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The University of Charleston, South Carolina at the College of Charleston and the Université de Versailles – Saint Quentin have an exchange program which affords a unique opportunity for graduate students to teach and conduct independent research at a university in the southwest suburbs of Paris.  Established in 1994 by Dr. Olejniczak of the History department, the Graduate School has sent nearly 20 College of Charleston students to France with great success. We recently checked in with the 2014-2015 fellow, Margaret Edling, to hear about her experience after her first semester. Margaret is a student in the History program and the 2013-2014 Graduate Student Association President. 


Hey y’all!  My name is Margaret Edling and I am the 2014-2015 Versailles Fellow currently living in Paris.  I am one of four English teaching assistants at the University of Versailles, Saint Quentin; two of the teaching assistants come from universities in the UK and the other comes from Clark University in Massachusetts.  The four of us teach all of the English conversation classes and help the students with their fluency.  Most of my students are quite proficient in English and have a great attitude which makes teaching them enjoyable.

Since the conversation classes are split between the four of us I have a lot of time to explore Paris and work on my thesis.  My thesis topic focuses on Joseph Glanvill and his perceptions of witchcraft in England, and I am currently planning a trip to visit the Royal Society in London to do research at their archives. I am excited about being able to do this archival research because it would not have been possible from Charleston.

This experience has been exciting and has allowed me to experience the French culture first hand.  I was in Paris when the Charlie Hebdo and grocery stores attacks occurred and it was interesting to see the French reaction.  The Sunday after the attacks over a million people gathered in Paris to march and show their support; so many people participated that the French government made the metro free to accommodate the masses.  And although I have seen an increase in security at some public places, for the most part everyone has continued to go about the city without fear.  Daily life has not changed and it is nice to see people coming together in support rather than torn apart by this terrible event.  Overall I have enjoyed my first few months in Paris and am looking forward to what the next semester holds!

paris 2

We are currently accepting applications for the Versailles Program for the 2015-2016 academic year. Visit the Versailles Program page of our website for eligibility information and requirements.

Applications are due February 1, 2015. 

under: Graduate Programs, Guest Bloggers, Jobs & Careers, News, Travel

The first meeting of the Graduate Students of Color Association (GSCA) will be held this Friday! Come out and learn more about the Graduate Students of Color Association

What is GSCA?
The Graduate Students of Color Association seeks to build and sustain a supportive community for graduate students of color that contributes to their academic development, social growth, and well-being. We are committed to increasing the enrollment, retention, and success of people of color at the graduate student level, as well as at all levels of the university.

Where: Multicultural Student Center Conference Room (located on the corner of Pitt and Calhoun Streets, adjacent to Addlestone Library)

When: Friday, January 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Questions? Email Ciera Gordon@ [email protected] or Cicely McCray, [email protected]

All students are welcome to attend!


under: Events, Graduate Programs, Graduate Student Association

New Year, New Professional Development Opportunities!

Posted by: powellbh | January 14, 2015 | No Comment |

With the new year comes a multitude of resolutions, and our new year’s resolution here at the Graduate School is to provide a semester full of professional development opportunities specifically tailored for graduate students! We’ve teamed up with Addlestone Library and the Center for Student Learning to offer an even bigger variety of workshops for 2015. The workshops will address the unique needs of graduate students and will explore topics that will provide current students with valuable knowledge and strategies to maximize their degree or certificate in the future. Here are just a few of the events that we have lined up for the semester (star denotes that the event is part of Graduate Education Week):

Finding the Motivation to Write                                                      

Date: Thursday, January 29, 2015

Time: Noon-1pm

Location: Addlestone Library, Room 227

Facilitator: Melissa Thomas, Center for Student Learning

In the workshop, participants will explore and share their current writing practices and be given practical writing and revision strategies. The latter half of the workshop will focus on developing a plan for approaching comprehensive exams or the dissertation (depending on the student’s current needs). Such a plan will help students develop goals, ask questions, and address writing strengths and limitations to successfully complete their degrees. This workshop is better suited for students who are working on their dissertations or preparing for comprehensive exams.


