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Entries in carol genetti (14)


A ‘Reinvented’ UCSB Library Opens 

Presiding at the UCSB Library ribbon-cutting are, from left, University Librarian Denise Stephens; UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang; Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall; Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Marc Fisher; GSA President Aaron Jones; and Associated Students President Jimmy Villareal. Credit: Monie Photography

The newly completed work on the UC Santa Barbara Library is more than just a renovation of its outdated buildings. The project is a reinvention of what an academic library at a top-tier research institution aspires to be and can be.

That’s how university officials are describing the state-of-the-art project, which was first proposed two decades ago. Two years of construction culminated last week with a festive “Reinventing the Library” grand opening ceremony, featuring speakers, dancers, musicians, a ribbon-cutting, a photo booth, and an open house.

Highlights of the celebration include, clockwise from left, an address by University Librarian Denise Stephens (credit: Patricia Marroquin); patrons entering the new library (credit: Sonia Fernandez, Office of Public Affairs and Communications); and the structure brightly lit at night (credit: Monie Photography).Key features and major components of the UCSB Library project, designed by Pfeiffer Partners Architects, include:

  • A three-story building addition on the north side of the library for Special Research Collections, with state-of-the art technology for preservation; Interdisciplinary Research Collaboratory; and 24-hour Learning Commons.
  • Complete renovation and seismic retrofit of the original two-story building to house the Art & Architecture Collection, plus additional study, gathering, collections, and exhibition spaces.
  • A new “Paseo,” or grand walkway, that connects all parts of the library as well as the east and west sides of campus, and serves as the library’s new entrance.
  • The addition of about 60,000 square feet and the renovation of about 92,000 square feet.
  • LEED Silver certification. Environmentally friendly features include recycled and regional building materials; reflective roof and ground; energy-efficient lighting; window filters; and water-saving steps such as low-flow faucets and drought-tolerant outdoor landscaping.
  • 20 percent more study space.
  • Expanded wireless access and more power outlets.
  • A sit-down eatery called the Summit Café.
  • Bright reading galleries.

GSA President Aaron Jones speaks at the ceremony. Credit: Monie PhotographyUniversity Librarian Denise Stephens told the GradPost that specific programs and areas will be of particular interest to grad students. “As both scholars and instructors,” she said, “graduate students will benefit from new library programs such as the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboratory, which encourages and inspires data creation and analysis across all disciplines; a new Graduate Study that allows for quiet individual work; and group study areas throughout that allow for conversation and collaboration. We hope the new library, designed in part with feedback from graduate students, will serve their needs and allow them to engage with information in the most productive and meaningful ways – online or on site.”

Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti said the building, with its new spaces, has stirred enthusiasm on campus. “It is thrilling to have the beautiful new library open, to walk through its halls, and to see that it has already become a significant locus of student study and interaction,” she said. “I predict it will become iconic for the campus, exemplifying the collaborative and interdisciplinary interaction that is the hallmark of UC Santa Barbara. The new resources, such as the Collaboratory and the redesigned special collections, will both enhance and accelerate graduate research. I’ve been on campus for more than 25 years and I’ve never before had the feeling that a new building was such a source of excitement and renewal. I couldn’t be more pleased!”

The grand opening ceremony featured speeches by University Librarian Denise Stephens; Chancellor Henry T. Yang; Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall; GSA President Aaron Jones; and Associated Students President Jimmy Villareal; as well as performances and music by students from the UCSB Departments of Music, and Theater & Dance.

Guests at the library's Open House were treated to "UCSBreakin'," a break-dancing performance in the Courtyard. Credit: Monie Photography

College of Creative Studies Dean Bruce Tiffney was among those posing with Dr. Seuss books in the photo booth. Photo courtesy of UCSB Library“I think the library has always been the heart and soul of the university,” Danelle Moon, head of the library’s  Special Research Collections, said in an Office of Public Affairs and Communications video, posted below. “You can just see the excitement on the students’ faces coming in and oohing and ahhing over the new building – the architecture, the furniture. … It’s telling that the students are embracing the importance and the significance of the library and through their studies they are going to be documenting the significance of what libraries hold, which is the history of the world.”

For more information about the UCSB Library, including entrances; new spaces and places; the new Summit Café; and events and exhibitions, visit the “Reinvented UCSB Library” page. And you may view a fun gallery of Dr. Seuss-themed photo-booth images in this Flickr album.

