Author Archives: gthoma03

The Do’s and Don’ts of Being a TA

Written by Priyanjana Pramanik, Economics M.A. 2018

I’ve been a TA now for a little more than a year, which means that I have wisdom to share (not really, but I’ll try). Being a teaching assistant has been exhausting, rewarding, and, much to my surprise, quite enjoyable. Now, this might be a little disorganized, but I’ll try to make it as educational as possible. I’ll skip the basics: you know the absolute no-no’s! I’m going to go straight to the stuff that I think is making me a better TA than I was before.

When I started out last year, I was absolutely terrified. I remembered every tiny bit of advice that I’d been given, including ‘never apologize’, ‘don’t let them know you’re afraid’, ‘never give out your cell phone number’, and loads more, but honestly, all that stuff just scared me more. My first recitation didn’t go well. Nor did the second. In fact, I don’t remember feeling like I’d done justice to a single recitation session the entire semester.

Which brings me to my first don’t. Don’t make the recitation about yourself. It’s very easy to do that because you’re in front of a classroom, and you have performance anxiety, and you feel continuously judged. But it isn’t about how you do. Your job is to get through the material that you’ve been told to cover, because the students in your recitation need help with it. They’re struggling with concepts that you, the grad student, already know, and you can help them! It’s all about them. While it may seem pretty basic, making my recitations about the students and what they needed, instead of focusing on how I was doing, improved my performance in recitations a great deal.

However, all the best intentions in the world aren’t going to help you if you aren’t familiar with the material. This is especially true for concepts that you’ve known for a very long time. For me, as an economics grad student, that includes things related to probability, random variables and other statistical matters that I’ve been working with now for about five years. (Yes, five years.) And the problem with being over-familiar with concepts is that they seem simple to you, and you don’t simplify them enough when explaining them. You skip steps because in your mind, they’re obvious. The way out is simple. Prepare for recitations! Especially if it’s stuff you know. Sometimes I practice my spiel for lab sessions on my classmates. Occasionally I’ve practiced over Skype on my long-suffering boyfriend.

There are two other very good reasons for preparing for recitations. One is that it makes you feel less nervous. The other is that you can focus less on the material and more on how students are responding to it. You become more aware when they understand something you just said, and when it wasn’t clear enough. Making eye contact also helps. For someone like me, that can be a challenge, but it’s extremely useful.

Try and make things interactive. This year, for example, when I’m doing practice problems with my recitation section, I’ve had them make little groups. I give them a few minutes to work on it, and then we go through it together. Students feel more comfortable sharing their work when they’re not alone. They get nervous too!

Last pieces of advice. Don’t sweat the grading. Put some music on, be as consistent as you can, and don’t think too much about it. Set boundaries. Don’t set a precedent for always responding to emails in half an hour, or having extra meetings for students who can’t make it to office hours. I try to be as accommodating as I can, but it’s important to get the message across that you have a lot on your plate too. A lot. Don’t look at other TAs and think, I wish I could do such a good job. Be yourself, and you’re going to find a teaching style that makes you absolutely awesome. Finally, ask for help whenever you’re unsure. The professor you work with will be happy to clear up any doubts you have.

Anyway, remember those horrible recitations I was having last fall? When I got back to school for the Spring semester, I found a card in my mailbox from one of my students, thanking me and telling me that they really appreciated what I’d done in recitations. Guess I wasn’t such a bad TA after all.

 

Maintaining a social life on and off campus as a graduate student

 Written by Brenna Gormally, Biology Ph.D. Candidate

One of the many stereotypes that everyone has heard is that graduate students have no social lives. They’re shackled to the lab bench or desk, never to leave the fluorescent lights of the one building they know the name of. And yes, I’ll admit it—early on in graduate school it seemed inappropriate or taboo to admit that I had a social life. I made a pretty conscious decision in these early days to make it clear to my advisor, my peers, and myself that setting a work-life balance was very important for me. I realized that maintaining my emotional and physical health also meant maintaining a social life.

So how did/do I do it? Through a lot of trial and error (what can I say, I’m a scientist!), I have figured out four things that help get me outside the lab and socializing with others. Firstly—do things with people in your department. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes graduate school feels like a very solitary experience and it can be incredibly beneficial to surround myself with those who are going through similar struggles. And don’t stop with just the people in your lab, your specific group, or your cohort. For me, this means participating in events sponsored by my Graduate Student Organization, BUGS. These events range from pumpkin carving to career counseling to Easter egg hunts. They have been excellent times for me to forge connections with others in my department that I don’t necessarily see every day.