Copyright and Fair Use in Research and Teaching                                                      

Location: Addlestone Library, Room 227

Date: February 4 and 5

Time: 3-4pm and noon-1

Facilitator: James Williams, Associate Dean

As more and more scholarship and teaching involves digital resources and digital communications, copyright issues have become more important, and more contentious, than ever before.  This forum will examine some of the basic principles of copyright law and discuss how they apply to research and teaching.  We will discuss the parameters of the elusive “fair use” privilege and the lawsuits against higher education institutions that it has spawned.  We will also consider the issue of intellectual property ownership for scholars and how that ownership can best be managed to serve the interests of the scholar and of the academic community in general.


Graduate School Boot Camp *                                                                                        

Date: Monday, February 16, 2015

Location: Stern Center 205

Time: 5-7pm

Facilitators: Cicely McCray and Susan Hallatt

The UCSC Graduate School Boot Camp is designed to provide prospective students (juniors and seniors) with the basic knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to succeed in graduate-level academic programs. Boot camp sessions will dig deep into personal statements, rigor of graduate school, GRE/GMAT, social media, letters of recommendation and application processes.


Graduate School: Tips for Graduate School and the Working Professional *                   

Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Location: Addlestone Library, Room 227

Time: 4:00 pm

Facilitator: Melissa Thomas, Center for Student Learning

You’ve been a newly minted graduate student for few months and wonder where all your time went? If this sounds like your experience, join Melissa Thomas for discussion about time management and stress buster tips for first-year graduate students.


Resume Workshop: Operation Employment *                                              

Date: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Location: Career Center

Time: noon-1pm

Facilitator: Linda Robinson

Description: Coming Soon


Digital Humanities and Careers                                                                                               

Date: Thursday, March 19, 2015

Location: Addlestone Library, Room 227

Time: 3-4pm

Facilitator: Brad Blankenmeyer ’14

Description: While the digital humanities (DH) are not a quick fix for humanities scholars looking for careers beyond the tenure track, DH does offer methods to help scholars bridge academic and public interests, ultimately making them more marketable for a wide range of career paths. This workshop will discuss the different areas of DH and showcase methods for using DH to build competencies to broaden career paths. This workshop is designed for graduate students in the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and other fields with an interest in DH methods and scholarship, such as Education, Communications, and Computer Science.

Literature Reviews: Unveiling the Mysterious                                                           

Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015

Location: Addlestone Library, Room 227

Time: Noon-1pm

Facilitator: Melissa Thomas, Center for Student Learning

Description: Coming Soon


In addition to these targeted workshops, the Center for Student Learning and Addlestone Library will be hosting Study Skills Workshops and a Digital Scholarship Series this semester. All Study Skills Workshops will be held on Mondays at 4:00 pm and the Digital Scholarship events will be on Thursdays at 3:00 pm. All events will be in Addlestone Library Room 120. Click the link below to check out the calendar of events and for more details or visit the Center for Student Learning’s website!

Study Skills Workshops & Digital Scholarship Series Spring 2015 Schedule


under: Academics, Events, Graduate Programs, Graduate School Office, Jobs & Careers, Professional Development

Back-to-Graduate School Beatitudes

Posted by: McCrayCC | January 5, 2015 | No Comment |

Happy New Year!  The start of a new year may inspire you to make resolutions: attend this conference, finish that paper, and make progress toward graduation. Although it may not impose the same kind of deadlines as your academic work, your professional development deserves some space on your list of resolutions, too. Make time and set goals to stay on track.As we start a new year, here are a few back to graduate school beatitudes.

