By Kathleen J. Sullivan
During the orientation of new graduate students last week, Stanford welcomed new master’s, doctoral and professional degree students with a series of events, including open houses, workshops, library tours and a blender for graduate students with children.
The annual event introduces incoming graduate students to the vast network of academic, professional, health, athletic, social and recreational resources available at Stanford.
This year, Stanford invited growing sophomore graduate students to participate in the program, which included in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. Last year’s NGO was a virtual event, due to the pandemic.
Stacey F. Bent, Vice-President, Undergraduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, greeted new graduate students and professionals on Wednesday at the President’s Welcome Reception. Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and his wife Mary Hynes, Associate Professor (Research) of Biology, hosted the reception, which was held in the gardens of Lou Henry Hoover House, a historic campus residence.
At the reception, Bent told the new students that their life experiences, intellectual passions, and future aspirations are all important to Stanford.
“Our community, our teaching and research and our university are all enriched by what each of you brings to campus,” she said. “The experience of Stanford graduates is built on relationships and characterized by connectivity and collaboration. We encourage you to seek opportunities to engage with your fellow graduate students and our faculty to create a community that will support you throughout your graduate program.
This year, Stanford welcomes 2,796 new graduate students, including masters, doctoral and professional degree students who began their studies in the summer and fall, according to preliminary figures from the Office of Institutional Research and the ‘help with the decision.
The cohort includes 1,309 women and 1,482 men, and five people who did not identify as either male or female. Their ages range from 18 to 74, with an average age of 26. The incoming cohort includes 1,134 international students.
“The house is where the farm is”
Three current PhD students – Grace Han, Art History, Emily Lindgren, Materials Science and Engineering, Kwamina Nyame, Biochemistry – worked with organizations across campus over the summer to create a comprehensive list of events. and resources for new students.
As NGO coordinators, they chose the theme – “Home is where the farm is” – and designed t-shirts. During the week-long event, they moderated panels and supervised volunteers.
Han, whose graduate studies are focused on film and media studies, said she enjoys event planning and welcomed the opportunity to help organize the NGO.
“After a year of living with Zoom and the pandemic, I looked forward to having the opportunity to get back into the field,” she said. “I also thought it would be a great way to meet people, including incoming graduate students and other coordinators. I crave social interactions with new people.
The coordinators worked under the guidance of Christine Gibo, Dean of Students and Associate Director of the Graduate Life Office, and Irene Deng, the Office’s Programs Associate, which serves the entire graduate student body and their families.
Featured NGO events
Among the more than 40 events held during the NGO, one of the most popular is ‘Grad 101’, which features a panel of current graduate students talking about campus life, including food, housing, transport and social life, as well as a question-and-answer session.
During another panel, “Top Tips for Managing Grad School,” current graduate students offered tips on how to be academically successful at Stanford. In the “Starting Grad School Right” workshop, academic coaches from the Center for Teaching and Learning presented strategies for effective and efficient learning, including ways to reduce procrastination.
Incoming graduate students also attended the Graduate Lunch Orientation and Information event – GOALIE – which brings together representatives from offices and programs across campus for one-on-one conversations with students. Student organizations, including the Graduate Student Council and the Graduate Student Planning Council, also occupied tables during the event.
Other NSGO events included:
- Undocumented at Stanford provided incoming graduate students with information on the resources, opportunities and support systems available to the undocumented community at Stanford during a secure webinar.
Make new friends
The new students attended a welcome movie night, spreading blankets and settling in lawn chairs on the Kennedy Commons lawn to watch “Ready Player One,” a sci-fi adventure film, and for enjoy friendly games of Cornhole – a beanbag throwing competition.
They gathered in the Graduate Life Office’s TV lounge on Friday night to eat pizza and cheer on the Cardinal in his football game against Vanderbilt University.
The new students gathered at the Manzanita grounds for a Speed Friending event – three rounds of 100 people per round – where participants answered questions about some of their favorite activities and their dream vacation.
The NGO also presented a blender for families and couples – a brunch was served – to share information on resources for partners, spouses and families of graduate students.