Secondly—do things with people outside your department. Now I’m not trying to sound harsh, but sometimes your own department can drive you nuts. Sometimes, I just don’t want to talk biology anymore. When I sense these feelings creeping in, I seek out more university-wide events that help me connect with students in other departments. For the most part, these are sponsored by the Graduate Student Council (GSC). Last year, I joined the GSC as the co-chair of the Academic and Career Development Committee. In this role, I helped organize the Graduate Student Research Symposium—a fantastic event in the spring semester—which enabled me to meet people from the English, Fine Arts, Chemistry, Biomedical, Urban and Environmental Planning, and Computer Science departments. As Vice President of the GSC, I continue to meet and socialize with people across all the Tufts schools. These opportunities have helped re-center me when I’m feeling particularly bogged down with biology.

Thirdly—do things with “real adults” AKA people outside of academia. Don’t get me wrong—I love academia and all the amazing people I have met through my journey. But it’s a bubble. And sometimes you need to get outside that bubble and remember that there is life outside of Tufts. For those times, I turn to my community sports leagues. When I first moved to Boston, I had no idea how many sports leagues there actually are. Two of the main ones are Boston Ski and Sports Club (BSSC) and Social Boston Sports (SBS). Through these two organizations, I have joined lacrosse, kickball, bocce, and inner tube water polo leagues. Yes, that would be a “sport” in which you sit in a blow-up inner tube and “play” water polo. The competitiveness and athleticism varies depending on the league and sport, but no matter what, these are great ways to meet people all across the city.

And finally, and this one seems a little backwards, but—do things on your own. Speaking for myself, sometimes I need some alone time. I have found that taking some time to wind down on my own can be incredibly beneficial. Whether it’s by reading a book, listening to music, going for a walk, or just watching Netflix, this time recharges me and prepares me for the challenges of graduate school.

So don’t be afraid to admit you have a social life. I hope that this post has provided some great resources if you need help jump-starting that social life!

Me with other board members of Graduate Student Council. Through the GSC, I have met people from all different departments including the English, Computer Science, Physics, and Engineering Departments. Photo courtesy of Taylor Sands-Marcincowski.

My inner tube water polo team celebrating our season championship. Sports leagues have gotten me out of the Tufts bubble and out and around Boston to meet some great people, and play some fantastic sports. Photo courtesy of Social Boston Sports.

Why Tufts? Part 5

Written by Alexandra Carter, English Ph.D. Candidate

Because I am currently serving as the Outreach Coordinator for the Tufts English Graduate Organization (TEGO), I have been speaking to a lot of prospective students and answering a lot of questions about graduate student life at Tufts. Not surprisingly, many have asked me, “Why Tufts?” These conversations have, of course, prompted me to think back to that time when I too was a (very) nervous prospective student, and reflect on my own choice to make the move to Boston for graduate school.

Let me begin by saying that I am so glad I chose Tufts. As a graduate student, one meets a lot of other graduate students, and through these interactions I’ve come to realize what a generous intellectual environment the Tufts English Department fosters. Not only are graduate students generous with one another–with time, energy, brainpower, snacks—but our faculty are also clearly invested in our students. I always feel as if professors are interested in hearing from me, helping me, and maybe even learning from me. Doors are always open.

I went to NYU for undergrad, so I’m pretty comfortable being an academic lone ranger. I was in NYC and at a huge university, and that worked for me. Tufts, then, was an interesting transition. Our department is quite small, and when I walk around East Hall I feel like I know everyone—and they know me, too. While I loved NYU, and I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything, working in a small department has shown me how important community is for good scholarship. For example, I am an Early Modernist, and the members of Tufts Medieval and Early Modern working group (MediMod) have been instrumental in pushing my ideas farther than I could have taken them sitting by myself in the corner of a library.

Finally, I have had an excellent experience with the teaching expectations at Tufts. In the first year, PhD students are on fellowship and do not teach. This means that your first year is a time to get acclimated to the program and get used to graduate student life. In my second year I was a Teaching Assistant for the General View of English Literature survey course. This was a great introduction to teaching at Tufts and a nice window into what it would be like to have my own students the following year. PhD students in the English Department teach in the First Year Writing (FYW) program, which is great experience teaching students from across the university (as opposed to simply English majors). What I most appreciate, though, is that I felt like there was a lot of support built in to the program, especially as I began to plan and teach my own FYW class. My teaching obligations are also not so burdensome that I am unable to accomplish my own research and work. There are also other opportunities for teaching at Tufts, such as the GIFT program, that students can take advantage of toward the end of their degree.