Dancers from the Department of Theater & Dance perform "Four Birds" on the library's Paseo Bridge. Credit: Karen Lindell, UCSB Library



Accomplishments and Hard Work Honored at 2015 Graduate Division Commencement Ceremony

More than 400 students received advanced degrees and certificates at UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division's Commencement. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Empowerment, discovery, achievement, and humanitarianism were the predominant themes during UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division’s Commencement celebration Sunday on the Faculty Club Green.  An audience of enthusiastic family and friends cheered on the 420 graduates as they received their master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and certificates.

Chancellor Henry T. Yang called the graduate students "indispensable partners." Credit: Patricia MarroquinChancellor Henry T. Yang acknowledged the hard work and sacrifices not only of the graduates but also of their families. “I know what it took to get you where you are today,” he told the students. “You have met the highest standards of our university and your professors,” he said.

“You as graduate students have been indispensable partners in our research and teaching work,” Chancellor Yang added. “In fact, when we recruit faculty, the excellence and diversity of our graduate students are key factors of attraction. Our undergraduates learn from you and see you as their inspirational role models. Our professors work with you and see you as our research collaborators.”

In her address, Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti told the graduates that they have become authorities in their fields. “This is a moment to recognize your empowerment,” she said.

“Your power and authority,” she added, “have come from countless hours spent in study and concentration – from pushing yourself to grasp original concepts and formulate new ideas; from applying your creativity to complex problems; from bringing into the light that which was previously invisible.”

Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti told the graduates it was their moment to recognize their empowerment. Credit: Patricia MarroquinAlong with that education comes a duty, Dean Genetti reminded the graduates. “Always remember that with the privilege of your advanced degree comes a profound responsibility to enable positive change.”

Commencement student speaker and Education doctoral candidate Mario Galicia Jr. had a similar message for his fellow graduates. He spoke about the faculty, colleagues, family, and friends who offered him guidance and support through the years and encouraged him to pursue his goals.

“They’ve taught me to believe in myself and trust in others, shifting my perspective in life from seeking what’s best for me to what’s best for us,” he said.

Student Speaker Mario Galicia Jr. led a Unity Clap for graduates. Credit: Patricia MarroquinHe encouraged graduates to “engage local youth organizations wherever you go from here. Reach out to them, tell them who you are, what you do. Ask how you can help. The way in which we treat our youth can make a huge difference with how our future will look. We can all begin by understanding the privilege that our degrees bestow upon us and finding a way to help others in a lesser situation.”

He ended his speech by leading the graduates in a rousing “communal moment”: the Unity Clap.

The keynote speaker, Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall, spoke of the value of research, whether visible or not.

Keynote speaker Dr. David Marshall spoke of the value of all research. Credit: Patricia Marroquin“Whatever our disciplines or career paths, we must argue for the value of voyages of discovery, voyages that take us through history to the origins of the universe, voyages that take us to the future,” he said. “We must demonstrate the value of what we do. But we must not lose sight of the value that may not be visible. Unsuspected Nobel Prizes, untold strokes of genius. … And this is the work that makes our university worth defending.”

The Winifred and Louis Lancaster Dissertation Awards were presented to Kenneth Hough and Patrick Keeley. Kenneth (Ph.D., History, 2014) was recognized as the Lancaster recipient for the best dissertation in the field of Arts and Humanities for his dissertation on imagining a Japanese conquest of the United States, 1900-1945. Patrick (Ph.D., Molecular, Cellular and Marine Biology, 2013) was the recipient of the Lancaster award for the best dissertation in the field of Biological and Life Sciences for his brain research.

Roxanna Van Norman's message is clear: She's a Gaucho forever. Credit: Patricia MarroquinThe ceremony included beautiful renditions of the National Anthem and the University Song by Keith Colclough, D.M.A. in Music.

In closing her address, Dean Genetti challenged the graduates. “You leave this institution with remarkable skills: of reasoning, discernment, ethics, communication, collaboration, research, and leadership,” she said. “Keep in touch with the campus. Stay involved. We wish you the best of luck and great success in all that life offers you.”

You may view an album of photos, Graduate Division Commencement 2015, on the GradPost Facebook page.


Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Credit: Patricia Marroquin


U.S. News & World Report Ranks UCSB No. 10 on Its List of Top Public National Universities

UC Santa Barbara is among the best public universities in the nation, once again ranking highly on U.S. News & World Report’s annual listing of the “Top 30 Public National Universities.” UCSB was ranked No. 10, moving up a spot in U.S. News’ rankings. On the magazine’s list of “Best National Universities,” which includes both public and private institutions, UCSB also did well, moving up to No. 40 in a tie with Pennsylvania's Lehigh University.

