Category Archives: Succeeding in Graduate School

Articles about professional development and seminar announcements.

Career paths for PhD graduates

Did you know that the career paths for a PhD are (probably) infinite? Since all PhD students are trained in academic environment, the assumption has been that most doctoral students enter academia after graduation. This assumption, however, is not based in current reality. Graduates can find rewarding careers in industry, government labs, and a variety of academic positions. Read more about this in the Chronicle of Higher Education, where they profile a number of participants in a Preparing Future Faculty program and see where their careers are today.


EndNote Workshops at Van Pelt & Opie Library

Learn how EndNote can help you easily create and manage bibliographic information and incorporate references into your writing. EndNote also offers a relatively easy way for faculty to upload citations into Digital Measures.

The “EndNote Basic” workshop will be from 1:05 to 2:15 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 26). During the session, we will cover how to create and build an EndNote “library,” add full-text documents and best practices for organizing your references. The workshop will be held in Library 242 and registration is required. Register for EndNote Basic.

The workshop “EndNote Cite While You Write” is from 2:15 to 3 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 26). Learn how to incorporate your EndNote library citations into a Microsft Word document in the particular style your manuscript requires. Attendees will also learn how to locate and import specialized output styles. Attending EndNote Basic, or prior knowledge of building and managing an EndNote library, is recommended.

This workshop is a continuation of EndNote Basic and will be held in Library 242 as well. Registration is required.

Our Library 242 instruction room has EndNote X8 installed on Windows workstations. Attendees may bring their own laptops with EndNote X8 downloaded prior to the session. Visit the library’s EndNote LibGuide to download the software and get a sneak peek at what EndNote can do for you

Click here to view all of the library’s upcoming workshops. Email library@mtu.edu with any questions.


Formatting 101: New Summer Seminar Series

Students preparing a dissertation, thesis, or report are invited to a new seminar series this summer designed to answer the questions we most commonly see in the Graduate School.  Faculty and staff who assist students are also welcome to attend.  The general format will be a 30 minute presentation with time for your questions.

Our first seminar will be “Formatting 101: Using the Guide and Template.”  We’ll discuss how you can use the Guide to find the formatting rules, and the template for signature/approval pages.  Additional details:

  • Date: May 24, 2017
  • Time: 2:30 – 3:25pm
  • Place: Fisher 138 or live stream

Please register to attend on campus or to view the live stream so that we can plan for your attendance.  Individuals who register for the live stream will receive log in information three hours before the event.

Dates and topics for the remaining two seminars in the series will be announced soon.  All materials (including video when available) from all Graduate School seminars are archived online.


Keys to Graduate School Success

In a recent article in Tomorrow’s Professor, the authors advocate that the three keys to success are:

  • Follow your passions and talents
  • Pick your advisor and lab wisely
  • Learn to write well

In the article, they expand on these ideas, and offer tips and suggestions to achieve them. One piece that particularly stood out to me is to “follow your passions.” Graduate school is challenging, but your goal is achievable if you lay a good foundation. One piece of that is to find a project that will motivate you even when the research is difficult and it seems like the project can’t be completed.

If you haven’t heard of Tomorrow’s Professor, it’s a great newsletter with tips and article for those pursuing or interested in careers in academia. It’s worth your time to read.

What are your keys to success in graduate school?  Do you agree with the authors?


“Writing Science” talk to be given by author Josh Shimel

The Distinguished Ecologist Lecture Series presents Josh Schimel from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

From Amazon’s description of Shimel’s book: “As a scientist, you are a professional writer: your career is built on successful proposals and papers. Success isn’t defined by getting papers into print, but by getting them into the reader’s consciousness. Writing Science is built upon the idea that successful science writing tells a story. It uses that insight to discuss how to write more effectively. Integrating lessons from other genres of writing with those from the author’s years of experience as author, reviewer, and editor, the book shows scientists and students how to present their research in a way that is clear and that will maximize reader comprehension.”

Writing Science” talk on Friday, October 28 at 3:00 p.m. in Forestry G002. also, see Shimel’s science writing blog.

Shimel , a microbial ecologist, will also give a talk on”The Biogeochemistry of Drought,”t 12:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 27).  Both seminars will be held in the Noblet Forestry Building Room G002.


Choosing an advisor – tips to getting the advice you need

Choosing an advisor is one of the most important decisions a graduate student makes in their career.  Having an advisor whose goals support your aspirations is essential to ensuring your success as a student and young professional in your chosen field.

This article from the Journal of Higher Education illustrates some of the ways students can shape their advisor experience by putting their goals first and leveraging each other’s strengths to get the most out of the partnership.  One idea, for example, is to ensure you get career feedback by asking for it.  Although good advisors are willing to give this advice, most simply don’t have the time to plan to provide this feedback at regular intervals.


Graduate Peer Groups – support for success

Finding support and taking responsibility for your graduate education are key to being successful in graduate school. This interesting article written by graduate students describes the formation of a peer support group, activities they found useful, and some of the challenges they faced.  They also talk about how to “manage up” to get what you need from your advisor.

What have your experiences been with finding support among fellow students? Let us know in the comments!


The Laws of Herman – advice for graduate students

Written in a (slightly) humorous fashion, and recommended by Dr. Andrew Storer, these “laws” for graduate students provide an overview of some of the guiding principles of being a graduate student.

For example, “Your vacation begins after you defend your thesis,” and “Your adviser wants you to become famous, so that he/she can finally become famous.” remind me that it is hard work to complete a thesis, and that your advisor really does want you to succeed – even if it might be for selfish reasons!



Tips on interviewing with administrators

Students interested in academic careers will find this article filled with helpful tips about interviewing with administrators.  It discusses what to expect and how to prepare.

Companion articles discuss how to interview in general, and how to conduct a teaching demonstration.

Faculty interviews often take place over one or two days, and contain multiple components. Preparing for the interview properly and knowing what to expect can help you be more successful and less stressed.