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Purdue Graduate School News

Former student plants seeds for growth, sustainability

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When Val Schull conducted graduate study at Purdue, first for their master’s degree and then a doctorate in agricultural and biological engineering, they were encouraged by their advisor, Dr. Margaret Gitau, to think creatively and to be a problem solver. 


Latina’s giant leap from undocumented immigrant to first-generation doctora

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She was born in a small town in the Colombian Amazon and arrived as an undocumented immigrant with her family in the US when she was eight years old. She was a dreamer, in both the legal and literal senses, with a passion for education, first receiving and later giving.


Blackbird Farms offers welcoming community for Purdue graduate students and postdocs

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Graduate students and their families who were former residents of Purdue Village gathered together for a community celebration hosted by the Graduate School on Sept. 1 at Blackbird Farms.


Purdue alum develops graduate thesis into business aimed at shifting the fitness culture

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Through his connections and experiences in Purdue University’s Department of Health and Kinesiology and Purdue’s Recreation and Wellness Center, Damien Michel (MS ’20) cultivated his unique passion for making fitness more fun and accessible. Today, he operates his business The Shift Method that empowers anyone to enjoy fitness. 


New graduate students welcomed to Purdue University

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New graduate students at the West Lafayette campus took part Aug. 20 in the New Graduate Student Orientation hosted by The Graduate School. Over 830 graduate students attended the event in person and 550 students attended via the live broadcast.


International graduate students return to campus, reflect on unprecedented year

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Zhixu "Rick" Yang never imagined that his first year as a Purdue PhD student in industrial - organizational psychology in the Department of Psychological Sciences would be spent living with his parents, taking classes in the middle of the night, and experiencing graduate school through a computer screen.


Summer graduate diversity programs make a virtual splash

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Brian Lewis, a rising junior studying psychology at Xavier University, wants to be a clinical psychologist. He has always been interested in conducting independent research, and though both his mother and sister have graduate degrees, he had many questions about graduate school and had never heard of a diversity statement—a type of personal essay that is growing in popularity for college admissions.


Town hall series to focus on Purdue graduate student experience

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The Graduate School at Purdue University is hosting a town hall series for graduate students on the West Lafayette campus throughout the 2021-22 academic year. The one-hour events, organized by college, will give graduate students the opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback about their graduate experience at Purdue, and raise any areas of concern.


“COVID keepers” may reshape graduate education at Purdue

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In a year that was defined by a global pandemic, Purdue adapted its delivery of graduate education. Research, classes, and countless seminars, exams, defenses, and advisor and lab group meetings shifted to virtual spaces.


Global Ambassador: Ellie Kielb

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I found my home here, with mentors and a department that truly care about me and want me to succeed,” says Ellie Kielb, a PhD student and Global Ambassador from Michigan.  Kielb researches the impacts of childhood nutrition in Purdue’s Department of Health and Kinesiology and says that pursuing a graduate program was “one of the best decisions I ever made.”


Professional opportunities and community amenities among reasons Purdue alumna chose to settle in Greater Lafayette

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With a NASA fellowship among the many impressive entries on her résumé, Monique McClain had no shortage of career options once she completed her PhD in Purdue’s aeronautics and astronautics program in 2020.


Global Ambassador Spotlight: Tips for life as a grad student

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Deepti Tagare, Global Ambassador and PhD student in Learning Design and Technology, shares her advice for having a successful life as a graduate student at Purdue.


Global Ambassador Spotlight: Local walking trails

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Nokwanda Grava, Global Ambassador and PhD student in Counseling Psychology, shares her favorite walking trails around the Purdue community for relaxing and spending time in nature.


Purdue primes alumna’s giant leap from graduate student to philosophy professor

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When Lacey J. Davidson (PhD ’19) started graduate school in philosophy at Purdue University, she hoped she would go into academia. “What else are you going to do?” Davidson quipped, referring to the common misperception that job prospects for philosophy graduates are narrow at best.


