Monday, August 25, 2008

REMINDER: New Student Orientation & Welcome Back BBQ -- Sept 4

Just a reminder that the department is holding a new grad student orientation next Thursday, September 4, 2008 in B9242 from 1:30-3:30 pm.

Following the orientation, BISC Grad Caucus will be hosting a Welcome Back BBQ starting at 4 pm in the physics-biology courtyard (7000-level) to welcome our new grad students.  [All new grad students and mentors: we ask that you meet us there at 3:30 so you have a chance to meet each other beforehand.]

GSS update [Aug 25, 2008]

GSS Update -- Aug 25, 2008

1. Grad Social Fri Sept 5
2. Wireless internet access in grad lounge
3. Info for students traveling to the USA

1. Grad Social Friday Sept 5.

Come out to the Highland Pub next Friday for a welcome (back) grad social, starting at 4:30 p.m. Enjoy some free pizza and cheap beverages with other grad students brought to you by the TSSU and the GSS.

2. Wireless internet access in the Grad Lounge: The Grad Lounge (MBC 2212), a comfy area with couches where grad students can work, eat lunch, or hang out, now has internet access. If you'd like to connect to the wireless network, drop by MBC 2205 or email to get a password.

3. Travelling to the states? New Homeland Security Regulations.

The following is from the UVic grad newsletter in April, but sounds like useful info for SFU grads too:

There are some new rules between the US Homeland Security and Canadian Border services that may affect researchers and others attending conferences, or doing presentations in the United States.
In essence Homeland Security has the right to copy, scan, review and withhold, laptops, external drives, blackberries, cell phones etc from anyone travelling to the United States.  [Uvic] has already had several instances where research findings and presentations were withheld at the border and the information destroyed and equipment never returned.  In one case no other copies of the research existed.
Please ... be sure to save copies of materials you are taking to the US and to email yourself a copy of your presentations so that in the event that your laptop is detained, you will at least be able to access the presentation when you arrive at your conference... .
Clea Moray
President, Graduate Student Society

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Department Scholarship Committee Grad rep position opening - taking nominations

This is to let you know that one of the two Grad Student Rep positions on the Departmental Scholarships Committee (DSC) will be opening up this fall. We'll be taking nominations over the next few weeks (you can nominate yourself, of course), and holding an election for the position at the end of Sept Caucus meeting.

"This is an excellent opportunity to be part of a process that ensures the allocation and ranking of awards is done in a manner that is fair, unbiased and in the best interests of the graduate students that you are representing. It is also invaluable experience with the grant/scholarship/fellowship process and how these awards are administered, something all of us Graduate students have to do."

Ideally, a student holds a DSC Rep position for two years so that at least one of the representatives has had prior experience serving on the committee.

The committee meets about once or twice a semester, during the fall and spring semesters. You are also required to put in a bit of time reading and ranking applications. Part of the reason for having two grad student reps is to ensure that at least one rep can attend each meeting, in case the other is off at a conference, doing field work, etc... DSC Grad Reps are encouraged to apply for departmental scholarships along with everyone else, and the DSC makes an effort to ensure that the selection process is not biased against these students.

In general, the caucus encourages a PhD student to hold one of the positions (currently Sarah Jamieson), and a Masters student to hold the other position (the one that is opening up, previously held by Brendan Connors). However, this is a 'soft' rule, and anyone who is interested should feel free to nominate themselves.

As a previous DSC Grad Rep, I can honestly say that the experience was interesting, informative, had a minimal time commitment, and in my opinion is one of the more enjoyable ways you can volunteer your time in the department (also sounds good on a CV).

Please let us know if you're interested!

Erica Jeffery
Jerry Ericsson