Announcing the Expand Your Perspective Podcast!

UChicagoGRAD is thrilled to announce the launch of Expand Your Perspective, a new podcast highlighting the research of UChicago graduate students and postdocs. Expand Your Perspective launches today with three episodes, each of which brings together a group of researchers for a far-ranging conversation on a common theme. We hope this podcast provides an exciting opportunity for grad students and postdocs to showcase their work and for our listeners to learn more about the groundbreaking research that goes on at UChicago. Check out and follow our Spotify account!


Expand Your Perspective is hosted by Michael O’Toole, who leads the GRADTalk program, and Linsin Smith, a GRADTalk advisor and current PhD student in Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology. The goal of the podcast is to foster an interdisciplinary conversation around common themes, highlighting the impact of graduate student and postdoctoral research on big questions across a wide range of fields.


The first three episodes available now are:

Episode 1 – The Universe: Black Holes, Exoplanets, and the Evolution of Stars

Is there life beyond Earth? What are common misconceptions about the universe? And how do you make science more accessible for everyone? This inaugural episode features three graduate students at the forefront of research in the physical sciences: Nora Bailey, Gourav Khullar, and Gautam Satishchandran.


Episode 2 – Signals, Circuits, and Pathways: How Do Cells Talk to Each Other?

Monkeys playing video games, octopus arm regeneration, and the cell-to-cell communication that underscores every biological process? Join our conversation to learn more about innovative graduate research in the biological sciences, with the help of Meike Lobb-Rabe, Natalie Grace Schulz, Caleb Sponheim, and Sherzod Tokamov.


Episode 3 – Coronavirus and COVID-19: Shifting Research Priorities   

In this episode, immunology graduate student Chris Stamper talks about how his lab shifted the focus of their antibody research to deepen our understanding of the coronavirus and aid in the development of a vaccine. In the second half, Master’s alumnus Dr. Siva Bhavani talks about his work as an ICU physician and how he utilizes big data to understand better the trajectories of patients with COVID-19.


New podcasts will be recorded and released on a monthly basis. If you are a graduate student or postdoc and are interested in participating in a podcast episode, please fill out the application form here. We look forward to hearing from you!



GRADFair 2020

gradfair is virtual

GRADFair 2020 is coming next week! On October 15th, UChicagoGRAD will take our annual graduate-specific career fair online for the first time. We’ll be using Symplicity’s Virtual Career Fair Platform (VCF), which you can access right within GRAD Gargoyle. The fair will take place from 3:30-7:00 p.m. Central Time.

What is GRADFair?

GRADFair is UChicagoGRAD’s annual all-discipline career fair specifically for graduate students, postdocs, recent alumni of graduate programs, and employers looking for graduate-level talent. This year’s fair will focus primarily on business and industry areas such as data science, healthcare, technology, and consulting, but you can expect to see a broad range of employer types representing a wide array of fields. GRADFair is a great opportunity to meet with representatives (some of whom are UChicago alumni) to learn about industries, companies, and roles you’re interested in pursuing. It’s an excellent time to make connections and begin conversations with potential employers.

To RSVP and view a current list of registered employers, please click here.

How does the Virtual Career Fair (VCF) Work?

VCF’s main similarity to an in-person fair is that you will wait in virtual “queues” to chat with employers, just as you might expect to wait in line in person. However, when you log into the fair, you’ll see estimated wait times listed for each employer, and you’ll be able to enter as many as three queues at any given time. When it’s your turn, you’ll be invited to a video meeting on a platform like Zoom or Teams, and you’ll go there to meet with the employer.

Employers have the option to set up one-on-one conversations, group chats, or both, and the length of each chat is pre-set by the employer for anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes. This means you’ll probably have more time to speak with any given employer than you might have an at in-person fair.

If an employer you’re in line for becomes available while you’re already chatting with another, you won’t lose your spot in line; the system will first go to the person directly behind you, then hold your spot until you’re finished with your meeting.

You can see a brief demo of what your experience will look like the day of the fair here.

What can you do to be ready for GRADFair?

Fill out your GRAD Gargoyle profile as completely as possible. Employers will be able to browse student and postdoc profiles ahead of the fair and may use these to invite you to join their queue. Be sure to click “Publish” when you’re ready for your profile to be viewed.

Polish your resume and make sure it’s included in your profile as your default resume. Need some resume tips? UChicagoGRAD’s Resume Guide can be found here.

Research participating employers. Read about employers on their websites, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor. Search for alumni working there (from UChicago or your undergraduate institution). The UChicago Library has company and industry research resources, and dedicated librarians to help with your career research. Learn more about these resources here.

Attend our upcoming Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch webinar on October 13 from 12:30-1:30 CT. Register here.


Check out our GRADFair FAQ here, or email Deborah Blumenthal (

Three Minute Thesis Competition 2020

Do you wish you had an answer at the ready when someone says, “So, tell me about your research?”