  • Be patient with yourself.
    • Be patient with your own process of intellectual growth. You will get there and it will all come together. You aren’t supposed to know everything at the beginning of graduate school. And you still won’t know everything at the end (of coursework, exams, the dissertation, life…).
    • Getting the actual degree isn’t about intellect. It is about sheer strength of will and dogged determination. “ I’m gonna walk out of here with that piece of paper if it’s the last cottonpickin’ thing I do.” That kind of thinking helps you to keep going after you’ve just been asked to revise a chapter for the third time, your committee member has failed to submit a letter of rec on time, and you feel like blowing something or someone up.
    • You have not because you ask not. You have to be willing to ask for what you need. You deserve transparency about the rules and procedures of your program, cordial treatment from faculty, staff and students, and a program that prepares you not only for the rigors of grad school but also for the job market (should you desire a career in academia). But folks won’t hand it to you on a silver platter. You have to build relationships, ask questions, and make demands.
    • Figure out your writing process (the place [home, coffee shop, library], time [morning, afternoon, night], and conditions [background noise, total silence, cooler or warmer] under which you work best and try to create those conditions as frequently as possible during finals, qualifying exams, and dissertation 
  • Be kind to yourself.
    • Reward yourself frequently. Most of us need positive affirmation of a job well done, but for long stretches, especially during exams, dissertation, and the job market, the rewards elude us; and often given the time crunch, once we conquer the mountain, there is little time to enjoy the view before it’s time to trudge back down and start climbing the next one. All that hard work in high stakes conditions for anti-climactic ends can take a toll on your psyche. So be kind to yourself. Figure out the things you really like and make sure to enjoy them as much as is possible and healthy.
  • Be proactive about self-care.
    • Figure out your non-negotiables. For me, sleep is non-negotiable. I must have it. I don’t do all nighters. I also generally don’t do weekends, so I adjust my schedule accordingly. What are your non-negotiables?
    • Cultivate a spirit-affirming practice. Grad school is a mind-body-spirit endeavor. So meditate, pray, exercise, do yoga, go to church, cook a good healthy meal. Do whatever you need to do to keep your mind, body, and spirit in balance.
  • Be a friend/comrade to others and let them do the same for you.
    • Build community with colleagues inside or outside your department.
    • Build community with non-students/non-academics. You need folks who live life outside the dungeon. They will affirm you and help you keep things in perspective.
  • Be better not bitter.
    • Fail forward. Being the overachievers that we are, we tend not to deal with failure well. It tends to become an indicator to us of our intelligence, worth, and competence. But failure is a part of the process. Unless you are incredibly, exceptionally lucky, you will hit a snag in a course, while writing the proposal, on the dissertation, submitting a journal article or submitting a book. Two tips: take the time to process, particularly for big issues like proposals, dissertation chapters or books. Cry, scream (not at your committee or editor), go to a kickboxing class. And then dust yourself off and try again.
  • Be tight. Bring your A-game. Come to class prepared and ready. Keep a calendar of important due dates. Always be open to learn new ideas.
  • Be a light. As you make your way, show the graduate students behind you how it’s done, so maybe they won’t have as many dark days as you’ve had.

Happy 2015! Make it your best year ever! Always believe in yourself!

under: Uncategorized

Happy Holidays from the Graduate School!

Posted by: powellbh | December 15, 2014 | No Comment |


Well, graduate students, you MADE it! On behalf of the Graduate School, congratulations on another semester well done. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season and hope that everyone enjoys a much deserved break. The new year is just around the corner, so make sure you mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

January 7- Graduate Student Spring Orientation, 5:30pm, Alumni Hall, 2nd Floor Randolph Hall

January 12- First day of spring semester classes

January 19- No classes (MLK Day observed)

January 20- Last day to drop/add spring semester classes

January 21 @ 7:30pm- College of Charleston’s men’s basketball game vs. the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, South Carolina and the School of Business will host guest in the President’s Box at TD Arena that night.

February 14- Last day to drop/add spring semester classes

February 16-20- Graduate Education Week (our 2nd annual event). This week will feature a variety of events geared to students, staff, faculty, alumni and the community, such as Grice Marine Lab tours and networking opportunities.

February 19 @ 4pm- Stern Center Ballroom – The 9th annual Graduate Student Research Poster Session which highlights the research projects of students in our master’s programs.

February 20 @ Noon- Meeting for the Advisory Board to the The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C.

February 25- College of Charleston Day at the Capital in Columbia, S.C. – The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C., will showcase its offerings at this all-day event held in the lobby of State House.

Have a SAFE and HAPPY holiday season students, faculty, and staff! We will see you in 2015!


under: Graduate Programs, Graduate School Office, Holiday


Lisa Vandiver, Ph.D., graduated from the College of Charleston’s MSc Environmental Studies program and now works at NOAA’s Restoration Center in Charleston. Originally from Athens, Georgia, Lisa moved to Charleston in 1997 to pursue a BSc in Marine Biology. After working at Kiawah Resort as a naturalist as an  undergraduate, Lisa enrolled in the Environmental Studies program at the College specializing in stormwater management and the effects of stormwater on tidal creek ecosystems.   After she completed her Masters, Lisa attended the University of South Carolina earning her Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences. Upon graduation, she was immediately accepted into the Knauss Fellowship program in Washington D.C.

