Neuroscience doctoral student awarded prestigious Chateaubriand Fellowship
From the UWM Department of Psychology
Neuroscience doctoral student Nicholas Balderston, has been awarded the prestigious Chateaubriand Fellowship in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) from the Office for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in the United States. The fellowship is designed to allow American students to benefit from experience in some of the best laboratories in France. The program also promotes scientific cooperation between France and the United States. Awards are based on the quality and relevance of the proposed research project, as well as the student's prior scientific achievement. With only 28 such fellowships awarded last year spanning all scientific disciplines, this highly competitive award will support Balderston's nine-month stay in Paris.
As a graduate student in psychology Professor Fred Helmstetter's laboratory at UWM, Balderston has completed several high-profile neuroimaging projects, the results of which have been published in high-ranking academic journals. In his most recent project he investigated how the emotion centers of the brain respond to faces during unconscious emotional learning. During his fellowship he will investigate how these brain areas contribute to conscious awareness during emotional learning. As part of the project he will combine multiple neuroimaging methodologies to peer deep into the human brain, and non-invasively record brain activity with timing accurate down to the millisecond.
As a fellow, Balderston will work with Dr. Catherine Tallon-Baudry in the Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives at Ecole Normale Supérieure. This lab uses magnetoencephalography (MEG) to record brain activity in real time. A leader in her field,. Tallon-Baudry specializes in using these signals to determine which areas of the brain are communicating with one another during conscious object perception. With her guidance, Balderston will extend her methodology to determine how the emotion centers of the brain communicate with other neural networks during emotional learning.
UWM now offers electronic submission of theses and dissertations
Optional this summer; mandatory starting Fall 2012
After completing a thesis or dissertation, the average UWM graduate student packs it into a box and marks the culmination of years of work with a walk to Graduate Student Services or a trip to the post office.
But starting this summer, graduate students can skip the trek to the second floor of Mitchell Hall—and all that printing, packaging, and postage—and simply click “Submit” on the ETD (Electronic Theses and Dissertations) Administrator Web site.
UWM has joined almost 400 other U.S. colleges and universities who use the site, operated by ProQuest, a national repository for dissertations and theses.
“In the past,” Interim Dean of the Graduate School David Yu wrote in a July13 e-mail to faculty, “students might print their manuscript dozens of times, making changes as they progressed through the various stages of review and, in the end, provide their paper document to the Graduate School for submission to the library and ProQuest.
“At ProQuest, the documents were updated to their electronic counterparts,” Yu continued. “Whereas paper copies can spend months waiting to be bound and distributed, the new ‘ETDs’ are made available online in a matter of days, making the student's research and achievement available to the public almost immediately.”
Other advantages Yu cited include long-term archiving and the ability to include audio or multimedia files in their submissions. Students will still have the same options to publish traditionally or with open access.
UWM’s first electronic dissertation was submitted July 16 by Ayala Gorodzinsky, a psychology student whose dissertation explores parents’ approaches to treating their children’s pain at home.
Gorodzinsky submitted her printed master’s thesis to the Graduate School in 2010. While she admits missing the feeling of holding the finished project in her hands this time around, she says the new system was a better option. “The time to prepare and submit electronically is much less, especially given that I am not on campus very often anymore,” she says. “I did not have to make an appointment to see [the doctoral student specialist] for approval. I was able to submit the extra forms to the Graduate School at my leisure after the electronic submission was completed.”
She is quick to add that the new system did not come at the expense of support from Graduate School staff. “[They] were still very helpful and available, despite using the electronic submission process instead of the traditional process.”
Pat Hayes, the doctoral student specialist in the Graduate School, praises the system’s efficiency. “There are very few opportunities for human error,” she says.
Hayes says it took some time to persuade everyone on campus to adopt the ETD system, but it’s been worth the wait.
“I thought I'd be retired by now,” she says. “I'm glad I'm not. It's really a big deal around here.”
Electronic submission is optional for UWM graduate students this summer. It will be mandatory beginning in the fall term.
