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

July 2, 2012 - 9:33pm
As an undergraduate I had a wardrobe consisting of state university sweat pants, hoodies, flip-flops and free t-shirts. And why not? It was comfortable, easy, and everyone else dressed that way. However, when I got to graduate school I realized that my undergrad wardrobe was not going to cut it. There was no formal dress code, but it was clear by looking at my peers and professors that I needed to step up how I dressed in order to both fit in and be taken seriously. It is important to dress the part as graduate school is where we really begin our careers as scientists and start to interact with members of our field. Thankfully though, day-to-day academia can also be rather casual and there are many options for dressing.
July 1, 2012 - 4:21pm
Right now I am in the midst of being a teaching assistant for the Proseminar course in our doctoral program. As part of my duties, I was asked to show my favorite research finding tricks. Naturally, I crowdsourced my suggestions and through this process I found that not many people were familiar with some of my favorite Google Scholar hacks. What else to do but write it up for Gradhacker? So here we go: my top 3 things you probably didn't know about Google Scholar  
June 25, 2012 - 5:24pm
Attending conferences, as a presenter or otherwise, is an important part of establishing an academic identity. It allows you to keep up with current trends and research in the field, make connections and network with other academics, and provides a space for conversation with likeminded scholars. But conferences can be intimidating, especially if you are attending a large national conference, or are new to conferencing. Here are some tips for successfully navigating conference-going.
June 21, 2012 - 9:56pm
In the spring of 2008 I stood on the lawn in front of the president’s house at the College of William and Mary with a group of undergraduates, fellow graduate students, and faculty singing the alma mater and wondering if anybody was hearing the students’ voices swell.
June 20, 2012 - 5:10am
At THATCamp CHNM this year, Mark Sample proposed a session on "Building a Better Blogging Assignment". Those present shared their experiences from assigning blogs in past courses and also exchanged models and ideas for assignments that best fit their course objectives. Some use blogs in seven week online courses, while others have incorporated blogs into the semester-long physical classroom or hybrid courses. While you can draw your own conclusions by examining the collaborative notes started by Trevor Owens, the guide below presents my own summary on how to design and implement a blog assignment for your own course.
June 19, 2012 - 5:34pm
At THATCamp CHNM this year, Mark Sample proposed a session on "Building a Better Blogging Assignment". Those present shared their experiences from assigning blogs in past courses and also exchanged models and ideas for assignments that best fit their course objectives.
June 18, 2012 - 3:41am
Most of us have been there. Standing in line at the annual conference of [insert national association of scholars of some discipline or region here] and protesting the length of the time to register. Wondering why it takes the conference committee so long to accept or reject our abstract. Locating typos in the conference program. Complaining about the seemingly mismatched papers on a panel. But have you ever sat on the other side of that registration table? Considered volunteering for or organizing a conference yourself?
June 14, 2012 - 8:14pm
For the past couple months I've been planning a trip to Rome, Italy. Sounds wonderful right? Wrong. I'm here doing some pre-dissertation research that will be pivotal to not only writing grants but doing my dissertation proposal this Fall. This trip has a lot of weight in how the next couple years are going to proceed. I understand that I shouldn't be complaining or nervous about going to Rome, I mean it is a beautiful city full of amazing archaeological things to do. However, I'm not here to be a tourist. I'm here to do research that could change the outcome of whether I get funding or pass my proposals. I had this discussion with a friend of mine who is dealing with a similar problem, although her's is worse because she's worried about going to Hawaii. 
June 14, 2012 - 3:01am
  In our teaching roles as graduate students, we often are called on to assess students' participation in classroom activities like discussion; often, this evaluation assumes the form of assigning an actual grade to such effort. As I look back on my graduate school career (yes, I successfully defended my dissertation last month!), one constant stands out, at least in terms of the many courses I've taught and the discussion sections I've led: "Grading participation" is a tricky but necessary business.
June 11, 2012 - 12:49am
For most graduate students, writing papers and a dissertation is one of the more dreadful parts of the research process. Writing, and organizing your thoughts in such a way that it becomes clear for peers in your field, can be a challenging task. As a result, writer’s block is one of the most commonly heard troubles of graduate students.


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