SWAGGER Topics of Discussion

Each workshop event is scheduled to last 90 minutes.

  • Motivation - This session centers the question "Why are you attending a mathematics graduate program?" and how this question is central to remaining motivated to succeed in grad school.

  • Academic Skills - We discuss the needed skills to succeed academically in grad school, paying particular attention to the transition during the first few years, preparing for graduate courses, completing problem sets, and taking graduate exams.

  • The Dissertation Years - This session focused on the process of finding a PhD advisor and the beginning of research process through the writing of the PhD dissertation.

  • Confidence and Persistence - In this session we discuss the challenges we face as underrepresented minorities in mathematics programs. This includes negative expectations, stereotypes, dealing with failure, pressure and how tapping into our inner strength and empowering attitude are essential to thrive in graduate school.

  • Dealing with Whiteness - Academia was not designed with people of color in mind. The predominant narratives are white narratives. In this session, we discuss how to navigate through these environments while remaining true to ourselves and our identities.

  • Teaching - Challenges of being black/brown and an educator are discussed. The topics will center empowering students of color as they are at the front of a room teaching when having to address questions such as “What makes you qualified to teach this class?”

  • Community - Facilitators discuss their experiences in building academic/learning communities inside and outside of their academic departments, as well as the benefits of a strong community.

  • SWAGGER Midpoint Check-In - This check-in will allow participants to reflect on the previous discussions and how they may be able to implement their learning moving forward.

  • Mentor/Mentee Relationships - In this session we discuss what it takes to build strong mentor/mentee relationships. We also detail how to avoid toxic mentors and how to recognize them.

  • Self-care/Mental Health - In this session, we discuss how to prioritize self-care by giving concrete ways to set aside time in a very busy schedule to take care of our mental and physical health.

  • Family and Personal Relationships - Keeping healthy family and personal relationships while balancing graduate school work is extremely difficult. In this session we discuss ways to address these challenges.

  • Paper - In this session we focus on financial education, including how to manage finances, and how to transition from a graduate student stipend to faculty salary.

  • Gender and Sexuality - We discuss the challenges and issues that come from being a non-heterosexual cisgendered male.

  • Social - Is there even time for fun? Yes, there is! This will be a BYOB virtual session.

  • SWAGGER Wrap-Up - In this session we reflect on lessons learned from SWAGGER and each participant will create an action plan for their fall semester.