The GRS welcomes the PSU community to the 2nd Annual Graduate Research Symposium

The GRS would like to invite the PSU community to celebrate research and scholarship at the 2nd Annual Graduate Research Symposium. The event will take place this Thursday, November 5th from 3-7 p.m. in the Ice Arena Welcome Center!

Please click the following link to view poster abstracts and time slots for the event:

(Note: any questions or concerns regarding the abstracts should be directed to the authoring student)

Scan-Website-ColorThis event will feature both oral and poster presentations from both graduate and doctoral students across the disciplines.

GRS is going eco-friendly this year, so abstracts will only be available via the above link, or our scannable link (see left image) for smartphones (scan app required to use). During the event attendees will also have access to binders that will have event information in case some of you have limited access to smartphones.

This event is open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!


GRS, Graduate Studies, and the Center for Global Engagement welcome grad students back!

by Gabriel Vega

The Graduate Research Society, Graduate Studies, and the Center for Global Engagement invite all graduate students and the surrounding community to the first GRS Potluck event on Monday, August 31 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Lamson Library Tower Room (3rd Floor).

There will be light refreshments, food, and other snacks to help graduate students gear up for a productive first day of classes.

This event will be a chance to meet GRS committee members, fellow graduate students across disciplines, as well as faculty and staff from both Graduate Studies and the Center for Global Engagement.

All three departments are excited to come together and answer any questions about the community, about research, and to give students the chance to network and build both a sense of community as well as professional connections.

This event will also be an opportunity to learn more about the 2nd Annual Graduate Research Symposium on Thursday, November 5th from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m in the Ice Arena Welcome Center! This symposium is open to the public, and will feature over thirty presentations from graduate students across the disciplines.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Don’t forget to join us on Facebook!

Resources: Careers, cover letters, resumes, interviews, and CVs

On Wednesday, March 25, the GRS held a special two-hour monthly meeting from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Lamson Tower Room. Terri Dautcher from the College of Business Administration discussed tips to consider as graduate students embark on a job search. Students who attended had the chance to ask any questions that they might have. Jane Weber, the Director of the Writing Center, also helped facilitate a peer resume review and discussion afterwards.

Below are some key points from the meeting:

General career guidance:

  • Research and academic fields are more competitive now than ever. Especially in light of consolidation/shrinkage coming in higher education.
  • Good candidates: look beyond your advisors and campus. Don’t hesitate to look at your mentors for advice, but recognize the bigger picture of your field beyond your experiences/school.
  • Pay attention to the culture and politics within your field.
  • Market yourself as a valuable asset. Encourage employers to invest in you as a human resource.
  • Always connect yourself with a potential employer’s goals/aims in letters and interviews. Show that you have done your research about the institution.

Impressing with your cover letter:

  • Acknowledge your student status, but build up your skills (explain what you bring to a potential employer)
  • If there are any red flags (ie. not enough years of experience as job advertisement requested or lower GPA): address these. Gently rebut their argument/concern. Example: I know that I am a new college graduate, but I have…..(these skills, experience)
  • Consider the use of bullet points in a cover letter: highlight experience
  • First section/paragraph of cover letter focuses on technical skills.
  • Second section/paragraph should focus on soft skills (particularly those skills that connect with the job, like teaching experience).
  • Soft skills are very important. Want to come across as “I can play nice in the sand box”.
  • Energy behind cover letter => I have a lot to offer and would like to come in (for an interview) and see if I’m a good fit for your company/institution.
  • Avoid overconfidence and arrogance in your letter. Don’t attempt to say that you are a perfect candidate, but rather that you think you are a good fit for the company.
  • Explain how you think you can help the employer meet their goals/achieve their aims. Connecting yourself with the institution is vital. Reviewers will often discard applications that fail to explain why they would be a good fit at that company.
  • Recommended reading: Daniel Goleman Working with Emotional Intelligence. Watch a Google talk of this work at

Acing that interview:

  • Come in prepared. Do your research on the company beforehand. Understand the general vibe/politics.
  • Go over example interview questions beforehand.
  • Consider doing a mock interview with someone else and videotaping yourself to see how you come across.
  • Note that many interviewers will attempt to gently (or not so gently) agitate you. They are doing this to see how you react to someone trying to “get under your skin” as a way to assess your ability to handle difficult or ambiguous situations and/or people. This may be done in the manner that you are questioned or through random/silly questions, such as “why are softballs fuzzy?” or “how do you make M&Ms?” that are seemingly unrelated to the position. Agitation/aggravation at the question shows a propensity to be annoyed (poor soft skills) while natural, laid-back reactions show an ability to handle a curveball that is sent your way.

Providing your credentials:

  • Build your CV along with a corporate resume simultaneously => CV helps you keep a list of every conference you attend and present at, workshops you participate in, civic engagement which may be helpful for future career development
  • You can use your CV as a baseline and then when preparing a resume for a specific type of job, copy relevant sections over.
  • Organize your CV and resume based on what is most relevant to your field or the position you are applying to.
  • Look for examples of portfolios, CVs, and resumes from professionals in your field. If applying to a specific institution/company, look for examples from personnel at that institution. See how they organize their documents, what do they emphasize.
  • Use the same header for all of your career documents (cover letter, resume, CV).
  • Name your files in a consistent and easy to read manner (ie. JaneSmith resume, JaneSmith cover letter).
  • Save and upload documents as a PDF. Make sure to read through the PDF to avoid errors, extra pages, etc.
  • Consider the placement of an executive summary at the top of a CV or resume that highlights experience.
  • Remember that the 1st 1/3rd of your resume/CV are most influential.
  • Create a professional portfolio online (with,,, or Mahara (through Plymouth)). Your portfolio should show who you are, what your experience/skills are, and examples of your work. Consider adding hidden/non-public pages to keep track of other career information, such as conferences you’ve attended, etc.

News brief: Discussing the thesis and dissertation process

The Graduate Research Society will be discussing the thesis and dissertation process at our first meeting of the spring semester on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 6:00pm in the Lamson Tower Room.

(Photo: Google image)

(Photo: Google image)

Dr. Cheryl Baker from the Educational Leadership program will be discussing the dissertation process, and Dr. Lisa Doner from the Environmental Science and Policy Department will be discussing the thesis process.

This will be a time for guest panelists to give general overviews of what graduate students can expect as they embark the journey of  writing and conducting research for what is, for most students, a major milestone in their education.

Light refreshments will also be served. The GRS hopes to see everyone there!

Graduate Research Symposium Slideshow 11 | 6 | 14

Our first annual Graduate Research Symposium was a great success! Check out what our participants were researching and stay tuned for more videos, links, and graduate level research and collaboration!


The GRS hosted a discussion about quantitative research on October 22, 2014 from 2:45-3:45pm in the Lamson Tower Room.

Guest panelists include Dr. Mark Green from the Center for the Environment, Dr. Stephen Flynn from the Counselor Education and School Psychology Department, and Dr. Amy Villamagna from the Center for the Environment.

Guests panelists talked about their experiences with quantitative research, and answered any questions that students may have on this topic. Refreshments were also provided!