images from 2011 ogsi awards event

294 GSIs are celebrated as officially “Outstanding”

Of the many, many GSIs on campus, nearly 300 were singled out as Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors by the Graduate Division’s GSI Center — and 10 GSIs were given special recognition for their innovative solutions to teaching problems.

Steps to success, or how the fellowship was won

Sending in all those applications can pay off, and sometimes we hear about it. Case in point: Ph.D. student Vasundhara Sirnate was selected for a $30,000 award. She tells us how that happened.

Graduate Division Student Parent Grant

The Graduate Division administers a need-based grant for graduate students (single, married, or registered domestic partners) living with dependent children; if funding permits, awards of up to $8,000 per year ($4,000 per academic term) will be made to eligible applicants. … Continued

OGSI winner celebrating

Outstanding GSIs and their mentors are honored: a quick preview

Outstanding GSIs, and mentors of GSIs, were honored in droves over the past few weeks.  We’ll be saying more, in detail and with pictures, in the near future, but meanwhile here are the categories — at least those which fall under the umbrella of the Graduate Division (and, in one case, its partner, the Graduate Assembly).

Einhorn, Geissler, and Puckett are officially Distinguished

The Berkeley campus’s most prestigious award for teaching, the Distinguished Teaching Award is intended to encourage and recognize individual excellence in that endeavor. This year, the recipients were
 Robin Einhorn of professor of history, Phillip Geissler associate professor of chemistry (whose 2000 Ph.D. is from Berkeley), and
 Kent Puckett, associate professor of English.

Peace Corps - Meera Chary

The Peace Corps is very Berkeley

In the half century since the Corps was founded, UC Berkeley has supplied more volunteers than any other university in the U.S. — over 3,400 in more than 120 countries.

Graduate Funding Opportunities – April 2011 and beyond

Albert Newman Fellowship for Visually-Impaired Students, Summer Doctoral Fellows Program at Washington State University, UC MEXUS-CONACYT Doctoral Fellowships for Mexican Students, Guru Gobind Singh Fellowship,CIEE Ping Foundation Fellowships, American Institute of Indian Studies Fellowships, and the Humboldt Research Fellowship.

Senator Simitian

What UC Berkeley is worth to California

In the course of a March discussion in the State Capitol about the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, which is exploring the development and use of safe chemicals as well as ways to impact public policy, State Senator Joe Simitian had some specific things to say about UC Berkeley’s immense value to California’s economy.

Travel warning: Japan

Please be advised that the University of California Education Abroad Programs (UCEAP) in Japan have been suspended and travel assistance providers are assisting students with arrangements to return to the U.S. Please also be aware that the U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning last night.

Rankings: Berkeley’s not only super, it’s the greenest

UC Berkeley is a member of a totally informal yet stratospherically exclusive club, an elite “supergroup” of six universities worldwide that are regarded head and shoulders above the rest of the throng. (The others are Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Stanford, and Oxford.)

Most life on Earth to perish — again?

Is Earth heading into a sixth mass extinction? A team of UC Berkeley professors and graduate students think it may well be. But it may be possible to stop short of the tipping point.

How’s your emotional intelligence?

[slidepress gallery=’emotional_intelligence’] You’re smart. You can read text in high volume and analytically. But: Can you read people? Can you tell, from what’s written on someone’s face, whether they’re showing anger or fear? If they’re sad or embarrassed? Happy? Lusty?  Disdainful? … Continued

Andrew Szeri began serving as Dean of the Graduate Division on July 1st, 2007.

A look behind the curtain at the GRE

The Graduate Record Examinations General Test has been a milestone for many of us in the graduate community. A revised test will debut this coming August. How will it look to your college-bound younger siblings?

Graduate Funding Opportunities – February/March

Featured: a selection of fellowships and grants with application deadlines approaching in the next few months — among them, the Fernström Fellowship, the Jim Fahey Safe Homes for Women Fellowship, the Brookings Predoctoral Research Fellowship, the Rotary Scholarship Grant for Graduate Studies, and the CGS/UMI Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship.

A quick guide to fellowships

A distillation of facts and advice from the Graduate Fellowships Office staff, tips that might save you time as you embark on your quest for funding.

