Best Practices for Graduate Study
Get involved in student societies. Two departmental societies are Graduate MechSE Students (GraMS) and MechSE Graduate Women (MGW). There are also opportunities to get involved with the Graduate College at the University of Illinois. Did you know that, as a graduate student in MechSE, you are automatically a member of the Graduate College? Check out their website at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/. They have a number of resources and opportunities listed on their website.
Broaden your horizons
Research opportunities are Illinois are endless. In addition to the wide range of classes that are available to you, the MechSE department, as well as other departments, continually host seminars and invite distinguished researchers to campus to give you the opportunities to broaden your horizons.
Find a mentor, be a mentor
For many graduate students, the faculty research advisor serves as a mentor (Psst – don’t have a faculty research advisor yet? Read this blog post for how to start the search process). However, the faculty advisor doesn’t have to be the only mentor for your graduate studies! Mentors can also be other students, perhaps someone you’ve met through a student society or a research group meeting. Remember that mentoring is a two-way street!
Apply for external fellowships and awards
Do you have a desire to develop a solution to a specific global concern? Have an idea for a new business venture? There are many resources in the MechSE Department and the Graduate College which will help you apply for external funding, such as the fellowships from the National Science Foundation or new venture awards such as the Lemelson-Illinois or the Cozad award (Psst...a number of MechSE students won these awards last year…see this article, this article, and this article...could be you next year!).
Establish a foundation for professional success
Your experience at Illinois will provide opportunities to develop professionally in addition to expanding your knowledge and research capabilities. Even though you’re a student during this time period, it’s important to keep your career goals in mind. Take advantage of professional development opportunities that are available in the MechSE department, College of Engineering, and Graduate College.
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