• GradHacker

    A Blog from GradHacker and MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online


Grad Students Beyond Grad School

Taking a look at the cool things grad students are doing in the world.

February 1, 2018

Here at GradHacker, we tend to focus on the negative side of graduate school: problems that need solving, inconveniences that need addressing, support that needs giving. However, today we are going to focus on the really cool things that graduate students are doing in world. On how graduate students are using their expertise to change things for the better, make someone’s life easier, or just create something nifty.

Heather: Recently I started listening to a new podcast, This Podcast Will Kill You, which is making me so very happy. Two graduate students in disease ecology, Erin Welsh and Erin Allman Updyke, use their expertise to examine a different infectious disease from a historical, cultural, and biological perspective in a fun, conversational podcast. It’s weird, but their love of all things disease-related makes me geek out a bit more about my own research.

Also, last week there was a great article in Nature about the animals archaeologists and historians befriend in the field. Some of them are nuisances; some become cherished pets. The article highlights the work of Chelsea Gardner, a PhD candidate, and others to save these abandoned creatures. Even though fieldwork is hard and time-consuming, people like Chelsea are taking the time to help these animals find loving homes, which deserves our attention and appreciation.

Patrick: I should mention that I was already fairly familiar with the work of Kristina Gavin Bigsby, a PhD candidate in informatics at the University of Iowa. However, a lot more folks became familiar with her research on student-athlete social media behavior after she developed a model that can predict high school football recruits’ college commitments with 70 percent accuracy. The model has attracted the interest of USA Today, The Washington Post, and, with national signing day less than a week away, even a couple of Division I football programs.

What is on your radar? What have you seen graduate students doing that you think is super cool?

[Image from Flickr user Tobias Wrzal and used under Creative Common License.]


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