Just the Bear Facts

To help you get your bearing in Grad School.

Category: Graduate School (page 2 of 3)

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The air is getting thinner and the morning breeze is being felt down to the bones. Holiday decorations are sprouting in the stores as wish-filled lists are being made. It happens every year, but always arrives with much surprise and a little angst. Andy Williams may have captured this atmosphere best when he so beautifully sang his popular tune, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Of course, I am referring to class registration week.


Luckily, my days of searching for classes and waking up before the sun’s morning rays are behind me. Admittedly, having every class that I wanted to register for available for the taking was one of the most luring aspects of graduate school. I could smile at the undergrad’s droopy eyes and frantic paces as I reminisced with some early-seasoned spiced apple cider. No pressures, no worrying, no early mornings… or so I thought. Tis the season, after all!

Most courses in my program are specifically either for first year or second year students (there are about ten students per year). There are also electives, but they rarely fill to their it’s-more-of-a-guideline capacity. So, everyone is usually happy. Next semester, however, there is a brand new course that is exciting students in both years. The problem is that the capacity limit is strict for this course because it entails several field trips and, simply put, our program’s van is not that big.

So, once again, I found myself setting the alarm clock for six in the morning and feeling the mounting pressure of having to be the quickest to copy and paste my course numbers into the system. When dealing with stressful situations, the best thing I have found is to combat it with humor – such is the reason why I have been forgoing my school work. Instead, I have been dreaming of an ideal world where grad students could create their own classes.

The result is the Ultimate Class Wish List:

1. Netflix Symposium

TR (10:00pm – 11:30pm)

This course is dedicated to the original shows created by and found on the online streaming sensation known as Netflix. Throughout the semester, we will re-watch current shows (Orange Is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) while discussing upcoming season premieres (A Series of Unfortunate Events). The final will be a comprehensive research project about the evolution of Jesse Katsopolis from Full House into Fuller House.

2. Fundamentals of Couponing

S (05:30pm – 08:00pm)

Overview to the often overlooked money-saver: coupons. In addition to the best places to find them, we will also discuss their history, their importance to the community, and their impact to the business of stores. Weekly guest speakers will include company owners and stay-at-home mothers. Students will be making their own couponing binders and a thesis on the topic of extreme couponing will decided this pass/fail course.

3. Introduction to Coffee Management

MWF (05:00am – 06:00am)

In this course, we will explore the different concoctions of the addictive, caffeinated beverage. Firsthand experience will be gained through trips to local cafes, Common Grounds and Dichotomy. We will answer questions like: Is latte art really necessary? Are pumpkin spiced lattes actually tasty (or have people just been brainwashed to think so)? Is frozen coffee more than a trend? And how does one successfully approach a perpetually angry barista?


4. Advanced Naptime

MTWRF (02:00pm – 03:30pm)

Pre-requisites: Naptime I and II

This advanced course will build upon the foundations presented in Naptime I and II. Throughout the semester, we will continue to study the importance of a better sleep when time is of the essence and how to achieve it in a public space. Advanced Naptime will satisfy the lab requirement as we will observe which position (back, stomach, side, fetal) is most commonly practiced while napping. As always, jammies and stuffed animals are required.

Back to work.

By Matthew Doyen

Going Home Brings a New Perspective

In an effort to become a healthier version of myself, I have recently started taking yoga classes through BU’s Bearobics program. As much as I enjoy the stretches and the planks (ew) and the poses, my favorite part of the session has become the last ten minutes of corpse pose. In an effort to enter a deep relaxation of both body and mind, we lay flat on our backs with our left hands on our hearts and our right hands on our stomachs. To help with this process, it is suggested that we envision a peaceful place. I’ve been picturing the past moments when I would sit on my porch at home with the company of the cool breeze and the stubbornly changing leaves of early autumn.

I was excited to get an opportunity to return home last week, even though it was under very somber circumstances, to once again return to my peaceful place. I very much missed it. Every day, the disappointment of not being able to experience it for the first time in my life was slowly swelling and constantly lingered in the back of my mind. So there I found myself: porch, breeze, sprinkles of yellow, orange, and amber in the nearby mountain range. It didn’t take long for the memories of the upcoming fall festivals, high school football games, and Hocus Pocus marathons to be quickly recollected. It was everything that I envisioned, everything that I wanted.