The rankings are part of U.S. News’ 2015 edition of Best Colleges, which includes data on nearly 1,800 institutions nationwide. The colleges and universities are ranked on about 16 measures of academic excellence, including research, faculty resources, and commitment to instruction.

UCSB’s graduate students and the high quality of its graduate programs no doubt contributed to the top rankings. Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti was pleased but not surprised that UCSB ranked so highly.

“It is exciting to see that UCSB is again ranked within the top 10 public universities,” said Dean Genetti.  “Our recipe for success includes our highly distinguished faculty, brilliant graduate students from across the world, and remarkable undergraduates who are eager to join in the research enterprise. But especially important is our campus leadership that works to enable discovery and scholarship, and brings to fruition the creative ideas and cross-disciplinary programs that our campus is known for.”

University of California campuses dominated the top 10 list of public national universities. UC Berkeley was No. 1; UCLA placed No 2 in a tie with the University of Virginia; UC San Diego was No. 8; and UC Davis was in the No. 9 spot. UC Irvine followed closely behind UCSB at No. 11 on the public national universities list.

UCSB’s College of Engineering was also recognized, placing No. 20 among engineering schools at the nation’s public universities.

For more information, read the Office of Public Affairs’ news release, “A Top 10 University.” Also, read U.S. News’ blog article and its complete rankings.

Congratulations to UC Santa Barbara and all the other UC campuses that made this distinguished list!


Message from the UCSB Graduate Division Dean About the Isla Vista Tragedy

Dear Graduate Students,

I know that like me you are both shocked and deeply saddened by the events in Isla Vista last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by this tragedy. We send our most heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims.

As graduate students you are at the center of our university. Many of you live in or near Isla Vista and most serve as friends, teachers, and mentors to our undergraduates. One cannot help but feel shaken by this tragedy, and it is an emotional day for many.

Please reach out to any fellow graduate students who might need support. Counseling services are available: There is a 24/7 UCSB counseling hotline for emergency support and referrals at (805) 893-4411. In addition, professional counseling support is available on campus today (May 24) at the Student Resource Building.

The University is closely monitoring the situation and will be updating the following site:

Any news specific to graduate students will be placed on the GradPost news blog ( and GradPost Facebook page ( We all stand in solidarity and support with our UCSB community. Please feel free to contact me directly at if you wish to comment or express concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Carol Genetti
UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division

Other resources

Call Center for community members and parents with questions: (805) 893-3901

Community 24/7 Disaster Distress Hotline: (800) 985-5990

Hillel (781 Embarcadero del Norte) and St. Marks (6550 Picasso) in Isla Vista are open and available today.


2 UCSB Ph.D. Students Shed Light on Research During Graduate Research Advocacy Day in Sacramento

From left, UCSB Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti, Film and Media Studies Ph.D. student John Vanderhoef, Assemblymember Das Williams, and Materials Ph.D. student Cyrus Dreyer. Credit: Pamela Jennings, UCOP

From Media to Materials, the important graduate research being conducted across UC campuses topped state legislators’ agendas March 12 during the 5th annual Graduate Research Advocacy Day in Sacramento. Two UCSB doctoral students, Cyrus Dreyer of Materials and John Vanderhoef of Film and Media Studies, were among a contingent of more than 20 grad students, administrators, and deans from all 10 UC campuses who came to the Capitol with a strong message: UC graduate students are critical to the research that improves quality of life and brings millions of dollars of investment to California.

John said the “fast-paced and whirlwind day” began at 8:30 a.m. in the Governor’s Council Room, where the UC group gathered for breakfast. They were welcomed by Senator Bill Monning, who represents the 17th Senate District. Others who offered remarks included Graduate Research Advocacy Day Co-Chairs Dean Kim Barrett (UC San Diego) and Dean Chris Kello (UC Merced); and Steve Juarez, Associate Vice President and Director of UCOP State Government Relations.

After a hot breakfast and warm welcomes, John and Cyrus, who were joined on this trip by UCSB Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti and UCSB Director of Governmental Relations Kirsten Z. Deshler, attended a series of meetings with local lawmakers or their representatives “to stress the important work graduate students at UCSB do,” John said.

For John, a third-year Film and Media Studies Ph.D. student, that research work focuses on “attempts to map alternative video game production networks and their relationship to the dominant networks of the transnational gaming industry in order to examine the many and variable ways once-‘marginal’ game development communities have actually come to occupy the robust ‘center’ of gaming cultures and industry.”

