In addition to the items below, the Graduate School has important professional development opportunities.
- Professional Societies. Given that we are all part of disciplinary traditions (even if many of us are engaging in interdisciplinary research), learning about disciplines through professional organizations can be rewarding. We encourage students to become members of national professional societies (e.g., American Association of Geographers, Geological Society of America, American Geophysical Union, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Geochemical Society, and Mineralogical Society of America) as well as regional and local societies (e.g., Atlanta Geological Society, Georgia Geological Society, and Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers). Most professional societies offer reduced rates for student memberships and journal subscriptions. In addition, most organizations host annual meetings. We encourage participation in these meetings, as they can be important sites to network with other geographers, geologists, and water scientists. In addition the department has limited funds to support students who present their research at regional and national meetings. Please see [link] to apply to become a Geosciences Scholar.
- Student Organizations. In addition to the bonds you make in the shared experience of classrooms, laboratories, and field work, graduate students have the opportunity to participate in several university-recognized student organizations. The benefit of university-recognized organizations is that a portion of student activity fees are allocated to these organizations. In the department, graduate students are active in the Geosciences Club, the Epsilon Rho chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon (SGE), and (if there is interest in re-establishing it, the Theta Upsilon chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU)). The Geosciences Club is an undergraduate and graduate student club that aims to create a collegial environment between undergraduate and graduate students interested in the geosciences and to promote professional development and outreach. SGE and GTU are the honor societies for the Earth Sciences and Geography, respectively. The organizations typically hold monthly meetings, field trips, and various social events to bring faculty and students together. In addition, graduate students recently formed the Geosciences Graduate Alliance, which is a university-recognized organization to provide both academic and professional programming and also to represent graduate students’ interests to the broader department. STEMulate was also recently formed to “bring together and inspire the next STEM generation at Georgia State” with a commitment to inclusivity. Another recently formed student organization is the GSU-chapter of the Association of Women Geoscientists, which seeks to expand the participation of women and those identifying as women in Geosciences fields.
GSU also has a university-wide Graduate Alliance, which aims to facilitate communication among graduate students from different disciplines, increase graduate student participation in student and university governance and voice the collective concerns of the graduate student body directly to the university administration.
Scholarship opportunities. Students in our department have been successful with a range of prestigious scholarships and fellowships. These include, among others,
- The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
- The AGU Travel grant program
- The National Association of Black Geoscientists
- The Urban Geography Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers
Participating in department life. Graduate school can be particularly challenging: it is a time of balancing competing demands on your time, and it can be disorienting, as the experience is really not the same as being an undergraduate student. So while you may *think* you know what to expect because you have completed your undergraduate degree, more is expected of you at this stage in your academic training. Graduate students are expected to learn how to produce knowledge--to engage in scientific inquiry--and many of the skills and the basic vocabulary to do so are not taught in other dimensions of our lives. At the same time, the more you invest your time and energy into the program, the more you will get out of the experience. A few suggestions of how to get the most out of your experience:
- Attend every class. Every single class. (Let your professor know if you are sick or unable to attend. Remember--you’re not an anonymous undergraduate. You’re a key part of our department community!)
- Sign up for colloquium every semester. And volunteer to go to lunch with visiting scholars if the opportunity arises.
- Meet with your advisor or capstone director regularly. Set up a schedule of regular meetings and stick to it.
- Join a club or several clubs and participate in them. Start a club if there’s not one that responds to your needs or interests.
- Reach out if you are struggling. The first person you might reach out to would be your advisor. Or the Graduate Director. Or reach out to Dr. Kavita Pandit, who is a mentor for students (she has years of experience as a faculty member at a variety of institutions, she is very familiar with university resources, and she has training in conflict management). You are always welcome to contact the department chair if you are unsure of where to address a question or concern.
- Share with us your good news! If you receive a grant or publish a paper, let us know! We love to highlight the great work of our students. Certainly let your advisor/capstone director know, and also our communications guru Julia Kirn (firstname.lastname@example.org).