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Spotlight: Graduate Life Fellows Build Community

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Spotlight: Graduate Life Fellows Build Community

Date Published:
Wednesday, August 17, 2011

UNC Charlotte’s Graduate Life Fellows program enters its fourth year this fall. The record six fellows for the 2011-12 academic year will bring a sense of support and ongoing enthusiasm to the building of the graduate community within the state’s urban research university, said Graduate School officials.

“Students connect to students more effectively than we can as administrators,” explained Katherine Hall-Hertel, assistant dean of the Graduate School. “The Graduate Life Fellows (GLFs) pour their enthusiasm for graduate education into helping other graduate students. Our job is to provide the resources and structures to help them facilitate those efforts. I’m continually impressed by their creativity and ability to reach out to students who might not otherwise be connected to the University.”

Representing five of the UNC Charlotte colleges, the incoming Graduate Life Fellows are Kelly Lord, a master’s student in counseling from the College of Education; Kathryn Lowe, a Master of Business Administration/Master of Health Administration student from the Belk College of Business and the College of Health and Human Services; Qianhong Ma, a graduate student pursuing a master’s in information technology from the College of Computing and Informatics; Kang Ni, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering in the William States Lee College of Engineering; Kunwar Singh, a doctoral student in geography and urban regional analysis in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; and
Daniel Yonto, a Master of Public Administration student in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

UNC Charlotte is the first and only institution in the UNC system to offer a dedicated program like the Graduate Life Fellows to its graduate student body.

GLFs provide opportunities for students to network across disciplines and meet with one another outside of their cohorts, said Karla Stanchina, manager of communications and student outreach for the Graduate School. “They might set up a web tutorial session for students in the College of Engineering in order to help them create a website that promotes their academic pursuits and career endeavors, or the GLFs may plan community service events, such as helping “Operation Sandwich,” which provides food for the homeless in Charlotte. Through this experience and others like it, graduate students develop leadership skills and promote the public good throughout the community.”

UNC Charlotte is the first and only institution in the UNC system to offer a dedicated program like the Graduate Life Fellows to its graduate student body. The GLF program has increased the awareness of graduate community on campus. The fellows work with all graduate students, and they specialize in welcoming the new graduate student to campus, beginning with orientation. The GLFs offer guidance through first-hand experience, peer mentorship and a wealth of knowledge about campus and Charlotte. Through the popular Center for Graduate Life website, the fellows are a constant sounding board to help in areas not covered by students’ advisors, programs or colleges.