May 7, 2012
How to make the choice to pursue a graduate program – and how to begin to navigate the pathway to a Master's or a doctoral degree?
These were questions addressed during the tenth annual UC EDGE event on May 2. Hosted by UCI with support from many of the other UC campuses, the all-day event provided an opportunity for underrepresented sophomores, juniors, seniors, and master's students interested in pursuing a doctoral degree at a University of California campus to address these issues. With representatives from eight UC campuses on hand, the students were afforded opportunities to ask questions, take a tour of the campus, and meet with faculty, graduate students, and staff.
The day began with opening remarks from UCI's Susan Bibler Coutin, Associate Dean, Graduate Division and Professor, Criminology, Law and Society. Associate Dean Coutin welcomed students from schools across California including Cal Poly Pomona, CSU East Bay, CSU San Bernardino, and UC Santa Barbara among others. She introduced the day's guest speaker, Dr. Sam Bersola, Assistant Vice Provost of Graduate Studies at UCLA who described the process for applying to graduate school.
"One of the biggest differences between undergraduate and graduate school is the ability to demonstrate maturity – and how you articulate your ideas becomes very important during graduate studies," Dr. Bersola stated.
He stressed the importance of being prepared for graduate school and touched upon the critical components that should be considered about graduate education. Walking the students through a series of exercises designed to help them imagine a future in graduate school, Dr. Berosla identified some of the key differences between college and graduate school. He provided students with tips for not only succeeding but in his words, "learning to thrive" in graduate school.
Illustrating his talk with examples from his twenty years of experience working with students in California's higher education system, he highlighted six tips for thriving in Graduate School:
- Find good mentors
- Pursue your passion
- Articulate your research
- Consider several career paths
- Be a mentor – give back
- Find a balance
"Follow your passion but keep a balance - remember to focus on the big issues and to understand that taking time for life outside of the academic environment is a critical component in the bigger scheme to being successful."
Following Dr. Bersola's talk, students were given the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops including:
- "I Want to, but I don't have Time" – a workshop designed to help students learn to manage personal success - presented by Leigh Poirier Ball, UCI Director of Graduate Resource Center
- "Master's or Ph.D.?" - a workshop focused on de-mystifying the differences between master's and PhD programs - presented by Hector Cuevas, Director, Outreach, Recruitment and Retention, UC Davis
"We understand the apprehension and anxiety that can come with applying to graduate programs," noted Raslyn Rendon, UCI Director of Outreach, Retention, and Recruitment. "The purpose of UC EDGE is designed to open the doors of the UC community to a population of students that is highly sought after," she stated.
UC EDGE enables prospective applicants to meet with other UC campus representatives in a more personal environment where questions can be answered and relationships can be established. Diversity is a central theme to graduate education at UCI. "We strive to create and nurture an environment that not only brings diverse students to campus, but also encourages them to participate in outreach programs that foster access – and UC EDGE is one such program," Raslyn added.
Photos from the 2012 UC EDGE event may be found on the Graduate Division's Facebook page.