Global Ambassador Spotlight – Peyman Yousefi

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Meet Peyman Yousefi, Global Ambassador from Iran and PhD student in Civil Engineering. Peyman chose to be a Boilermaker because, at Purdue, students and professors frequently collaborate across programs.


Ambassador Spotlight: Getting the most out of your graduate school experience

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Set realistic goals, maintain a work-life balance, and participate in social and professional events. These are some of the helpful tips offered by Global Ambassador Ola Wasel for maximizing the opportunities and resources that graduate school provides.


Purdue graduate students training for life on moon, Mars

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Located around the world in some of the most remote and hostile environments lie research stations that simulate life on another planet. For two graduate students attending Purdue University — often called the Cradle of Astronauts — living in these simulations brings them one step closer to achieving their dreams of becoming an astronaut.


Applications sought for Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate program

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The Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives (OGDI) is seeking talented underrepresented minority doctoral students to join its Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program. This program is designed to improve student success in graduate school and equip students with the resources necessary to successfully enter the professoriate.


Mesecar honored for outstanding graduate mentorship

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Andrew Mesecar, head of the Department of Biochemistry and Walther Professor of Cancer Structural Biology, has received the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentor.


National and international scholarship honorees

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Congratulations to Purdue University Graduate School's prestigious 2020-21 scholarship nominees, semi-finalists, and recipients*.


Protecting communities, honoring family, and navigating a virtual internship

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She was inspired by her great-grandfather, an immigrant who feared the chemicals he was exposed to while working in a sugarcane field. She’ll be the first person in her family to graduate with a PhD and has already landed a job at a Fortune 500 company. This is Janiel Ahkin Chin Tai’s next giant leap.


Global Ambassador: Jenny Woo

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Alumna Jenny Woo (MPH ’21) said that one of the things she appreciated about the Master of Public Health program is how much they prepare public health practitioners in providing the necessary, practical skills and knowledge to work in the field.


The ups, downs, twists and turns of finding the right program fit

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Sometimes it takes some trial and error to find the right path. Meher Taleyarkhan (BS ’16, MS ’20) had to let go of a childhood dream to design roller coasters for Disney in order to find the academic program and career track that was right for her.


Purdue Graduate School diversity programs transform lives

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Shavonne Shorter (MA ’10, PhD ’14) didn’t know yet where Purdue was when she got accepted into the Graduate School’s Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP). But, in 2007, she boarded a flight and came to West Lafayette to participate in the six-week program that gives underrepresented students a taste of graduate school.


Pandemic-weary graduates celebrate hard-won commencement here and abroad

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Purdue University graduates enjoyed an in-person commencement ceremony in May unlike any other commencement in the history of Purdue. It was a watershed moment for graduates whose lives were upended by a pandemic that punctuated their time at Purdue.


Landing a summer internship

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A summer internship gives graduate students valuable real-world experience and an opportunity to explore careers in industry vs. academia. Global Ambassador Maria Leonor Pacheco covers some internship basics for international students.


Bridging the gap between science and society with research communication competitions

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The onset of COVID-19 brought science and research into the daily lives of millions of Americans, proving now more than ever the need for effective research communication.


Graduate School announces excellence in teaching and mentoring awards

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The Purdue University Graduate School announced the recipients of the Graduate School Excellence in Teaching Award and the Graduate School Mentoring Award for Postdoctoral Trainees and Graduate Students for 2020-2021.


18 Purdue students awarded NSF Fellowships

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced its 2021 Graduate Research Fellowship Program selections for Fellow candidate and Honorable Mention. Thirteen Purdue University graduate students were awarded fellowships.


Global Ambassador Spotlight: Mohammad Shams Duha

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Mohammad Shams Duha is pursuing a PhD in Learning Design and Technology. Shams, who is from Bangladesh, chose Purdue because it is “one of the best universities for engineering and technology in the world."


Virtual program for research, acclimation seeking applications from incoming underrepresented minority graduate students

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Incoming underrepresented minority graduate students are invited to join the Graduate Bridge program, a six-week virtual research experience designed by the Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives (OGDI). This summertime program helps foster an instant peer network while acclimating incoming underrepresented minorities (URM) graduate students to the Purdue campus at West Lafayette.