The day’s meetings included conversations with Senior Policy Analyst Daniel Rounds, who stood in for Senator Hannah Beth Jackson; a representative of Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian (35th District); UCSB grad alum and Assemblymember Das Williams (37th District); and Douglas Lorenz, Communications Director for the Office of Assemblymember Jeff Gorell (44th District).  

This year, lunch was followed by a question-and-answer session with UC’s new President, Janet Napolitano, and Nobel Laureate Dr. Randy Schekman of UC Berkeley. You may read the Sacramento Bee's interview with President Napolitano. 

UC President Janet Napolitano, center in blue jacket, and Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman, next to her, were among the UC delegation at Graduate Research Advocacy Day in Sacramento. Credit: Melani King, UC Berkeley Public Affairs

John said he welcomed the opportunity to discuss with legislative representatives a Carsey-Wolf Center initiative he has worked on for two years. The Media Industries Project, he said, includes “our dynamic work with the Connected Viewing Initiative, a research collaboration with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and our new Creative Labor Initiative, where we address concerns that range from conglomeration and globalization to working conditions, compensation, and benefits for creative labor. I also spent time talking about my dissertation work that focuses more on the changing dynamics of the global video game industry, an industry that contributes over $2.16 billion to California’s economy annually, according to a 2009 study conducted by the ESA (Entertainment Software Association).”

For John, who would like to find a post-doc or tenure-track faculty position after he graduates, the day provided “an opportunity to show how humanities graduate research can and does matter as much as more instrumental research in the hard sciences and engineering schools.”

"We wanted [legislators] to understand that the graduate programs make significant contributions that are distinct [from undergraduate programs] and should be kept in mind when considering
the impact of the UCs.”
–Cyrus Dreyer, UCSB Materials Ph.D. student

Representing that science and engineering side of UCSB research was Cyrus Dreyer, a 5th-year Ph.D. student in Materials. Cyrus’ research “involves using computational techniques to explore the materials properties of group III nitride materials, which have applications as light-emitting diodes for efficient general lighting, laser diodes for displays and optical storage, and power electronics used to convert electricity between alternating and direct current without loss of power.”

In his meetings with legislative representatives, Cyrus stressed two issues. “First, I discussed (in the context of my own research) how grad student research is driving innovation in important areas like energy efficiency, alternative energy, and sustainability. Second, I pointed out how the UC system nurtures entrepreneurship and allows these technological advances to be taken out of the lab and into industry, both by professors and graduate students,” he said.

Assemblymember Das Williams, left, “was very engaged and interested in my research," said UCSB Ph.D. student Cyrus Dreyer. Credit: Pamela Jennings, UCOP“Our concerns,” he said, “were general ones that mostly dealt with raising awareness for graduate students, so when decisions are made about funding the UCs, the legislators do not only think about it in terms of the benefits of undergraduate education. We wanted them to understand that the graduate programs make significant contributions that are distinct and should be kept in mind when considering the impact of the UCs.”

The highlight of the day for Cyrus was meeting Assemblymember Williams. “He was very engaged and interested in my research. Also, it was refreshing to meet a legislator who seemed to have wide knowledge and interest in science and academics.”

Cyrus found his conversations with representatives to be positive. “The legislators or their staff members were very interested in hearing about our research and excited about the implications, in the context of general scientific advancement as well as the economic benefit to the state from high-tech start-ups and the scientific training of grad students in general,” he said.

“Attending Graduate Research Advocacy Day was an interesting window into the legislative process,” Cyrus said. “I never realized that direct interaction with legislators and their staff was possible. It provided an option for involvement if/when I have a more specific concern about the way an issue has been legislated. After graduation, I hope to remain in academia and become a professor at a research university. The interaction that the advocacy day provided presented a model for how to constructively influence policy decisions that will influence my career, such as funding for universities and research in general.”

John thanked Film and Media Studies Professor Michael Curtin for recommending him and called UCSB Graduate Division Dean Genetti and Deshler "some of the best evangelists for UC graduate student research."

It was the second year Dr. Genetti participated in the event as Dean of the Graduate Division. “UC Graduate Advocacy Day is a great opportunity to remind lawmakers of the importance of our graduate programs," she said. "This year the presence of President Napolitano and Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman significantly amplified this message. I was so impressed by our students, who were effective and articulate advocates, and beautifully demonstrated the impact of their research for the state of California.” 