Ken Thompson

Impatience helped produce Unix — and, eventually, some big honors

It only took 40-some years, but Unix pioneers Ken Thompson (a Berkeley alum) and Dennis Ritchie have waited — and continued to breathe — long enough to receive a major international honor for their creation. They were announced in January as 2011 recipients of the Japan Prize.

Berkeley at Night

Cal’s night safety program gets an upgrade

This spring, the campus has relaunched BearWALK, the night safety service, “reinvigorated with interactive and automated technology.”  The enhancements are automated dispatch and a “live map” with shuttle tracking by GPS.

Empowering Women of Color for 26 years

Clearly not a flash in the pan, the Empowering Women of Color Conference will hold its 26th iteration on Saturday, February 19, in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union. Keynote speakers are Angela Davis, Ericka Huggins, and Dylcia Pagán. Includes workshops, panels, plus vendors, food, performances, and music a-plenty. Admission: free to UC Berkeley students with IDs.

InfoCamp Logo

Coming in March: an information ‘unconference’

On March 5 and 6, the School of Information is hosting an egalitarian, community-driven gathering called InfoCamp Berkeley, which it’s billing as an “unconference” on information issues and opportunities.

BIO Workshop

A new workshop series for international students

All members of the Berkeley community are welcome to attend a new series of workshops presented by the Berkeley International Office this spring. It’s called The International Student Experience at Berkeley: Pathways to Personal and Academic Success. Workshop titles include “Popular Culture: Why is Everything Super-sized?”, “History of Berkeley”, “Do You Speak American?”, and more.

A new summer institute on energy in Livermore

Sandia’s Summer Institute: Technology and Policy Tools for Energy in an Uncertain World is a new cross-discipline week-long research program for top graduate students from the nation’s premier universities. Twenty select graduate students will collaborate in small teams, working side-by-side with leading scientists from Sandia. Participants will develop new career skills by solving challenging problems in a fast-paced, collegial work environment.

Call for papers: USAID competition on reducing urban poverty

Abstracts are due February 20, 2011, for a paper competition the U.S. Agency for International Development is co-hosting with the World Bank, the Cities Alliance, the International Housing Coalition, and the Woodrow Wilson Center. The contest is targeted at advanced … Continued

Reminder: to honor your mentors, nominate them now!

Every year, the Graduate Division and the Graduate Assembly team up to call public attention to the exemplary and caring assistance individual faculty members have provided, above and beyond the call of duty, to their students. As the culmination of … Continued

A springful of workshops on teaching

Here is the the GSI Teaching & Resource Center’s spring schedule of Workshops on Teaching, a professional development series for GSIs. These workshops cover a wide variety of topics related to university teaching and the GSI experience. The purpose of … Continued

Chemistry, 1980 or thereabouts

The trip back to 1980 (or so) in this photo is fascinating enough. It takes us right into the clothing and hair styles of the era, and the equipment, and the scientists’ oneness with with the … Continued

Optometry’s cheerful greeter

This jolly bronze of optometry pioneer Meredith Morgan, seasonally attired at the end of last year, is normally capless — but equally genial — as it stands at eye level, day in and day out, in the lobby/reception area of the School of Optometry’s Minor Hall clinic.

Berkeley graduate students have many outlets to showcase their work

Connecting with Energy For the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC), the word “collaborative” is key. The graduate-student-led organization brings together people across campus — in the sciences, business, law, and policy — to address pressing energy and natural resource … Continued

Una Fellowship

A duo of recipients for Una’s Fellowship

At the Faculty Club in November, two quiet ceremonies took place on different evenings, virtually out of the campus eye, but united by history and an unusual item of neckware. Each marked the presentation of the Una Fellowship, given to an outstanding woman graduate student in the field of history to “foster the spirit of inquiry and individuality” so characteristic of the woman for whom the fellowship is named, Una Smith Ross.

Susan Desmond-Hellmann

The head of UCSF, a Cal alum, is named in a fierce Top Ten list

The chancellor of UC-San Francisco since mid-2009, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, a Berkeley alumna (M.P.H.’88) who already has a passel of distinctions, has been named by the daily industry newsletter Fierce Biotech as one of the Top Ten Women in Biotech.


