Ask an Undergrad March Winners

Congratulations to the winners of last month’s Answer an Undergrad contest:

Jackie F. asks, “I hear some PhD students make less money than a Masters degree. Why are you crazy enough to want your PhD?

Third Place-

The simple answer is that pursuing a PhD is not about the money you may earn when you are done. A PhD is a considerable investment of time, energy, and, believe it or not, emotions. If you are considering pursuing a PhD because you believe it will make you more money then I would strongly recommend you against it. People choose to pursue a PhD (or at least they should) because they are passionate about the subject that they study. They love their subject enough to spend several years thinking about it most of the day, every day. They get a PhD so they will have the skills and knowledge necessary to significantly advance the field that they work in because they believe it is critically important.

Second Place-

I do it for the glamour!  It’s all about the daily struggle… where can I eat lunch for $5 and not gain the equivalent in pounds, or how bout if that sweater has been washed recently… or better yet, does anyone know where my glasses are or what day it is?  Not sounding like the adventure of a lifetime yet?  How about if I said I spent two years gaining international travel experiences paid for by someone else, made connections with students across the globe, and developed a true multidisciplinary background?  Because that my friend, the latter half, made the unique struggles for personal motivation and living on a 1/3 of the income I used to make, all worth it.  I seek to attain a new level of mastery in my communication skills, pedagogy, andragogy, and overall growth as an educator and mentor of others.  The PhD is about “acting on the want” for expertise to support your endeavors, regardless the paycheck attached.

First Place-

Dear Jackie,

I’m going to assume that you’re trying to say that you’ve heard that some people who hold PhD’s make less money than some people who hold Master’s degrees. Master’s degrees, after all, don’t earn money. Mine hardly even lifts a finger to answer my emails, so I’m pretty sure other people’s Master’s degrees are just as lazy (or don’t have fingers. or brains. or the ability to work because they are just pieces of paper).

But guess what! Some people with GED’s (or even no high school equivalency at all) earn more than some people with Bachelor’s degrees. So what the heck are you doing here wasting your parents’ money and/or getting yourself into debt when you could be in Costco middle management by now or developing iPhone apps? Huh? Are you crazy!?!

But you know what? I have a secret, Jackie: for some of us (maybe even you), it’s not about the money! A shocker in this capitalist paradise/living nightmare of a country we thrive in, I know, but the real answer lies in the field you are talking about and our individual goals.

Some of us need PhDs to pursue the kind of work we want to do (earning full professorship at a university, for instance, or opening your own counseling practice as a psychologist). Some of us want the pleasure of knowing we’ve met our life’s goal. Yes.

And some of us have realized at the ripe old age of 23 (or 33. or 43. or 53.) that it’s about the journey, not the destination. And of all the things other people can take from you in life – your belongings, your jobs, your money, your dignity, even your children – one thing they can never take, no matter what, is your education.

Whatever our reasons, they are probably not any crazier than your being here to earn a Bachelor’s degree that may or may not get you into the job you want, or even if the field you want, and may or may not help negotiate the salary you want.

Good luck in your future endeavors, Jackie. The crazier the better.

Meet the Winners of the UGSA Award for Conferences

In the Spring of 2013, the University Graduate Student Association (UGSA) implemented a pilot of a highly-competitive travel award intended to provide funds to a selective group of outstanding NCSU graduate students who are attending professional conferences in their respective fields. This new award, named the UGSA Award for Conferences, requires students to complete an extensive application which is then reviewed by a Committee of graduate students from different research fields. The UGSA currently offers two deadlines for application submission: one in the Spring and one in the Fall semester. Our overall goals are to help graduate students with the costly expenses of attending a conference (up to $1,500 per awardee), as well as contribute to the dissemination of authentic NCSU research in different research focus groups. Any NCSU graduate student that is currently performing original research is encouraged to apply to this prestigious award. After a strenuous and rigorous review process, the winners of the Spring 2014 UGSA Award for Conferences have been selected. Meet them here http://www.ncsu.edu/grad/stories/ugsa-award.html!

Outstanding TA Awards

The Annual UGSA Outstanding TA Awards seek to recognize excellence in graduate teaching. Applications from nominees of the award are selected and forwarded to the UGSA by Directors of Graduate Programs. In the 2013-14 academic year, around 100 students from over 35 departments across campus were nominated by their respective Directors of Graduate Programs. Of these, 40 students received certificates in recognition of their teaching excellence. Scholarships amounting to a total of $3000 were also awarded to several outstanding students. The UGSA would like to thank the Office of Faculty Development for their generous contribution towards the TA Awards.
The list of nominees and award recipients are (see attached pdf file): Outstanding TA Awards 2013
Also, a special thanks to the Teaching Effectiveness committee (pictured below) for their hard work on putting this event together.

Candidates for UGSA Officer Positions

Also, Graduate Candidate Personal Statements- Please read them!
The following people are now running for each position:
  • President – David Fiala
  • Vice President of External Affairs – Shannon Warchol and Keith Brannum
  • Vice President of Internal Affairs – Chirag Gajjar
  • Treasurer – Nithyananthan Poosamani
  • Secretary – Katie Kennedy
  • Vice President of Academic Affairs – vacant
  • Vice President of Communications – Barry Peddycord, III
  • Public Relations Officer/Social Network Manager/Press Secretary – Liana Lin, Ginger Bushey, Kurleen John

Here are the compiled personal statements from all of the candidates running for a UGSA Officer position. There have been some changes since nominations closed.

Candidate Personal Statements

UGSA Relay for Life Team Fundraiser

On Wednesday April 2 come take a break, enjoy some food and drinks at the Bruegger’s locations on Hillsborough St (2302 Hillsborough St.) and Mission Valley (2231 Avent Ferry Rd), present the attached flier (paper or electronic copy) and 15% of your sale will go towards the UGSA Relay for Life team. Note that the 15% only applied with a flier presented during check out!

Quiz Cup: Round Two

The second round of Quiz Cup starts on March 5th! Quiz Cup is usually held on Tuesday nights at 8:00 PM at the Hive, above the Busy Bee (except for the first day, which is a wednesday). The flyer linked below will tell you when its your team’s turn to present – please make it a point to tell grad students in your department which week your department competes, so that you can win the actual Quiz Cup and hold on to it for the next academic year!

Spring 2014 Trivia Cup Round 2 Flyer

UGSA Award for Conferences

Due to the existing NC weather, we have decided to extend the submission deadline for the UGSA Award for Conferences. The new deadline is Monday, February 17th, 2014 by 5:00 PM. All materials, including letters of recommendation, must be sent to the UGSA Vice-President of Academic Affairs by that day in order to be consired. Thanks to everyone who have already submitted applications.