  • UC awards more than 4,000 Ph.D.s a year, 8 percent of the nation’s Ph.D.s.
  • In California, UC awards 65 percent of all doctorates, and 70 percent of those awarded in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • More than 20 UC doctoral students have gone on to win a Nobel Prize.
  • One quarter of all UC and California State University faculty received their Ph.D.s from a UC graduate program.
  • UC Ph.D. earners are strongly represented in the workforce in fields outside of academia. Among UC graduate degree recipients working in California in 2012, about half went into sectors other than higher education, including government, medicine, business and manufacturing, engineering, and K-12 education.
  • UC researchers produced 1,727 new inventions in 2013, an average of nearly five a day.
  • UC research hatched 71 start-up companies in 2013. To date, some 640 startup companies have been formed with UC inventions or by UC researchers, many based on innovations that UC graduate students helped pioneer.

For more facts, view the University of California’s “The facts: UC graduate research.”

And for more information about UCSB grad students’ previous participation in Graduate Research Advocacy Day, read our GradPost coverage in 2012 and 2013: 

2 UCSB Ph.D. Students’ Voices Are Heard in State Capital on Graduate Research Advocacy Day, 2013

UCSB Grad Students Discuss Research During Sacramento Advocacy Day, 2012


Why I Love UCSB: A Special Valentine’s Day Video

Students in UCSB's Modern Dance I class show their love for the university.

Graduate Division Assistant Dean Christian Villasenor with his wife, Briana, and youngest son Matias.It’s easy to love UCSB, for so many reasons.

We love it for its natural scenic beauty; for the excellent quality of education; for its talented scientists, dancers, musicians, athletes, researchers, faculty, and staff.

And, of course, we love our exceptional graduate students.

The Office of Public Affairs and Communications has created a “love letter” in the form of a video.

Students, faculty, and staff tell the world why they love UC Santa Barbara.

The video, shot by Spencer Bruttig, features some familiar faces: Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti; and Graduate Division Assistant Dean Christian Villasenor, along with his wife Briana and youngest son, Matias.




Enjoy the video, and Happy Valentine’s Day from The GradPost!





2 UCSB Ph.D. Students’ Voices Are Heard in State Capital on Graduate Research Advocacy Day


The UCSB group poses with state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, center. They are, from left: Monica Solorzano, Dean Carol Genetti, Emily Rivest, and Jessica Bradshaw.

Amid the noisy crowd of constituents navigating a maze of hallways and offices at the California State Capitol building, it’s possible for the voices of two UC Santa Barbara grad student researchers to be heard. State legislators heard those voices on June 4 during University of California’s 4th Graduate Research Advocacy Day.

Jessica Bradshaw from Education’s Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology; and Emily Rivest of the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology were among a contingent of 20 Ph.D. students from all 10 UC campuses who traveled to Sacramento to meet with members of the legislature and the administration. Their message and mission were simple yet vital: Explain the value and impact that their work has not only on California but also on the nation and the world.

Ph.D. students Jessica Bradshaw and Emily Rivest represented UCSB at Graduate Research Advocacy Day. Using Governor Jerry Brown’s conference room as a base camp for the day, the UCSB students visited with several state assembly members and senators from the local area to discuss the importance of graduate research and to describe their own research projects. “Despite the differing political leaning of each legislator, all parties were excited to meet with students who are a part of their constituency and were very engaged in the discussion about graduate research,” said Jessica, a third-year Ph.D. student whose work focuses on discovering behavioral methods “for identifying infants in the first year of life who are exhibiting early behavioral symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).”  

I was delighted that each legislator was engaged during our meetings and generally interested in what I had to say,” said Emily, a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate who studies how the natural marine resources of California, which are crucial to the livelihoods of many of the state’s residents, are vulnerable to climate change. “These state senators and assembly members see so many people every day, all year long,” she added, “that I was thrilled they asked me questions about my research and read over the fact sheet that I had prepared.”  

The local legislators Jessica and Emily met with were: Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, 44th District; state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, representing Senate District 19; Assemblyman Das Williams, representative of the 37th District and a UCSB grad alum; and Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, 35th District.

"It is important for [legislators] to know that graduate students can do more than just spend 10 hours a day isolated in a research lab. We have a real ability to make immediate, positive contributions to society.” 
-UCSB Ph.D. student Jessica Bradshaw

One highlight for Jessica came when Assemblyman Achadjian queried her in-depth about her research focus: autism. “He was particularly interested in learning about autism, e.g., what are the early signs of autism, and exactly how does the intervention work. He even asked my opinion concerning treatment for autism as it relates to current political debates regarding funding for autism intervention. It was great to know that the legislators not only took time out of their hectic schedules to meet with us, but respected us as researchers and experts in our field.”

