Graduate School Primer: Navigating Academia Workshop Series

Compass graphic with text reading, "The Primer: Navigating Graduate School"As part of a continued orientation experience for incoming graduate and professional students, the Graduate School sponsors a special seminar series for first-year graduate and professional students. The purpose of Graduate School Primer workshops is for students to gain valuable information and skills to make a successful transition into the role of a Cornell graduate or professional student. 

Workshops will take place virtually mid-July through August 2024.  Session dates and times will be announced in June.

2024 Workshops

Understanding and Overcoming the Imposter Experience

Presenter: Jessamyn Perlus, Senior Associate Director, Cornell Career Services

Did you know that impostor feelings are normal and that most high-achieving graduate students experience these feelings at some point? Join us to better understand the impostor phenomenon; learn to recognize it and see recent research on how it can be a barrier to graduate student success. By defining it and sharing experiences, you’ll learn evidence-based tools to help combat impostor feelings.


Getting the Mentoring You Need and Want

Presenters: Colleen McLinn, Associate Dean for Professional Development, and Sara Xayarath Hernández, Associate Dean for Inclusion and Student and Faculty Engagement

In this workshop, graduate students reflect on their mentoring experiences and needs, learn to co-construct and manage mutual expectations within their mentoring relationships, and develop strategies to establish a network of mentors to get the mentoring they need and want across multiple domains. This workshop also introduces the FAIM (Faculty Advancing Inclusive Mentoring) Resource Center, which provides a framework to support the development and advancement of inclusive and equity-minded mentoring practices within graduate and postdoctoral education. The FAIM framework is comprised of an inclusive mentoring philosophy, key principles, and practical tools and resources intended to be adapted and adopted to meet the contextual needs of mentors and mentees.


Understanding Doctoral Funding at Cornell

Presenter:Jason Kahabka, Associate Dean for Administration

At Cornell, almost all Ph.D. students receive funding that pays tuition and provides a living stipend through a combination of fellowships, assistantships, and external scholarships. This presentation will explain how stipends are paid, what your responsibilities are, and provides insight on how to be an active participant in your own funding plan.


Maximize Your Every Minute

Presenter:Janna Lamey, Senior Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Life

While there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to best manage your most precious resource (TIME), time management is a skill that can be learned! Given the many demands for your time and attention to support your many identities, roles, and relationships, techniques can be learned to help you be able to intentionally decide what you should do when. Join us for an interactive discussion that reviews commonly used techniques, how to make strategic decisions that support the whole you, and how to maintain relationships when setting boundaries. In addition, share with others what you have found works best for you.


The Basics of Mental Health and Well-Being

Presenter: Janna Lamey, Senior Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Life

Make sure that you develop your mental health support plan so that you can have the energy and reserves to support your academic success. The stressors of being a graduate student are real and understanding the research for how you can best support your mental health and well-being is key to your future success. In this session, we will define mental health, learn key concepts of resilience, and emphasize the importance of sense of belonging and self-care practices. You’ll be able to connect with others in the session. University and local resources are also provided.


Creating, Building, and Maintaining Social Networks

Presenters: Janna Lamey, senior assistant dean for graduate student life; and panel of esteemed students

Relationships that are grounded in trust, respect, and acceptance are the strongest factor in building and maintaining resilience. And, starting a new program at a new place can be challenging to create, build, and maintain social networks.  So, what is a graduate student supposed to do? During this one-hour session, we’ll review the value of social networks, and more importantly, hear from graduate and professional students who have strategies and suggestions for how to build your social network right from the beginning.


Developing as an Instructor

Presenters: Colleen McLinn, Ph.D., associate dean for professional development, and Derina Samuel, Ph.D., associate director, graduate student development, Center for Teaching Innovation

Will you have teaching responsibilities this fall? Are you thinking about a faculty career track and want to develop your skills as an instructor? If your answer is “yes”, or you just want to find out more about teaching, join us to explore the many resources that are available to you at Cornell. At this session we will discuss the various teaching roles graduate students experience and identify areas you could develop to ensure a successful teaching experience.


Navigating Graduate School: The Good, the Grad, and the Ugly

Presenter: Josephine Martell, associate dean for academics

Come and learn about the top things that former graduate students wish they had known before they started their research degree programs. This session will share critical advice on setting achievable goals, creating mutual expectations with mentors, assembling an effective committee, research organization, the value of literature reviews, presenting and publishing, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and more. In addition to a short presentation, participants will have opportunities to break into smaller groups to reflect on, and brainstorm, how to apply the guidance in their own disciplines and unique situations.


Exploring Career Options In and Outside Academia: Make an Action Plan for Your Future

Presenters: Susi Varvayanis, executive director of Careers Beyond Academia, and Christine Holmes, director of postdoctoral studies

You might be thinking it is too early to think about the end as you are starting, but in this session you will learn how important it can be to keep your options open, how you can take advantage of your time at Cornell to gain experiences that help you rule in or rule out different career sectors based on what you value and in what environments you thrive. You will leave with three things you can do that don’t take long at all that will increase your agency.