Overrealized Funds enable more Travel Funds, Scholarships and Mentoring

Last spring the Graduate Student Advisory Board, the Women in Graduate Sciences (WGS) and the Graduate Student Association went to the ASUO Student Government Overrealized committee to request funding for more graduate student-centered support services and received $10,000! These dollars will allow graduate student groups to offer more travel grants and scholarships, create an undergraduate mentorship program, and a graduate student online forum.

In a recent survey conducted by the Graduate Student Association they found that, across 21 departments surveyed across campus, 95% of graduate students surveyed would apply for a research travel award if one existed. In 18 departments, they found that students have had to cancel or delay research travel plans due to a lack of funding. As the level of student work and research reflects on the status of the University as a whole, every graduate student knows that support for student research is critical. Financial and travel research grants will allows students to pursue their research and give back to the university campus through teaching and public presentations. Specifically these dollars would support travel awards to allow graduate students to present her or his research at national conferences.

WGS was able to create a graduate-to-undergraduate advisory committee to mentor undergraduates on career options. Known as JUMP! (Joint Undergradute-Graduate Mentorship Program), the program establishes direct mentoring relationships between undergraduates interested in science careers with graduate students in those disciplines. These mentors are encouraged to arrange group sessions, meet three times a quarter and create a welcoming support system.

Opportunities such as these help create strong support systems for undergraduate women pursuing degrees in the STEM field. At last year's Undergraduate Outreach Event undergraduates were asked, “What is it like to be in a male-dominated field? What are men doing to decrease the gender gap?” One person said, "It is hard, because there are not many great mentors. The great mentors that are around are heavily burdened with unpaid opportunities to mentor others. I have often felt that the men in our program got a lot more assistance from senior students/postdocs in terms of letting them know what they should be doing, and reassuring them that they were not alone etc. I have not noticed any particular efforts by men I know to decrease the gender gap."

The Graduate Student Advisory Board is using these funds to create an online forum designed for UO grad students. The forum will serve as a way for graduate students to communicate with one another across departments, share resources on and off campus and connect over shared research topics. Students can login to the forum using their campus credentials.

Thanks to the ASUO Student Government Overrealized committee and to the student groups that are trying to make a difference in the lives of graduate students!


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