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Career Fair Profits Finance GSC Fund

By May K. Tse
News Editor

The Graduate Student Council has recently launched a Travel Grant program which awards up to $250 per recipient to help pay for the costs of attending technical or professional conferences.

The student must be presenting a paper or poster at a technical or professional conference, and should not also have funding from other sources, such as their department, unless the funds are already exhausted, said Eugene Bae G,

The Travel Grant, which totals $7,000, was funded by some of the proceeds from last year's GSCCareer Fair.

Program serves community need

Bae pointed out key reasons behind the motivation for starting the travel fund at the Institute. "First, an exit survey conducted last year by the GSCrevealed that students in some academic programs were often unable to present their work at technical or professional conferences due to insufficient travel funds."

"The goal of the travel grant supports our overall efforts to enhance graduate student development, both academically and professionally,"Bae said.

"Our hope is that with this program, we can make an immediate impact on those students that would otherwise not be able to participate, while at the same time building a case for greater research and travel support in those departments where a deficiency may exist,"Bae said.

The program is divided into two funding cycles:fall/winter and spring/summer. The deadline for the fall/winter funding cycle is October 15. "We have received several applications already, and we anticipate more to come," Bae said.

Idea started last year

The fund was created for many reasons. When Bae and Geoffrey J. Coram G, GSCpresident, attended the National Associate of Graduate-Professional Students conference last year, they were first introduced to the idea.

"We noticed that a lot of other schools already had travel grant programs. It was more predominant in schools with liberal arts programs where funding isn't as large; here, research grants usually do pay for it but in some departments funding isn't always available,"Coram said.

Externship program also started

Money made through the Career Fair also helped to fund a new Externship Program for graduate students, which highlights a Networking Trip to Washington D.C., scheduled for the last week of the upcoming Independent Activities Period, Coram said.

"We were brainstorming ideas that could help improve career opportunities for graduate students interested in the non-traditional' career avenues, i.e. social science, teaching, political science, economics, policy and planning, international trade,"said Wijesinghe S. Hettithanthrige G, one of the organizers of the trip.

The goal of the trip is to match up students with MITalumni who they can shadow on the job, and who can act as hosts for a week's stay. "We are targeting the program for 15 students, but can extend it if there is more interest,"Hettithanthrige said.

The GSCwill pay for the transportation costs of busing the students, as well as possibly providing a stipend to cover miscellaneous costs.

"The Externship program is not a career placement service. We are merely helping students get some exposure in the career paths they are interested in. Students will not be paid during the externship either,"Hettithanthrige said.

Council, officers win top honors

The GSC Career Fair, which helped to fund both of these programs, was also honored Wednesday by the National Association of Graduate Professional Students for "Excellence in Employment Concerns." The GSC Grocery Shuttle was also honored for excellence in Student Support Services.

Eva Moy G was awarded the NAGPSPresident's Award "for outstanding service to graduate and professional students in their community, state or nation."