 

Why Tufts? Part 4

Written by Ellen Lain, School Psychology M.A. 2019

Hello! This blog post marks my first contribution to the Grad Blog, and I’m very excited to share with you my experience at Tufts as a graduate student of School Psychology. As a first year student, I can only speak from what I’ve observed in only seven months of my grad school career. However short that time may seem, I feel certain of the trajectory laid out by the structured learning environment in these last 1.5 semesters.

The School Psychology program falls under the umbrella of the Education Department alongside other programs like Educational Studies, Museum Education, and Science Education. Tufts’ School Psychology program is nationally certified and graduates from this program are prepared to practice both locally and out of state.

One characteristic of nationally certified programs is the emphasis on hands-on experience. In my first semester, my cohort (group of fellow first year students) were each assigned to a public school for what is called Pre-Practicum. Pre-Practicum is structured so that once a week, for the entire school year, our learning environment is in a real public school. Each of us is also paired with a practicing clinician who supervises us as we shadow them in their normal routine as a school psychologist. During our weekly visits, we have the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge in a real public school setting through sitting in on parent/teacher meetings, facilitating peer support groups at lunchtime (we call them “lunch bunches” clever, right?), being called on to teach social and emotional coping skills, leading group and individual counseling sessions with students referred to the school psychologist, attending staff meetings, and observing as well as administering academic or cognitive assessments.

In our weekly Pre-Practicum visits, we apply what we learn in our graduate school classroom. For example, at Tufts, we learn about theories of counseling and theories of learning, and immediately get to see them in context, in the real world.

Having the opportunity to practice classroom knowledge early on in a graduate program is invaluable. Personally, I feel like one of the program’s strengths is that it integrates head knowledge and practice. As someone who entered school psychology from a completely different field (finance), I feel confident that one day I will be ready to step into my future profession as a school psychologist.

 

Managing Time as a Graduate Student

Written by Priyanjana Pramanik, Economics M.S. 2018

Having been a Jumbo now for one semester, I now feel entirely qualified to pass on the wisdom I have learned since arriving at Tufts in September. During orientation week, one of the pieces of advice I heard a lot were ‘You’re going to have to learn how to manage small amounts of time’. Another was this: ‘No matter what, try to maintain some semblance of work-life balance’. And I thought, ‘Piece of cake.’ As you can imagine, I was very, very wrong. In grad school, the workload creeps up on you: it is very reasonable and completely manageable, but you have to stay on top of it, all the time.

It’s Monday. You have an assignment due Thursday, and you think you have lots of time, because you do. You can’t get to it until Wednesday, but that should be okay, right? Except that on Wednesday, you receive a stack of papers to grade, plus there’s a recitation section you have to teach immediately after class, and now there’s a paper you have to read for Friday’s class. You wanted to go to office hours before your Thursday class, but now you won’t have time because of everything you need to do. And you need to do the dishes. And laundry.

Oh yeah, and next week, you have a project due, and your partner for it tells you he’s leaving town tonight and won’t be back until the day before.

That kind of snowballing kept happening to me towards the beginning. So I ended up staying up late to grade, waking up ridiculously early to finish assignments and generally turning into a sleep-deprived mess. I felt like I was working all the time, but was never getting on top of my work. I’m pretty sure this is a pretty common problem in grad school, but when it happens to me I feel like I’m out of control and everyone else has it all figured out, which is probably not true.

Anyway, while I haven’t figured everything out (I’m writing this at 7 a.m., think what you will), things are definitely better. I set a few rules for myself, and since I started making an effort to follow them, my workload hasn’t been quite as overwhelming.

  • I take sleep very, very seriously, and would probably spend more than sixteen hours a day at it if I could. One thing I’ve learned is that the less you sleep, the less you get done.
  • Do things before you need to do them. In my admittedly limited experience of grad school, there are times when you have a mountain of work and times when you have none, at not too many in between. Get things over with long before they’re due, and you can stop worrying about them.
  • Make notes on everything you need to get done. Until I got here, I’d never had a planner, or used the calendar app on my phone. Now, I use both. I schedule obsessively.
  • If things are already overwhelming, get a handle on it before you take on more. If you feel like you’re completely swamped, communicate. If you’re behind on your grading, or struggling with an assignment, talk to the professor you TA for, or your course instructor.

