Potential grad students should understand the challenges and opportunities of their programs and community

Being a graduate student is a life changing experience, and students often take on a dual role as both a student and teacher.

Students considering Ohio University have a lot to consider before they enroll. First, there is the classroom where students are going to be asked to do much more than they did as undergraduates. There will also be the addition of research expectations, and finally many will have to get used to living in a new community.

There is certainly an adjustment that must be made in the classroom. Amber Damiani, a graduate student in sociology, stated the expectations increase and students have to change how they take on assignments.

Graduate students need to start planning their project immediately, there is no room for procrastination, she said. In the following video Damiani talks about developing good habits for classroom work.

The additional reading and writing isn’t the only adjustment. Students at the graduate level also have more freedom to choose what classes they will take to help them meet their professional goals.

Students at the graduate level need to change their mindset from one of simply taking classes to fill requirements to one where they consider how classes will impact their future career, said Jamie Beth Boster, a doctoral student in communication sciences and disorders.

“You can really expand and build on things that you are interested in,” Boster said.

While students can still explore in classes, they also can really dig deep into certain areas, she said. Graduate school is much more about the individual and developing as a professional.

This leads Boster to provide advice in the following video about thinking deeply about the program you choose.

Entering Grad School

When considering what school to attend there are a lot of things that should be considered.

First among them should be a true interest in the area a person is considered studying.

Students getting into graduate school shouldn’t be afraid to take a year off and truly consider what they want to do. In psychology taking a year off is not uncommon, said Allix Beauchamp, a doctoral student in OU’s psychology department.

“They should organize their thoughts, think about what they want to do, where they want to go, and what field of research is most intriguing to them,” she said. “There’s a lot going on in your senior year, people start feeling burnt out they’re wrapping up this major part of their life.”

Such a big change in life can be overwhelming. Once a student has made it to the interviewing process the school has acknowledged the student is a good candidate, Beauchamp said.

The goal for the student should be to determine if they are “a good fit for the type of program that (the school) likes to foster,” she said.

Some programs are more involved with mentoring while are less so, Beauchamp said.

“These are questions you really need to know because this sets the foundation for the rest of your life,” she said.

The student can’t be afraid to ask questions about the type of program during the interview process, Beauchamp said. This is because as Beauchamp talks about below graduate school has an significant impact on the rest of your career.

Potential graduate students get a lot of bad advice from people about what they should do, according to Elizabeth Keenan in an article on Vitae.

Furthermore, potential students need to be aware of the challenges they will face while seeking an advanced degree. For example an article from Inside Higher Ed warns that students must be prepared to take charge of their own program, understand why their work is important, and finally comprehend that most of the problems that face graduate students are psychological.

Research and Teaching Expectations

 There are research expectations that come with being a graduate student. Students are expected to contribute to the body of research in their field.

Students should understand that once they turn in a paper they shouldn’t just forget about it. Most graduate students want to do something with their work, said Ryan Dunham, a doctoral student in media arts and studies.

“In graduate school your goal should be to turn term papers into conference papers,” he said. “Use the feedback from the professor to improve your piece.”

Then if the paper is accepted by a conference take the feedback received at the conference and edit the paper again so it can be submitted to journals, Dunham said. The final goal is to get the paper published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.

As a second year doctoral student in Journalism, I believe that graduate students need to take the role of researcher seriously.

 

It’s hard to understand when you first arrive, but having confidence in your work and understanding not just what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how it ties into existing research will be what leads to a job when you finish your program.

In addition to research, graduate students often teach classes. This places students in the position of being both a student and teacher. Students also should understand they have to take the teaching responsibility seriously, make it a priority and not simply focus on their own work even if you might feel overwhelmed.

You have to remember the teaching is often your job as a graduate student and why you don’t have to pay for school. The reviews from students will also influence your ability to get a job.

Around Athens

Not every student focused on the academic side of being a graduate student, some sought to inform incoming students about interesting things to do in and around Athens. The town of Athens and the surrounding area has a number of things for students to do outside of class.

Damiani recommends outside of class enjoying the bike paths. The library allows you to check out a bike and check it back in.

“It’s a good way to see the area. It’s a way you can see the outdoors and not always be cooped up and studying,”

It would be helpful if the university offered tours, or some other type of resources, to new graduate students to learn about the history of the area and see some of the more interesting sites like Bong Hill or The Ridges, which does have tours. It would be a way for students to understand some of the rich culture within the area.

“It’s a small town so there’s the movie theater, a bowling alley, and of course the bar scene,” she said.

Steve Richardson, a master’s student in geography, focused on the number of hiking trails in the area.

 

In addition, he talked about the number of breweries in the area as something grad students like to visit.

“Most people don’t know there are actually four breweries within the Athens area you have Jackie O’s, you have Little Fish (Brewing Company), you have Devil’s Kettle (Brewing), and there’s another one that’s being built,” Richardson said. “It’s great to have local breweries creating fresh local beer for you whenever you want.”

I also believe that graduate students shouldn’t be afraid to venture away from Athens and explore the surrounding communities. Those who simply stay within the city will not understand all the area has to offer or really comprehend the culture of Southeast Ohio.

While graduate school is demanding Dunham has some advice for keeping your sanity.

Finally this slideshow shows a few of the offices where graduate students at Ohio University engage in research and meet with students.

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Women of Appalachia event aims to change stereotypes

There are a number of stereotypes that exist about women within Appalachia; however, a small group is working to change those views.

