Dec 22, 2022

Artificial intelligence writing tools that might help you in graduate school and beyond

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Ange
Overview: As you matriculate through your graduate program and into your professional positions, chances are high that you will also have access to artificial intelligence (AI) for writing assistance. This year, my institution provided all faculty and students with Grammerly Premium, an AI writing assistant that provides help with grammar and spelling. To help you understand AI and AI tools, I explored some articles written on the subject and then tried a representative of the AI writing assistants (Moonbeam). 

Contributor: Dr. Marian Kennedy

Dec 13, 2022

Practicing self-care as a graduate student

Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash
Overview:  Over the past few years, it feels to me like references to “self-care” and “self-love” are cropping up more and more during faculty training, although, after having experienced some recent health complications, I may be more sensitive to such references. “Self-care” was a major component of the “Faculty Success Program” which I just completed. This semester-long faculty development program heavily integrated self-care reflections in parallel to developing a strategic plan for writing and daily writing practice. Since self-care practices are beneficial for graduate students too, I decided to that this next post should over this subject!  I reached out to Dr. Marieke Van Puymbroeck, an associate dean for the Clemson Graduate School who focuses on student professional development, health and well-being.  You can find out more about her here.  She graciously agreed to help.


Contributors: Drs. Marian Kennedy and Marieke Van Puymbroeck

Dec 8, 2022

Time management- an essential element to thriving in graduate school (and life)

Overview:  As a graduate student, you probably are not given a to-do list each day and have the autonomy to determine when you will come to and leave campus. You also undoubtedly have many concurrent projects running, including course work, research or teaching-related tasks. Chances are you are also finding that your time is as limited as money in your bank accounts.  As a graduate student, I started to see telltale signs of limited time too.  I experienced late nights scrambling to complete assignments and struggled to identify which activity I could complete in small pockets of time. When I felt that I had to miss the wedding of dear friends in Vegas to get lab work done for a conference a few weeks later, I realized I was not managing my time (or self regulating) at all. 

Photo by Malvestida on Unsplash

Figuring out my priorities and exploring some time management techniques substantially relieved my stress.  As a graduate student, I am confident that you will be able to make relatively more thoughtful progress on your research work, get high marks in your courses, and complete the requirements for graduation by using time management techniques that work best for you.  For this blog post, I enlisted Dr. Fadi Abdeljawad as my coauthor. When we were restricted to online teaching due to COVID-19, I asked him to give a virtual talk to students about time management as part of a professional development seminar series.  The students raved about it in their exit surveys.  I hope that this post helps you reflect on your own time management while you apply and thrive in graduate school.

Post Contributor(s): Drs. Marian Kennedy and Fadi Abdeljawad, the Bob and Kay Stanzione Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson. More about Dr. Abdeljawad can be found at the end of this post.  

Dec 6, 2022

Managing finances for grad school

Overview:  While graduate school will involve intense focus for completing the required courses and conducting research, you will also need to allocate chunks of your time each week for other things and activities. Time will be needed for doing basic household management (think food prep and cleaning), engaging in exercise, being social, self-care activities and managing your finances.   


Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash
This post is dedicated to helping you get a handle on this last topic- personal finance.  If you do not handle your money well while enrolled in graduate school, the ramifications will increase your stress and potentially make it difficult for you to finish your degree and launch into the life you want after graduation.  I reached out to Dr. Angela Morgan from the Clemson Department of Finance to determine what the most salient pieces of financial wisdom for graduate students (and those applying to graduate school) would be. The following article is the outcome of those discussions.  Nothing in it is radical information, however it is important.  Small changes in your financial trajectory in your 20s can have radical impacts on your finances later in life. (Caveat emptor: This content is for informational purposes, and you should not construe this as financial advice for your specific situation.)


Contributors: Drs. Marian Kennedy and Angela Morgan, Chair and Associate Professor of the Clemson Department of Finance

Dec 2, 2022

Strategies for efficiently starting your literature research and reading journal articles

Overview: As you enter a research-based degree program, you will need to master the process of selecting, organizing, and effectively reading papers. It is a skill to thoughtfully engage with an article’s intentions, scope, assumptions, and analysis that unveils new knowledge for a community of practice.  We hope that the following post will help you as you either start exploring published literature or revisit your current practices to become more effective. 


Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Post Contributor(s): Marian Kennedy and Dr. Sapna Sarupria, Associate Professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Chemistry. Professor Sarupria studies materials using computational methods (molecular modeling, simulations, and statistical mechanics) and won one of the coveted NSF CAREER awards in 2017.  Her research involves developing sampling techniques in molecular simulations and applying them in understanding long-standing problems in condensed matter.