Three grants for Advancing Social Justice and Diversity in Graduate Education awarded to graduate students

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Three teams of Purdue University graduate students received The Graduate School’s inaugural grants for Advancing Social Justice and Diversity in Graduate Education. The grant program is open to graduate student teams to develop actionable ideas to advance social justice and diversity in graduate education at Purdue.


Student Spotlight: The best cafes for studying and eating around campus

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There are countless libraries and study spaces on Purdue’s campus. Though, sometimes you might crave an atmosphere that is a little more casual where you can have a study session with your friends and eat some food at the same time! Today, I’m going to give you an insider’s view of the best places around campus to study and eat.


Student Spotlight by Global Ambassador Isaiah Mensah: Research amid a global pandemic

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As Purdue Boilermakers, we tackle challenges with strength, perseverance, and brute force. It is with this spirit that we have been able to successfully navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.


Graduate student parents persevere in spite of pandemic-induced chaos and isolation

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When the pandemic started, it was especially disruptive to graduate student parents. When Purdue shut down in the spring of 2020, daycares and schools also closed. Children were home 24-7, and parents found themselves isolated professionally and socially and scrambling to establish new routines for school, childcare, work, and family life. While there were some pluses that came with the pandemic, such as more time at home with the family and smiling faces popping up in the middle of the day, many graduate student parents have been pushed to their breaking point. With grit and determination, the students featured in this story are persevering, but it hasn’t been easy.


Student Spotlight with Global Ambassador Juliana Pereira

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Juliana Pereira is from a small island called Florianópolis, located in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Juliana is pursuing a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with a research focus in Geotechnical Engineering – the study of foundations. She also did her masters at Purdue in the same department. Read the full Q&A on our Global Ambassador page.


Question and Answer with alumna Brittini R. Brown

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Brittini Brown, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, credits her association with Purdue programs such as (the precursor to) the Graduate Diversity Visitation Program, Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), Mentoring@Purdue, and Black Graduate Student Association as providing pivotal experiences that helped prepare her for her career today.


Underrepresented undergrads sought for Graduate School summer research program

The Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives (OGDI) is seeking talented underrepresented minority undergraduate students to join its 2021 Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP).


Graduate School staff members awarded professional development grants

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Three Graduate School staff members were awarded professional development grants by Purdue’s Management and Professional Staff Advisory Committee (MaPAC).


Real-life success story parallels that of ‘Queen’s Gambit’ character

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She grew up in an economically depressed area, became a teenage chess star, and traveled the world as an international chess woman grandmaster. Now she is a senior software engineer at Apple. This isn't the story of the fictional character Beth Harmon from “The Queen's Gambit,” but rather of Nadya Ortiz, who received a master's degree in computer science from Purdue University in 2014.


New online, interactive tool publishes graduate program data, career outcomes

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Prospective graduate students who are researching graduate programs at Purdue University now have access to a new interactive website and user-friendly data dashboard that provide detailed graduate program data and career outcomes.


New Purdue master’s degree in graduate studies provides framework for interdisciplinary majors

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In a giant leap for graduate education at Purdue University, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education has approved the Master of Science in Graduate Studies (major in interdisciplinary studies) degree. It is the first degree ever to be conferred through the Graduate School on the West Lafayette campus.


Lifelong learning at Purdue University expands the frontier of higher education

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Jennifer Killian, owner and head veterinarian of Newaygo Veterinary Services in Newaygo, Michigan, had been a practicing veterinarian for over a decade when she bought a second veterinary practice and merged it with her first practice.


Graduate students seek pandemic silver lining

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When COVID-19 temporarily shuttered research labs and projects across Purdue’s campus in the spring of 2020, some graduate students were inspired to pause and rethink their research. Some researchers emerged from the shutdown with a new focus and new ideas for new projects. Some students pivoted existing research and added research questions that are related to the pandemic.


COVID-19 Scholarships awarded to graduate students impacted by the pandemic

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The Purdue University Graduate School awarded 80 COVID-19 Scholarships to graduate students who are experiencing unexpected financial hardships as a result of the global pandemic.