At NOAA , Lisa works with the Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program (DARRP) and the Community-based Restoration Program (CRP). Through DARRP, Lisa helps restores coastal and marine habitats and resources to compensate for the natural resource injuries incurred from oil spills and hazardous waste sites. Currently, Lisa and her team are planning for restoration for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the hazardous waste site in Brunswick, Georgia. Through CRP, she coordinates with local communities, territorial agencies, and federal partners to reduce land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) to coral and seagrass habitats in the Caribbean.

“This is definitely the most rewarding part of my career, not only because it is nice to work in the Caribbean, but because I am able to see major changes in pollutant loads and human behavior as a result of our work.” Lisa attributes some of the skills she uses in her job to her graduate school experience at the College of Charleston. “College of Charleston provides a unique interdisciplinary experience that truly provides you the skills needed to succeed in a profession as a natural resource manager.  We were required to attend Charleston County Council meetings and evaluate local environmental management issues. These experiences taught me lessons about the complexity of environmental management and the importance of the human dimension. The understanding and ability to work with others towards a common goal is key to the success of any career. My graduate career at the College of Charleston was integral in fostering and developing these skills.”

Words of Advice to Graduate Students
Network, network, network! Now-a-days many people go on to pursue their graduate degrees, so it is not the ‘foot in the door’ that it used to be. Once you graduate, you can almost guarantee that for every job you apply to you will be competing against another Master’s degree or even a Ph.D.  The primary thing that can give you an edge over your competition is your network. It is likely that you have already begun developing your network without even knowing it.  The marine science world is surprisingly small and Fort Johnson is filled with well-known and respected scientists and soon your friends will become your colleagues. Graduate school is a great time to expand your network which will help you get your foot in the door when you need it.

Your graduate career is your opportunity to explore new ideas and opportunities. Take advantage of this time!  If you have an opportunity to work on a research cruise or you have a chance to study abroad or you simply have a chance to help a friend out in the field, GO, you will be surprised how it will open up a whole new world of ideas and opportunities. Worst case scenario you would have added one more person to your network.

under: Environmental Studies, Guest Bloggers, Jobs & Careers, Networking, News

Alaina Cordes

Alaina Cordes, Communications (2012)
Marketing and Group Sales Coordinator at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Alaina Cordes has worked as the Marketing & Group Sales Coordinator at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum for just over a year now. She earned her B.A. in Communications from Flagler College in St Augustine, Florida and her Master of Arts in Communications from the College of Charleston in 2012 while she worked as the Student Media Coordinator for the on-campus run network, CisternYard Media.

Alaina’s ‘office environment’ at Patriots Point is utterly unique: she works onboard the USS Yorktown, the tenth aircraft carrier to serve in the United States Navy. As the Marketing and Group Sales Coordinator, Alaina’s to-do list varies, making her job extremely exciting and challenging. She organizes veteran meet-and-greets one day, manages social media marketing, and rebrands major programs for the Museum the next. Her job at the Naval and Maritime Museum combines the skills she learnt in and outside of the classroom during her Master’s with her passion for history and historic preservation.

 Words of Wisdom: Current graduate students should keep in mind what their end goal is and use every internship opportunity to gain real world experience. While experience is a big part of your resume, never underestimate the power of a Master’s degree.  Earning an MA continues to impress employers and may put you ahead of other candidates.

under: Uncategorized

Left to Right: Students Leah Worthington, Maggie Burton, Brett Powell, Victoria Musheff, Morgan Willer, Jordan Hardee, Bailey Knight, and Kelly Hogan

On October 25, students from the Masters of History program joined a team of volunteers and employees at the Patriots Point working to reconstruct elements of the museum’s “Experiencing Vietnam” exhibit. Situated in the shadow of the USS Yorktown, the Vietnam Support Base is a true-to-scale recreation of a U.S. Naval Advanced Tactical Support Base, or ATSB, that was utilized in South Vietnam from roughly 1965 to 1971. The exhibit features an impressive collection of rare equipment throughout the camp, including a Mark 1 River Patrol Boat and three “Seawolf” helicopters that were used by the “Brown Water Navy” to support ground forces and defend the critical waterways.*

The history  graduate students were among a group of volunteers who assisted in filling hundreds of sandbags used for constructing bunkers around the camp. After building up the camps defenses, the students enjoyed  a private tour of the USS Yorktown led by fellow history graduate student, Kelly Hogan. As a Collection Assistant at the museum, Kelly works closely with the Collections Director in acquisition of new materials, as well as the research and development of new exhibits at Patriots Point. Her most recent research of camp mess halls in Vietnam is reflected in the additions made to the Vietnam Support Camp exhibit.

