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GradFest offers career development services and advice to students

In early April, Ohio University graduate students and faculty gathered for GradFest, a day full of activities for graduate students to further their career development.
The first event of the day, which was sponsored by Graduate Student Senate, was a Forum Theater Workshop held in Schoonover 145. The interactive session helped students learn how to deal with difficult situations in a classroom setting, both as a student and as an instructor.

The workshop entailed faculty acting out different scenarios. For example, one scene that was portrayed was a student refusing to work with another student because of political beliefs. Faculty then asked graduate students what should have been done and when they would have intervened.

“It has to do with micro aggressions in the classroom and what that looks like and how to respond to them,” said Merri Biechler, assistant director for the School of Dance, Film, and Theater. “Oftentimes graduate assistants are in vulnerable positions because the students might think that ‘you’re only a GA’ and there might be more room for dissention in the classroom and that’s what we’re trying to address.”

Biechler believes that what graduate students can take away from this particular workshop is that they have support from their faculty and that it’s okay to not know every step in dealing with these types of classroom situations.

The next event of GradFest was Snapshot where graduate students gave a short presentation of their research in seven minutes by using seven slides that were judged by a panel of judges.

One of the student presenters, Alex Burke, said that the Snapshot workshop provided a unique outlet for graduate students to talk about their research.

“Often when we get into our own disciplines, we get bogged down in all of the technicalities of trying to explain our research, but something that is much more general like this [Snapshot] forces you to think about your research in a more public friendly way,” Burke said.

The day also consisted of a Q&A discussion with Athens City Mayor Steve Patterson about his time as an Ohio University graduate student and community leader.

The night concluded with food, games and music in Howard Park.

For more information about Graduate Student Senate, visit https://www.ohio.edu/gss/.