USC Celebrates PhD Applicants for Major National Awards!

Dr Meredith Drake Reitan (far right) speaking to guests at the USC Graduate School’s event for Fellowship applicants

The USC Graduate School highly encourages its PhD students to apply for Fellowships, which is why on February 9, 2016, we took an afternoon to celebrate all those who worked hard to put forth applications.

We want to reiterate that this is a celebration not about having received but about having applied for an award. We want to acknowledge the risk you have taken by putting yourself out there. Regardless of the outcome, we are happy to support you in this endeavor.”

Meredith Drake Reitan, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate Fellowships 

USC had approximately 150 PhD students apply for major national awards this year! We were especially delighted to see that at least 50 students applied for the NSF Fellowships and 11 students applied for the Ford Foundation’s Pre-Doctoral or Dissertation funding. Furthermore, of the 46 students who completed this year’s Fellowship Boot Camp, close to 80% submitted a proposal!

Whether it be the the NSF GRFP, NIH NRSA F31, SSRC DPDF, AAUW, DOD NDSEG or any other Fellowship, these acronyms represent a wonderful alphabet soup of opportunities! The Graduate School is here to encourage PhD students and provide the resources they need to put forth competitive Fellowship applications.

Graduate School Fellowships for Advanced PhD Students 2016-2017

Kate Tegmeyer, Fellowship Assistant at the USC Graduate School, held two info sessions this week detailing our Fellowships for Advanced PhD Students.

These included: Endowed PhD Fellowships, Dissertation Completion Fellowships, Research Enhancement Fellowships, and Provost’s Mentored Teaching Fellowship.

In case you missed it, below is the handout from her presentation with all the information you need! You can also reach Kate at if you have any questions.

Advanced Fellowship Info Session Handout 2016


Info Session Info Session

DOD NDSEG Fellowship Info Sessions for Students and Faculty

Next week the Graduate School will be hosting Rachel Levitin, the Program Manager for the DOD National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships.

The Graduate School has organized two events on Wednesday, October 15. The first, at 10:00am in TCC 301 is for faculty and staff, the second at 2:00pm in TCC 227 is for students.

Invitation Faculty Info Session PDF

Invitation Student Info Session PDF

The National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship program is open to applicants who are citizens or nationals of the United States. Students must be enrolled in their final year of undergraduate studies, or have completed less than two full-time years of graduate study in the discipline in which they are applying. The NDSEG funds applicants who will pursue a doctoral degree in one of the following disciplines:


Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, Biosciences, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Cognitive, Neural, and Behavioral Sciences, Computer and Computational Sciences, Electrical Engineering, Geosciences, Materials Science and Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering, Oceanography, Physics

The NDSEG Fellowship Application site is now open ( The deadline to submit is December 12, 2014, at 5:00 P.M. EST.

Get one-on-one review of your fellowship application!

The graduate school is currently planning a number of faculty led proposal review clinics for PhD students who will be submitting applications this year for external fellowships. Students will submit a proposal draft to the graduate school. The draft will be read by a small group of faculty. Each student will then meet individually with at least two faculty for about 30 minutes to discuss the draft.

More information is on the way, but please save the following dates:

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Save the Date! Beyond the PhD Conference

Join us for the 3rd Annual USC Beyond the PhD: PhD and Postdoctoral Career Conference on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This event is open to USC PhD students and postdocs. If you are interested in attending and are faculty or staff, please contact The conference will be held at the University Park Campus, in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.


Reserve your seat today.  This event will fill to capacity and is on a first come first serve basis.

For more information about the conference:

Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Award

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is pleased to announce the launching of the 2014 Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Award.  The purpose of the Graduate Arts Award is to help cultivate the next generation of great artists and writers.  This award, worth up to $50,000 per year, will recognize and reward the most promising artists and writers from lower-income backgrounds.

The Graduate Arts Award enables up to 20 students with artistic and creative merit and outstanding academic achievement to pursue a graduate degree in the fine arts, performing arts, or creative writing. The recipients receive funding for tuition, room and board, required fees, and books, for the length of the graduate degree program, up to three­­­ years.

For more information please visit our website at and follow the Foundation on Twitter @TheJKCF for updates.