For the seventh straight year the Women of Appalachia Project has events on the campus of Ohio University that focus on the work of female artists from the region.

There are three components to the Women of Appalachia Project, said Kari Gunter-Seymour, founder and curator of the project.

One part of the project currently occupies a quiet spot on the second floor of Baker Center. The Women of Appalachia Exhibit continues through April 30 at Ohio University’s Multicultural Center Art Gallery.

The goal is to showcase the art of women from the Appalachian region. This year’s exhibit includes the work of 20 artists from Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

The art show has developed a reputation as being a place artists can submit their work without getting a response that is overly critical, Gunter-Seymour said.

Each of the women is able to represent the women of Appalachia in her own way, she said.

The art show has already been displayed in Parkersburg and after finishing its run in Athens will then be displayed in Chillicothe in May.

This piece is part of the Women of Appalachia exhibit currently being shown at the Multicultural Center Art Gallery in Baker Center at Ohio University.
This piece is part of the Women of Appalachia exhibit currently being shown at the Multicultural Center Art Gallery in Baker Center at Ohio University.

“Each year I say I can’t believe the quality of the artists,” Gunter-Seymour said. “But each year it keeps getting better.”

The idea for the project came when Gunter-Seymour became frustrated with having to look all over for places to display her artwork, she said.

“I had always heard it’s easier to create a job than to find a job. I thought it might be the same way with events,” she said. “I thought it might be easier to create an event than to find one.”

The project started seven years ago. Since then the effort has gotten bigger and bigger each year, Gunter-Seymour said.

Each of the seven years has been based in Athens and at Ohio University. Gunter-Seymour said when she was putting together the show she contacted Winsome Chunnu-Brayda, strategic director for diversity and inclusion and multicultural programs and initiatives, to ask about space and has worked with Chunnu-Brayda ever since.

“The Muticultural Center is proud to have hosted the Women of Appalachia Project every year since its inception in 2009,” said Chunnu-Brayda in a statement. “This project is distinctive in that it brings together a combination of seasoned and emerging artists that never fails to please. Ohio University is unique in that it serves a very large population — students, faculty and staff as well as Athens and contiguous county communities. This event serves as one of Ohio University’s outstanding town/gown events. Approximately 3,000 guests visit the WOAP exhibit in our gallery each year.”

In addition to the exhibit, there are other events that surround the Women of Appalachia Project. Friday (Feb. 10) is the opening reception for the exhibit from 5 to 8 p.m.

At the event local activist Sandra Sleight-Brennan will be presented the inaugural WOAP “Appalachian Advocate Award.”

“There are so many women who want to help, but aren’t artists,” Gunter-Seymour said.

This award helps to recognize all the other women who help with the events and make things better for women in Appalachia.

The other portion of the project is the Women Speak events, which include poetry, songs and stories. These events take place all over the area, Gunter-Seymour said. However, they have an event planned on April 22 at 6 p.m. at the Multicultural Center Art Gallery in Baker Center.

For more information about the Women of Appalachia Project or to see a full schedule of the events you can visit their website or Facebook page.

Comfortable behind the scenes at WOUB, Colin Porter is brought into the spotlight

The sounds of a newsroom are familiar to anyone who has spent much time in one.
Yet, it might seem strange to someone visiting for the first time.
There is the discussion of story ideas, the loud conversations about assignments, and the sound of computer keys clicking.
Colin Porter, a jovial junior from Dayton, is at home amidst the organized chaos after spending three years working at WOUB.
"I went to an event during freshman orientation and got involved from there," Porter said.
He currently directs the Newswatch program for WOUB and attempts to avoid being on the opposite side of the camera or microphone.
"I like being behind the scenes," he said.
During a break between classes, Porter came into the newsroom just to check in and see what was happening and spend time talking to others in the newsroom.
Porter is still trying to figure out what to do after graduation.
#athensgems

A photo posted by Burton Speakman (@bcspeakman) on

My little home away from home

When I think about places in Athens, there is only one that immediately comes to mind

It would be my office, which is located on the second floor of the Radio-Television Communications Building.

Since I don’t live within the city and commute several hours to be in Athens for just a couple days

The Tardis from Dr. Who was part of a Halloween costume that now resides in 273 RTV building.
The Tardis from Dr. Who was part of a Halloween costume that now resides in 273 RTV.

a week, there isn’t a lot of time for exploring.

However, my office serves as a place of peace and quiet. It’s a refuge from the activities that occur throughout campus and the place I typically arrive before the sun rises and leave after it sets.

While it doesn’t seem like much, those four walls provide the solitude and space necessary. It’s the place where I prepare for the classes I teach, conduct research, and work with the two other graduate students with whom I share the office.

One of my office mates researches journalism history and the other studies fans of Dr. Who, which leads to some interesting conversations. It also results in an office that consists of a lot of books, some Dr. Who photos and a Tardis that was part of a Halloween costume.

The office certainly isn’t a palace. It’s messy, doesn’t have a view, and certainly isn’t in the best location. It does, however, have everything I need. We’ve got a refrigerator, a few computers, comfortable chairs, and most importantly a photo on my desk of my wife and daughter. These are the two people who serve as my motivation as I move forward towards receiving a doctorate.

My space isn’t always perfect. We had a water pipe burst above the ceiling in the first week of the fall semester, and the heat doesn’t always work in the way that it should.

But it’s a place where I can put on my headphones, concentrate and forget about the rest of the world.

Plus, I think we’re the only place on campus that has its own Tardis.