The goal for Physics and Astronomy Community Excellence's (PACE'S) Stride! mentoring program is to build a strong connection between graduate students and undergraduate students who are applying to graduate programs. Graduate mentors provide mentorship and guidance through the graduate school application process. Rising seniors are matched with graduate students at the beginning of summer. Mentor-mentee pairs meet on a regular basis (as defined by the pair) to navigate various aspects of the graduate school application process and the overall grad school experience. There will also be several summer panels and workshops where mentees can get multiple perspectives from Stride Mentors.

For resources and summaries of our past Stride! panels and workshops, see below or click the corresponding link: Grad Life and Picking a Grad Program Panels, The Entire Application Process Workshop and Panel, Fellowship and Grad Program Application Essays Workshop, Research Panel.

See Full Panel and Workshop Notes Here

Grad Life and Picking a Grad Program Panels


These panels served to discuss with mentees in a group setting various aspects of life as a graduate student and best practices used by mentors in picking their graduate program. The key take aways from these discussions were:

Grad Life
  • Much of the work required to excel in graduate school is self motivated.
  • Self care is absolutely crucial in every step of the grad journey.
  • Building or joining a community in your department and/or university is extremely important.
Picking a Grad Program
  • Talk to current grads about their experience.
  • Visiting the department before making your decision is crucial!
  • It's wise to chose a program where you have multiple potential advisor options.

The Entire Application Process Workshop and Panel


The panel portion of this session served to answer questions regarding the process of applying to Physics and Astronomy graduate programs, while the workshop portion provided guidance on setting up a spreadsheet to organize these applications! Below are the key take aways from this session.

Process Panel
  • Start early and be as organized as possible!
  • Specifically as potential letter writers for a *strong* letter of recommendation.
  • Optional essays are not actually optional.
Application Workshop

Fellowship and Grad Program Application Essays Workshop


This workshop served to generate ideas amongst the mentees regarding which topics are and are not strong components to include in fellowship application essays and graduate program application essays. This culminated in beginning to outline these application essays. The key take aways from this session are to (1) know your audience, (2) to not fear discussing your hurdles and how overcoming them has strengthened you, and (3) avoid being general with your experiences - give specifics!

Research Panel


In this panel, graduate and undergraduate research experiences were discussed. The key difference between graduate and undergraduate research that emerged from this conversation is that in undergrad there is often more opportunities to explore various research fields allowing the student to figure out what type of research excites them. For both undergrad and graduate research experiences, a good advisor with which you work well is absolutely key! In graduate research, follow through and communicating your science becomes very important.