The Graduate School’s Fellowship Office guides students and postdocs through funding process

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Whether an applicant needs an answer to a quick question, a thorough review of a draft, or one-on-one strategy session, the Graduate School’s Fellowship Office Grantsmanship Team is here to help.


Purdue University graduate alumna wins MAGS 3-Minute Thesis® competition

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Purdue University graduate alumna Megan LaFollette, PhD, won the 2020 Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Virtual 3-Minute Thesis® competition.


Graduate students champion mental health

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Purdue graduate students are on the frontlines working toward a healthier future. Meredith Bucher, a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology, Dalia AboAlsafa, a graduate student in Public Health, and Keisha Novak, a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology, are pursuing bold solutions to the mental health crisis.


Supporting graduate students in times of need

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While Shamila Janakiraman, a PhD candidate in Learning Design and Technology in the College of Education, was expecting to graduate in August 2020 and start a new life, the pandemic forced her to pause and reconsider her plans. There were several such students at Purdue whose spring or summer 2020 graduation plans were disrupted by COVID-19, throwing them into funding hardship. The Graduate School provided emergency COVID-19 assistantships for eight such students who were nominated by their college.


Graduate School researchers awarded grant to study career pathways of humanities PhDs

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Purdue University Graduate School has been awarded a grant from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) to collect data on the diverse career pathways of Purdue humanities doctoral students and alumni. The two-year, $15,000 grant will enable researchers to gather and analyze the career outcomes of PhD-holders and to share these data with campus stakeholders to inform career development within programs.


Record number of theses and dissertations deposited at Purdue University in spring 2020

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The Purdue University Graduate School’s Hammer Research Repository set a record for the number of theses and dissertations deposited by graduate students in the spring 2020 term.


Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives adapts programs in response to Purdue’s COVID-19 guidelines

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The Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives at Purdue University’s Graduate School has arranged for two contemporary programs, the Big 10 Graduate Education Discovery Program (GEDP) and the virtual Bridge Program (vBridge) to replace the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) and Bridge Program


New unified application will allow graduate students to more easily apply to multiple Purdue programs or campuses

On July 1, Purdue University’s Graduate School adopted a new unified application that will enable prospective graduate students to apply to several Purdue programs or campuses while paying only one application fee.


Dean Linda Mason sends message of support to Graduate School community, announces grant program to advance social justice and diversity

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Recently, the senseless death of George Floyd demonstrates again that equality is not equally distributed and that racism exists in all parts of our personal and professional lives.  Additionally, the coronavirus pandemic has exasperated the social injustice that exists around the world.  Graduate education is all about pushing boundaries and creating knowledge. I know that creative solutions exist in the minds and hearts of the graduate student population at Purdue. 


The Stories behind Say It In 6®

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” This belief of Ernest Hemingway, author of the six-word story “baby shoes for sale, never worn,” captures the essential power of words that Purdue Graduate School’s Say It In 6® competition aspires to. Mackenzie Breneman, Casie Blair, and Haroon Mohammad, the 2020 winners of Purdue Graduate School’s Say it in 6® competition, bring to life the vision that first inspired Linda J. Mason, Dean of the Graduate School and professor of entomology, to found the contest.


Expanding opportunities, access, support key parts of graduate partnership

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When Kyle Dahlin started his master’s degree at Purdue University in August 2013, he knew he would need a network to help support him far away from his home in Hawaii.


Graduate School announces excellence in teaching and mentoring awards

The Purdue University Graduate School announced the recipients of the Graduate School Excellence in Teaching Award and the Graduate School Mentoring Award for Postdoctoral Trainees and Graduate Students.


Connaughton honored for outstanding mentorship of graduate students

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Stacey Connaughton, associate professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University, has received the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentor. The award honors current graduate faculty members who demonstrate sustained and significant contributions to graduate education at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus through well-structured relationships with students, including committee service, mentoring, funding, and advocacy; innovative graduate teaching; and administration of graduate programs.


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