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Graduate Division COVID-19 Update

Section 1

March 25, 2020

Hello Grad Students and Post-Docs,


I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy your spring break as much as you can. Here are a few reminders and updates regarding the COVID-19 virus and the adjustments Graduate Division is making.


Congratulations to our 2020 Grad Slam Champion: Rebecca Riley!
I want to start this message with a very heartfelt congratulations to Rebecca Riley, who was named UCI’s 2020 Grad Slam Champion last month! Rebecca is a doctoral student studying Theoretical Particle Physics. In her Grad Slam talk entitled In the Dark Corners of the Universe, Rebecca describes the mystery of dark matter and its importance to the world - all in under 3 minutes! Take a listen to her impressive talk on why dark matter...well, matters! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbekjAnvDHg&feature=youtu.be).

Unfortunately due to COVID-19 concerns, the UC Office of the President made the difficult decision to cancel the UC-systemwide 2020 Grad Slam Competition, initially scheduled to take place on May 8th in San Francisco, CA. We know Rebecca would have made us proud! 

DSC COVID-19 Update
The DSC website has been updated with accessibility tips and resources for online instruction and remote classes for faculty and students. Please visithttps://dsc.uci.edu/covid19/ for more.

Form Fee Waivers for Spring and Summer

As mentioned before, Graduate Division will accept scanned documents and digital signatures for all forms related to enrolled services and exceptions until further notice. In addition to accepting forms electronically, fees linked to the following forms and student status updates will be waived through Spring and Summer quarters to facilitate you filing digitally and to provide additional time into the summer for major exams. Even though these fees are waived, please still turn in your forms and get department approval first. You can show they have approved either by having them digitally sign the form or by attaching an email with their approval when you send your request to us at grad@uci.edu. These are the fees that are waived for Spring and Summer quarters.

  • Filing Fee
  • Summer Filing Fee
  • Master’s Thesis Signature Page/Report on the Final Examination for the Master’s Degree
  • Ph.D. Form I-Advancement to Candidacy
  • Readmission Petition for Graduate Students


Access to Graduate Counselors

We encourage you to remain connected to your current social support network, both near and far (near at a minimum distance of 6 feet/1.83 meters of course!). Elizabeth Dunn and Phong Luong, will continue to remain available to meet with all Masters and PhD students, as well as Post-Doctoral scholars, in a virtual manner throughout Spring quarter 2020. These appointments can be arranged either digitally via Zoom video conferencing or over the phone, Monday-Friday, between the normal business hours of 8:00 am - 5:00 pm PT.


To schedule an appointment, please email Elizabeth (dunnes@uci.edu) or Phong (pbluong@uci.edu) with your preferred dates, times, and meeting method and we will return your message as soon as possible to confirm with our available schedule.


Fellowship Advising Appointments 

Are you thinking about applying for a fellowship this fall?  I know it is a super stresssful time, and the idea of applying for a fellowship might not be in the forefront of your mind. However, between August and December, there are SO many fellowship deadlines, and we want you to be as successful as possible. Right now is an excellent time to begin identifying fellowships and learning about application requirements. This gives you plenty of time to draft and prepare competitive materials for these prestigious awards and for us to help you craft those materials.


Don’t know where to start?  Set up a virtual fellowship advising appointment with Dr. Kayleigh Anderson-Natale.  Click here to request a meeting.  Fellowship advising appointments can be spent:

  • Identifying and discussing resources for finding appropriate fellowships
  • Discussing strategies for drafting competitive application materials
  • Provide feedback on fellowship materials content, such as appropriateness of proposed research, etc.
  • Help to find answers to questions about specific fellowships
    • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships
    • Fulbright Fellowships
    • Ford Fellowships

We also still recommend consulting wtih our GPSRC Writing Consultants for writing specific needs, such as help with grammar, structure, clarity, etc.


GPSRC Programming Reminders 

One-on-one appointments will continue to take place virtually through spring quarter.


Writing Appointments

Writing appointments will be available via Zoom. You can register through AppointmentPlusand we will reach out to you with Zoom meeting information prior to your appointment by email.


Career Advising

For graduate students, appointments are available from the Division of Career Pathways by visiting uci.joinhandshake.com and selecting the appropriate appointment type for your needs. 

If you are a Postdoctoral Scholar and are looking for career advising, please contact Kayleigh Anderson-Natale at kayleiga@uci.edu.


We appreciate your flexibility during this time. If you have any questions please emailgpsrc@uci.edu.


Stay tuned for updates about spring professional development workshops and certificate programs, whether they will be offered online, in person, or postponed.


Dean’s Virtual Office Hours
As a reminder, I or someone from my senior staff will be available for virtual office hours for 30 minutes every day, Monday - Friday for as long as needed to answer any questions or concerns. All graduate students and postdocs are welcome! 


You don’t have to have a question to stop by office hours, you can just come to chat. Talking to students is honestly the highlight of my day!


All you need to do is click this link and you’ll be in: https://uci.zoom.us/j/7277477057. Below are our office hours for the next two weeks. All times are Pacific Standard Time.

  • Thursday, March 26:    1pm – 1:30pm 
  • Monday, March 30:      9:00am – 9:30am
  • Tuesday, March 31:     1pm – 1:30pm
  • Wednesday, April 1:      10am – 10:30am
  • Thursday, April 2:          12:30pm – 1:00pm
  • Friday, April 3:              10am – 10:30am


In Closing
I want to close today by talking a bit about how many of us are feeling right now. I heard the news today that Cal State was on a hiring freeze only shortly before learning that the partner of someone I care about a lot got a tenure track position at a community college. I heard the news today that Brown University was on a hiring freeze only shortly after seeing a copy of a contract for a tenure track position that someone asked me to look over so she could sign it. The roller coaster of emotions is nearly crushing, and these are not my own jobs but those of people in the UCI community. I can only imagine how it must feel to be at or near the end of your academic journey as either a post-doc or grad student and looking into this job market. 

Even for those who have a few years for the economy to recover before you search for jobs, summer internships have been disrupted, partners and family members may have been laid off. This is a brutal time for so many. Some of you may feel emboldened or focused or motivated by these times of crisis. Some of you may be able to only do the bare minimum each day to keep your health, your family’s health, and your life in order. I hope you are kind and generous with yourselves. We are not even two weeks into the “stay at home” order, and we have no idea what time will bring. 

It is okay to grieve. And please know that you are grieving. I’ve said before that I am an optimist, and I remain so. We are all living through something that no living person has ever seen, and we must hope that we will never see it again.

“When the unthinkable happens, the lighthouse is hope. Once we choose hope, everything is possible.” – Christopher Reeve

I am deeply sad for the pain that so many of you are feeling. I am anxious on my own. But I also have hope. I hope that we will learn from this time. I hope that we will find a cure. I hope that we will see a vaccine soon. I hope that disruption will be minimal.

And as always, I hope to see you all in person soon!

Gillian Hayes
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division