Inside the evolution of Jazzee

A sea change will take place over the next year in the way the Berkeley campus deals with the thousands of graduate student applications it receives.

The process of taking in the annual avalanche of “apps” and then reviewing and making decisions on them is complex, and has been that way for a long, long time.

Berkeley-Taiwan Partnership

Berkeley and Taiwan form an educational partnership

The China Post, a major English-language daily newspaper published in Taiwan, led the news this way: “The No. 1 public research university in the United States recently sealed an unprecedented cooperative partnership with 15 academic institutions in Taiwan to increase the international experience and exposure of talented local humanities and social sciences scholars through government-sponsored graduate studies.”

Emmanuel Saez, Economist

Two more “geniuses” for Berkeley

Thanks to two young faculty members — and, of course, the MacArthur Foundation — the already-sizeable total of active Berkeley campus MacArthur “genius” Fellows grew to 32 at the end of September.


Threesomes get noticed

Two trios of grad students made the news recently, not for their trinity but for the interesting work they’ve been doing in very different fields. Three journalism students each made 26-minute documentaries as their master’s theses, and all three were … Continued

Steven Chu

Berkeley tops the list of new DOE Graduate Fellowships recipients

With 19 out of 150 fellowships awarded — over an eighth of the total, more than any other university — UC Berkeley welcomes the lion’s share of students in energy studies across its college and departments who will be studying here for up to three years, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Steven Chu

Energy Secretary advances nano science in spare time

Apparently the most-Berkeley person in the Obama cabinet, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (former director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley Ph.D. ’76), makes scientific contributions, and news, even while he takes it easy. “In his down time, often while flying somewhere,” reported AP science writer Seth Borenstein, Chu “relaxes by tackling a scientific conundrum and stretching the limits of technology.”

Karl Brown

Energy-efficiency expert (and grad alum) Karl Brown is a champ

An instrument box mounted in the depths of a campus classroom and office building is hardly a headline-grabbing weapon against climate change. But because buildings are estimated to be responsible for nearly half of all greenhouse-gas emissions, cutting-edge monitoring systems … Continued

Graduate students drive UC research and help keep top faculty

Julie Kang, a psychology graduate student at UC Riverside, stated the case more baldly than most: “Without graduate students, (the university) quite honestly would come to a screeching halt.” A troupe of graduate division deans and graduate students from each … Continued

Rube Goldberg Machine

The Berkeley underpinnings of Google’s July 4th salute

The world’s best-known search engine varies its logo playfully on its homepage on holidays and whenever it feels like it. This Fourth of July, it featured the basic DNA of a Rube Goldberg device. One of the country’s most popular cartoonists, Goldberg started here, in the first issues of Cal’s best-known and longest-lasting humor magazine, the California Pelican, which was founded in 1903 and survived, amusing and outraging people for eight decades, give or take.

More than 270 GSIs are singled out for the quality of their teaching

276 GSIs from 61 graduate programs were granted this recognition, which is now just over a decade old. The award recognizes the excellence of their teaching. Selections are made according to detailed guidelines, following criteria which may include skills in presenting course materials, capacity to promote critical thinking, and skills in developing course materials that promote learning, as well as evidence such as evaluations by students, letters of nomination by faculty or students, and classroom observation by faculty.

Creative—and effective—solutions win honors for 11 GSIs

The Graduate Division’s Teaching Effectiveness Awards were presented May 13 in the Women’s Faculty Club. The winners identified a teaching/learning problem in their own classes, laboratories, and sections, then came up with a method, strategy, or idea to address the problem, implemented it, measured its effectiveness, and described the process in an essay. Their essays become part of a permanent archive.

Love among the technically-inclined

Juliet Holwill had clearly come to trust her fellow UC Berkeley engineering grad student and fellow Aussie Ben Rubinstein, because one sunny September day in 2006 she let him pick her up in a car, blindfold her, and drive her … Continued

Grad apps increase

Top quality graduate students flock to UC Berkeley despite budget woes

Despite a budget shortfall, hiring freeze and higher fees, the University of California, Berkeley, continues to attract more and higher quality graduate students, according to new data from the campus’s Graduate Division.