Problems with time management take away from how much rewarding and enjoyable graduate school really is, exhausting as it might be. And it’s okay not to have things completely under control from the beginning: we’re all learning as we go along.

The Sweet Sweat of the Sauna

Written by Sam Woolf, Mechanical Engineering M.S. 2017

A university campus is a perfect place for ideas to evolve and and grow. I am drawn to the specific locations that enable this idea incubation, places that foster interactions with interesting people of varying backgrounds. A handful of of these places on campus come to mind; the small coffee shop (Brown and Brew), the president’s lawn on a beautiful day, sharing a table in the dining halls. Though, the most fruitful location is the Tufts Sauna.

There isn’t a strong sauna culture, in the US, and definitely not in California, where I grew up. So, I wasn’t fully convinced of the virtues of pure sweating, until the jolliest Swede you’ll ever meet dragged me in. The first few sessions were painful, hot humid air overwhelming my senses, reducing my conversation to a slow trickle. Though, as my mind and body adapted, I began to see the true magic of the place.

The Tufts Coed Sauna is a small cedar walled room in the heart of the gym. The brown walls, and benches are lit by a warm incandescent bulb, and by the light that trickles through the windowed door. A single heating unit keeps the room at a balmy 105 degrees Fahrenheit and humid. Each time a ladle of water is tossed on the rocks, a wave of even hotter air washes over the place, tingling nose celia and jolting the senses. Unless you were specifically seeking it out, you could easily trot by, completely missing the best place on campus.

It is here, throughout the day, that minds from across the university meet to share a 10 minute sweat. In the sauna, everyone is equal. Occupants embrace the fact that they are a sweaty mess, and all cloaks of social preconceptions fall away. Whereas in the external world, things like appearance, power dynamics, and new friend anxiety permeate. Here, they fall to the floor, encapsulated in that first drip of perspiration.

A simple, “How is your Tuesday going?”, opens the levee, and my favorite conversations pour through. People share their hearts, thoughts, and stories. In just the last few weeks, I’ve shared sweat with a wide population of people who have stretched my mind.

I chatted with a Fletcher student who is currently attempting to solve an impossible problem: looking at Arctic oil drilling, how do we balance the economic benefits with the inevitable social and environmental costs? A friendly and heated conversation ensued, as we discussed the fallibility numbers, and the poorly placed incentives of capitalistic businesses.

I sparked a conversation with a retired firefighter, who spent 45 years working for the Medford Fire Department. His eyes lit up as he described the old Davis Square, a cross roads containing a handful of Dive Bars and Sandwich joints. He reminisced about the long weekend nights spent waiting for his twin 6’4” sons to stumble in, and give him the full details of what ever brawl had occurred that evening. Though be warned, this gentleman likes his saunas quite hot, and I had to excuse myself to a cool shower before I caught the end of his story.

Another day, two chatty Seniors in the Psychology department joined me. The conversation whisked me back a few years to when I was considering my life after undergrad. Their words were laced with both excitement and anxiety as they pondered what a future could look like.

There is no other place in my life where I deeply connect with people from so many walks of life. Every person that enters the room has gems of wisdom stored in their mind, the sauna provides a safe place where these ideas can be shared and expanded. Each time I enter the room, I am reminded of the genuinely interesting and interested people who spend their time around this Somerville-Medford hill. All it takes is a few words shared in a humble place to feel connected to this community.

The Story of Us All

Written by Alexandra Carter, English Ph.D. Candidate

After two years as a graduate student at Tufts, I have learned a lot, but one thing sticks out to me as I sit down to write this blog post: writing is perhaps the most demanding, anxiety inducing, and gratifying work we undertake as graduate students, especially in the humanities. And yet, I actually don’t believe this challenge is limited to humanities students. Indeed, what I am really suggesting is that we are all writers, no matter our discipline, and, additionally, that writing is hard work.

Because I am a Ph.D. student in the English department, I spend basically all of my time reading and writing. Thankfully, these are (not surprisingly) my two favorite things to do. But just because I take tremendous pleasure in reading and writing does not mean that they are easy tasks. Novel fatigue is real, and saying what you truly mean is actually quite difficult. In fact, sometimes it feels like reading and writing get harder and harder, despite the fact that I’m theoretically getting better and better at both.

