The quality of the sessions and overall atmosphere of the event drew high praise from attendees at the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and Big Ten Academic Alliance annual Graduate Student Exploration Fellowship (GSEF) summit in August 2019.
So did the mission of the conference to encourage more underrepresented students and new Faculty Fellows to consider graduate school or a career in academia. For example, 96% of students said they were likely or very likely to reach out to faculty members they met at the summit, held this year on the campus of Roosevelt University in Chicago.
This year’s summit brought together 52 students — members of both the returning third cohort, who were wrapping up their summer research experiences on Big Ten Academic Alliance campuses, and the fourth, who are just beginning the two year-long fellowship.
Our Faculty Fellows also convened, with this gathering being the first time they were together since the Writing Retreat in January 2019. Six new Faculty Fellows in cohort four attended, along with 11 faculty members from previous cohorts.
Two new workshops were widely regarded as successful:
- A 90-minute “Impostor Syndrome” workshop which allowed students to acknowledge a common feeling, while also giving them skills to validate their presence in academic spaces.
- “Speed Networking” session with Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions. Students greatly appreciated and expressed in even more time to spend talking with and learning about the schools (both cohort three students interested in summer research placement and cohort four students interested in graduate program information).
Other sessions included included orientation for undergraduates in the fourth cohort, such as a panel featuring GSEF alumni from ACM member schools currently in graduate school. Rising seniors in the third cohort presented their summer research work to peers and faculty members.
Sessions targeted at students from both cohorts addressed the mechanics of graduate school: how to apply to schools, how to build and utilize networks, a graduate school fair with Big Ten Academic Alliance schools, and spaces dedicated to reflection of common experiences among affinity groups.