Sounding Board Advising

UChicagoGrad wants to extend our support to the UChicago student community as you continue to navigate this on-going difficult time. Whether you are worried about yourself, a friend, or a family member there are extensive support resources and services provided by the UChicago community that can assist you with your mental health concerns.

Sounding Board Advising is a resource for helping graduate students and postdocs negotiate work/life balance issues, navigate relationships, and create strategies for having difficult conversations with peers, faculty, and others. Sounding Board currently functions as general support services for challenged graduate students.

UChicago Student Wellness provides access to student mental health with virtual sessions staffed by clinicians, in addition to virtual drop-in sessions and workshops. Their calendar of events is here.

Wellness Coaching is a free service that teaches you how to create goals for navigating transitions and overcoming challenges that come your way. Schedule your Wellness Coaching session today.

There is a therapist-on-call available 24/7 that students can reach at 773-702-3625.

UChicagoGRAD Stands with the University against Anti-Asian Violence

We stand with the University in condemning all acts of anti-Asian racial violence that have been increasing in the country over the last few months. We are saddened by the recent events in Georgia, and our hearts go out to the Asian/Pacific Islander/Desi American (APIDA)  community, and all people who have been and continue to be vulnerable to these acts of racial hatred and violence in the US. We have collated resources from our campus partners to help  promote emotional support resources through this time. We encourage you to engage with all the wonderful support programs that the University of Chicago offers to people of all backgrounds. You can read the university’s full message here.


 Black History Month from UChicagoGRAD

UChicagoGRAD recognizes Black History Month by highlighting the first African American graduate students! The stories of Edward Alexander Bouchet and Georgiana Rose Simpson as the first African-Americans to earn PhDs in the United States are inspiring and as we look at these two graduate students.

Edward Bouchet

Edward Alexander Bouchet was the first African-American man to earn his Ph.D. from an American University, Yale College (what is now Yale University) in 1874. Throughout his education and career, he faced many challenges despite his intellect and success. While being highly talented and educated, he lived in a segregated society, in which not only his daily life, but his schooling affected his access to resources. His scientific research and professionalism were hindered by the types of labs he could have access to, resources provided by the school, and even support in the educational curriculum. Even post-graduation, his skills and education were looked down upon and he struggled to be employed in the field he earned his degree in.

Despite this, Edward Bouchet completed milestones in terms of graduate education for African Americans. Bouchet is recognized as one of the first 20 Americans (of any race) to receive a Ph.D. in physics. He stands as the 6th student from Yale to earn a Ph.D. in physics in its history and ranked 6th in his class at Yale out of 124 students. Bouchet was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa, being officially inducted in 1884, after a chapter reorganization. While this caused him to not be the first African American elected to it, the first being George Washington Henderson, he is recognized as one of the early few. His doctoral thesis centered on measuring the refractive indices of various glasses. Despite the academic excellence Bouchet exemplified, his post graduate career was almost unaffected. Unlike anyone else in the U.S. who earned a Ph.D. at that time, including Georgiana Rose Simpson, and for the next 80 years, Bouchet was unable to obtain a college (or university) position, because of his race. He accepted a position working at Philadelphia’s Institute for Colored Youth, where he taught a variety of subjects other than physics. Philadelphia offered Bouchet access to the city’s considerable progress in education, which had been growing before his arrival. After the Civil War, the ICY played an important role in training the thousands of black teachers that were needed throughout the country to provide freedmen with the education they sought. Unfortunately, he continued to face hardship on the base of race, when many schools at that time were beginning to alter their course subjects. The Industrial Education models caused schools to steer towards vocational subjects, causing Bouchet to lose his job in 1902, when the all-white board members fired anyone who wouldn’t teach this model. Bouchet ended up as in itinerant teacher, working in many states, until he moved home due to health concerns. In his honor, Yale established both the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society and the Bouchet Leadership Award, and the American Physical Society has named the original location of Yale’s Sloan Laboratory as a historic site to honor Bouchet.

Georgiana Rose Simpson

While Bouchet is a legacy for Yale, our very own University of Chicago has its own historic student in Georgiana Rose Simpson. She is recognized as the first African-American woman to receive a PhD in the United States, receiving her doctoral degree in German philology from UChicago in 1921. At this same time, there were two other scholars—Sadie Mossell Alexander (Ph.D. in economics) and Eva Dykes (Ph.D. in English philology)—who also earned their Ph.D.’s, becoming a striking trio of African American women earning their doctorates. Georgiana is recognized as the official first due to UChicago’ s early commencement. No doubt all these women faced substantial racism while trying to obtain their degrees, and Georgiana’s story is one that is retold every year as a reminder of the progress of graduate education for all at the University of Chicago. Georgiana arrived at UChicago in 1907 and was invited to live in the dorms on campus. Pervasive racism caused female students in her dorm to demand her removal. While initially this request was denied, the University of Chicago President at the time Harry Pratt Judson insisted that she move off campus, to which she did. Due to the extreme racial prejudice she faced against the predominantly white, southern student body, she finished her studies mainly through summer classes and correspondence courses. Her bachelors arrived in 1911, her master’s in 1920, and her Ph.D. in 1921. Simpson, along with her other black scholars, did not get university positions either, as most universities didn’t hire black women outside of the Home Economics courses.

Bouchet’s, Simpson’s, Mossel’s and Dykes’ race informed their life, but did not affect their scholarships. Bouchet and Simpson persisted in their ability to continue to teach and learn, despite the racism they faced. Bouchet spent his 26 years teaching physics, geography, astronomy, and a variety of subjects. Simpson was able to edit a biography of the Haitian independence hero Toussaint Louverture; African-American studies wasn’t officially accepted as a discipline at this time, and this opportunity was Georgiana’s work towards that field, despite her Ph.D.  in German philology. The University of Chicago strives for equity for all students and continues to make improvements for its graduate students and achieving their academic success through offices like UChicagoGRAD.


Oh, more information? Of course we have it— Here are some resources to learn more about these figures, and  about UChicago Diversity initiatives: