MCS GSAC Meeting Minutes
November 7, 2002

| MCS GSAC Home Page |

November 7, 2002

In Attendance:
Tiffany Miles (Biological Sciences)
Justin Douglas (Chemistry)
Violeta Marin (Chemistry)
Abraham Flaxman (Mathematical Sciences)
Kathryn Trapp (Mathematical Sciences)
Abhijit Brahme (Physics)
Oner Kozan (Physics)

Gregg Franklin (MCS Dean's Office)
Rea Freeland (Associate Dean for Special Projects)
Katya Malkin (MCS Dean's Office)

2000 GSAC Minutes Archive
2001 GSAC Minutes Archive

This year's minutes:

September 26, 2002
Violeta Marin joined GSAC as the new representative from Chemistry. Welcome Violeta!


Rea Freeland joined us to give an overview of her new position as Associate Dean for Special Projects and in particular, how this position relates to graduate students.

Rea's responsibilities will include:
  • Preparation for the College Advisory Board visit next fall.
    Among other things, this advisory board will focus on the quality of graduate education in MCS. Since departmental advisory board reviews are also conducted, the college level review will focus on higher level issues. The board is composed of leading researchers, deans, and provosts. If there are issues relating to graduate education in MCS that you feel are important to review, please contact Rea.
  • Assist the Dean and new public relations/development staff with improving alumni and corporate relations. Improving these relationships should be beneficial to graduate students in terms of networking and seeking employment.
  • Serve as ombudsperson for the college as well as chemistry department.
    Rea is interested in meeting more of the graduate students in MCS, so suggestions for events she might attend or other ways for her to meet students are welcome. In her role as ombudsperson, she will serve as a neutral party for students to discuss problems with and will keep the information discussed confidential.
  • Entrepreneurship Program
    Rea and Rick McCullough have begun developing an idea for an entrepreneurship program for graduate students in the sciences. Although in a very early stage of development, the idea is that this program will be available through MCS and GSIA's Jones Center and will be geared toward students interested in starting companies. The program will probably not be a degree program, but a series of seminars or courses that fit into the MCS PhD programs, and perhaps result in a certificate. Any input is welcome!

    Initial comments and suggestions included the following. It would be a good idea to work with professors in each department to coordinate this program. Often a student's ability to participate in an entrepreneurship is determined by the advisor's interests and motivation. This type of program might also be useful for networking purposes. For instance, a student might not be interested in starting a company in the short term, but might be interested in meeting others who are and perhaps obtaining a technical position within a start-up. Seminars on topics like how to sell an idea and how to protect an idea through legal means would probably be well attended. Many grad students might participate in this type of program in preparation for a long term (3 - 5 years) goal even if they are not interested in starting a company or marketing an idea right away.

    Finally, Gregg suggested holding a seminar on entrepreneurship, similar to the career event that was held this September, to see how much interest there is in this type of thing and what topics are of most interest to the students. This might be something GSAC could plan for the spring 2003 semester. Rea will discuss this with Rick and their contacts in GSIA. There might also be some overlap between this program and the new biotech management master's program that is being developed.


The next GSAC Happy Hour is planned for Friday, November 15 in Wean 5403 from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. There will be a police officer present.

Representatives from each department should ask their department head for $200 to fund to the Happy Hour. There might also be GSA money available if other colleges are invited. Chemistry and Math have already approved the $200 donation. Physics and Biology still need to do this. After the department head has approved the donation, please let Katya know so she can ask the business manager from your department to put the money in the appropriate account.

Justin volunteered to get beer and snacks again. He will use chemistry's Tartan Trust card. We will need buckets of some sort to keep the beer in - math and physics believe they have something that can be used. Justin will get the following:

- 3 - 4 cases of beer (average 2 per person)
- pizza and wings (more vegan pizzas this time!)
- something sweet (cookies or brownies)

Abhijit volunteered to get sodas.

We will also need to clear out or stack some of the desks in WEH 5403 to make sure there is enough room. Kate and Tiffany volunteered to help Justin move the beer from Mellon to Wean on Friday.


The spring 2003 poster session is scheduled for Friday, February 7 in the Connan Room (UC). At the previous two poster sessions, we gave away travel stipends and reimbursements for educational purchases. Most of the winners from the last two sessions have not claimed their prizes, so we will try something different this year. The group suggested that an actual prize that can be received at the session would be a better idea. Suggestions included palm pilots, mp3 players, and digital cameras. Katya will research these items and send around some options that the group can vote on. Since we have $500 and would like to give one prize to each department, they should cost around $125. Specific suggestions are welcome!


This was the last meeting for the fall 2002 semester. We will be in touch by email to finalize plans for the November 15 Happy Hour and discuss the spring poster session. A meeting will be scheduled in January to make final plans for the poster session.