Apply by June 3rd to participate in UChicagoGRAD’s Three Minute Thesis Competition and Research Showcase. This year’s 3MT will take place virtually on Thursday, June 11, 4:00-6:00pm CT.

three minute thesis logo

Three Minute Thesis, also known as 3MT, is a public speaking competition originally developed by the University of Queensland.

In a 3MT competition, participants prepare a three-minute presentation about their research using only one static slide. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your work to a broader audience and practice your public speaking skills. By participating in a 3MT, you can gain practical experience in how to condense the broad strokes of your research into a clear, concise, and engaging format.

Any student currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at the University of Chicago and writing a Master’s or PhD thesis is eligible to apply. The focus of your presentation should be your original research, pitched in an engaging way to a general audience without losing sight of the significance and impact of your work.

A panel of judges will evaluate each presentation and choose an overall winner as well as additional winners in separate categories. The winning presenters will have their presentations featured on the UChicagoGRAD website and be featured in an episode of the new GRADTalk podcast.

The application deadline for the Three Minute Thesis Competition is June 3. To complete the application form, please click here. For questions please contact Michael O’Toole:


Virtual Programming and Resources

UChicagoGRAD is committed to supporting graduate students and postdocs during this challenging time. We are working with campus partners to provide virtual resources and opportunities to help you stay connected and engaged while campus is closed. Please see current offerings below and visit for updated information.

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  • Graduate Admissions Learn more here
    • We have made the decision to cancel all in-person admissions programs and interactions out of concern for the health and wellness of everyone in our campus community and all of our guests. While the Office of Graduate Admissions will be closed to the public on campus, our staff will be readily available to help you via email or phone during these challenging times. We also are offering the opportunity to schedule a one-on-one Zoom meeting with a member of the admissions team – click here to schedule an appointment. You do not need a Zoom account to join a meeting.
    • View media resources (webinars, online publications, etc.) here
  • Sounding Board Advising – Sign-up here
    • Emotional distress is common and normal in the context of uncertainty and potentially health-threatening situations. Taking care of your mental health needs during the COVID-19 Pandemic is challenging and particularly when being required to shelter in place, oftentimes, in isolation. Tend to your wellbeing by reaching out to UChicagoGRAD’S Sounding Board advising service which provides remote phone consultations addressing anxiety, fear, relationship concerns, and other destabilizing reactions during these uncertain and upsetting times.
  • GRADHelpLearn more here
    • GRADHelp is your source for help and information about stipends, payments, bills, fees, insurance, and more. If you have questions about any kind of payment or other financial-related issue and aren’t sure where to turn, email

  • Diversity and Inclusion Advising and Workshops – Sign-up here
    • All students and postdocs can sign up for advising sessions to discuss issues, concerns and experiences related to diversity as it affects their academic and career development as well as personal wellbeing.

    • Structured Writing Accountability Groups (SWAG) – In collaboration with Student Support Services and the Writing Program, we provide space and structure for graduate student and postdoc quarterly writing accountability groups. Applications are due April 26. Learn more here

  • Fellowship Advising and Workshops – Sign-up here
    • Fellowship advisors are available to work with you on application materials for specific fellowships or grants.
    • Small group advising sessions are also available to help applicants compare the different types of grants, understand the application components, learn about strategies for developing competitive applications, and receive resources for further exploration.
  • Graduate Writing ConsultationsSign-up here
    • UChicagoGRAD is offering one-on-one online Graduate Writing Consultations for graduate students interested in working on their academic writing. Consultants work with writers on academic papers, journal articles, dissertation chapters, proposals, and other academic documents.
  • Career Development Advising and Workshops – Sign-up here
    • For Your Job Search
      • Are you currently in the middle of a job search, or are you gearing up to begin one? Are you planning to go on the academic job market this fall? Talk with a career advisor about how you can refine your strategy now that hiring is happening virtually. This includes advice for crafting a strong LinkedIn profile or personal website as digital presence increases in importance. Your advisor can also share strategies for expanding your options in an uncertain job market.
    • For Public Speaking, Interviewing, and Networking Preparation
      • Are you interviewing for jobs? Getting ready for a presentation? Preparing for virtual networking conversations? GRADTalk advising helps you enhance your oral communication skills for a variety of professional applications. You can schedule a meeting with a GRADTalk advisor to practice virtual presentations for your classes, committee, lab, or prospective employers. You can also use GRADTalk as a low-stakes way to practice using Zoom and other remote technologies.
    • For Your Written Application Materials
      • Are you satisfied with your CV or resume? Whether you are currently applying for jobs or not, this is a good time to refine written materials such as your CV, resume, or cover letters. In a virtual meeting, you can work on live edits with your UChicagoGRAD career advisor, sharing screens and discussing the documents line by line.
    • For Your Career Exploration
      • Are you trying to decide what type of career makes sense for you? Whether you are completely undecided or just want to explore contingency options in case your current plans are disrupted, UChicagoGRAD career advisors are experienced at helping you work through a process of self-reflection and personal discovery. We are here to listen first, meet you where you are, and offer guidance in navigating the range of available opportunities.


