MCS GSAC Meeting Minutes
November 13, 2003

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November 13, 2003

GSAC Meeting
Thursday, November 13, 2003

In attendance:

Justin Douglas (Chemistry)
Violeta Marin (Chemistry)
Gerard Brunick (Mathematical Sciences)
Abhijit Brahme (Physics)
Oner Kozan (Physics)

Gregg Franklin
Renee Starek
Katya Malkin

Renee Starek, MCS Career Consultant, joined the meeting to discuss career issues for graduate students and to help plan a career event with GSAC for the spring semester. As background, Renee gave an overview of services provided by the career center that graduate students might want to take advantage of:
  • Assistance with resume writing and interviewing. Mock interviews can be arranged to help students improve the non-technical aspects of their interview.
  • Tech Sunday, numerous workshops that are probably under-utilized.
  • Possible career seminar for graduate students. This could be a small seminar given by Renee, during which opportunities for MCS graduate students are presented.
  • Pamphlet listing opportunities for graduate students
The Career Center has a recruiting team whom employers contact to request resumes and post job opportunities in Tartan Trak. There is also a person who contacts companies to set up relationships and tries to get them to look at a broader range of students.

Next semester, the Career Center will be piloting some workshops for graduate students. The workshops will be organized so that several topics are presented in a single session and students can then attend some or all of the topics in a single day, rather than having to schedule multiple dates. Evening, 6:00 - 8:00 PM, is the best time to hold this event.

Regarding the GSAC Career Event for next semester, we will focus on inviting alumni, preferably one local person and one national from each department. Ideally, we will also be able to get a mix of recent and less recent graduates.

We will ask the departments to make contact with these alumni as they, particularly former advisors, should have better connections than Renee. If they are willing, departments will pay travel expenses and the Career Center will find a space and pay for catering.

Renee has reserved the Connan Room for the afternoon of Monday, March 8th, for this event.

Gregg brought up the issue of communication among MCS graduate students. The group felt that hosting big events, like the poster session, is helpful. The Graduate Times is also a good venue for communication, though perhaps not that widely read. Renee noted that the format of the Graduate Times is going to be changed. Future issues will be distributed in a newsletter format, rather than as a full newspaper.

Suggestions for improving communication included:
  • Developing a web portal for graduate students
  • Posting information on the bulletin board by the rear 3rd floor elevator in Mellon
  • Distributing flyers at Happy Hours that describe what GSAC is doing, upcoming events, etc. (Renee is working on one of these for the next Happy Hour)
  • Invite people to subscribe to a dlist that relates to career information
  • Renee will present a career poster at this year's poster session and make an announcement about what the Career Center has to offer
GSAC was not aware that there is an alumni database called "At the Fence". There is a link to it at the alumni relations web site:

Renee requested a list of students who will be graduating in May so that she can let them know about opportunities as they come up.

Finally, the group discussed what students should do if they are interested in academic careers. Gregg offered to bring this up at a department heads meeting (or talk to the department heads individually if that is more practical). Each department probably handles this differently. Advisors may need to be reminded that they should help their students find post-doc positions if necessary.

The next Happy Hour will be held on Friday, December 5 (the last day of classes), from 5:00 - 8:00 PM. This semester the Happy Hour was supposed to be held on campus but since no appropriate rooms were available, it will be held in the Conference Room in Mellon Institute. Oner inquired about the possibility of having music or a live band. This is not a problem in the MI Conference Room.

GSAC members should contact their department's business manager to see about getting GSA funding for Happy Hour. Based on previous attendance, we expect about 80 people, meaning the cost should be roughly $200/department. Faculty will also be invited!

Next Meeting:
At the next GSAC meeting, we will discuss:
  1. Planning another "Meeting with the Dean". In the mean time, GSAC members should talk to students in their departments to see if they have complaints or grievances that we could discuss with Rick/
  2. Plans for the poster session. We hope to have 4 - 5 posters per department, and will ask that if a department wants to be eligible for the prize drawing, it should have at least 3 posters present. There will be a total of 5 prizes with the additional prize going to the department with the most posters.