You do Belong #4: Illuminating the pathways to graduate school - with Christina Fuentes and Shaheen Jeeawoody
A STEM graduate degree can be a gateway to an amazing career, but many undergraduate students are unaware that these opportunities exist or how to navigate the grad school admission process. Guests Christina Fuentes and Shaheen Jeeawoody join Sally and Kayla to discuss strategies for enabling students to learn about and successfully apply to graduate school. Shaheen and Christina are both leaders in Graduate Pathways to STEM, a grad student-run organization that brings students from non-research institutions to Berkeley or Stanford for a 1-day conference to learn about the opportunities a graduate degree presents, what grad school is like, and navigating the admissions process. Conference attendees are paired with peer mentors and have the opportunity to interact with STEM leaders. We also discuss strategies for successful grad school applications, writing strong essays that advocate for yourself, Shaheen and Christina's pathways to graduate school, and the value of peer mentorship - "Peer mentorship kept me in the PhD." If you're considering applying to graduate school, want to improve your writing, or want to understand how your community can be more welcoming to graduate students of all backgrounds, you will LOVE this episode.
*Bay Area Graduate Pathways to STEM
*Christina Fuentes on LinkedIn
*Shaheen Jeeawoody on LinkedIn
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Many students arrive in college under-prepared for success, and professors have the responsibility - and opportunity - to help them gain skills to enable their success and find belonging in STEM. However, few professors are trained to help students develop these skills, so our guest, Sherri Messersmith, incorporates them into her series of developmental math textbooks! On this episode, Sherri shares her journey in math, from besting elementary school bullies on every math test, to high school math teacher, to college math professor, and now author of 15 college math textbooks. We discuss how staying true to your passions outside your main focus area - like writing, cooking, and travel, for Sherri - can make you better at your job, and even open the door to new opportunities - like textbook authorship! Sherri tells us what departments can do to engage with students in introductory courses and how to build students' confidence in difficult material. As Sherri says, life is not linear, so follow your passions, work hard, and be ready if fortune strikes with an amazing opportunity! Sherri is an experienced educator and speaker on the topic of enabling student success, and we are honored to have her on Double Shelix!!
Also on this episode, we hear from a listener who was told by professors that they didn't belong in their grad program because they went to a small liberal arts college, not a big research institution - what?! We discuss how students take these kinds of comments from faculty really harshly, and how faculty can do better. Also, the importance of peer support in making it through trying times when you're singled out or are the "only one."
*Road Trip Nation, the book that inspired Sherri's career leap to textbook authorship: www.roadtripnation.com
*Sherri's textbooks: https://amzn.to/2JRcHct
*Follow Sally and Kayla on Twitter @sallywinkler and @Kayla_J_Wolf
*Follow us on Twitter @doubleshelixpod
Upcoming #YouDoBelongInScience episodes will feature your stories! Fill out this form or call our voicemail, 415-895-0850, to share your story of (dis)belonging in STEM. We're hoping to share a diverse set of experiences from our listeners, but we need your help to make that happen!
If you liked this episode, you will love our episode all about imposter syndrome and improving your writing - Episode 3, "Battling Imposter Syndrome // Writing is Part of Science." It's a few episodes back in this feed.
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The real value of STEM outreach is the positive youth development and mentorship that students receive. Being inspired to pursue a STEM career? That's just a welcome bonus, says our guest, math graduate student and data scientist Noni Williams. Noni joins Kayla and Sally to discuss effective strategies for STEM and professional development outreach to kids and teens and her extensive experience leading initiatives from robotics and digital art festivals to AP Computer Science and slam poetry. Also, our allyship correspondent Jon Muncie checks in for a discussion on how we can all work to distribute the burden of emotional labor equitably in our workplaces and beyond.
We also discuss Noni's experiences being the only woman and/or student from an underrepresented background in her graduate mathematics courses and balancing work as a data scientist at United Way of the Midlands with graduate school. Noni gives advice for others in similar situations. Some of Noni's keys to success including tracking gratitude, finding peer mentors, and defining clear boundaries around her time. Noni brings her *extensive* experience leading STEM outreach initiatives for kids and teens to this episode, and we are honored to speak with her!
Upcoming #YouDoBelongInScience episodes will feature your stories! Fill this form or call our voice mail, 415-895-0850, to share your story of (dis)belonging in STEM. We're hoping to share a diverse set of experiences from our listeners, but we you to help make that happen!
Get your Double Shelix and You Do Belong in Science stickers here.
Check out our upcoming guests here.
If you liked this episode, listen to our episode with mentorship expert Julea Vlassakis -"Next Level Mentorship for Mentees and Mentors"
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We kick off our You do Belong in Science series with Dr. Tamara Alliston, PhD, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCSF. Tamara discusses her journey into science and academia, and how she found belonging through peer mentorship, despite imposter syndrome. As a mentor, Tamara works to help mentees "stay connected to what gives them joy," and we also discuss what brings Tamara joy - musculoskeletal biology and surfing with her family! Tamara stresses the importance of STEM outreach to adult audiences, and shares her practical tips for "making this life work." Finally, we dispel myths about the Pipeline Problem, and Tamara shares some data about funding disparities in orthopedic surgery. We encourage everyone to dig into the data to learn about funding demographics in their own field; for most of us, there's still a long way to go. Bonus: Tamara's qualifying exam advice!
Alliston Lab at UCSF
Musculskeletal Biology Gordon Research Conference
The importance ofpeer mentorship in graduate school
Science Advocacy and Outreach through the CLEAR Project
You do Belong in Science
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* Recommended episode - Teaching for Active Learning with LeAnn Dourte (Double Shelix Episode 8)
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