The Graduate Lounge

Matthew Speno
University of New England

During my first NERA conference in 2018, I was fortunate to attend the GSIC social, where I met other graduate students; we shared the good, bad, and ugly of our doctoral journeys.  Finding the GSIC has not only provided me with practical information and resources, but I have developed some lasting relationships with colleagues from diverse backgrounds.  NERA is often spoken of as a family of sorts, and this is exactly how I think of the GSIC.  As a committee devoted to cultivating a practical and relevant introduction to NERA, my experience with GSIC colleagues continues to provide me with the support and humor it takes to earn a doctorate.
Our conference last year in the "time of the upside-down" that Covid-19 thrust us into provided attendees with the opportunity to attend sessions and workshops in a virtual environment that was collegial yet intimate.  This past October, the GSIC sessions were well attended and provided information and resources that graduate students need to develop a successful career post-dissertation.   The sessions enlisted discussion from panelists on topics such as navigating the career interview process and using a coaching model for career development.
As we move towards the 2021 conference, the GSIC will be collaborating with other NERA committees and colleagues in the field to develop accessible and relevant Webinars and workshops.  It is important to note that these Webinars and the up-coming 2021 conference sessions continue to provide graduate students the opportunity to become involved with NERA and also to use the experience(s) to develop strong doctoral support networks.
I am pleased to announce a GSIC webinar is planned for the end of February [time/day TBD]. Although the particulars are still being considered, the content will continue our conversation on how the coaching model can help graduate students earn their doctorate and plan for their future careers. 
The GSIC is keen to honor our mission to support NERA graduate student members' involvement and professional development and reach out to new graduate students to increase the diversity of institutions represented.   If you have any questions about GSIC, would like to be involved, or have ideas for future workshops or sessions, please reach out to me at


Benefits of Serving on the Graduate Students Issues Committee
Serving on the GSIC is a great way to get involved with NERA and build relationships with other graduate students and professionals. Responsibilities include collaborating with students from various institutions to plan GSIC-sponsored, in-conference sessions and the GSIC student social. GSIC members also work with members of other NERA committees to help with additional tasks as needed. Members typically serve a 2-year term. If you are a graduate student and have questions about how to get involved with NERA, contact
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