Monthly Archives: March 2015

GSA Conference “Change and Its Challenges” Follow Up

On Saturday, February 28th the Graduate Student Association held a conference entitled “Change and its Challenges.” The event brought a diverse group of scholars from within the Fordham graduate community as well as the tri-state area together to our Lincoln Center campus to consider how different disciplines respond to the broad topic of change.

From changes in technology to changes in scholarly practices, this theme allowed for truly interdisciplinary conversations. Professor Ken Jackson (Columbia University) delivered a keynote address about urban development and how New York City itself has undergone significant changes in the last half century.

Attendees were also treated to a special musical performance that conceptually considered our conference’s theme in the world of music, led by Megan Chartrand (M.M. Yale University) and Justine Jalea (Columbia University), entitled “Voices of Defiance: Music, Change, and the Singing Revolution.” After a day full of exciting presentations, the conference concluded with a reception in the twelfth floor lounge.

Thank you to all participants and volunteers for making it a day to remember!

Peter Murray

GSA, Vice President

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Filed under Conference, Graduate Student Association, Graduate Students

The New York Botanical Garden 2015 Spring Professional Development Series Follow Up

Dr. James Boyer

Dr. James Boyer

For the first time in my four years at Fordham I set foot in Larkin hall, home of the biology department, to hear Dr. James Boyer address graduate students regarding his professional experiences. Dr. Boyer is Vice President of The Stavros Niarchos Foundation for Children’s Education at the New York Botanical Gardens. His lecture was designed to provide biology students with first-hand information regarding job opportunities outside the traditional paths of teaching in classrooms or working in labs. Due to the fact that I’m not a biology student but, have cultivated a deep love for the Botanical Gardens through the many runs and exhibits during my time at Fordham, I wondered what I would take away from the lecture.

Dr. Boyer mainly catered to the specific needs of biology students; however, managed to effectively impart knowledge that would be valuable to any graduate student. He reminded attendees that all research and academic endeavors are important – even if they do not pursue a career in academia. This is a relief to those who fear all the hard work they have done during their time in academia will be overlooked. In fact, he reminded students to remain up-to-date on advances in their field, continue to seek new knowledge, and always strive to improve.

He urged us to remember that graduate students are masters of learning who have been conditioned to be flexible and highly adaptable. We have been ingrained to be independent thinkers and leaders, and have obtained the ability to speak both eloquently and technically on a matter. It is with these skills, applicable to a variety of job opportunities, that graduate students enter the workforce.

Lastly, Dr. Boyer successfully dispelled the common misconception that graduate school limits students to careers in academia. Instead, it has prepared us to excel in a variety of career opportunities both within and beyond education.


Sarah Brennan

Applied Psychological Methods

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Filed under BGSA, Biological Sciences, Graduate Students, GSAS Futures

Women in STEM Fields

As anyone with their pulse on higher education and/or trending twitter topics knows, female leadership and opportunities for women are being discussed, created, and critiqued around the US and the world. This February, Columbia and NYU invited scholars to New York to join the dialogue; they hosted the Womensphere Summit and Awards on Innovation, Invention, and Exploration.

This meeting was produced and moderated by Womensphere (and creator Analisa Balares), whose goal is to increase women’s presence in leadership roles across the board, through mentoring initiatives and community building. GSAS, our professional development initiative GSAS futures, and Fordham Biological Sciences department sponsored three female students to go attend this cutting-edge event.

Below, students Beth Ansaldi, Chelsea Butcher, and Marly Katz describe the event and the important dialogues that came out of it.


Women and men in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) from across the globe convened on February 25th and 26th, 2015 to inspire and initiate the advancement of women in STEM disciplines. Day one of the summit incorporated inspiring and insightful talks by distinguished speakers from a broad range of institutions representing academia, entrepreneurship and industry. Several themes from the speakers’ most potent ideas emerged. Key advice delivered at the summit to emerging women leaders in STEM include:

  1. Adaptation: Constantly change yourself. Ironically, what gets you to one point in your career may not be what enables you to push past that point. How you build a life and a career is a continuous and creative project requiring many iterations.
  2. Figure out your niche. Figure out what differentiates you from your peers.
  3. Outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.
  4. The ability to learn is the only skill you really need to succeed.
  5. Be self-aware. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Cut your losses and be able to let go. Learn from your mistakes, and failed projects and move forward.
  7. Surround yourself by strengthening alliances. Find complements, not replicates to your own strengths. Innovation is the product of collaboration between people with diverse backgrounds.
  8. Authenticity. Represent yourself honestly, aligning your words and actions with your self.

Day two, a smaller and more intimate event, focused on promoting the advancement of female entrepreneurs from STEM fields.  Many attendees had projects and inventions in mind, while others, just starting out, were hoping to gain insight for future endeavors.  A number of topics were covered including identifying business opportunities, building teams and networks, and developing business models.