Jessica explained to the legislators she met with how graduate research can make an immediate impact on the issues California is grappling with today, such as public health and the economy. “I have been able to provide intervention services and assessment to dozens of infants and toddlers in the local Santa Barbara area,” she said. “I have provided workshops on autism awareness and intervention techniques, and I have trained undergraduate research assistants in autism intervention and research techniques. It is important for them to know that graduate students can do more than just spend 10 hours a day isolated in a research lab. We have a real ability to make immediate, positive contributions to society.”  

UCSB grad students Emily Rivest and Jessica Bradshaw meet with state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson.Emily was both surprised and honored by one encounter during the day. “My most memorable moment was when, after explaining how my graduate research contributes to the conservation of California's marine resources under climate change, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson's staffer asked me directly what legislation I would put forward for this issue that the senator could support. I was so surprised! Honored to receive this vote of confidence in my expertise and credibility as a young scientist, I will continue to work with Sen. Jackson and her staffers to develop and support legislation that will decrease the vulnerability of our state's coastal marine resources to climate change.”

Jessica found the day to be both rewarding and inspiring. “It was rewarding to participate in a day that celebrates our work as graduate students and convey the importance of state funding in the survival of graduate student research to the people who are in the position to make a difference,” she said. “I was inspired by the energy of everyone involved, including the legislators. I left with the hope that through hearing our personal stories and realizing the passion we have about our work, state government will begin to understand the significance of graduate research and its impact beyond our personal pursuits.”

The entire UC contingent attending UC Graduate Research Advocacy Day.Emily said it meant a lot to her to participate in the day. “It was my chance to give back to the university graduate program that has launched my career over the past five years. I have grown tremendously at UCSB and feel that the graduate students as well as their incredible, envelope-pushing, relevant work are worthy of continued investment,” she said. She hoped that by sharing her research with the legislators, she helped to “renew their enthusiasm for the asset that is UC graduate research to the state of California and the globe.”

Accompanying Jessica and Emily in Sacramento were Monica Solorzano, UCSB’s Assistant Director, Governmental Relations; and Graduate Division Dean Dr. Carol Genetti.

"Being able to showcase our graduate students and their research is one of the most rewarding parts of advocating for the university,” Solorzano said. “Graduate Research Day is an opportunity for state legislators to see firsthand the important contributions that our students are making, not only to California, but to the nation and the world."

Dean Genetti noted that everyone benefited from the day. “It was a great opportunity for all involved,” said Dean Genetti. “The students were highly impressive and clearly generated interest in the various offices that we visited. Both plan on following up with some of the contacts we made. I think the day also raised the students’ awareness of their potential for agency in influencing change at the policy level, in their own research areas and in higher education.”

The students clearly made a positive impact on Senator Jackson. On her Facebook page the next day, she wrote this:

“Really impressed by the graduate students from UC Santa Barbara that I met yesterday. They’re building California’s brain trust, researching vital issues like autism and climate change, and working to make a difference in our state!”

For more information, read our GradPost article about  last year’s Research Advocacy Day; the UC Office of the President’s article about this year’s event, “Grad students are driving force behind research”;  and UCOP’s Graduate Research Advocacy Day page.


Video Highlights of UCSB Graduate Division’s 2013 Commencement

Grad students file in for UCSB Graduate Division's Commencement ceremony on June 16. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

As we reported in a previous GradPost article, there was much to celebrate at Graduate Division’s recent  Commencement ceremony. The audience heard impassioned pleas to believe in themselves, share their knowledge, and thank their mentors. Dads were wished a very happy Father’s Day. And the audience even heard the titles of all 455 graduates’ dissertations and theses.

We’ve put together a video with highlights from this celebratory day. Enjoy!


Awards, Advice, and Milestones Mark UCSB Graduate Division’s 2013 Commencement Ceremony

Graduates enjoy the keynote speech by Jason Loewith at UCSB Graduate Division's 2013 Commencement ceremony. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

There was much to celebrate at the eighth and final 2013 Commencement ceremony at UC Santa Barbara. The audience at Graduate Division’s Commencement on Sunday afternoon heard about milestones and accomplishments. They heard impassioned pleas to believe in themselves, share their knowledge, and thank their mentors. Dads were wished a very happy Father’s Day. And the audience even heard the titles of all 455 graduates’ dissertations and theses.

Dr. Carol Genetti presided over her first Commencement as Graduate Division Dean. Credit: Patricia MarroquinDr. Carol Genetti, presiding over her first Commencement as Dean of the Graduate Division, noted that UCSB is marking a special anniversary this year. Fifty years ago, in the 1962-63 academic year, UC Santa Barbara awarded its first doctoral degrees. When the graduates in the 2012-13 class are counted, she said, the total number of doctoral degrees conferred at UCSB now tops 9,000; and master’s degrees number 22,000.

