Demystifying Graduate School: Tapping the Alumni Resource

Poster Session Part of Wednesday Poster Session


Katie O'Sullivan, California State University-Bakersfield
This project conducted a series of alumni panel discussion videos on various topics with the goal of demystifying graduate school to undergraduates. The inspiration for this project came from undergraduate student feedback received during the previous year. Feedback indicated undergraduates were experiencing an increasing amount of confusion and concern regarding graduate school. Therefore, in Spring 2022, alumni panel discussions were held on Zoom with 3-4 alumni making up each panel. Each panel discussion centered on a specific topic, and questions were asked by the moderator and undergraduate audience. Panel discussion topics included "How I got my first Geology job", and "Grad School: What I thought it was going to be like vs. what is was actually like". Questions included "Why did you enter grad school?", "How important is a network in getting your first professional job?", and "How did your family react to you wanting to go to grad school?". Alumni were able to give honest and candid answers about graduate school. Surveys were administered to audience members to assess the effectiveness of each panel discussion. Survey participation was high, and discussions were well received by student attendees, alumni, and faculty. In addition to demystifying graduate school, these videos help build student's networks and act as a recruiting tool.