One of the main themes of the day was money and how to acquire enough of it to build and maintain a successful business. Once you propose a product or project, how do you overcome the hurdle of financially supporting it from start to finish? One strategy discussed was crowdsourcing, or soliciting contributions from a large group of people.  This can be achieved by posting your proposed plan or project on a crowdsourcing website.  The project creators choose a deadline and funding goal and provide rewards to those who donate.  A number of sites were discussed, including the following:

  1. Kickstarter – The most popular website, with the highest site traffic.
  1. IndiegogoThis site has no application process and is accessible world-wide,  allowing it to host a wide variety of projects and inventions.
  1. Plum AlleyAlthough not as well known as the first two, this site prides itself    on helping female entrepreneurs achieve their goals, with 75% of the                               audience (i.e. donors, funders) being women.

Although all of these websites offer the opportunity to showcase and receive funding for your projects, it also affords the opportunity for you to support other innovators through funding contributions!

We are pleased to have been given the opportunity to attend the Womensphere Summit and Awards on Innovation, Invention, and Exploration.  For more information on advice for women in STEM fields and entrepreneurial tips, attend our workshop on Wednesday, April 1st at 4 pm in Larkin 150!


Beth Ansaldi ‘16

Chelsea Butcher ‘17

Marly Katz ‘17

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Filed under Biological Sciences, Conference, Graduate Students, GSAS Futures, STEM, Upcoming Event

Change in Plans!

This month’s plan was to discuss the challenges of teaching while a graduate student… keyword “was” the plan and I’ll go to my grave saying that I think it was an awesome one. However, like many of plans it went terribly awry.

As many of you may have noticed, this blog has had a series of technical problems so ridiculous and pervasive that we might as well have just posted a picture of the GSAS seal dancing with a “Technical Errors” sign. That combined with the usual life/work hiccups means we’re switching the plan and going with the flow. Personally, I’m using the experience as a good way to practice my New Years and Lenten resolutions of positivity, but it’s also an opportunity to talk professional development twists and turns.

We all have a plan. We’re going to be marine biologists or Yale professors or archaeologists. You have the plan too (and maybe it’s even temporally and financially realistic) and then life happens. A series of technical errors or even amazing opportunities strike and suddenly the plan takes a sharp turn and you’re not as sure of ‘what you want’ or ‘what you’re capable of’ as you thought. This is terrifying – but it is going to be alright.

At the risk of sounding like an afterschool special, great things can come when you’re not expecting them. Work hard, go with the flow, and trust that whatever career or path you end up on will take you somewhere great.

…Or bring you something great—like this month’s post! So without further ado (or pontificating by me) this month’s new topic is local events!

We have great posts by Fordham graduate students in the Biology and Psychology departments discussing events held by Womensphere and the New York Botanical Gardens. Check back in on Friday (March 20) for a post on increasing women’s presence and influence in leadership positions by Beth Ansaldi, Chelsea Butcher, and Marly Katz and again next week for a reflection on a NYBG event by Sarah Brennan!

Discussing education, job opportunities, and leadership, these posts are the first of hopefully many submitted by Fordham grad students.


Dewis Shallcross, GSAS ‘14
Administrative Assistant and Events Coordinator

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Filed under Graduate Students

NYC Digital Humanities Second Graduate Student Project Award – Apply by August 1, 2015


All graduate students in NYC are asked to apply by August 1, 2015.

First prize winner(s) will receive a cash prize of $1000. Two runner up positions will receive $500 each. All three winning proposals will have the opportunity to receive support from one or more of the many centers affiliated with NYCDH.

Project proposals can be submitted by individuals or teams. They are accepting proposals for projects in early or mid stages of development. Proposals will be judged by a committee selected from the NYCDH Steering Committee. The winners will be chosen based on their intellectual contribution, innovative use of technology, and the clarity of their work plan.

Final proposals should be sent via email to in PDF format by August 1.

The subject line should read: NYCDH Graduate Student Contest.


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Filed under Digital Humanities, Student Awards

GSAS Honors the Life of Fr. Matthew Baker

The faculty, students and staff of GSAS are deeply grieved by the loss of Fr. Matthew Baker,  a doctoral candidate in the Theology department here at Fordham. We honor his life as a kind and active member of our community and his church.

He passed away last night in a tragic a car accident and is survived by his wife and six children. Please keep Fr. Matthew and his family in your thoughts or prayers.

Any member of the Theology department or GSAS who wishes to speak with a member of the Campus Ministry team may contact Fr. Phil Florio, S.J., at

A fund has been set up to support his wife and children. Please go to to donate.

Prayers will be said for Fr. Matthew and his family in Dealy Chapel today at 5 pm.

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