Kelly’s work at Patriots Point is a shining example of the how history graduate students at the College of Charleston are contributing to the local community. Check out our graduate students at work making (or rather, remaking) history:






under: Charleston, History, Networking



I recently had the privilege, thanks in part to a study abroad grant from the Graduate School, to attend the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress in Glasgow, Scotland. My experience with the perception of conservationists is that we trade in “doom and gloom” – but that could not have been further from the truth at this meeting. Certainly our planet could be in better shape, but a lot of people are working hard and having success in a lot of conservation projects around the world. The two major themes of the conference – which tie together quite nicely – are that 1) we need to be positive about the successes we are having and the prospect for future success, and 2) we need to communicate these successes through social media in interesting and responsible ways.

The conference was particularly helpful as a student – everyday at lunch there was a career building exercise. I got to practice my ‘elevator speech’ (which apparently is strictly an American term) and interview skills, discuss job opportunities with a host of agencies, and sit down to lunch with the plenary speakers in a small group. While going to a meeting all by my lonesome for the first time caused some anxiety in the beginning, by the end I’d made friends from Canada to Iceland to Camaroon! I even came across a handful of College of Charleston graduates, out in the ‘real world’ making a difference!

All in all, I’m incredibly grateful to CofC for supporting me in this adventure. I’ll leave you with a (very quick) synopsis of my thesis work (which I presented at the conference) and a cartoon that celebrated environmental cartoonist Seppo drew for me (he also drew the meeting’s cartoon at the top):

My research focuses on the stone crab fishery – which is considered renewable because crabs are returned to the water after their claws are harvested under the assumption that claws will be regenerated and perhaps reach marketable size. To what degree this assumption is met is unclear, but my laboratory and field experiments suggest that claw removal leads to significant changes in feeding behavior, movement and survival.


under: Charleston, Events, Guest Bloggers, Jobs & Careers, Marine Biology, Networking, Professional Development, Travel

As part of the College of Charleston’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One and The College Reads! Sponsorship of a number of war, trauma, and culture events, History  Graduate Student Caroline Parsons installed an exhibit on the local impact of World War I.


June 28, 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of World War I. Known as the first “total war,” WWI devastated Europe economically, politically, demographically, and, ultimately, morally.  On April 16, 1917, when the United States joined her allies – France, Russia, and Britain – to fight in World War I, there were many students from the College of Charleston who commissioned to join the ranks of the American military and to fight alongside their fellow Americans and Allied Powers in this brutal war. In an effort to recognize their service and to remember the first total war of our modern world, the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library has partnered with the College of Charleston History Department to create a display to commemorate the centennial of World War I. The display utilizes WWI propaganda posters, newspaper clippings, photographs from Special Collections at the library, and other sources that explore various topics including gender, race, politics, the importance of the home front, the lives of soldiers, and ultimately what made the first World War so unique and devastating.The purpose of the display is to communicate to the observer what it would  have been like to live during WWI and to inevitably be involved in the conflict. A number of the sources included in the display specifically highlight the involvement of Charleston and the Lowcountry in war, serving as a reminder of the contributions that the local community made to the war effort.

The display is available until the end of the Fall 2014 semester and is located on the second floor of Addlestone library. In addition to the exhibit, there is a book cart available on the first floor of the library with specially selected texts that explore the causes and ramifications of World War I.

Caroline Parsons

I am a second year student in the joint MA History program at the College of Charleston and The Citadel.She is currently finishing up her final semester of courses and writing her thesis which focuses on Ronald Reagan’s moral and religious rhetoric concerning communism and the Soviet Union during his time as president. Caroline graduated with honors in May 2013 from Western Carolina University with a BA in History and a minor in Philosophy. Originally from Mint Hill, NC, she hopes to move back to the Old North State to pursue a career as a high school history teacher and basketball coach after graduation in May 2015.

under: Uncategorized

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