News & Announcements - Focus on Graduate Students

"It's given me extra motivation and time to focus on writing my dissertation that otherwise I may not have had," says Elizabeth McGinty on receiving the Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship.

Dissertation FellowshipThe Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship supports doctoral students in the final stage of completing their doctoral dissertations. Awards are offered to doctoral students with approved dissertation proposals or prospectuses. Recipients receive a stipend and tuition at the in-state rate.

These students' efforts are meant to be focused largely on writing their dissertations. Therefore, recipients are not permitted to hold any other forms of employment during the fellowship term.

Fellowships for this program have been awarded over the past three summers and each cohort of students has shown high success rates in completing their degrees. Of the nineteen summer 2010 recipients, only one student, as of June 2012, had not completed their degree. Twenty-three students received dissertation fellowships for summer 2011 and only four students have not completed their degrees as of June 2012 as well.

McGinty comments, "I was able to concentrate on my writing, as opposed to looking for a teaching position or an additional research position to help support me through this time. I would definitely advise students to apply for this fellowship. It is a phenomenal opportunity!"

In addition to the fellowship, a dissertation laboratory experience is offered to recipients, otherwise referred to as D-Lab. D- Lab helps students progress through the difficult process of writing their dissertation. Over the course of three days, D-Lab furnishes an environment and support for intense, focused, and productive writing. The program provides participants with the structure and motivation to overcome typical roadblocks in the dissertation process.

"I attended the dissertation lab", says McGinty. "It helped kick start the summer and the writing process. I received clarification to questions that I had, and also found answers to questions that I did not know I had. I was introduced to various writing resources."

Dissertation FellowshipMcGinty states that it is easy for graduate students to focus so much of their time within their own program, but that having participated in the D-Lab activities also helped her connect with other students from various programs. "I felt like I was part of a bigger community working towards the same goal."

"Overall this experience has been fantastic! I have been very fortunate to receive funding that allows me time and resources to succeed in graduate school and finish my degree."

McGinty's research focuses on examining the physiological stress responses of Symbiodinium species to elevated temperatures. "These algal symbionts, hosted by reef-building coral and other cnidarians, play a crucial role in the functioning of coral reef ecosystems. Understanding their response to thermal stress is critical for predicting how climate change will affect these ecosystems and planning appropriate conservation strategies." McGinty developed her interest in corals after having met her faculty mentor, Dr. Laura Mydlarz, whose research she considers to be really interesting and engaging.

Visit the Office of Graduate Studies website for more information about The Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship. Interested students may apply through their college or school.