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University of Colorado
Graduate School

Grad Student News

december 2013

acls fellows program pairs recent phd graduates with jobs in the public and non-profit sector

Are you a soon to be PhD graduate looking for a government or nonprofit sector job? The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Public Fellows program pairs recent PhD graduates from humanities and humanistic social science fields with partnering government or nonprofit organizations in fields related to the graduate’s degree. The goal of this program is to advance the humanities and the skills learned in academic settings in fields outside of the institution. Fellows receive a $65,000 per year stipend that includes health insurance, as well as a guaranteed two-year position.

For more information >> 

Set up direct deposit for Bursar's refund checks

If you’re expecting a refund check from the Bursar’s office, be sure to set up a direct deposit account, even if you already have a direct deposit account with payroll. Payroll is managed through a different system than tuition refunds. For details, visit the Bursar’s website.

The VAlue of Keeping Our International PhDs

A recently published CU-led study suggests that the United States should encourage foreign-born PhD students to stay in the country after earning their degrees. Under the current system, unless international students can find employer sponsors, they must leave the country after graduating.

What are we missing out on by sending United States-educated PhD recipients away? The research shows that “The productivity of the average American university science and engineering laboratory in generating publications is a bit higher if it has students from 10 different countries than if it has 10 students from one country.”

This study is particularly timely as Congress decides whether or not to reform the United States’ immigration policy.

Economist Dr. Keith Maskus of CU-Boulder worked with Dr. Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak of Yale and Dr. Eric T. Stuen of the University of Idaho on this study, which was published in the November 2013 publication of Science.



Does your research combine science and technology with solving larger societal goals or problems? Check out two new courses ENVS 5100: Science and Technology Policy and ENVS 5120 Quantitative Methods of Policy Analysis, which are part of the Graduate Certificate in Science and Technology.

Research Participants Wanted

Sarah Chorley, a PhD student in Communications, is looking for graduate student participants interested in sharing how they navigate their political identities. Email her for more info.

Earn an Easy $50 for GRE info

If you are in the first, second, or third semester of your graduate program and were required to take the GRE for your admission, the Educational Testing Service (the makers of the GRE) will give you $50 for helping them evaluate the GRE General Test to see if recent changes to the exam have made it a better predictor of success in graduate school.  Contact Megan Schramm-Possinger by Dec. 10th for details.

Graduate Students Invest $30,000 in startup

Elihuu, a startup company whose slogan is "meet your manufacturer," has met an investor -- a group of CU-Boulder graduate students who have invested $30,000 in the online company. Read more >>


Aviation Week Names 7 CU-Boulder students Among 20 National Engineering Leaders

Seven aerospace engineering students are among 20 top students recognized Nov. 14 with a new national award honoring tomorrow's engineering leaders sponsored by Penton's Aviation Week in partnership with Raythean.

The CU-Boulder award winners are doctoral candidates Paul Anderson, Brad Cheetham, Jake Gamsky, Erin Griggs and Dan Lubey, and B.S./M.S. students Kirstyn Johnson and Mike Lotto.


Traci Bekelman receives Two grants for fieldwork in costa rica

Congratulations to Traci Bekelman, a PhD student in Biological Anthropology, for receiving the prestigious Wenner-Gren grant for her dissertation project "Using the Protein Leverage Hypothesis to Understand Socioeconomic Variation in Diet and Body Size among Urban Costa Rican Women." Also a finalist for the 2013 Dean’s Graduate Student Research grant, Traci’s fieldwork involves studying socioeconomic relation variation in nutritional status among urban Latin American women.

Good luck in Costa Rica, Traci!

  Science is hard

A BioFrontiers blog post by PhD student Joey Azofeifa.

It must be said that I have had a very difficult time writing this blog-post. The reason, after a few too many cups of coffee, came clear to me: Science is Hard (and I worried if that’s what I should tell my readers). Certainly there are intellectual struggles in Science, the esoteric aspects of an algorithm, and the even more enigmatic explanations of it on StackOverflow, can be mind-numbingly painful. But the real reason that Science is Hard (at least from the perspective of a lowly and naïve graduate student) circumvents “advanced” material and is better understood as an emotional one.

