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ThoughtSTEM co-founders and UC San Diego alumni: 
Sarah Guthals (Esper), Ph.D. '14, Stephen Foster, Ph.D. '15, Lindsay Handley, Ph.D. '15

10 Game-changing Grad Student Startups

Forget the image of the startup as something hatched in a garage, spun from little more than inspiration and pizza. In California, a growing number of startups are emerging from UC labs and research institutes — young enterprises that are changing the game in fields from health care to agriculture. 

Increasingly, graduate students are the brains behind these businesses. Every two weeks, on average, a startup forms based on a UC graduate student invention. These startups currently support 3,500 jobs, have attracted $4.1 billion in venture funding and generate $520 million in annual revenue. Read more

Prestigious Gilliam Fellowship Awarded to Two
UC San Diego Students

UC San Diego doctoral students Kyle Begovich (pictured above) and Gabriel Castro-Falcon were recently awarded the prestigious Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), a national organization dedicated to advancing scientific research and education in human health and biology. Begovich and Castro-Falcon were two of 34 students nationwide to receive the award. They were selected from a pool of exceptional second- and third-year doctoral students in the life sciences from underrepresented backgrounds who have shown commitment to the advancement of diversity, inclusion and mentorship in the sciences. Read more
It hardly seems possible that ten years have elapsed since I arrived in the (then) Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) to take up my new role as Dean. It was a time of uncertainty, in that OGS had recently split from the Office of Research Affairs upon the retirement of my predecessor, Dick Attiyeh, and the respective responsibilities of the two offices were still somewhat in flux while old working relationships had been dissolved. 

The Graduate Division staff would like to thank Dean Barrett, Wonder Woman
of the Division, for her
10 years of superheroic service. Click here to read our messages of thanks.

Teaching + Learning Commons
Ribbon Cutting and Open House

Monday, October 17, 9:00 AM (Geisel Library, lower level, west wing). Click here for more information.

Diversity Coordinators' Meeting

Monday, October 17, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM (Red Shoe Room, PC West). Click here for more information.

Graduate Admissions Workshop 

Wednesday, October 19, 2:00 - 5:00 PM (Student Services Center, Multipurpose Room). Click here for more information.

Annual Graduate Coordinators' Meeting

Wednesday, October 26, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM (Student Services Center, Multipurpose Room)

Outreach / Recruitment Videos
Now Available

The Graduate Division has completed a series of videos that feature our graduate students talking about their experiences and what UC San Diego has to offer. A long and a short version are available for use here. More will be posted on our homepage and will be available to download soon. Stay tuned. 

The Commons Will Help Improve
How You Learn and Teach

At UC San Diego, we understand that teaching and learning are inseparable. In 2015, the university established the Teaching + Learning Commons to work with instructors to improve their teaching and with undergraduates to enhance their learning. An important mission of The Commons is to offer a robust network of resources specifically for graduate students to develop professionally as instructors. Services for graduate students include:
  • Communication Skills Workshops to improve written, oral and digital communication skills
  • Co-Curricular Record (CCR) that documents non-class-based UC San Diego learning experiences to better position graduate students for the job market 
  • Dissertation Writers Retreats which provide concentrated, distraction-free time to work with other grad students in small groups
  • Writing Consultations that offer an opportunity to meet one-on-one with writing staff for guidance 


Graduate Academic Affairs 
Launches Online Submission
for Three More Forms

The Academic Affairs unit is pleased to announce that graduate programs may now submit the following requests online via the campus Single Sign-On system:
  • Degree Aim / Major Code change
  • In Absentia
  • Repetition of a course
These additions join six other online forms in our continuing efforts to streamline campus academic processes. 


UC San Diego was ranked 6th in the nation and 13th worldwide for total research output by the journal Nature in their 2014 index. 


Graduate students at UC San Diego are a diverse population; they represent nearly 80 countries, 6 continents, and are from nearly all 50 states domestically.