As a reminder, we are conducting two webinars; one for Graduate Arts applicants on October 8 and the other for faculty representatives on October 15.  Both webinars begin at 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

USC Fellow Co-Productes Launch of New Autism Resource

USC Fellow Co-Productes Launch of New Autism Resource
by Lauren Evashenk 

Laura Cechanowicz, an Annenberg Fellow and PhD student in the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ new iMAP program, is looking forward to the upcoming launch event for the Interacting with Autism website, for which she has been a team member for the last two years. The launch marks the end of a three-year process, and the beginning of a new journey forward. The event is free and open to the public, and will take place Saturday, September 28, 2013 from 10am to 3pm in the new Interactive Media building within the School of Cinematic Arts.

Cechanowicz is co-producing the Launch Event with Shelbi Jay, which celebrates the unveiling of the video-based website, Interacting with Autism. Cechanowicz joined the team as the Project Manager while a Master of Fine Arts student in the USC School of Cinematic Arts, during which time she studied neuroscience in addition to animation to further her artistic exploration of the connection between the body and the mind. She lends to the project her skills in animation and video production, as well as her dedication to assisting those touched by autism.

Cechanowicz also directed a film for the site, “Exceptional Minds in Transition” (link to video). The focus of the piece is Exceptional Minds, a non-profit vocational school and studio that teaches young adults on the autism spectrum technical and creative tools in animation, facilitating their independence and entrance into the job market. An animator herself, Cechanowicz lent a further creative hand to Interacting with Autism by supplying animated watercolor and ink for the backgrounds in the video “Sensory Overload,” which explores what it might be like to live with Autism, and also created the animation for the short, “Treatment Overview.”

As the creative contributions by Cechanowicz’ indicate, Interacting with Autism takes a new approach to providing information about Autism. Begun by USC University Professor Marsha Kinder and USC Distinguished Professor Mark Harris, the website features documentary-style videos in a format that invites site visitors to interact with the topics at hand. Dr. Kinder conceived and directs The Labyrinth Project, an interactive digital initiative, and Dr. Harris is an Academy-Award winning documentary filmmaker. By combining their areas of expertise, the co-Principal Investigators created an innovative online resource that offers extensive information in easily-accessible videos. Interacting with Autism currently hosts more than thirty videos separated into three main sections: understanding autism, treating autism, and living with autism. Scott Mahoy, the project’s Creative Director of Design, is responsible for the site’s visually appealing layout and easy-to-navigate functionality.

“Our aim was to create a video intensive resource for families and people on the [autism] spectrum, a database they could reference when they have questions about the experience of autism and their options for treatment.  We wanted to help them understand what their options are as they move forward toward independence.  We also hoped to share the experience of autism with a wider audience.” Cechanowicz said.

The upcoming launch event furthers this mission. In addition to featuring multi-screen presentations of the website for visitors to interact with, three panels will discuss causes of autism, choosing treatments, and the process of building the website. Cechanowicz will participate in the panel discussing the creation of the project. The event will also host outside booths with individuals sharing their research on autism, and a poster session will feature research on autism taking place at USC.

“The information we present is based on the most current scientific research and we hope that this material helps to empower people touched by autism by providing the best knowledge about steps they can take,” Cechanowicz said.

In addition to providing useful information to visitors, the launch event will also have fun, interactive stations for children and their families. Cechanowicz’ influence is seen in an animation table where people can participate in a live animation workshop, which students from the Exceptional Minds school will help to teach. The Miracle Project, an organization dedicated to building community for children with autism through music, will give a live performance. To add some high-tech fun, the Nao Robot, a research project by Maja Matarić, Professor of Computer Science and Vice Dean for Research at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, will be present from 10:00am to 11:00am to play copy-cat behavioral games with children.

Cechanowicz and the rest of the Interacting with Autism team look forward to the launch of the site, and to the community’s opportunity to interact with it for the first time. They thank the event co-sponsors, the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, the USC Division of Occupational Science and Therapy, and the Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study. They also thank the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Autism Treatment Network (CHLA ATN) site for their contributions by way of experts, parent advisory board involvement and sponsorship for the event.

Event details are available here.

USC Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference Call for Papers

The graduate students of the USC Art History and Classics Departments are pleased to announce the interdisciplinary graduate conference, “The Edges of the Body: Extremities and Knowledge in Antiquity and Beyond,” which will take place in Los Angeles on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2014. Please see the call for papers below.

The deadline for abstract submission is November 1, 2013.