At the point of a really innovative thought, the scientist exists outside the documented, outside the history. At such an apex, he or she is met with a flurry of emotions: motivation, passion, strength and, to a degree, reluctance. But why feel the fear? Did Richard Feynman feel the fear? Albert Einstein? Probably. No, definitely. Any truly original moment identifies the thinker as different and such a separation from the comfort of the known begets questions of assuredness, obligation and failure. And so, Science is Hard because the very nature of Science is to innovate, push-past and discover and these struggles bring along the unwelcome feelings of separation.

As someone who works at the interface of computer science and biology, let me tell you: I feel the fear. Not because I would presume to have had something truly original but because such an interface is so new, untouched and foreign that every step is fraught in new territory.



While most of us have been spending the past few weeks glued to our computers stressing out about getting our final projects done and dreading the end of the semester, Katrina has been up in the Arctic Circle at ALOMAR research facility in Norway shooting lasers into the atmosphere.

Katrina is a PhD student in Aerospace Engineering, working with Dr. Dave Fritts as her research advisor at GATS, Inc. and Professor Jeffery Thayer as her academic advisor at CU-Boulder. Specifically, Katrina studies small scale dynamics of the mesosphere through the propagation of gravity waves, which contribute to the climatology of our planet’s atmosphere. One particularly exciting thing about Katrina’s research is that it involves the altitudes which we hope to use for commercialized space travel in the near future.

Though all of Katrina’s trips to Norway are exciting, this time has been especially important to her as she has had the opportunity to give lectures to a class at the University Centre in Svalbard and later at ALOMAR. 

Check out Katrina’s website and blog for more information about her work and her time in Norway.


maven en route to Mars
On November 18th NASA launched the $671 million MAVEN (which stands for The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission). The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the Red Planet in September of 2014. CU-Boulder professors and students from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics have been very involved in the design, building, and launch of MAVEN over the past decade.  One of the biggest contributions from the university throughout the past ten years of the spacecraft’s construction has been building a $20 million remote-sensing instrument that is on board.

MAVEN will be gathering information about the loss of atmospheric gasses that Mars experienced, which resulted in the change of climate and loss of water on the planet. Three CU-Boulder scientists—Nick Schneider, Frank Eparvier, and Robert Ergun—will remain involved with this project as heads of MAVEN’s instrument team. Graduate and undergraduate students will also contribute to the mission as the spacecraft sends data back to earth in the coming years.

CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics has operated more spacecraft than all other university organizations combined, and receives the most funding from NASA of any other university program. 

For more info >>

Congratulations to everyone involved with this historic project!

"I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong." –Benjamin Franklin



Be sure to check out the Graduation Requirements
 to make sure you have everything turned in to graduate on time!

December 4th-  Deadline for Doctoral grade change
December 6th- Master's thesis submission deadline
December 11th- Deadline for Master's grade change
December 20th- 
Commencement ceremony


December 5, KOBL S127, 5 pm - A graduate student "STEMinar" of relatively nontechnical and accessible math, science, and engineering presentations. Anyone is welcome to attend. Pizza provided by the Graduate School.

STEMinar Facebook page >>


December 2nd -
From Academe to the Public

January 9th - Spring Conference


Dissertation Working Group

Weekly group, Tuesdays 1:00-3:00 pm, C4C N351A. No registration required. Questions? (303) 492-6079

Master's Thesis Working Group
Weekly group, Tuesdays 11:00 am to noon, C4C S440. Just show up ready to work and make real progress on your thesis. Questions? (303) 492-6079

Grad Speak
A monthly, drop-in brown bag for graduate students to discuss issues relevant to them. Meets on the second Thursday of each month from noon to 1:00 pm. in the UMC. Contact



December 4th and 18th, Men's Group, 3-4:30 pm 

December 6th and 13th, International Coffee Hour, 4-5:30 pm, UMC Grill

December 6th, You, Me, and Everyone We Don't Know, Fall 2013 BFA Exhibition Opening, 5-7:00 pm, CU Art Museum. Open through December 20.

December 14th-19th, Finals week. Good luck!


Admitted Students

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