But then I suddenly came back to reality because I started to miss something. I started to miss Waco. I started to miss Baylor. I started to miss my friends, my co-workers, my professors. I even started to miss how the Texas sun makes me feel like a turkey roasting over a crackling fire. It was then that I realized that this porch will always be here and that these September days will always feel the same. But if I stay obsessed with recreating these purely comfortable moments, then I’ll become stagnant and the opportunities to find, appreciate, and enjoy other peaceful places will be forever lost.

When I go to yoga tonight, I will envision a different place during the last ten minutes of corpse pose. I will think of a special place that I was taken to during one of my first days in Waco and that I immediately visited upon my short hiatus. It lies on the top of a cliff, beyond the barriers and echoes of voices. The tranquil Brazos River flows powerfully below while the foliage of Cameron Park sprawls effortlessly out behind. In the distance, McLane Stadium’s rafters and Baylor’s elegant spires peek through and even further, water and electrical towers loom. It is beautiful. It is Waco. I know that this once foreign spot, will (sooner than I could ever imagine) bring back a wave of new memories that are in the process of being made. I know that this will be my new peaceful place.


By Matthew Doyen


Five Things I Learned during My First Week of Grad School

After a week of attending graduate school at Baylor, I actually did learn a few things and was told to write them down before everything was forgotten.


1.  That Baylor Is Very Much an Undergraduate Campus

I should’ve realized this from the get-go, but despite my impressive graduate school status, I am still young and naïve. It all started when I visited campus during the summer when only the faculty, staff, and a handful of students were present. It was so incredibly peaceful. I moved into my apartment two weeks before the start of the semester, while the campus was still ever so serene. A week later at orientation, I was listening when Dean Lyon said that undergrads outnumber us six to one and that this is primarily an undergrad campus. Oh, Dean Lyon, I thought. He doesn’t know that this is what it feels like going to a school that doesn’t have over 35,000 students, that this is so nice.

Then, my first day of class came and along with it my first lesson learned. I walked through campus and found students everywhere. They were sitting in my swinging chair, standing in line at my Starbucks, and trying to run me over with their overzealous mopeds on my cross-campus path to class. What was going on? I wondered. Where did all of these students come from? Why was everybody dressed to go to the gym, how do large groups of students have time to “play ultimate,” and how were the parking lots littered with fancy cars with blasting sound systems? Don’t they have to go class, or to their jobs, or to their apartments to wash their clothes and clean their dishes and feed their cats?

No, they don’t. Because they are undergrads. Because this is primarily an undergraduate campus (my apologies, Dean Lyon). But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Because of the large number of undergrads, we, graduate students, have access to a massive and comprehensive library system, a well-equipped gym (complete with a rock wall, swimming pool, indoor track, and my favorite: yoga classes), over two hundred campus organizations, and plenty of comic relief. I take advantage of these FREE resources every day, while I watch the undergrads as they take me back to a simpler time.

2.  To Start Budgeting (Stop Spending) Money

Throughout my undergraduate career, I was fortunate enough to have a job around the holidays, during summer break, and on the weekends when I ventured home. This job provided a decent-sized check that I could put in the bank, while also providing a healthy sum of cash I could pocket. Because of this, my budget was always based on the amount of money that I had in my wallet (and the amount of times I visited my grandparents). And it worked pretty well. But then a strange thing happened to me before I came to graduate school, I was accepted for a credit card. That tiny, plastic rectangle could account for hundreds of dollars and my slowly diminishing wads of ones and fives seemed more trivial than ever.

Now that I’m in graduate school, I’m still working the same amount of hours, but one hundred percent of my income is direct-deposited. I pay my rent, my utilities, and my internet bill online and Vitek’s (the local BBQ joint with the appropriately named Gut-Pak) takes cards so there is no need to have a significant amount of cash on me at any time. But that resulted in my card being used for everything, all the time, no matter the place, no matter the price. Even after just one week, it started to accumulate. I realized that the next time I go to the store I will have to use coupons and only buy things that H-E-B has on-sale; that going out to eat every night was a lifestyle that I wanted, but could not afford; and that I need to give my grandparents my new address so they could send their favorite grandson more money.