Graduate programs at UC San Diego continue to rank highly as noted in the 2017 “America’s Best Graduate Schools” guidebook, released by U.S. News Media Group, publishers of U.S. News & World Report.
UC San Diego alumna Laura Pecenco (pictured in the center), M.A. ’10, Ph.D. ’15, is implementing arts in prisons with Project PAINT (The Prison Arts INiTiative), deconstructing gendered homogeneity and fostering a more positive and safe environment for prison staff and inmates alike. Read more
Historian Victoria Bynum, M.A. ’79, Ph.D. ’87, is a Civil War myth-buster.

Folklore is deeply embedded in American culture—whether told at the dinner table, around the campfire or just before bedtime, tall tales and legends about the nation’s history have the power to build a common identity and unify its people. For Victoria Bynum, M.A. ’79, Ph.D. ’87, American folklore is not just an opportunity for a great story, but a chance to look more closely at the finer threads of our heritage. Read more

Fall 2016


Last day to file
for a Fall degree
is Friday, 
December 10

Friday, October 7 is the
deadline to submit:
  • Half-time Study requests
  • Leave of Absence requests
  • In Absentia requests
  • Applications to Candidacy (master's degree)
Click here for other
Fall quarter deadlines

Akemi Alpaslan

joined the Admissions unit permanently in June. Akemi has a bachelor's in international relations and Italian from USC. She worked previously at Berlitz International in admissions and teaching English; she also worked at UC Irvine. Akemi can be reached
at 858-822-4489 or


Leo Alvarado

joined the Financial Support unit in June as the full-time Visiting Graduate Student/Third-Party Contract Coordinator. He comes to the Graduate Division from private industry with a background in office management and
insurance processing.
Leo can be reached at vgcoordinator@ucsd.edu
for visiting grad issues, or
grad3rdparty@ucsd.edu for
third party billing issues, or
at 858-822-2938.

Stephen Amundson 

joined the Academic Affairs unit in July as a master's adviser. He comes to the Graduate Division from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis where he was an academic adviser and career counselor. Stephen has a master of education. He can be reached at 858-534-0650 or amundson@ucsd.edu

Tasha Griffiths

joined the Graduate
Division in September as the Academic Affairs unit assistant. She graduated from USD and worked previously for a non-profit organization. Tasha can be reached at 858-822-2244 or tlgriffiths@ucsd.edu.  

Van Lee-Yamamoto

joined the Academic Affairs unit as the PhD adviser in April. She worked previously as Senior Academic Adviser at The New School in New York City. Van has a master's in college student development and counseling. She can be reached at 858-822-7832 or vleey@ucsd.edu

Vanessa Quinones Zarza

joined the Graduate Division in July as the Admissions front desk assistant. She graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's in political science. Vanessa has previous experience working in admissions at UCLA's Anderson School of Management. She can be reached at 858-534-3554
or vqzarza@ucsd.edu.

Graduate Division Staff Profile

Tanya Reese has been the Graduate Fellowship Supervisor for six years. However, she has been at UC San Diego for just over 18 years. Although Tanya was born in Long Island, New York, she grew up in San Diego after moving here at age 4.

Tanya enjoys going to the movies and running. She coaches in a running group called InMotion that owns the Carlsbad Full/Half Marathon. Her favorite book is One for the Money by Janet Evanovich, and she has three favorite places to visit: Canada, Hawaii, and Las Vegas.

Read more about Tanya.
Congratulations to Alison Caldwell, a fourth year doctoral student in neuroscienceswho was awarded an exclusive
Science Media Awards
and Summit in the Hub
(SMASH) Fellowship
Alison is 1 of 14 recipients chosen from nearly 300 applicants. Alison joined more than 250 scientists and science media stakeholders in Boston to celebrate exceptional media, cutting-edge discoveries, and explore new ways to communicate science to a global audience.

The Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders celebrates their 20th anniversary: 1996-2016!
For graduate admissions
and application information, please
go to Admissions, or email gradadmissions

For general information, contact the Graduate Division's main office at 858-534-3555.

News to share or thoughts about the newsletter, email us.

UC San Diego Graduate Division reserves the right to publish in whole or in part any submissions received by us.