Collaborative Seminar Series (CSS)
The Collaborative Seminar Series (CSS) is typically the first of the three-pronged plan for GRAD-MAP. When in session, graduate students and faculty from the UMD astronomy and physics departments will visit local MSIs for a one-hour seminar followed by a thirty-minute poster and networking session. During the seminar portion, students and faculty at the MSI will hear about the Winter Workshop, have two talks by UMD professors on their current research, and have graduate students give a presentation describing how to get involved in research, important preparation for graduate school applications, and graduate student life. Undergraduates and faculty at the visited school will have opportunities to ask questions of the full group during the seminar, and then of individuals during the poster and networking session. Some graduate students will present their own research in posters, and all graduate students and faculty will be available for more questions and discussion both about research and graduate school.
The Fall CSS visits were canceled for Fall 2018 and replaced with an Open House event. These visits must be organized with individuals/friends of GRAD-MAP teaching astronomy/physics courses at the institutions we wish to visit. These lectures/teaching faculty often prefer that we visit after they have given a midterm in the class, insisting that having a visit early in the semester will be less productive. In order for GRAD-MAP to plan the workshop efficiently (especially the lab visits), we must have an application deadline during the first week of November.
One major goal of the CSS visits as they were intended, was to have UMD faculty and faculty local to the MSI learn about each other’s research and collaborate. It is unclear is any lasting collaborations have formed thanks to these CSS visits. Instead, the visits primarily function as advertisement of the Winter Workshop. It’s possible that we could advertise the program on a separate platform.
As GRAD-MAP becomes more well-known and secures a steady source of funding, the typical schedule of CSS visits should be scaled back to make better use of the limited resources (time) of the graduate students volunteering/working.
The typical set up of the CSS visits is listed below.
Team member roles:
CSS Organizer (one for each, so ~5) see CSS Organizer Checklist
Ice Cream (get ISR through Susan Lehr in Astro, pick up ~day beforehand)
Transportation: van needs to be rented and someone needs to drive.
Agenda (1.5-2 hours):
Use template presentation at Box/Diversity/***
Organizer is emcee, GRAD-MAP lead (or proxy) gives grad school presentation, can emcee
Introductions (15 minutes)
Go around the room, and everyone introduces themselves and answers icebreaker question
Quick GRAD-MAP overview (5 minutes)
Research Presentation 1 (astro/physics faculty speaker) (20 minutes)
Research Presentation 2 (astro/physics faculty speaker) (20 minutes)
Grad School Presentation (20 minutes)
Ice cream, networking, poster session (if you want)
Each CSS visit takes about 4 hours.
Following the difficulties faced with finding graduate student support for the Fall 2017 CSS events and the 2018 Winter Workshop, paired with the class schedule of the most likely pool of volunteers, the then Team Lead asked the faculty for ideas about how to proceed with fall 2018 recruitment. Cole Miller suggested that we instead bring students from multiple schools here for one event. In 2018, we are replaced the Collaborative Seminar Series (CSS) with an Open House Event. The CSS events involved visiting a local HBCU or MSI to introduce students to the GRAD-MAP program, the path to graduate school, and small subset of research in the Astronomy and/or Physics departments. With this event, we brought students to the University of Maryland to meet with a larger number of faculty, graduate students, and possible mentors.
Now that we are in Year 7 of the GRAD-MAP program, we are assessing its strengths and weakness. In an effort to help students establish a stronger connection with their research, we introduced research topics at the Open House--much earlier than before. Previously, CSS events often had research talks that while great, were unrelated to Winter Workshop projects. Now, a student can be introduced to a project at the Open House, work on that project during the Winter Workshop, and continue that project in greater depth during the Summer Scholars program. This structure will allow students to develop more ownership of their research, and for those who take part in the Summer Scholars program, to spend less time "getting up to speed" during the summer. We had one student experience this path--he just completed the 2019 Summer Scholars Program. UMD grads volunteering with GRAD-MAP will get the opportunity to see the impact the program has on the careers of its future and existing cohorts.
For the 2018 Open House, we asked faculty likely to support Winter Workshop and/or Summer Scholars projects to give talks. Wolfgang Losert, Alberto Bolatto, and Matej Malik gave talks. Amy Steele gave the typical CSS visit introduction to GRAD-MAP and graduate school.
Logistics from 2018:
-In 2018, the event was on Thursday, October 25 and RSVPs were due on Friday, October 5.
- We invited ~25 undergraduate students from schools that we've visited in the past and will provide dinner and cover the cost of transportation up to $20 for each student. 10 students showed up.
- We recorded the event using WebEx.
- We asked that instructors pick students.