After that fateful first week, I find myself doing boring, adult things like budgeting (and going to sleep before the clock reaches double digits). Each day, I write down my expenditures because a visual of the money I am spending, something that a plastic rectangle cannot offer, is often helpful. I set a budget each week for groceries and gas, going out to eat or drink (once during the weekday and once on the weekends), emergency costs that may arise, and Shorty’s pizza (where an extra-large pepperoni pie is only $9.99!). And it’s working pretty well.

3.  That the Professors Truly Care

I think that this one may be uniquely personal. I was a history major (after switching my major twice). I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do after I walked off that stage with my degree. I had no passion for the field. I had no relationships with the professors. I didn’t even know that I wanted to be in the museum field until my last semester when I accidentally signed up for the only museum class at the university. After a few weeks though, I found myself visiting the professor’s office (on purpose) and a few months later asked him to write a letter of recommendation that may have tipped my application into the accepted pile. I enjoyed that relationship, but learned that they get even better.

Graduate school is very intimate. The programs are small, which leads to the professors knowing all of our names and their willingness to always help out. They are interested in our success and treat us as professionals. And I thoroughly enjoy that, even after one week, I can both joke with them (I’m looking at you, Dr. Hafertepe) while also having intellectual conversations about the current challenges that face our field. They say, and believe, that we are the future of museums and make us feel like we are important, intelligent, and respected. It is refreshing and gives us the confidence we need to succeed.

Because of this, we come to class with every line read and challenging questions in mind. We don’t want to disappoint the people who believed in us so much that they personally chose us to be in their program. They share personal experiences that strengthen our bond and contacts that will strengthen are resumes. They are scheduling to take us to see their friends who work as directors, curators, and educators in museums and at historical sites that are successfully evolving with the twenty-first century. They truly do care and I’m excited to continue our relationships for the remainder of the program and for the rest of our lives.

4.  To Embrace the Uncomfortableness

Embrace it! Believe me, I know as much as any other introvert that meeting new people can be awkward and uneasy. I always liked to (and was content with) staying with my family and my friends and never actively sought to enlarge my social group. But being in Waco presented a specific challenge: I was 300 miles away from my closest friend and over 1500 miles away from my family. Essentially, I was all alone and that was really scary. I could (and maybe did) wallow in my room and listen to Dashboard Confessional while downing half-gallons of ice cream, but I don’t want to be that person. I decided that I wanted to be the person that takes full advantage of my two years at Baylor. I decided to look at my situation not as a challenge, but as an opportunity.

As previously stated, I went to a large university for my undergraduate degree, but it still seemed like ninety-five percent of the people were from eastern Pennsylvania. It was comforting that we all shared that in common and could talk about the Phillies or the Flyers, but after a while I got tired of the routine, of the expected. That is exactly why I came to Baylor and to Waco. I wanted to meet new people from different corners of the country and I wasn’t going to accomplish that by staying at home in a pile of mint chocolate chip sludge.

All of the first-years met during orientation (and awaited the Sorting Hat). Despite it being pretty awkward, everyone seemed welcoming and we quickly became friends on Facebook. It seemed that this was going to be easier than I reckoned. But then when the call came in to physically hang out again, only a handful (four) decided to answer. Did that stop the four of us from getting a drink at Dancing Bear? Nope. Were there times when it was disturbingly silent before someone would say something? Yep. Did I say stupid things that were embarrassing? You bet. Are the four of us best friends after only the first week? Absolutely.

There are no (very, very, very few) excuses. One of my new best friends went to Baylor as an undergrad and still has friends around campus as well as a significant other and a family that is less than three hours away. Did she use any of those reasons to not go through the often agonizing, tortuous process of making new friends? No! Believe me, I know it would be easy to avoid, especially if you have a legitimate excuse or enjoy being a successful introvert, but making the next two years a whole lot more comfortable starts by embracing the uncomfortableness. It is worth it.