Dean Genetti expressed the hope that each graduate may live a joyous life. “Find whatever it is that brings you joy and incorporate it into each and every day,” she told them, “so you can apply yourself and give your very best to that which most excites you.” She also encouraged the graduates to “work for positive change,” no matter what paths they may pursue.

"You have all proven yourselves worthy of the title 'expert,'" keynote speaker and UCSB grad alum Jason Loewith told graduates. "I ask you to share your expertise." Credit: Patricia MarroquinA lively Keynote Address was given by Jason Loewith, a 1992 Dramatic Art Master’s alum and the artistic director of Olney Theatre Center in Washington, D.C. His rousing speech even had students up on their feet.

After welcoming, among others, “the entire ‘deanery,’ a word I’ve always wanted to use out loud,” Loewith spoke of the trials, tribulations, and risks he took in his career in the theater that ultimately led him to “a charmed and fortunate life.”

His intent, he said, was to show that “finding the proper balance between blind trust in your talents on the one hand, and crippling doubt about them on the other, is the task before you.”

Loewith asked all the graduates to stand and, on the count of three, he had them all shout out the titles of their dissertations or theses, drawing laughter from the grads as well as their guests.

"You have all proven yourselves worthy of the title ‘expert,’” he told them after this humorous exercise. “And I ask you to share your expertise. Because knowledge is not a commodity to be bought or sold.”

Among the other advice Loewith gave to the graduates:

"It's up to us to stay thirsty for knowledge," student Commencement speaker Rusha Al-Rawaf told graduates. Credit: Patricia MarroquinCollaborate not only with those in your field, but colleagues outside of it. Don’t let fear stop you from taking risks. And remember to thank your mentors.

Graduate Division’s student speaker, Rusha Al-Rawaf (MA, Education), borrowed advice she received as a child from her parents.

“Always believe in yourself,” Rusha told the grads. “Don’t wait for others to do so. Instead, be your own biggest advocate. If you don’t believe in yourself, how do you expect others to do so?”

Rusha reminded the graduates that they haven’t learned everything. “UCSB has given us the tools, the foundation, and the expertise, but it’s up to us to stay thirsty for knowledge. We should not just continue to learn but also bring our enthusiasm to others so that they too might experience the love and passion for knowledge that has brought us together here today.” With that in mind, she asked the graduates to thank UCSB educators, and other teachers they’ve learned from throughout their lives, calling them the “unsung heroes.”

Thomas Reed, doctoral candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering, was recognized for winning the University Award of Distinction, given for exceptional involvement and achievement in campus or community activities. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Other acknowledgments and awards included these:

Recipients of the Winifred and Louis Lancaster Dissertation Awards, which consist of a plaque and a $1,000 honorarium, were announced. As determined by the Council of Graduate School competition, the two academic areas selected for this year’s award were Humanities and Fine Arts; and Biological and Life Sciences. Matthew Recla won the award for best dissertation in the field of Humanities and Fine Arts.  He earned his Ph.D. in Religious Studies in Fall 2012. The Lancaster Award for the best dissertation in the field of Biological and Life Sciences went to Misty Riddle, who earned her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology this spring.

Jingyu Huo was acknowledged as UCSB's first Ph.D. recipient in East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

A proud teacher graduate at the Events Center. Credit: Patricia MarroquinDean Genetti gave special recognition to two students. Thomas Reed, doctoral candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering, was acknowledged for winning the University Award of Distinction, given for exceptional involvement and achievement in campus or community activities. She noted his extraordinary leadership in establishing a chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society on campus, among other accomplishments. And Jingyu Huo was acknowledged as the first Ph.D. recipient in East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies.

For the second consecutive year, the ceremony was streamed live via a webcast, and could be seen throughout the country and the world.

The UCSB Office of Public Affairs and Communications created a Commencement page on Storify this year, and it includes photos, videos, Tweets, stories, and more from all eight of the UCSB Commencements. Check it out. You may also view more of the GradPost’s photos in our Graduate Division Commencement 2013 album on Facebook, and if you haven’t already “liked” our Facebook page, we encourage you to do so. View highlights of the day in our 2013 Graduate Division Commencement video.

Congratulations to all Graduate Division graduates!

