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Hi gradcafe! We're the Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT) at the University of Chicago. We're a team of graduate students committed to the recruitment and retention of students from marginalized backgrounds to graduate programs in the Biological and Physical Sciences at the University of Chicago. For students from marginalized backgrounds, the road to grad school can be confusing, downright scary, and may seem impossible. The lack of diversity in STEM is a huge problem, generating unsupportive and sometimes hostile work environments for students of color, LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, and female-identifying students. GRIT aims to help fix the "leaky pipeline" in graduate school recruitment by actively recruiting minority students to graduate school, connecting prospective students with faculty members of interest, and fostering personal connections with prospective students to ensure they find the best graduate program for their interests. In addition we aim to bridge gaps in marginalized student retention by providing programming that aims to provide supportive environments, community building, and increase access to mentors and role models (such as seminar series featuring LGBTQ+ scientists, womxn's networking and mentorship events, and community-focused events). So... why are we here? We want to reach out to the prospective graduate student community and offer our support! We're here to talk diversity and inclusion, talk about struggles we have faced, talk about the graduate school experience, talk about applications: ranging from "am I a competitive applicant" to how to talk about non-scientific strengths (i.e. you balanced 3 jobs in undergrad and don't have a high GPA because of it) and even what graduate and non-graduate programs to consider, to talk about our successes in recruiting, STEM identity etc. We are here to help other students have a better experience, both in the application process and after they get in. Reach out and let us know what we can do.
Hello all, this is my first time on the forum. I went to an unnamed Ivy League school for undergrad and I regret it. While it had many resources and has forced me to become a better self-advocate, the intellectual environment has been boring, intellectually conservative, closed off, defensive, and selfish. It has not been a place that fosters creativity, collaboration, or kindness, nor has it offered good mentorship. It has been, in the words of one of my friends, emotionally vacuous. The physics department makes gestures towards intellectual rigor, but no one seems to have the time or energy to do pedagogy well. I want to be able to be a good mentor some day and I need to learn those skills from someone. Additionally, I do really think that better science can be done when people aren't miserable. As a result, I am looking for alternatives to the major research universities for PhD programs as I want to avoid a repeat of the above. Are there places that have a reputation similar to that of small liberal arts colleges, but for their physics PhD programs? I know that a lot of good mentorship is on a professor by professor( or lab by lab) basis, but a lot of it is also connected to the overall culture of a department. For example, I have heard some good things about the University of Washington. Alternatively, which of the major research institutions have physics departments with particularly good reputations for mentorship? I'm specifically interested in particle physics, gravitation, or optics. Thank you for any advice.