Graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will gain valuable experience in outreach, engagement, and writing that will benefit their career preparation.
Monday, June 17, 2024

By Izabela Zaluska 

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences awarded seven graduate assistantships to doctoral students in writing, editing, community engagement, and marketing. 

These positions, part of a five-year pilot project, provide doctoral students unique opportunities to participate in the college’s outreach, engagement, and writing missions in ways designed to diversify and transform graduate career preparation. 

Portraits of seven CLAS graduate students

Iowa Sciences Academy 

Clare Mulcahy, PhD student in the Department of Biology, and Joseph Starr, PhD student in the Department of Mathematics received graduate assistantships with the Iowa Sciences Academy focused on community engagement.  

The Iowa Sciences Academy is home to a range of programs that support the success of undergraduate students interested in research and scientific communication. 

Mulcahy is passionate about helping others get the most out of their scientific research experiences and wants to support undergraduates in their research. 

“I want to develop my teaching and mentoring skills while also helping others learn how to communicate about science more effectively,” Mulcahy said in her application. “The ISA Graduate Assistantship position would also provide opportunities to apply science communication skills in a wider variety of settings.” 

After graduate school, Starr plans to find a faculty position at a primarily undergraduate institution and wants to teach and lead undergraduate research. Starr wants to encourage and guide the next generation of math students. 

Starr said the opportunity will help him gain hands-on experience in “effective administration of a STEM initiative.”  

“Gaining this knowledge now would allow me to cultivate scientific and research interests in undergraduates wherever I land,” Starr said in his application. 

Magid Center for Writing 

Katherine Kingsbury, PhD student in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, was selected for an assistantship with the Magid Center for Writing for the summer.  

Jennie Sekanics, PhD student in the Department of English, was selected for the assistantship over the 2024-25 academic year. 

Kingsbury has worked as a teaching assistant for American Sign Language courses, created course content, and conducted research during her academic career. 

“One of the most appealing facets of this graduate assistantship is the opportunity it offers to work with motivated learners in a supportive role,” Kingsbury said in her application. 

Sekanics is committed to social justice-oriented forms of art, research, teaching, writing, and more. She is looking forward to developing her digital, writing, and event-planning skills during the assistantship. 

“My intersectional feminist approach to organizing manifests in my research, teaching, writing, and media curation practices, often positioning storytelling and multimodal narratives as effective tools for awareness-raising and community-building,” Sekanics said in her application. 

Academic editing 

Two graduate students received editing assistantships to help faculty with highly prestigious academic journals.   

Emily Wieder, a PhD student in the Department of French and Italian, was renewed for her assistantship with Dance Research Journal, a peer-reviewed journal of scholarly articles and book reviews published by Cambridge University and co-edited by Department of Dance professor Rebekah Kowal.  

“For Dance Research Journal, I look forward to performing more of the reviewing and corresponding tasks that my supervisors have done,” Wieder said in her application last year. “Those skills will be necessary when I become a professor, as I will write articles and eventually serve on editorial boards.” 

Tucker Gregor, PhD student in the Department of Religious Studies, will assist with editing the Journal of Religious Ethics (JRE), an international scholarly journal co-edited by professor Diana Fritz Cates

Gregor specializes in the subarea of religious ethics and is advised by Fritz Cates. He is the journal’s current editorial assistant. 

“I am invested in religious ethics scholarship, and I have benefitted intellectually from working on the JRE because of the many opportunities to read and engage with scholarship as it is produced,” Gregor said. “I have enjoyed learning about the ongoing conversations among religious ethicists and I have developed an appreciation for the role and importance of academic journals.” 

Performing arts marketing and communication 

Alicia Maiz Alonso, PhD student in the School of Music, received an assistantship working in marketing and communications for the performing arts units in the college. Alonso specializes in musical performance and arts entrepreneurship.  

“My academic journey has provided me with broad experience supporting the arts and elevating under-represented communities and this opportunity will further allow me to not only grow my career but advance the efforts of the CLAS team,” Alonso said in her application.