Monday, August 22, 2011

Step by Step: Your Career from Undergrad to Postdoc

Step by Step: Your Career from Undergrad to Postdoc (FREE Booklet)

A lot of what's written about science careers focuses on the career options available to individuals or how to apply for jobs when you're ready to go on the market. The reality, of course, is that we should be thinking about our career long before that point. This booklet looks at the steps you can take throughout your training to better prepare for your career. Whether you're considering which internship opportunity to pursue, what sort of graduate school experience you might be interested in, or what to expect in your postdoc position, there's information in this booklet for you.

To download the booklet, just sign up for a free jobseeker account on Your welcome email will include a link to all available booklets. Register today! Already have an account? Just log in to your account and click the Free Booklets link from the "My Science Career" page.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

GPSS Conference Travel Funds

All graduate students who go to a conference in their field to further their career can apply for funding from the Graduate Student Conference Travel Fund. This e-mail tells you how it works. And keep a heads-up for future changes. If you want to get involved in running the Fund, let me know right away!

If you are presenting research at a conference this year, you can apply to the department to give you money to cover travel expenses. If you are not presenting research, the department will not fund your travel. Either way, you will have the opportunity to request partial reimbursement of qualifying travel expenses by applying for the Graduate Student Conference Travel Fund.

1) Save your receipts!

2) When you return from your trip, you can enter a reimbursement request online.

On the form, you must declare if the department (or any other source) gave you money for the conference! Its unethical to request grad fee student funds to make a profit (duh). If you presented research at the meeting, you will give evidence such as an abstract.

You will itemize each expenditure for which you have legit documentation; rules and limitations will be on the website. Beware! Its kind of stingy; i.e. you can only ask for up to $15/day for food. But its better than $0/day! If they post the rules before you travel, check them out so you keep an eye on what's permissible to request.

3) Once all the requests from an entire semester have been received by the senate Finance Committee, and once that semester ends, then the funds will be allocated. This allows fair sharing of the money. It does mean that you'll have to wait until AFTER you travel to find out if you'll get any reimbursement or not.

4) First, funding will be allocated to grad students who presented original research at a conference. Next, funding will be allocated to grad students who attended a conference, but did not present.

What if they run out of money for a semester? Then the money will be divided evenly among the qualifying requests. For example, suppose they only have enough money to reimburse 80% of the funding that has been requested by attendees. Then they will give each attendee 80% of what they requested.

Last year the senate voted to extend the fund to people who attend, but do not present. This means hundreds more applications. Its the goal of the senate to see every dime of about $100,000 in the travel fund to go right into the pockets of traveling awesome grad students. It is likely that the money will all be spent; its likely that your attendee request will be partially funded for this reason. But that's pretty great, right? It used to be that there was leftover money, but that attendees couldn't get any of it. Now that's changed, but its such a new change that we can't yet predict exactly how much money a person will get.

5) Who is "They"? Why, its the Senate Finance Committee! And you can join them! Its kind of tough work making all these decisions, but its also fun. You get to see the inner workings of a big organization and become good friends with people from other departments. Plus, it will help you see how the Earth Sciences department can benefit from senate funding. If you want to join, write to during the new semester, and let me know too.

Please share this info with every grad student you know. Terms subject to change! There will be a new Finance Committee this year, and they have to oversee it. Check the Finance page of the website to find more. IF you have problems, let me, John Flemming, and the Finance Chair Dushyant Singh know, at Be patient and nice and you will get help!

Finally.) I have been Graduate and Professional Student Senator for our department during the past academic year. John Flemming will be the senator this year, and he will be given help by proxies Nick Kline and Christiann Boutwell. If you want to get involved, talk to John or me.

Kathleen Ritterbush
Bottjer Lab
ZHS 233

Friday, June 24, 2011

Software Availability: ChemBioDraw Ultra,, SAS, JMP, MATLAB, Mathematica

The following software packages are available to all current USC Faculty, Staff & Students. Some are new site licenses and some I include as a reminder:

- ChemBioDraw Ultra 12.0 Suite chemical and biological drawing software: USC Dornsife and USC School of Pharmacy have partnered to bring ChemBioDraw Ultra to all current USC Dornsife Faculty, Staff & Students. Please visit the following link for download and installation instructions: . This page is currently hosted on the USC Pharmacy website and requires than you enter your USC username and password to access it. If you have any issues or questions regarding this software, please don't hesitate to email me directly.

- online software training tutorials: After a successful 6 month test period, we are happy to report that will be a permanent USC online software offering. Please visit for more information and the official USC login link.

- SAS Statistical Analysis Software: more information and download links @:

- JMP Statistical Analysis Software: more information and download links @:

- MATLAB & Mathematica: more information and download links @:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Conference Travel Grants Now Available Through GPSS

Dear Biological Sciences Grad Students,
If you went to a conference either last fall or this spring, and have not yet been fully reimbursed, you can apply for up to $500 worth of travel grant funding. If you have any questions you can contact me at, or the finance committee

Also I am looking for a graduate student to serve as my "proxy" to attend the next senate meeting on April 25th in my place. It will be from 5:00pm until it ends which is usually a little after 7. Please email me if you are interested.
-Jacob Cram

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: GPSS Public Relations
Date: Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 2:57 PM
Subject: [GPSS Senators] Conference Travel Grants Now Available Through GPSS

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate would like to apologize for the significant delay of the Conference Travel Grants Website launching. The website is officially live and accepting applications as of Friday, April 8, 2011. The application can be found under “Finance” at

Graduate and professional students who have presented or attended at a conference are eligible for up to $500 in reimbursements for the fiscal year (Summer 2010, Fall 2010, and Spring 2011). Those who presented will be given priority over those who attended. For further clarification of eligibility requirements, please consult the guidelines on our website.

The deadline for submitting your electronic application for travel during the Fall 2010 semester (travel dates: 8/25/10 – 1/9/11) is Monday, April 25, 2011 at 11:59pm PST. The deadline for submitting applications for travel during the Spring 2011 semester (travel dates: 1/10/11 – 5/13/11) is Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 11:59pm PST.

GPSS would like to extend our thanks for the patience of the graduate and professional students who anxiously awaited the arrival of this website. We recognize the importance and necessity of the Conference Travel Grant Fund. By financially assisting students who attend academically related conferences, we are helping to ensure the high caliber research and academic excellence that is characteristic of a Trojan. Fight on!

Kelley B. Mowatt
Public Relations Director
Graduate and Professional Student Senate
3607 Trousdale Parkway
TCC 224
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar.
One says, “I think I’ve lost an electron.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m positive.”