Have an idea for a virtual program or resource to promote academic skills or community building? Know of an existing program or resource you would like us to highlight? Share it with us here

Apply by May 1st to participate in UChicagoGRAD’s 3 Minute Thesis Competition, develop an exciting and concise description of your research, and compete for prizes

Three Minute Thesis, also known as 3MT, is a public speaking competition originally developed by the University of Queensland

In a 3MT competition, you have three minutes to present your original thesis research with only one static slide. Sound difficult? It is! By taking part in a 3MT competition, you have a chance not only to practice your skills in public speaking. You also gain practical experience in how to condense the broad strokes of your research into a clear, concise, and exciting format. Watch videos of last year’s winners from the UChicagoGRAD competition!

The application deadline for the Three Minute Thesis Competition is May 1. To complete the application form, please click here. For questions please contact Michael O’Toole: 

Who is eligible?
Any student currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at the University of Chicago and writing a Master’s or PhD thesis is eligible to apply. Participants will compete either in the Master’s or PhD category. Students in a PhD or combined Master’s/PhD program must participate in the PhD category.


Each participant’s entry will be evaluated by a panel of judges. For a complete list of judging criteria please click here.

Overall Winner: $750

  • 1st Runner-up (PhD): $500
  • 1st Runner-up (Master’s): $500
  • 2nd Runner-up (PhD): $250
  • 2nd Runner-up (Master’s): $250
  • People’s Choice Award: $100  (new award for this year’s competition!)

“A good communicator should be able to discuss their work with any audience.” – Allen Linton, GRADTalk Consultant

Understand more about GRADTalk in an interview with Allen Linton, GRADTalk Consultant and Graduate Student in Political Science

FAQ: GRADTalk offers individualized and programmatic resources related to public speaking, interviewing, participating in the classroom, giving classroom or conference presentations, networking, and more. The GRADTalk team works with students individually in customized advising sessions, and also offers opportunities, both on campus and off, for graduate students to practice and improve their oral communication skills.

Learn more about GRADTalk Advising from Allen Linton, GRADTalk Consultant and Graduate Student in Political Science

Why did you decide to become a GRADTalk Advisor?

“I have had a range of interview experiences – for Fellowships, Internships, and even jobs outside of academia, and I learned a lot from those experiences about how to address different audiences. Before taking this job, I worked with other graduate students who were interviewing for jobs or working on presentations, and they were always appreciative of my feedback and advice. When I saw the GRADTalk position advertised, I decided to apply.”

How long have you been a GRADTalk Advisor?

“A little over 2 years.”

What concerns do most graduate students have when they first come to GRADTalk?

“Most graduate students want help translating their lived experience into a good story. The graduate students I meet with are all qualified to do the work they are interviewing for, and my job is to help them reflect on their experiences to talk about how it translates into leadership, teamwork, project management, and goal setting skills. It’s mostly how to best tell their story.”

What do you wish graduate students knew about GRADTalk advising?

“I would want graduate students to know that we provide support for a range of oral communication needs. We see a lot of students as they are leaving the university and interviewing for academic or professional positions, but we can advise students throughout their time at UChicago. We provide well-rounded support that can be customized for students who are giving presentations in the classroom or at conferences, who are serving as a discussant for a workshop, who need assistance with classroom participation skills and much more.”

What programs does GRADTalk offer?

“In the spring quarter, we will host our second annual 3 Minute Thesis Competition, where graduate students present their research in 3 minutes for a panel of non-specialist judges. This gives graduate students a chance to practice public speaking and practical experience condensing the broad strokes of their research into a clear, concise, and exciting format. We also host a quarterly series called Expose Yourself that gives graduate students and postdocs the opportunity to practice presenting their academic work to non-specialists from across the university. You can learn more about these events in the GRAD Guide Weekly.”

What was one of your favorite experiences working with another graduate student?

“I had 5 or 6 advising sessions with a neurobiologist, and while I did not understand the technical components of his research, we were able to work closely together to revise the pacing of a 15 minute conference presentation. The focus of each of our sessions was ‘how to pace information to make it both accessible to experts and those who have general knowledge of the field.’ I provided feedback on the amount of content on each slide and the flow of information; this helped the student to use the presentation to highlight the most relevant aspects of his work and findings.”

Sign up for these upcoming GRADTalk Events via GRAD Gargoyle (Events > GRAD Events > Search and RSVP)

  • Preparing Effective Conference Presentations Monday, November 19, 12:30-1:30pm, UChicagoGRAD HQ
  • Elevator Speeches and Networking SkillsThursday, November 29, 12:30-1:30pm, UChicagoGRAD HQ
  • Public Speaking 101Thursday, January 10, 12:30-1:30pm, UChicagoGRAD HQ