Happy graduates stream out after the ceremony. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Opera, Posters, AlloSphere, and 3-Minute Talks Highlight a Day of Graduate Student Showcase Events 

The nine Grad Slam finalists: From left, Bob Lansdorp, Mohammad Mirzadeh, Peter Mage, Torrey Trust, Jasmin Llamas, Misty Riddle, Cyrus Dreyer, Britney Pennington, and Briana Simmons. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

A lively Performance Showcase with opera and play readings, a dazzling 3D tour of the AlloSphere, and a Poster Showcase featuring more than a dozen exhibits were among the events that preceded UC Santa Barbara's Grad Slam Finals and Graduate Student Reception on Friday afternoon.

Grad Slam Grand Prize Winner Peter Mage with finalists Misty Riddle and Britney Pennington. Credit: Patricia MarroquinIn welcoming the audience to the Grad Slam Finals, part of Graduate Student Showcase, Dr. Carol Genetti, Dean of the Graduate Division, thanked the sponsors, the judges for each of the rounds, and all those who worked to plan Graduate Student Showcase events, especially Retention Services Director Whitney Winn, who she called “the organizational genius behind the Showcase.”

“Most of all,” Dr. Genetti said, “I want to thank the graduate students themselves, all of the participants who have taken the time out of their very busy lives to enrich us with their work, their thoughts, and their grand ideas.”

She praised the diversity of the more than 80 talks, on topics including mathematical symmetry,  quantum computing, U.S. diplomacy with Cuba, kelp beds, even effective hand-washing.

“This Showcase has given us the opportunity to hear from passionate scholars and to connect with the big ideas at the creative cutting edge,” Dr. Genetti said.  “Graduate students both reflect and enable their faculty, and the synergy between these populations is the central force, the fuel, that drives research productivity on this campus.”

The following are the nine Grad Slam finalists, their disciplines, and the titles of their talks.

Bob Lansdorp, Materials, “How Do Nano-Motors Unzip Your Genes?”

Jasmin Llamas, Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, “The Importance of Familia for Latina/o College Students: Examining Familial Support on Intragroup Marginalization”

Torrey Trust, Education, “K-12 Tech Tools Database: Understanding How Open Educational Resources Shape Student Learning”

Misty Riddle, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, “Reprogramming Cell Fate and Remodeling Organs in a Tiny Worm”

Mohammad Mirzadeh, Mechanical Engineering, “Direct Numerical Simulation of Supercapacitors' Charging Dynamics”

Britney Pennington, Biomolecular Science and Engineering, “Directly Reprogramming Human Cells to Treat Ocular Diseases”

Cyrus Dreyer, Materials, “Lighting the World From the Head of a Pin: Engineering Across Length Scales”

Peter Mage, Materials, “Taking the Guesswork Out of Medicine: Sensors, Steamships, and Loops”

Briana Simmons, History of Art & Architecture, “The Plantation Economy: Material Culture, Architecture, and Global Exchange in Nineteenth-Century Brazil”

Grad student Brian Granger introduces a reading of his play, "Cold Hill Road." Credit: Patricia MarroquinAfter spirited presentations, the judges left the auditorium to deliberate while the audience asked questions of the finalists. When the judges returned, the top three finishers were announced: Misty Riddle, Peter Mage, and Britney Pennington. The Grand Prize winner of a $2,500 research fund is Peter Mage. Misty and Britney each received $1,000 research funds.

Following the Grad Slam, students and their guests dined on Middle Eastern fare on the Hatlen Theater patio while enjoying the Indian and Middle Eastern music of Professor Scott Marcus’ grad students. Before the Finals, a Graduate Playwrights’ Showcase featured new work of grad students Gregory Dodds ("The Happiest Place on Earth"), Donald Molosi ("Dear Zibanani"), and Brian Granger ("Cold Hill Road").


Coverage of each of the preliminary Grad Slam rounds may be found here:

Grad Slam Round 1: Students Impress Panel of Judges With Their Research

Grad Slam Round 2 Recap: Superman to Smarty Pants, and More

Grad Slam Round 3 Recap: Solar Cells, Exploding Brains, and More

Grad Slam Round 4 Recap: From Curing Diseases to Finding Happiness

Grad Slam Round 5 Recap: From Lighting the World to Feeding the Hungry

Grad Slam Round 6 Recap: Rethinking Time, Energy, and the History of Products

Grad Slam Round 7 Recap: Talks Include Diseases and Disasters, Unions and Unicorns

Grad Slam Round 8 Recap: From Suburban Sprawl to Super-Capacitors

Grad Slam Round 9 Recap: Natural Resources, Near-Death Experiences Among Talks in Last Qualifying Round

Guests got a 3D tour of the AlloSphere, taking a simulated peek inside the brain, top, and the arteries of a human body. Credit: Patricia Marroquin