By far, students say their top reasons to come to UC Berkeley include the chance to work with distinguished faculty and to earn their degrees from world-class graduate programs.

Three grad alumni are among 2010′s Cal Alumni Association honorees

Each spring the Cal Alumni Association celebrates the University of California birthday — the anniversary of its founding — with a traditional banquet known as the Charter Gala. This year’s event took place April 24 in San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building. The 2010 award recipients include three alumni with Cal graduate degrees.

Walter Wood

A Berkeley prof will use the sun to power student housing in Buffalo, N.Y.

Walter Hood recently won a public art competition to design a planned solar energy array at the North Campus of the University of Buffalo in New York. Hood, a 20-year member of Berkeley’s landscape architecture faculty, earned two graduate degrees here (M.L.A. ’89, and M. Arch. ’89).

Richard A. Muller, Ph.D.

Three of the world’s most popular online course lectures are by UC Berkeley professors

Three of the world’s most popular online course lectures — as measured by view-counts of the videos thereof, posted on the video giant YouTube on April 1 of this year — are by UC Berkeley professors, and all three of those have Berkeley degrees. In fact, they have seven Berkeley degrees among the trio, five at the graduate level.

2009 Sarlo Award

Two Superb Mentors Get Their Due at Berkeley

For the last three years, there’s been a new way to honor faculty mentors at Berkeley. Called the Sarlo Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award, it honors faculty for all the ways they help graduate students — not only in research, … Continued

Berkeley engineers invent a cell-phone microscope

What the world needs now — besides love, of course — is a new technology for diagnosing infectious disease that’s inexpensive and portable yet highly effective. The World Health 
Organization estimates that there were about 247 million cases of malaria … Continued

Berkeley Trio turns Algae into Fuel and Money

At least once or twice a year, you can happen upon David Charron’s “Case Studies in Entrepreneurship” course in the Haas School of Business. In this class, students are confronted with a case study of the early days of a … Continued

A Greener Future: Bringing the U.S. & China Together

China and the United States — the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases — should be at the forefront of clean energy solutions for an ailing planet. That’s the bold vision of the U.S.-China Green Tech Summit, a gathering that drew more than 400 green technology executives, venture capitalists, academics and others to Beijing last fall.

Carol Grieder at Nobel ceremony

Graduate Work at Cal Pays Off with a Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine

What she could not know for sure, back then as a 25-year-old grad student, was that this discovery would win her — and her mentor, Elizabeth Blackburn, now at UCSF — a Nobel Prize. … When Greider was in the market for a graduate program, after earning her B.A. at UC Santa Barbara, Berkeley was in her final two choices, narrowed not for the usual reasons, but because those were the ones that would have her.

Ann Veneman

UNICEF’s Ann Veneman shares her perspective on health policy

Among the many well-known figures, experts, and leaders who visit this campus in any given month, a significant proportion were here before, as students. One such, in March, was Ann Veneman, the executive director of UNICEF, who gave the Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Lecture in Health Policy.

We, Robot

We, Robot

In recent years, Berkeley has become a hotbed of robotic activity, to the point where there’s a virtual subculture across many disciplines, involving faculty, alumni, grad students, undergrads, and postdocs in a broad variety of powerhouse labs and research groups and projects.

Valerie Garcia Houts M.B.A. ’99

An evening MBA in the limelight

On Wall Street, a national magazine for retail brokers and the financial services industry, has named Valerie Garcia Houts M.B.A. ’99 to its annual list of “Top 40 Advisors Under 40.”

The dig

Solving the Human Mystery

Nobody knows for sure where we came from, but folks at Berkeley have more clues than most The most famous fossil in modern history was given her nickname — “Lucy”— after the in-the-sky-with-diamonds Beatles song that played over and over … Continued

Paul Tilberg

Engineering grad student wins $250,000 fellowship

What would you do if you were handed a $250,000 award for graduate studies with no strings attached? Paul Tillberg, a Berkeley grad student in electrical engineering and materials science and engineering, is about to find out.