I’m not alone in this. As graduate students, we all devote a lot of time and energy to reading and writing. Right now, though, I want to focus my attention on the issue of writing as a graduate student. While it may not be the only thing we do—we might find ourselves in the lab, on a stage, or conducting fieldwork—it remains a challenging aspect of nearly all of our graduate student careers.

My aim here is twofold. First, I want to acknowledge that figuring out how you write might be one of the trickier things you do during your time as a graduate student. I know that I am still very in much in the process of pinpointing how I do my best work. In truth, teaching in the First Year Writing program here at Tufts has prompted serious self-reflection on my own process, which has been an invaluable, albeit stressful, experience.

Second, I want to offer some suggestions and resources. The Academic Resource Center (ARC) offers writing tutors for graduate students in any discipline. I cannot urge you enough: go meet with one. Just try it. The tutors are trained to help with writing at any stage in the process, and they can be instrumental in getting you un-stuck and back on the right track.

This leads me to my next point: share your work with your colleagues. If you wait for what you have done to be perfect before you let anyone else see it, you will never let anyone else lay eyes on your work. If the spirit behind all of our work is communicating complex ideas with as much rigor as possible, then we should use the resources at our disposal: each other. (Plus, sometimes you just need to talk things out to see if you are making any sense.)

Finally, just get started. As a graduate student, it can be so easy to spend too much time second guessing yourself and not enough time allowing your ideas to flow. Questioning our work is one of the most important things we do, but don’t allow that to keep you from getting started. Challenges will undoubtedly arise along the way, but try not to let them get you down.

In fact, writing this blog post prompted a series of peculiar challenges for me. How do I write about writing? Is it possible to make my readers chuckle while talking about graduate level writing of all things? Can I make my readers realize that they are not alone in the pursuit of perfect prose? I suppose what I would like whoever is reading this to take away from my own experience is that yes, you are a writer, and while writing may be a challenge (and it likely always will be), it is not one that you have to tackle on your own.

New Year, New Bloggers!

Medford/Somerville, MA 4/23/08 -- Bendetson Hall on the Medford Campus on Wednesday April 23, 2008.

Greetings from the Office of Graduate Admissions! I’m Gabrielle Thomas, one of the many faces behind the scenes in admissions, and our Tufts ASE Grad Blogs! When our office started this blog a year ago, we wanted it to be a space where our graduate students could connect across the two schools, the many academic disciplines, and social platforms. However, this connection is not limited to our current students. We hope to give prospective applicants a peek into life as a graduate student here at Tufts, as well as provide our alumni with the opportunity to remain up to date on all things Jumbo. Basically, these blogs are diary entries of our students that thread the story of our past, present, and future as part of the Tufts community.

Of course a diary would have no pages without someone to write them, and in this case that would be our amazing graduate student bloggers. We started with a wonderful group of 4 bloggers that helped to launch the site last year. They spanned both the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering with research that included stomatopods, clever robots, and bees! They shared updates on their research, how to maintain a social life while in graduate school (!), and the paths that have ultimately lead them to Tufts.

We found these blogs to be such delightful reads that we’re continuing the fun! A new school year of course means…new graduate bloggers. We now have 9 bloggers to continue filling the pages of our diary, and their stories will provide you with some great reading material. Our new cohort of bloggers can be found in many places around campus; the psychology department researching the role of media in body image issues, working on the social committee of the Graduate Student Council, or making the sauna in the gym the new social hub of campus.

We are very excited for the second year of our blogs and hope you all enjoy! Don’t forget to keep in touch by following us on Twitter and Instagram.

Happy holidays & happy reading!
Gabrielle

My year in review and one thing I wish I knew when I started

Written by Vasanth Sarathy, Computer Science Ph.D. Candidate

Vasanth 5-27-16 pic

Super Mario Bros. 2

It’s hard to believe that I am done with my first full academic year at Tufts. I know everyone says time flies, but I often find that expression to be meaningless in the moment and unhelpful in hindsight. When I am going through a challenging time I rarely feel like time flies and when it’s done, I don’t find myself at peace with the knowledge that it went by quickly. But, sometimes, not always, that expression can bring to bear something quite empowering and confidence-boosting: the idea that experiences, both good and bad, are fleeting and must be, for the lack of a better term, experienced and learned from. I learned a lot this past year, and if there is one thing I wish I knew when I started is to have confidence in myself and in my commitment to learn. It can be challenging entering a new environment, but I think it is okay to strive to be confident in your own abilities and experiences.

