Brown University Graduate School Newsletter
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Thomas A. Lewis on Innovation

Thomas Lewis

The present is an exhilarating yet daunting moment for graduate education. The challenges are obvious: we hear regularly of the difficulties of the job market, particularly the academic job market. But the opportunities are no less real: pressure from within and without should spur us to identify and build upon the most promising and exciting directions in our fields. And it’s a particularly opportune moment for graduate education at Brown. The University’s deep traditions of interdisciplinarity, at both graduate and undergraduate levels, mean that we are well poised to learn from colleagues in other disciplines in a manner that infuses our own. When carefully cultivated, such collaboration can be a tremendous driver of innovation both within and across fields. Read more.


Why My Research Matters


The invitation came as a surprise to many of the 60+ nominees, all Brown University graduate students and postdoctoral appointees: Would you like to explain why your research matters to a general audience – in five minutes? After submitting videos, a round of semifinal talks and coaching, 10 speakers took to the stage as part of Brown Graduate School’s second Research Matters!, addressing topics ranging from how humans view robots to how social media can help protect cultural heritage. “It’s a perfect push to develop a talk and to distill the entire dissertation in five minutes,” said Emily Contois, a PhD candidate in American Studies. Read more.

Advanced Specialization Certificates Introduced

Thomas LewisDoctoral specialization certificate programs are now open to Brown doctoral students. These programs are designed to extend expertise into interdisciplinary areas and to certify training beyond the home Ph.D. discipline. They promise to advance student careers and promote intellectual exchange and community. To date, the Graduate Council has approved four certificate programs: Gender and Sexuality Studies, offered by the Pembroke Center; Spatial Analysis, offered by Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences; Public Humanities, through the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage/ Department of American Studies; and Collaborative Humanities, offered by the Cogut Center for the Humanities. Additional certificate programs are forthcoming. See eligibility and other details.

Last Call to Apply: BEST Program

Applications are due November 21 for Brown Executive Scholars Training (BEST) Program. The BEST Program exposes doctoral students and advanced master's students to careers in higher education administration. Up to ten students will be chosen to participate in this 12-week Graduate School program. Learn more about the application and the program.

New Master’s Program in Data Science

A new one-year master's degree in data science will prepare students to be leaders in a data-enabled society. The new degree program is an early feature of Brown University's Data Science Initiative, which was launched to catalyze new research programs to address some of the world's most complex challenges and provide students with innovative educational opportunities relating to "big data." The master's program will offer a deeper dive into the methods applied by data scientists. "The program aims to provide students with the deep data fluency necessary for leadership in data-centric careers," said Carsten Binnig, adjunct professor of computer science and director of the master's program.


Meet Maria Ortega, FLiCenter Graduate Student Coordinator

When Maria Ortega first heard herself described as Maria from Brown, she was upset because she didn’t think she fit in here. “My first year was a huge shock,” she says. As a first-generation, low-income Latina student, she couldn’t ask her mother how she should prepare for graduate school and she didn’t have graduate role models. “This place really scared me,” she adds. “I had imposter syndrome,” referring to a sense of inadequacy despite success. Now, the third-year doctoral student in Sociology is a resource for other students at Brown University’s First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center (FLiCenter), which opened in September. As the graduate student coordinator, Ortega says she supervises undergraduate coordinators on community building, helps to manage the center, and builds graduate FLi community. “I embody all identities [at the Center]: low-income, first generation, and previously undocumented,” she says. Read more.

Yangnaihui FengMaster’s Student Focus:
Yangnaihui Feng, PRIME

Yangnaihui Feng, a student in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship Engineering (PRIME), is from Beijing. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture and a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Duke University. Feng spoke about settling in at Brown and her aims:

I have a background in engineering and I am interested in a consulting job in the future, preferably in Boston or Los Angeles. I hope to improve my professional capability through the PRIME program. 
The beginning of my first semester at Brown is busy, but I am very pleased with it because I am learning more and gaining useful knowledge. It makes me step onto a higher stage.
My professional skills in civil engineering help me communicate with experts in that field. What I am learning in the PRIME program related to high-tech management will help me with future projects and employment.

New Faces at the Graduate School

Terry Snook and Kara Kelley, both CIS staff members, are now embedded part-time at the Graduate School. Snook handles Graduate School data and reporting needs. Academic programs seeking Graduate School data should use this data request form. Kelley, who has celebrated 25 years of employment at Brown, works on IT system needs and electronic applications, such as Banner and the Graduate Student Information Management (GSIM) system.
Alumni Give Career Advice at GradCON

More than 30 graduate alumni shared insights at the third annual Graduate Student Career Options Conference on November 12. “Be open to thinking of yourself as a person with lots of competencies and potential, and not just as a degree or as the human embodiment of specific expertise,” says Michael Siegel ’10 PhD (Modern Culture & Media), who works at RISD as Special Assistant to the President for Communications and Special Events. “You know way more than you think you do, and your value is much higher than you realize.”


Graduate School Holiday Food Drive
November 2-21, 2016
Drop off locations: Graduate School, School of Engineering, School of Public Health, Population Studies & Training Center, Arnold Lab or GSC Lounge.

Open Graduate Education Info Sessions
November 29, 2016, 5:30pm, Petteruti Lounge | Register
December 1, 2016 1pm, Petteruti Lounge | Register
For doctoral students interested in pursing a master's degree in a secondary field.

Unpacking Diversity & Inclusion in the U.S.: A Workshop for International Graduate Students
November 30, 2016, 8:30 - 10:00 am
This breakfast workshop for international graduate students is hosted by Marlina Duncan, Associate Dean of Diversity Initiatives, Graduate School and Shontay Delalue, Assistant Provost for Global Engagement.

5th Year Master's Fair
Save the date: Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Invitations to programs forthcoming.


External Fellowships

Center for Engaged Scholarship Dissertation Fellowship
Application deadline: December 15, 2016

Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund Fellowships
Internal application deadline: January 4, 2017

IAF Grassroots Development Fellowship Program
Application deadline: January 11, 2017
AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows Program
Application deadline: January 15, 2017

NOAA Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship
Application deadline: February 10, 2017

Other Resources for External Funds
Being a TA or Mentor Following the Election

Community Resources for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Affordable Care Act: health insurance notice

Announcement: Assistant Provost for Global Engagement

Partners & ResourcesPeter Baron

Peter Baron, assistant director of financial aid, hears regularly from graduate students: The Office of Financial Aid responded to 1,300 emails from graduate students in 2015-16. Graduate students are welcome to use the walk-in service, too, which is available five days a week from 9 am to 4:30 pm except on Wednesday, when it begins at 11 am. "Our knowledgeable staff understands that every student’s financial situation is unique and students shouldn’t hesitate to speak with myself or a counselor regarding any questions or concerns they may have,” Baron said. The office is located at 69 Brown Street, on the second floor of the J. Walter Wilson building. Staff members counsel admitted and current students on financial planning and budgeting, types of financial aid, outstanding financial application requirements, and general inquiries regarding graduate student accounts. Contact: or 401-863-2721.
Graduate Student Resources

Graduate School Contacts

Initiatives in Doctoral Education

Versatile PhD

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