The Graduate Lounge

Henry Johnson
New England Institute of Technology

Like many people, I have become enraptured by the world of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series. Whenever I meet someone who has the same level of passion and zeal for the series, we usually end up talking about our favorite episodes. This usually drives the non-Game of Thrones people around us a little bit insane with references that no layperson could even hope to understand.
My favorite character in the show is Samwell Tarly. Samwell Tarly’s father was renowned as one of Westeros' finest military commanders and tried to raise Samwell in his stead. Samwell's complete lack of abilities made his father disown him. Instead, Samwell pursued his interest in scholarly pursuits and eventually ended up at the Citadel, the home of scholars who advise the lords of the Seven Kingdoms on matters scientific, medical, and historical.
In today’s climate, educational researchers sometimes live in this Citadel-type of environment. We talk to each other about methodology, approaches, and things so nuanced and specific we can sometimes lose focus on the larger issues at hand. We have so much ready access to knowledge; we can forget that sometimes this wasn’t always the case. 
In one storyline, Samwell met a man who was suffering from what was considered an incurable disease. Through his research efforts, he discovered a potential cure and presented to the elders at the Citadel who forbade Samwell from attempting the cure. Having confidence in his methods, Samwell disobeyed the leaders and went on to cure the man.
While we are unlikely to face such dramatic life or death decisions, there is an important lesson we can glean from this small story. All of us, especially new practitioners and graduate students, need to present and share our research with our colleagues. We need to share what we have discovered and what we have found so others can build off our knowledge.
That’s where NERA comes in. Our conference and annual meeting give graduate students from across the country the opportunity to share their work in a collegial environment. The call for proposals is available, and I strongly urge you to submit a research paper and attend as many sessions as you can. This is the time to share what you know, and have a chance to receive guidance and support from some of the most talented researchers in the educational field. Do not miss this opportunity! Submit your paper, register for the conference, and join us in October for an amazing adventure.
Graduate Student Issues Committee (GSIC) Sponsored Sessions
The selected topics for the two GSIC-sponsored sessions at this year’s conference are “Getting Through It: Managing the Dissertation Process” and “The Business of Our Business.”
  1. Getting Through It: Managing the Dissertation Process” will be a panel discussion that includes doctoral students who recently finished their dissertations sharing their stories and offering tips and guidance.
  2. The Business of Our Business” is a small workshop that will explain how to incorporate yourself into a separate legal entity for business purposes, legal issues you may face when working on a grant or contracting, and how to plan for and limit your potential tax liability.
Though aimed towards graduate students, we hope these sessions will appeal to a wide range of NERA members. If you have questions or thoughts about either of these sessions, feel free to contact us at
Call for Proposals for the 2019 NERA Conference
GSIC encourages all graduate students to submit both completed and in-progress research to the 2019 NERA Conference, which will take place from October 16-18, 2019 at the Trumbull Marriott Shelton in Trumbull, CT. The online proposal submission system will be open through June 2. NERA is an exceptionally supportive environment for graduate students, which helps to reduce the stress of presenting at conferences. When presenting at NERA, you will receive positive feedback and constructive criticism on your papers from respected professionals in the field. Presenting takes practice, and because of NERA’s supportive attitude towards graduate students, it is a great place to present your work!
GSIC Call for New Members
Serving on the GSIC is a great way to get involved with NERA and build relationships with other graduate students. Responsibilities include collaborating with students from various institutions to plan GSIC-sponsored in-conference sessions, and the GSIC student social. New members are selected each year after the NERA Conference.
GSIC on Social Media
Additionally, please take a moment and ‘like’ us on Facebook. We will be revamping the page over the next few months to provide you with resources and materials as well as conference information and details. The web address is

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