littlesunshine Posted December 4, 2013 Share Posted December 4, 2013 (edited) How would you deal with the following scenario being a first semester graduate student at a research 1 university: Minority female in early 20's enters first year of Ph.D. program at a Research I university fully funded through a university fellowship (year 1, 5) and outside prestigious fellowship (years 2,3,4) Advisor is not permanent advisor, but temporary advisor because advisor who student wants to work with is on sabbatical and left another advisor in her place, but although she agreed to be student's advisor, she does not respond to any emails. Student took three classes where the minimum is two classes, but decided to take a third because she had no research responsibilities. Temporary advisor suggested volunteering on two research projects. Research project I is OK. There is not much work only reading literature and contributing to data collection methods and protocols. Research project 2 is 3 years in and is very intense. Student was given two rounds of coding in first week of research project 2 (second week of starting Fall semester) where she wasn't prepared (total of 700 tests- 15 questions each). People in research project 2 thinks she is incapable of continuing on research project although she is not working for pay, but volunteering and wants to continue on a volunteer basis. Professor sets meeting times to discuss progress, but always cancels or does not come to meetings with student and she does not know her place on project. It has been three months since student has had meeting with research project professor. She knows students in research project do not appreciate her, but doesn't know how to let the professor know what she feels. In addition, student has depended on other graduate students telling her what to do, but there are mixed messages. Many times the comments are personal in regards to progress or work involved and it seems research project peers have spoken behind student's back about her capabilities. In addition, another female also on a university fellowship joined research project 2, just as student has the same university fellowship and is getting paid hourly for her work and she does not attend any research project meetings. Student was told that she could not get paid on top of her fellowship for any of her work in any project for the rest of her program. Female student is same race as research project professor and meets with her on a biweekly basis. Another problem is that there is one classmate in particular who has been speaking behind student's back with temporary advisor and others about her opinions of how successfully tasks are completed. Classmate is very involved and many people in the department regard her highly due to her tactful way of being very efficient. It is admirable, but you cannot compare yourself to a new student who does not know the nuances of the school and a new Ph.D. program. Classmate talks very negatively of new student and many people have looked at new student as incapable including temporary advisor who is also classmates advisor. Classmate is almost like a gatekeeper in most if not all agendas with other people and student feels threatened even bullied by the way classmate is abusing her power to make student look very bad with others in the department. In addition, when student joined research project I, two weeks later, classmate also joined. This makes classmate have a total of 3 classes, and 3 research projects. Not only that, student believed that classmate would give good advice, but instead has instilled fear in competence in the program. Classmate has told student that she is not prepared to be in a Ph.D. program and should go become a teacher instead of a researcher. Classmate has also spoken about meetings with temporary advisor and how he believes she is not prepared, but temporary advisor has not said anything during advisor meetings. Student went straight through school and was part of undergraduate research programs. She is highly recommended by people at home university and summer research program. Thought she was prepared for grad school, but people are not very happy about her being there because of classmate's opinions. Should I be upfront about the situation with the research professor and temporary advisor? Should I feel threatened by a peer with so much influence? What should I do? I'm becoming very depressed about this. I know I can do it, but it is extremely incredible that a person who I consider my peer has so much influence over full professors at a research I university. I also don't know where people like this find time to do so much, at the same time, I don't see other people do the same thing. I feel it is a personal vendetta- it is very difficult to explain. I don't have anyone to speak about this situation to. My family is not educated, my husband tries to give me advice, but I don't know how to go about this very tense situation. Please help. Edited December 4, 2013 by littlesunshine Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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