Educational Psychology Doctoral Student Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth AlexanderThe experience of working with Farhana Uddin, my IE Pre-Grad intern, has been invaluable on both sides. Through discussing my own experience as a graduate student, especially in coming back to school after many years outside of academia, Farhana learned about the benefits of gaining work and life experience before transitioning to graduate school. She always came to our meetings armed with excellent questions that enhanced my ability to be reflective and insightful. We talked about general issues such as applying to graduate school and how to prepare oneself to gain the most out of that experience. We covered specific topics that included travel writing, writing with a global outlook, values of good editing, writing collaboratively, writing ethics and plagiarism. We further discussed how these topics affect most fields in academe, noting in particular that most faculty jobs encourage writing collaboration, dual authorships in research projects, etc.

Plus, I was able to bring my career coaching to bear in helping her target her resume, and review the many career opportunities available to her as a freelance writer. I particularly valued the chance to interact with Farhana to better understand the issues that undergraduates are most concerned about, and felt that this enabled me to be more relevant to other students who visit with me in my role in Liberal Arts Career Services.

In terms of my status as a recent graduate student, I wanted Farhana to have a full appreciation of the outcome of graduate school, not just the process. I discussed the formatting of my dissertation with her, and what is involved in pulling together a document that, in my case, ran to 250 pages. I gave Farhana the task of pulling together the references section of this document as a way of demonstrating the importance of being detail oriented, and meeting deadlines. I think these are key skills that all students should be aware of before committing themselves to such as huge undertaking as getting their Ph.D.