5.  That I Can Do It

During orientation, the theatre department acted out sketches and one of them addressed a fear that I thought only I had: that I didn’t belong here. My undergraduate grades were alright, but not perfect; my experience in the museum world was limited; and I didn’t know if I was ready for the gauntlet known as graduate school. I spent countless nights over the summer wondering if they made a mistake accepting me, if I over-exaggerated too much on my resume (never), if I was going to disappoint everyone that had become so proud of me.

The first week we were given upwards of 150 pages to read. I hate reading anything that doesn’t start with “Harry Potter and the…” I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it – my days were full of classes and jobs, while my nights were spent juggling the gym, housework, friendship, and Netflix – but I had to. I spent most of Saturday afternoon with my phone and TV turned off. Six hours later I was half-way through the assignments – the fact that I wanted to have insightful things to say during class discussions made my reading slower – and I knew I needed a break. I texted my friends and hung out with them for the remainder of the night without a single word about museums spoken. Sunday came and went with more hours spent reading and taking notes, but also featured watching the ‘Stros game on TV.

There is a weight that needs to be balanced with extreme caution: too much work and your mind will slowly wither away, but too much play and your mind will slowly wither away, as well. At one point, this balancing act seemed like a daunting task, but now I know that it is totally manageable. I learned that I can do this grad school thing, but only with great friends, kind professors, daily(ish) exercise, and a little money saved for Saturday night.

By Matthew Doyen

The Graduate School Travel Awards Program



By Ben Murray

Are you interested in presenting your work at a conference, yet don’t quite have the funds to travel?  As a graduate student at Baylor, you have access to financial help. The Graduate School is happy to support students who are conducting exciting research in their respective fields.  Specifically, two types of financial support are offered: Travel to Professional Meetings and Travel to Support Doctoral Research.  According to Dissertation and Thesis Coordinator, Sandra Harman (who also supervises the travel awards program), Travel to Professional Meetings is the award most frequently used.  Students are eligible for $300 per year.  However, if there is money left after the two trips; multiple trips within the same academic year are possible.  The award for Doctoral Research is slightly different.  In this case, the Graduate School will match funds with the student’s department, up to $300.  Doctoral students are only eligible for one such award during their time at Baylor and the money is specifically intended for dissertation research.

If you’re worried about paperwork, don’t be.  The process is actually relatively simple.  First, a student must present proof that they are a part of the conference—a program showing the student as a speaker or a letter of acceptance from someone in charge of the conference will suffice. Next, simply fill out the application, provide a supporting note from a resident faculty member, and you’re good to go!  Naturally, students must be currently enrolled in at least one credit hour at Baylor to earn an award.  If the meeting is during summertime, the student must show that they were enrolled in the Spring semester or plan to be enrolled in the Fall.

The Graduate School asks that all students submit the application 30 days before the conference in order to obtain the money before the travel date.  However, they are understanding.  Sometimes students won’t know if they will be able to attend a conference that early.  If that’s the case, the Graduate School can work with you to make sure you’re covered.

These awards have helped a multitude of students over the years.  Last year, the Graduate School funded 426 Travel to Professional Meeting Awards and they will likely surpass that number this year.  Because of these awards, students are given the opportunity to present their research and to network in their fields.  The Graduate School Travel Awards Program has helped students travel to Europe, South America, and Canada, along with locations throughout the U.S.

Don’t Panic! There’s a Thesis and Dissertation Workshop

By Ben Murray

Many Graduate students share a common bond with one another.  We have all experienced a bone chilling terror, a nauseating knot in our stomachs that few others ever know.  This feeling of desperation, fear and anxiety can be elicited by one word: thesis.  Writing a thesis or dissertation is one of the most valuable takeaways as a Graduate student.  In many ways, it is the culmination of your education–a way to show the world everything you’ve learned and apply your skills in a unique way.  However, there is some added pressure that simply did not exist for other papers you may have written in the past.  This time, your work will bare the institution’s name and you will likely have to defend the paper before you can graduate.  With this in mind, (not to mention the deadlines that tend to sneakily creep up on you) completing a thesis can often be a stressful affair.  Thankfully, Baylor offers some excellent help along the way that can ease the trepidation.