Erin Fox, new Director of Graduate Education
The newly created position of Director of Graduate Education in the Graduate School was filled this summer by Erin Fox, who was most recently the director of graduate admissions at Marquette University, where she spent more than 10 years.
In the UWM Graduate School, Fox supervises Graduate Student Service (GSS), as well as the newly formed Recruitment, Retention, Fellowship, and Diversity (RRFD) unit.
At UWM since June 1, Fox has been a quick study. “I am eager to identify the opportunities that lie ahead for the Graduate School,” she says. "We have a really great team here. Graduate School staff members genuinely care for our students and work very hard to meet their needs. That's the key to our future success."
As Director of Graduate Education, Fox joins Tom Marcussen (Director of Sponsored Programs), Kathleen Koch (Director of Strategic Initiatives in Research, Education and Scholarship), Mark Harris (Special Assistant to the Chancellor), the Graduate School Associate Deans, and Interim Dean David Yu as part of the Graduate School leadership team.
Besides directing graduate admissions at Marquette, she was the school’s assistant director for student records and assistant director for recruitment.
Biomedical and Health Informatics Dissertation Award winner
From the Medical Informatics PhD program
The UWM Medical Informatics doctoral program steering committee has named Shashank Agarwal the 2011 winner of the UWM Biomedical and Health Informatics Dissertation Award, which recognizes the dissertator who best represents the goals of the program, including excellence in scholarly and academic achievement.
Agarwal's dissertation is titled "Integrating Information Retrieval, Image Processing, Summarization, Natural Language Processing, and User Interfacing for Phenotype-Genotype Association." His degree is expected in Spring 2012.
In his four years at UWM, Mr. Agarwal has maintained a 4.0 GPA and has published 15 peer-reviewed papers, including journal articles in BMC Biomedical Informatics, Bioinformatics, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioninformatics, the Journal of Biomedical Informatics the Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration, and the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. He is a member of the American Medical Informatics Association. His advisor is Dr. Hong Yu.
The UWM Biomedical and Health Informatics Dissertation Award is open to students who have passed their preliminary exam and are in the last 12 months of completing the UWM medical informatics doctoral program. By offering this award, the program hopes to promote academic excellence and to encourage participation in scholarly and professional activities of the discipline. The award is a one-semester financial award of $4,000 and public recognition of the accomplishment.
Evaluation of applications take the following criteria into account: academic record at UWM; peer-reviewed publications; presentations at meetings of national and international professional societies; and membership in national or international professional societies. To be considered, a student must provide a letter describing his or her eligibility and qualifications, as well as a copy of his/her transcript and letters of recommendation. One of the letters must be from the applicant's faculty advisor, confirming the student's eligibility. (Applicants may also provide additional supporting materials, such as a receipt confirming membership in a professional society.)
March 28, 2011
Updated statement on graduate assistant tuition remission
From Colin Scanes, Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development
We care about our students, faculty, staff and our mission supporting the people and communities of the metropolitan region. UWM has no intention of rescinding tuition remissions for graduate assistants. Stipends for TAs and PAs for the 2011-2013 biennium will be the same as the 2009-2011 biennium.
Statements related to the Budget Repair Bill
March 7, 2011
From Colin Scanes, Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development
You may have seen that the Governor sent layoff notices to the various unions. You should know that the MGAA (and the TAA at UW-Madison) were specifically excluded from the list of unions getting those notices.
February 25, 2011
Graduate assistant tuition remission
From Colin Scanes, Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development and Dean of the Graduate School and Johannes Britz, Interim Provost
UWM will continue offering tuition remission to eligible graduate assistants (those with equal to or more that 33% appointments) for 2011-2012; you can use the current template for appointing GA.
There will be no reduction to the level of Chancellor's Graduate Student Awards (CGSA) funding; it will remain at the previously approved level of $2,157,000, for 2011-2012.
February 21, 2011
Interim Provost's message to graduate assistants
From Johannes Britz, Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Dear colleague, I understand the difficult nature of the times ahead of us as the Governor’s budget repair bill and the state’s budget issues will have a far-reaching impact on all state employees, including all of faculty, academic staff, graduate assistants, and classified staff.