I am a Computer Science and Cognitive Science student, which means I am required to take CS classes and also classes in other cognitive science topics like Philosophy and Psychology. I love learning new things and this past year has been all about learning fun new concepts. I learned about interesting questions in Computer Science like what is the computational complexity of video games like Super Mario Brothers, which by the way was proven to be NP-Complete (math-speak for really, really hard for computers) by our own Tufts Professor Greg Aloupis. For the mathematically inclined amongst us, see here for proof. I was able to learn about fascinating and profound philosophical questions about our own minds, consciousness and the ties between cognitive science and artificial intelligence with none other than Professor Dan Dennett. Philosophy, math, and computer science came together in a single class this semester for me as I learned about Turing Machines and the limits of what computers can do, all from Tufts’ award-wining Professor Ben Hescott. Ben brought a level of excitement, entertainment and humor to theoretical computer science that I have never seen. Check out this news story about him. Who knew humor could help with learning. Apparently researchers looking into this very question did all along!

Besides learning how to answer questions, I also got the opportunity to learn how to ask them in my research. I explored some interesting questions around how we perceive objects in our environment. How do we reason that sometimes we can use coins as screwdrivers or pens as bottle openers? Believe me, I tried it and it really works! Asking these questions and beginning to find answers to them has allowed me to travel to scientific conferences this past year and afforded me the opportunity find mentors and discuss my work with other researchers.

I also discovered all the great programs and opportunities Tufts has for folks who want to learn to share their ideas. We had Tufts Ignite, Cognitive Science Graduate Symposium and the Tufts Graduate Research Symposium, to name a few. In addition, the Greater-Boston area celebrates Cambridge Science festival every year and this year, the postdoctoral researchers from Tufts and MGH put together a great spotlight talks event at the Rattlesnake in Boston. Several graduate students and postdocs from Tufts and MGH gave short talks to the general public (and I really mean general public) about their research. I had the good fortune of being involved in these talks and I really began to appreciate the importance of communicating your ideas to the world.

So, looking back, it has been an exciting first year. I thought being confident was about how much you knew. If you wanted to be confident in programming then you should know Java, right? But, having completed my first year (and learning Java), I am humbled by the discovery of all the new things I must now learn. It appears as I learn, the amount there is left to learn keeps growing, and growing at a faster and faster rate. As daunting as this sounds, I began to realize that this is a good thing. It means I can now shift my focus from maximizing what to learn to instead optimizing my learning process. Being confident is not about how much you know, but about your commitment to learning and the quality of your process of learning.

I am looking forward to the summer, when I get to dig a bit deeper into my research, work with and mentor some talented undergrads, and build robots!

Happy summer!

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Dean Cook pic

Written by Robert Cook

Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Psychology


As we look toward wrapping up another school year here at Tufts, we also celebrate some new beginnings. The newly admitted students to our graduate programs are weighing their options, checking out websites, and visiting with professors and current students to decide which program is THE program.

There are many factors to consider when deciding which school to choose. Among the questions you might be asking with respect to Tufts are:

“Will I be challenged in my field?”

Absolutely. Our first-class faculty are experts in their fields, recognized for their commitment to excellence. As a research-intensive university with excellent resources, our size allows us to provide students with personal experiences and individualized mentoring.

“Will I have the opportunity to hone my skills?

Yes. Our extensive professional development program lets students practice their presentation skills, dig deeper into how to secure funding, and hone their ability to teach undergraduates. Our goal is to make sure you are prepared for the next step in your career.

“Is Boston the right place for me?”

The answer for most students is a clear “yes”. The greater Boston area provides countless educational, social and cultural opportunities. Our students find that their time at Tufts is enhanced by our proximity to the city. Some people ask about the ability to find affordable housing close by – it is definitely possible, and our current students are a great source for information about what to look for and when to begin your search. The “Starting at Tufts” link in your admissions letter is also a valuable source of information.

“Will I be happy there”?

This is perhaps the most important question. Implicit in that question is whether you will form personal relationships with mentors and classmates. The answer for our students is a resounding YES! We pride ourselves on working closely with students, supporting them as they work toward their goals and celebrating accomplishments along the way. In my job as dean, it’s important to me that our students feel a sense of personal connection to their work and to the larger Tufts community. Only then do I know we’re doing our job of nurturing the next generation of scholars and teachers and setting them up for success.

So, as you ponder your choices for advanced study, I hope that you’ll find a good match for your academic and personal goals. As someone who has spent the past 30 years at the university, my belief is that that you will discover that perfect fit here at Tufts.