Graduate School Demystified for First- and Second-Year Students

A panel at the front of a room with one presenter standing at a podium

On March 29, the L&S Honors Program co-hosted a new event: Demystifying Graduate School. This was an evening for first- and second-year undergraduate students who are exploring the possibility of graduate school and aren’t sure how to get started, what the options are, or what to do next. Over 70 undergraduate students in the Honors Program and/or other high-impact programs across L&S, including Undergraduate Research Scholars, BioCore, First-Year Interest Groups, and the Center for Academic Excellence, attended and heard from a panel of twelve current graduate students in a range of L&S-affiliated programs. The graduate panel even included an alumna of the L&S Honors Program, Megan Binkley!

After dinner and opening introductions from the graduate panel, attendees spoke with graduate students individually and in small groups. Graduate panelists shared their experiences and answered big picture questions such as “What is the best advice you have for someone considering, but unsure about grad school?” and “What is something you wish you knew before you started grad school?” They also addressed student questions about gap years, ways to finance graduate education, how to start preparing for graduate school as an undergraduate, and life as a graduate student.

Feedback from students and panelists was overwhelmingly positive. Students shared that they learned a lot about common structures of graduate programs, different pathways available, and what research can look like across disciplines. They also heard graduate students stress the importance of figuring out what is best for you as an individual.

A table with smiling undergraduate students A table with smiling students

Sincere thanks to the Bill Cronon Fund for Pathways to Excellence for sponsoring this event. We also share many thanks to planning committee members and the graduate panelists who offered their time and expertise to make this event possible.


Event Planning Committee:

Hannah Bailey, Chair, Undergraduate Research Scholars

Kelly Cuene, L&S Student Academic Affairs

Christine Evans, L&S Honors Program

Kari Fernholz, First-Year Interest Groups

Nathan Phelps, First-Year Interest Groups

Jenny Saffran, L&S Honors Program

Diana Tapia Ramon, Biology Core Curriculum (BioCore)


Graduate Student Panelists:

Desia Bacon, Psychology

Megan Binkley, Anthropology

Mollie Comella, Bacteriology

Jasenia Hartman, Neuroscience

Sabrina Manero, Environment and Resources

Caroline Mohr, Public Health

Tirumular (Drew) Narayanan, Art History

Uyen Thy Nguyen, Medical Microbiology and Immunology

Jeannie van Vianen, Wildlife Ecology

Migena Vula, Public Affairs and Law

James Warwood, English

Brandy Wilcox, German Studies