Follow-Up to Our September GSC Webinar

During this highly chaotic and unprecedented year, many graduate students are facing additional stress, anxiety, and uncertainty. Minoritized members of the academic community may be particularly affected by the challenges 2020 has created. To support these students, we decided to share the recording of our first GSC webinar entitled "Navigating and Thriving in Graduate School.” The event planning sub-committee has kindly agreed to provide a short synopsis of the webinar contents. You can find it, along with some basic information about our panelists, below. 

Ann Futterman Collier associate professor in the department of Clinical Psychology at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Collier is a clinical psychologist with a specialization in health and cross-cultural psychology. Her research has been published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, Frontiers in Psychology: Psychology in Clinical Settings, and the American Journal of Community Psychology, among others.

Krishna Bista associate professor at Morgan State University in the Department of Advanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy. His work specializes on college student experiences, faculty-student relationships, as well as global student mobility issues. Dr. Bista is the founding editor of the Journal of International Students. His research has been featured in journals such as College & University, the Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and other edited book collections.

Aya Matsuda associate professor in the Department of English at Arizona State University, where she directs undergraduate and graduate programs in linguistics and applied linguistics. Dr. Matsuda’s work specializes in World Englishes, the use of English as an international language, and the pedagogical implications of the global spread of English. Her research has been published in English Today, JALT, TESOL Quarterly, and World Englishes.

On September 28th, 2020, the AAAL GSC event planning sub-committee held their first webinar, entitled “Navigating and Thriving in Graduate School.” This webinar addressed graduate students’ existing challenges during the pandemic. Three panelists participated in this event: Dr. Ann Collier from Northern Arizona University, Dr. Krishna Bista from Morgan State University, and Dr. Aya Matsuda from Arizona State University.


The first panelist, Dr. Collier, discussed the webinar’s topic from a psychologist’s perspective. She first listed common negative emotions caused by the pandemic and explained why graduate students tended to have such feelings. To further the conversation, Dr. Collier introduced the concept of “resilience” and provided detailed ways of developing “resilience” and maintaining mental health. 


The second panelist, Dr. Bista, focused on navigating the difficult relationship with advisors and colleagues. At the beginning of the talk, he interacted with participants by encouraging them to think about their current relationship with their advisors. He then identified the most common problems between advisors and graduate students, and proposed some useful strategies for effective communication. 


The third panelist, Dr. Aya Matsuda, addressed the importance of self-care for graduate students in her talk. She started the discussion by sharing a recent conversation with her doctoral advisees which involved different aspects of self-care and mental well-being. Dr. Matsuda invited attendees to reflect on their own experiences and encouraged them to be more open-minded with the difficulties and frustrations that they face. 


During the Q&A session, attendees actively asked the panelists questions regarding effective strategies for maintaining one’s mental health and well-being. The panelists provided more inspiring ideas, which many attendees found helpful.