The UWM faculty, students, and administration value highly the work done by our teaching and project assistants. While we cannot influence the decision to include higher health insurance contributions in the budget repair bill, we will work our hardest to preserve your appointments, stipends and tuition remissions at UWM. UWM cannot achieve its mission and its strategic goals without a strong body of graduate students many of whom work as graduate assistants in various capacities.
During these difficult times, it is also important that everything is done to project a positive image of what we all do at UWM—teach and support our students, engage in scholarship and research, and provide service to our professions and to the community. In this context, I would urge you to meet all of your obligations to students without fail. UWM administration supports your right as an individual to express your opinions and will work hard to support you in all possible ways. In return, I ask that you do not cancel any of your classes or office hours for students. It is important that we send a message to the public that we, collectively, do sincerely care about our students' education. If you need to miss a class for a legitimate reason, please contact your department chair or supervisor to arrange for coverage rather than canceling the class.
Thank you for your understanding and take care.
February 19, 2011
Statements regarding present and future graduate assistants
From Colin Scanes, Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development and Dean of the Graduate School
Tuition remissions: UWM has no intention of rescinding tuition remissions for graduate assistants.
Rumors circulating on assistantships for next year: There has been concern raised as to what stipends can be offered to incoming graduate students. I am very confident that the present, albeit not nationally competitive, stipends will also apply for 2011-2012.
New CIE International Graduate Student Orientations
The Center for International Education will be offering two new international student orientations this fall for new incoming international graduate students. Below are the dates, times, locations, and material covered. ALL new incoming international students must attend an orientation.
Thursday, August 19
8:30 AM to 4:30 PM • Hefter Center
This comprehensive orientation will cover mandatory immigration regulations on how to maintain status, academics (academic success, misconduct, plagiarism, etc.), cultural adjustment and culture shock issues, health insurance, knowing your rights in the US as an international student, lunch, and additional topics. This is a good orientation for students new to the US or who wish to meet new people prior to their program starting.
Tuesday, August 31
12:00 - 4:00 p.m. • Curtin Hall 175
This "Just the Facts" orientation will cover the mandatory immigration regulations on how to maintain status, academics, and health insurance information. This is a good orientation for transfer students or those who have already lived in the US.
Additionally, the Social Security Administration will help process Social Security cards for new students with on-campus employment (such as assistantships). They will be available the following dates/times:
- Wednesday, August 25, 1:00-4:30 p.m., Garland Hall 138
- Tuesday, August 31 3:00-4:30 p.m., Garland Hall 138
UWM student awarded Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant
UWM visual artist Kristin Haas is among 15 graduate students nationwide to receive a 2010 MFA Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation.
According to the Foundation, the grant program was created in 1997 "to help MFA painters and sculptors in furthering their artistic careers and to aid in the transition from academic to professional studio work upon graduation." The $15,000 rants are given "in recognition of artistic quality to artists chosen from a body of candidates put forth by nominators from the academic art community across the United States."
The nominated candidates' images were viewed for grant consideration through an anonymous process by a jury panel. The jury convened in New York in April.
The Foundation, named for abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell, also offers free art classes for New York City youth, an annual grant to painters and sculptors, and grants to artists and arts communities in need of emergency support after a disaster.
Multicultural Research Forum
The forum is presented by the Multicultural Graduate Student Alliance (MGSA) at UWM. Sessions will focus on issues that have a multicultural, social justice, or urban component. Students from all disciplines are presenting their master’s papers/theses, doctoral dissertations, research studies in progress, or completed research projects. Presenters can share original empirical research or overviews on proposed research studies.
This is an excellent opportunity for professional development or to see what other students in various disciplines are working on. All faculty and students are welcome to attend this free event.
Multicultural Mix and Mingle and Graduate Student Graduation Celebration
Presented by the Black Graduate Student Alliance, Office of Diversity and Climate, and Multicultural Graduate Student Alliance, this event will celebrate and honor graduate students who will complete their degrees this fall.
The event is a great opportunity to network and socially intertwine with graduate students from a multitude of backgrounds. The event is open to the entire campus community. Entertainment, music, and refreshments will be provided.