New UCSD MAE grad students 2011


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Presentation for new graduate students in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego.

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  • How long I’ve been here….
  • New UCSD MAE grad students 2011

    1. 1. Michael Gollner All images respectfully borrowed from, much thanks to Jorge Cham for creating them all.
    2. 3. The Essentials of Life at UCSD <ul><ul><li>Coffee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Best coffee* is right next door – near “The Bear” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Late night coffee can be found at Earl’s place in Warren College </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parking at UCSD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t do it! (if you can avoid it) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bike (UCSD Pedal Club) or Bus (routes are online) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parking/Driving/Biking Rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Obey them – they love to give tickets </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stop at stop signs, don’t wear headphones, etc… </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Be careful! Cars don’t look for pedestrians or cyclists* </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>* In my personal opinion </li></ul>
    3. 4. The Essentials of Grad School <ul><li>Where to Study? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Office – good if you’re given one (Mostly PhD Students) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lab – Good luck </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coffee Shop – My favorite </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Home – Try to separate work and home life… But I haven’t succeeded yet. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library – It used to be open late, but great place to work with a group. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Computer Help? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For Research/Lab needs: – submit a request </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For everything else, ACS ( has a help desk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protected wireless is a pain for everyone… </li></ul></ul>
    4. 5. The Essentials of Grad School <ul><ul><li>Printing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your lab might have a printer, for research work check before paying. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relaxing, Having Fun, Having a life? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sport Clubs, outback adventures, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Most opportunities open to for Teaching Development (TA), Passport to leadershipundergrads are open to grads too </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Also many great resources – Career center, Center </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 6. Do we really have to take an Exam? <ul><li>YES </li></ul><ul><li>Department Qualifying Exam – PhD </li></ul><ul><li>Masters Exit Exam </li></ul><ul><li>Or Defend Masters Thesis </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to take care of yourself while studying! </li></ul><ul><li>(eat/sleep/exercise)… you will pay for it later if you don’t </li></ul>
    6. 7. Regular (Coursework Masters) <ul><li>Usually takes 1 year </li></ul><ul><li>End of year – take comprehensive exam </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exam covers material from the courses you took </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose professors who taught your courses on the subjects you know well – not who you think might be easiest! (you can be surprised) </li></ul></ul>
    7. 8. Research (Thesis) Masters <ul><li>Usually takes 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>End of second year – defend thesis </li></ul><ul><li>I recommend this course ONLY if you are considering a PhD and have not yet decided. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is better to spend 1 year sampling a life of scientific research and leave for a job then spend 4-7 years miserable in a PhD program. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is a lot of extra time and effort and you probably will not be paid. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Remember: Formatting matters! Use LaTeX! </li></ul>
    8. 9. PhD <ul><li>Year 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Take courses, then DQE </li></ul><ul><li>Year 2 -3? </li></ul><ul><li>Research, then Senate </li></ul><ul><li>Year 4 or more? </li></ul><ul><li>Research, then Defense </li></ul>
    9. 10. Choosing an Advisor <ul><li>Picking an adviser </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the research field YOU are interested, what are your potential advisers – do they match? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask Around </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typically you’re expected to have an idea of a potential project that matches with your adviser AND have read some of your adviser’s previous work BEFORE talking to them. Professors are busy, prove to them that you have worked hard first and will work hard for them. </li></ul></ul>
    10. 11. Finding Papers <ul><ul><li>Mendeley – Organize your research papers like itunes and share them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The LIBRARY – every book/journal article you will need is accessible but really hard to find </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Google Scholar </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Librarians – by email ( [email_address] ) or in person – very helpful and can find things that you can’t. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Also other subscription resources are free: sciencedirect, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You want a thesis from Harvard or Sweden from the 1940’s? – DONE. (I’ve done both). Also check for Avanti if it’s still available – free article delivery </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Old articles sometimes aren’t available online - they are most likely found on Roger - find them in the basement of the S&E library </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 12. Research and Writing <ul><li>Research is an iterative process. </li></ul><ul><li>Expect ups and downs, but if you keep at it you will get there! </li></ul><ul><li>One of the most important skills you will learn is WRITING! </li></ul><ul><li>Use LaTeX and… </li></ul><ul><li>PRACTICE </li></ul><ul><li>PRACTICE </li></ul><ul><li>PRACTICE </li></ul>
    12. 13. Teaching <ul><li>Very rewarding and very time consuming </li></ul><ul><li>It is VERY HARD to get a position now. </li></ul><ul><li>If you’re looking for a position, the best way is to do well in professor’s courses or work for them </li></ul><ul><li>Talking to professors you do not know in advance of applications won’t help much.(Still apply too!) </li></ul><ul><li>Ask past TA’s for help on how to be more productive! </li></ul>
    13. 14. Should you apply for fellowships? <ul><li>YES! </li></ul><ul><li>NSF GRFP, NDSEG, DOE, SMART, etc. </li></ul>
    14. 15. Grades or Research? <ul><li>Maintain a decent GPA but realize research is what really matters. </li></ul>
    15. 16. Organize your research!!!! <ul><li>I’ve lost days/weeks of time looking for things </li></ul><ul><li>Organize papers, data, and everything else! </li></ul>
    16. 17. Do you get a vacation? <ul><li>Yes/no/kind of? </li></ul><ul><li>Always talk to your adviser, everyone’s rules are different </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Just don’t assume you do or don’t. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most value the work you produce, not the number of hours you’re in the lab/office. </li></ul></ul>
    17. 18. Learn Time Management Skills
    18. 21. Further Reading <ul><li>I will post this on my website: </li></ul><ul><li>Book: A PhD Is Not Enough!: A Guide to Survival in Science by Peter J. Feibelman </li></ul>