Last week, I attended the Graduate School’s Dissertation and Thesis Workshop.  The information session is conducted by Baylor’s veteran thesis and dissertation coordinator, Sandra Harman and her Graduate Assistant, Lacy Crocker.  The session was relaxed and highly informative (there was PIZZA!).  Mrs. Harman covered the overall process of thesis submission while Lacy went over the numerous formatting rules required by the Graduate School.  One of the advantages about attending graduate school at Baylor is the access to personal attention students have.  Sandra and Lacy are more than happy to answer questions from students and are very accessible should problems arise during thesis writing.  It’s refreshing to know that your paper won’t be just another number on a list.  Sandra and Lacy work with students individually to ensure submissions are completed on time and meet university standards.  Despite dealing with numerous questions and submissions every day, Sandra and Lacy are committed to meeting students with cheerful attitudes and helpful advice.  So, next time you hear the word “thesis,” relax a little and know that you are not alone in the process!

New PhD Combines Research and Hands-On Experience

234513By Natalie Saleh

“Higher education is in a critical stage right now. We believe the future of higher education depends on the thinkers, scholars, and leaders in higher education. Because of Baylor’s focus on research and faith, we thought it was in a prime position to produce these future scholars, thinkers, and leaders,” says Dr. Rishi Sriram, assistant professor and graduate program director of Educational Administration.

Dr. Sriram is one of the leaders of Baylor’s brand new PhD program in Higher Education Studies and Leadership. This new program is in its first year and is off to a great start, offering students a unique balance of hands-on professional experience and academic research to produce scholars and leaders in higher education.

Jessica Robinson is currently in the first cohort of graduate students in this program. After earning a master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Baylor, she decided that the new PhD program was perfect for her continued studies.

“At Baylor I found a connection between ideas that I was passionate about and Christian formation. I think by and large across the PhD and higher education world there are a lot of secular institutions where those things just aren’t talked about. Here that connection is very well and alive, with Baylor being a highly faith-based and highly research-oriented university,” explains Jessica.

In addition to the emphasis on integrating faith with research and practice, the Higher Education faculty is passionate about working closely with their students. The PhD program is restricted to three to four students per year, which allows professors to give students plenty of support and guidance while still allowing students the flexibility to customize their degrees.

“One of the benefits of it being a small program is that I receive a lot of individualized attention. My classes are small, which means that discussions go really deep,” says Jessica. “That individualized attention makes me feel very supported, like I have four or five advocates helping me through this academic journey.”

All students in the program are also assigned an apprenticeship based on the student’s background and interests. This allows them the opportunity to get hands-on experience working in higher education.

Some examples of apprenticeships are at Baylor University Press, The School of Education, The Vice President of Student Life’s Office, and McLennan Community College.

Jessica Robinson, for example, was assigned to work at McLennan Community College, a rewarding experience that has allowed her to learn about the unique challenges and opportunities at community colleges.

“I appreciate being slightly removed from Baylor, because it gives me a different perspective and a different context to apply the things I’m learning in class,” says Jessica. “To help Baylor and MCC align in the larger Waco community is really cool.”

After graduating from Baylor, Jessica plans on becoming a faculty member and professor at a university. With the great support of Baylor’s Higher Education professors, that dream is sure to become a reality.

If you’d like to learn more about Baylor’s new PhD in Higher Education Studies and Leadership click here.

Graduate Instructor’s Innovative Teaching Inspires Sociology Students

235090By: Natalie Saleh

It’s not every day that you come to class and see your professor pour his entire soda over his head to illustrate a concept in his lecture. However, in graduate student Joshua Tom’s Intro to Sociology class, this is exactly the dedication to teaching you will find.

“Josh does not stand behind a podium or desk. He stands in front of these barriers to be fully present and engaged with his fellow learners. Interaction is central to his teaching philosophy. With self-deprecating humor, he relates sociology to his own life experiences and encourages students to do the same,” says Dr. Kevin Dougherty, associate professor of sociology.

Because of Josh’s excellence in teaching, he has recently received the 2013 Outstanding Student Instructor award. One of the many things that makes Josh such an exceptional instructor, is his ability to connect with his students. Josh shows his students that the study of sociology is not only interesting but it pervades all aspects of their lives.

