Grad Student Orientation Kicks Off New Academic Year
This week, The Graduate School and Dean Steve Fetter welcomed over 1600 new graduate students at orientation. Co-hosted by Assistant Dean Jeffrey Franke and Associate Dean Ryan Long, the day included a warm welcome by Provost Mary Ann Rankin, and an inspiring keynote by Dr. John Bullock, who stressed the importance of building relationships, exercising self-care and being grateful. Graduate Student Government President Annie Rappeport also spoke to those gathered.
New graduate students were also treated to a panel of faculty members who provided insight into what scholars can expect from graduate education. Drs. Michelle Espino (Education), Colin Phillips (Linguistics), and Michelle Girvan (Physics) talked, among other things, about learning from failure, and getting outside one’s own department and field.
In concert with programs for graduate students, the Office of Graduate Diversity and Inclusion (OGDI) offered a program for spouses and partners through its Spartners initiative. The 40 or so attendees included families, children and even roommates of doctoral students. There were opportunities to learn about the doctoral process, the role Spartners can play, campus support systems, and a chance to network. The consensus among participants was that the orientation program was helpful, uniquely Maryland, and critical to the overall success of doctoral students, and their network of families and friends.
One doctoral student, Kennedra Tucker (Education), who immersed herself fully in the entire day's programming remarked, "I walked into the Stamp Union on Monday feeling like my first day of undergrad...excited but unsure at the same time. When I saw all of the graduate students filing into orientation I thought, 'wow!' That's a lot of students! I was so confident when I applied for UMD's program in School System Leadership. I thought I'm so ready to take on this challenge, and learn more about educational leadership! But for a second after seeing all of the students, I wondered if I made the right choice? My fears quickly subsided when I saw how organized the orientation was. Everyone was so welcoming. I particularly enjoyed the part where we were asked to talk to students sitting near us because I connected with another student - and we ended up eating lunch together later in the day."
(Photo Credit: Thai Nguyen, Chris Ramirez, and Christopher Pérez)