Richard Blum

Catching up with Richard Blum

San Francisco’s Richard Blum B.S. ’58, M.B.A. ‘59, widely known as a private equity financier and philanthropist, also gained considerable visibility as chairman of UC’s Board of Regents, in which role he publicly critiqued the ten-campus system and led an … Continued

Arun Sarin

A knighthood for Berkeley alumnus Arun Sarin

When the British Foreign Office announced spring honors for 2010 it listed all the specific awards the Queen “was graciously pleased to approve.” They included, in “The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Civil Division),” the name Arun Sarin, “for services to the communication industry.” Born in central India, Sarin has two 1978 master’s degrees from Berkeley, one an M.B.A. and the other in material sciences and engineering.

More honors for Chemistry’s high-climbing Arlene Blum

Biochemist and mountaineer Arlene Blum Ph.D. ’71, who won the $100,000 Purpose Prize late last year for mobilizing society to protect its members by reducing toxic chemicals, has received still more honors in 2009, and the year isn’t even half … Continued

Chancellor Birgeneau and Moira Pérez (above left). Marilyn Seid-Rabinow (above right).

Two from Grad Division are honored for ‘going beyond’

In mid-April, atop Barrows Hall, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau honored three teams and 22 individuals with the Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award, nicknamed COSA. He praised all for going beyond the call of duty, especially in these financially difficult times, not just … Continued

Paula Argenteri

Two grad students are honored by the Chancellor for civic engagement

At the annual Chancellor’s Awards for Public Service ceremony, which took place April 24, two Ph.D. candidates were singled out for their extensive community work. Paula Agentieri of the School of Education’s social and cultural studies program was honored for her 14 semester of serving as the lead GSI and co-cordinator for Education 190, the core class for education minors, during which she has taught more than 1,000 students and has trained more than 70 undergraduate teaching assistants to teach and facilitate a class democratically and to serve the local community.


The NAS picks six from Berkeley in its crop of new members

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of America’s most prestigious societies of scholars engaged in science and engineering research, at the end of April announced its election of 72 members, six of whom are Berkeley researchers.

Sarlo and FMA Winners from 2009

Heaping honors on the highly helpful

The Graduate Division, which oversees graduate education at Berkeley, and the Graduate Assembly, the grad students’ government, are making up for lost time. For decades, the campus did little to reward the vital role many faculty members play as mentors to their students. Countering that non-trend, the two groups have joined forces for the third year in a row, presenting their own faculty honors in a combined ceremony.



Everything you need to know about the wonders of nanotechnology, as a musical, with puppets.

UHS/Tang sign

UHS Updates

Workshops: Insurance after graduation — selecting a plan August 6 (Wednesday) 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Education Center, first floor of the Tang Center, 2222 Bancroft Way August 10 (Wednesday) 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Education Center, first floor of the Tang … Continued

Dramatic rise in minority science Ph.D.s detailed in new report

At most universities participating in the AGEP program, the number of underrepresented minority Ph.D. recipients in science and engineering has increased by as much as 50 percent. Berkeley Edge, UC Berkeley’s AGEP program, was the top producer of Ph.D.s among 79 participating U.S. universities.

Larissa Kelly and Alex Trebek

Seven Days in May: Grad student Larissa Kelly asks the right questions and becomes the #3 winner in Jeopardy! history

The drama that actually took place in a much more compressed interval back in February of this year played out over seven separate days in the latter part of May.

That its star, Larissa Kelly, was no longer in California, or even the United States, didn’t matter. It was literally academic. (Kelly was, like the serious Ph.D. candidate she is, pursuing her dissertation research, which took her to Mexico.)

Her role in the episodic television quiz show Jeopardy!1 was “previously recorded” in a two-day burst, then broadcast to the nation in distinct weekday segments, as is standard procedure for the highly-rated program.

Post-Stem-Cell-Ban Era Begins

Post-stem-cell-ban era begins at Berkeley

MCB professor Ellen Robey (Berkeley Ph.D. ’86), two of her postdocs, and a grad student are in Nature’s coverage of their lab as the post-stem-cell ban era begins.