On May 23rd, the UCSB Geography Club hosted its first Grad Panel in Ellison 3621, which gave undergraduates the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with Geography graduate students. The Panel featured graduate students Nina Bingham, Sari Blakeley, Corbin Hodges, Marcela Suarez, and Bo Yan. Club members Avani Rathod and Chris Chien hosted the Q&A session, where graduate students shared their personal experiences navigating graduate school. Each of the panel participants had their own diverse background to speak from and were able to cover a wide array of topics ranging from attending graduate school abroad to identifying the right professor to work with. The Q&A was then followed by a mixer where graduate and undergraduate students could freely discuss any grad school topic, with refreshments provided.
Undergraduate students enjoyed hearing the graduate students’ stories and took to heart the many tips they had to share. Briant Fabela, a geography student, said, “The grad panel was very informative! It gave me a snapshot of what [graduate] studies are like and encouraged me to pursue them.” Likewise, geography student Jason Granados was equally enthused by the panel, saying, “The grad panel not only gave me a chance to… start thinking about graduate school, but to [also] begin thinking of research ideas to pursue…” Graduate students felt happy to share their experiences, with Sari Blakeley stating, “I was so pleased to be asked to join this panel, I wish that when I was an undergrad, a graduate student would have shared their knowledge with me.” Both undergraduate and graduate students alike were glad to participate in this event, which was a large success, full of laughter and helpful advice.