His interactive teaching style inspires his students to engage both in class and outside class. For one of his homework assignments, Josh allowed students to watch a documentary instead of reading an article, which inspired his students to come together outside of class and have movie nights in their dorms.

“Sociology is easily relatable to the students’ lives, because the subject is concerned with the world they live in,” says Joshua. “At its best, sociology sheds light on their past experience and shapes their understanding of their futures, and meeting this potential is the major motivation behind why and how I teach my courses.”

In addition to his passion for sociology and teaching, Josh makes sure that his classes are not only informational but also interesting to his students. He includes entertaining videos and uses many pop culture references, which makes the class and the subject more enjoyable to students.

“Josh made learning about Sociology fun and I truly looked forward to going to his class each week. I even once brought a friend from home to class with me so she could see why I liked my professor so much. She had such a good time in class that she told me if she ever ended up coming to Baylor one day, she would take Josh’s Intro to Sociology class,” says Gillian Chant, one of Josh’s students.

Though Josh excels at making his classes enjoyable for his students, his lectures and assignments do much more than entertain. While many professors rely on textbooks to outline curriculum, Josh chose not to use a textbook. Instead he handpicks journal articles and primary sources, to tailor the curriculum of his course to suit the needs and interests of his students.

To learn more about the opportunities in Baylor Graduate School’s outstanding Sociology program visit their website.

Graduate Student Community Housing Brings Together Students from a Variety of Backgrounds

235371Baylor University offers graduate students the rewarding opportunity to live in community with each other in Graduate Student Community Housing. This community includes three apartment complexes conveniently located near campus: The Quadrangle, Browning Square, and the new Centre Court Apartments, which host a variety of social and academic events for residents every year.

“It’s fantastic to get to know one’s neighbors,” says Karl Aho, community coordinator of The Quadrangle. “In graduate school we get locked into our own academic silo. It’s tremendously rewarding and refreshing to break out of the academic silo and find out what other folks are doing and find out about the good things happening at Baylor.”

The flourishing communities at The Quadrangle and Browning Square are made up of students from many backgrounds. English students, chemistry students, and even seminary students call this community their home. Not only are The Quadrangle residents from a variety of academic backgrounds, but also a variety of cultural backgrounds.

“At The Quadrangle, we are looking into doing more international student family events. One thing we’ve talked about doing is something for Chinese New Year,” says Karl.

One distinction between the two housing communities is that Browning Square has one-bedroom apartments, while The Quadrangle has two-bedroom apartments.

The Quadrangle, because it has two bedrooms, attracts many families. In order to meet the needs of the families who reside there, The Quadrangle hosts family-friendly events, including movie night and family night, where parents can socialize with plenty of supervision for their children.

“Community living has really helped us to have a built-in support structure,” explains Jay Beaver, resident of The Quadrangle. “We were able to make friends with other families who could help us balance work and family. Baylor students tend to be remarkably friendly, and living in close proximity has given us lots of opportunities to witness their generosity and try to return it.”

Like Karl, Cara Allen, community coordinator of Browning Square, is working to ensure that her residents have plenty of opportunities to get to know one another as well. Browning Square has recently established a leadership council made up of residents who brainstorm new ideas to meet the changing needs of their community.

“One of the new events we are doing this year is a Marina Day, where our residents are going to get together and go to the marina. We are trying more to utilize things on Baylor’s campus that our students have access to but don’t always use,” says Cara.

In addition to the great community and life-long friendships established at Browning Square and The Quadrangle, residents also have the opportunity to plant fruits and vegetables in an all-organic community garden. Here, students can learn about gardening alongside their neighbors while growing their own fresh produce.

Graduate housing is one of the many ways to get involved in the exciting Baylor community. All graduate students are eligible to live in Browning Square, The Quadrangle, and the new luxury Centre Court Apartments. However, it is important to reserve your spot as soon as possible, because they fill up fast!

If you have any questions or would like more information about the Graduate Student Housing Community emailGSHC@baylor.edu.

