, Registrar, Financial Aid, International, Human Resources, Research, Grants and Contracts, and Sponsored Projects offices. I also thank the excellent faculty and staff in our academic units who work hard to ensure that our graduate students and graduate assistants have a great experience at NAU. Even more remarkable is that all put forth their best efforts to serve the graduate community despite faculty and staff reductions and other budget cutbacks.

Ramona Mellott, Dean

Congrats!
I also would like to offer my congratulations to all of our master’s and doctoral students who are getting ready to graduate. I wish you much success in your chosen career and life path. Do not forget us, and remember we will always be there. Think about contributing to our fund for graduate student scholarships and/or travel awards when it becomes possible for you to give back to NAU!

To our returning students, we look forward to the coming academic year and the new challenges it will bring. Do not hesitate to contact me if you believe I can be of assistance.

Ramona