New Library Space for Graduate Students Fosters Community and New Ideas

236396By Natalie Saleh

Baylor graduate students are constantly challenging ideas, making discoveries, and conducting groundbreaking research. This academic excellence inspired library staff to launch The Incubator, the new library space for graduate students and faculty.

Library personnel came up with the name the Incubator, because it is a space full of new ideas and possibilities.

“My ideal would be if it fostered not only interactions between faculty and graduate students but that it might foster some interdisciplinary connections,”explains Jeff Steely, Associate Dean of the Libraries.

The Incubator is a pilot program open to graduate students from every department, which they can use for quiet study or as a meeting space. The idea for The Incubator came about when the libraries did some restructuring which left The Incubator space available. Currently, library staff is seeking feedback and monitoring The Incubator’s use to determine even more ways to support graduate students in the future.

“We would really like to have a conversation about what services are needed and what the libraries might be doing to support graduate students beyond just the space,”says Mr. Steely.

The Incubator is off to a great start, and the library staff has received encouraging feedback from students. Many graduate students are appreciative to have a space of their own, where they aren’t interrupted by lots of people coming in and out.

The Incubator also houses many great resources for graduate students. For example, the Graduate Writing Center is housed in The Incubator. The library staff has also provided a Mac Pro with extra software and programs not found on other campus computers.

As graduate students have begun spending more time in The Incubator, a sense of community has developed.

“You all end up supporting each other, and I’ve gotten to meet people through The Incubator. You see each other there all the time, and you end up introducing yourself and trying to encourage each other,” says graduate student, Elise Leal.

In addition to being a great study space, The Incubator can be reserved as an event space. The Graduate Student Association, for example, has reserved the space for its three-minute thesis contest. Because of The Incubator’s size, it will be easier for the GSA to host a big crowd at this fun event.

“It’s still in its formative stages so there’s so many possibilities that could end up making it even more unique,” says Elise.

Though the space is on a trial basis, the library staff is devoted to making sure that the needs of graduate students are met, whether through The Incubator or another graduate space in the future.

To learn more about The Incubaor, reserve a room, or leave feedback, click here.

New Graduate-Undergraduate Mentoring Program


By Natalie Saleh

The Graduate Student Association launched a new Graduate-Undergraduate Mentorship program this year, pairing up undergraduate students who are interested in graduate school with graduate students in their field. This is a great opportunity for undergraduates to learn more about graduate school, while graduate students gain valuable mentoring experience.

“The requirement is that you meet with a mentor once a semester, but what we’re discovering is our graduate students have a such a passion and our undergraduate students have such an interest in graduate school, it has created this constant back and forth,” says Tim Orr, president of the Graduate Student Association.

Though the program is still in its formative stages, undergraduate and graduate students have already exhibited plenty of interest. The program started this semester with only religion, psychology, and engineering students, but will soon expand to more majors since there is such a high demand.

Mike Whitenton, graduate student in religion, and Jeff Patton, freshman religion major, are two of Baylor’s first students to participate in this program.

“It’s something I’ve been interested in as a teacher. I’m interested not only in communicating information and facilitating learning in the classroom, but sometimes I’m even more interested in the broader lives of my students. So initially this was a way for me to be able to interact with undergraduate students outside my classroom, which I think is a really helpful complement to undergraduate teaching,” says Mike.

Not only is this a great opportunity for graduate students, but undergraduates appreciate the advice and guidance of mentors.

“As a religion major, you kind of can go a lot of different ways, so I feel like I can bounce ideas off of Mike, and he can tell me his experience and how he thought about stuff,” says Jeff.

There is currently a lot of freedom in the program for mentors and mentees to tailor the experience to what best serves their interests. This flexibility also makes it easier for students to fit mentoring into their busy schedules.

“I got a friend out of it. I’m glad that Mike’s cool and that we connected. We both have the same interests. It helps being the same majors, so we have stuff to talk about,” says Jeff.

In addition to the personal benefits of the program, it is a great opportunity for graduate students to get experience mentoring, as they will need to be mentors when they eventually obtain faculty positions. This will not only give them experience, but make them more competitive candidates for faculty positions when they enter the job market.

To learn more about The Graduate Student Association and their programs click here.

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