Tuesday, November 17, 2009

PROMISE Evaluation Week - Thoughts & Comments

This week, November 16-20, 2009, PROMISE: Maryland's AGEP will participate in site visits, focus groups, and online surveys as part of the National AGEP Evaluation. We realize that all of our students and faculty will not have a chance to participate in these activities, so we would like to provide an opportunity for you to post your thoughts and comments. Please click "comments" and post your thoughts. If you choose anonymous, you are still welcome to include your name. Regardless of including a name, please strongly consider providing your university, department, and any other information that you think would be helpful (e.g. fellowships).

Thank you!

134 comments:

nic said...

Just want to wish the Promise staff all the best for the evaluation week. You guys are doing a great job. I enjoyed getting a chance to be at the Rocky Gap retreat this year. It was a great community building experience! Another event, I enjoyed a lot was the Prof-it seminar two weeks ago. It was extremely helpful to get to see different teaching styles and get constructive feedback on my own teaching. Keep up the good work!!

Nicolle Correa
Ph.D candidate, Electrical Engineering, UMBC

Amy said...

I second Nicolle's comment. The Promise staff does an excellent job of motivating and equipping students to finish their PhD! When I first started at UMBC, I knew no one on this side of the country. The Promise activities provided me with opportunities to meet other students with similar goals and gave me a friendly space in the middle of the rigorous academic environment. Now that I'm nearly finished with my program, I've enjoyed attending both the Rocky Gap retreat and the dissertation house. I made major progress each time I attended! Thanks, Promise staff, for everything you do!

Amy Carrillo
Ph.D. candidate
Human Services Psychology
UMBC

Danielle Jolly said...

Promise has been the best part of my graduate school experience. Since I am only attending part time and many of my classes are online, I often miss out on classroom friendships, networking opportunities, and most of all support. I am so thankful to everyone in Promise because I found all of the above mentioned things and more with Promise. I learned that graduate school is not really that "hard" per se, the biggest challenge is finding the support to finish. Since getting involved with Promise, my motivation for getting my PhD has increased ten fold. I discovered that I really like teaching and research and for some reason, this never dawned on me before. I am so very grateful that Promise is here at UMBC. When I think of my positive graduate experience, I will always think of Promise.

Danielle Jolly
Masters Candidate
Instructional Systems Development

PattiO said...

I want to say that I would not be here if not for PROMISE. I am a returning student. I was 39 years old when I came back to school. I had no idea how to do research. If it were not for PROMISE and the Basic Research methods class of my department, I would have quit a long time ago. I didn't even know fellowships existed when I applied and low and behold I am now an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. I am very grateful to PROMISE and UMBC to give me the opportunity to change my life and begin a challenging and fulfilling career in computer science.

Patricia Ordonez
PhD Candidate, Computer Science, UMBC

Anonymous said...

PROMISE is a great resource for students. I attended Dissertation House this summer and I am scheduled to defend my dissertation next week.:) I know of at least four other doctoral candidates who also attended Dissertation House this summer who have already or will defend their dissertations this semester. Thanks for the extra motivation PROMISE.
-Leslie, UMCP, College of Education

Anonymous said...

When one is considered an "other", one needs a place to feel as if they belong. The PROMISE program provides that, and so much more. Our PROMISE community has developed into the best possible combination: a cohort that supports our academic and professional growth, and a family that provides social and emotional stability.
When I did not pass my proposal defense the first time and had started packing the books in my office, it was Dr. Tull who returned my call on the morning of the 4th of July, coaxed me to stop packing, and directed me how to begin again. When I did not know how I would continue in graduate school since I had not planned to be here an additional year, it was Dr. Davis who helped me to secure funding. When I wanted to stop thinking about the old proposal as well as the new proposal, Dr. Carter and my Dissertation House colleagues pushed me to continue. Gloria Anglon, Lenisa Joseph, and Maritza Gonzalez took countless calls and emails from me over the years, and have served as points of contact, sources of reminders, and continuous springs of encouragement.
When I laid to rest my most beloved son, my PROMISE family supported me in countless ways, from the colleagues-turned-friends who sent cards, made phone calls, stayed by my side day and night, joined me at the funeral services, and continue to check in with me, to Dr. Tull in our kitchen at the repast, to Dr. Parham running to my side when I ran out of the room crying at a PROMISE event. Dr. Parham did not even know me yet when she came to my aide that morning, but it did not matter because one of her PROMISE scholars was in need, and she set about doing what she could to meet that need.
That is what our PROMISE community is about: offering support so that we keep pressing on, through the challenges of graduate school, through the difficulties of life, straight towards the mark so that we may take our PhDs and continue on to make a positive difference. Just last week, I passed my proposal defense, and I am now moving on to complete my dissertation, an investigation of infants and toddlers affected by illegal substance abuse—an examination which is situated at the intersection of special education, child welfare, and public health. My interest in the fields of public health and medical science has grown, and with all that I have learned from participating in PROMISE over the years, I have the tools I need to pursue post-doctoral education and experience in this area.
Thank you, PROMISE, for all that you are and all that you do. Thank you, NSF, for continuing to support our AGEP, our community, our futures.
Asha-Lateef Williams
Doctoral Candidate
Special Education, UMCP
PROMISE Peer Mentor

Anonymous said...

The PROMISE program has helped me coping with the academic and personal challenges that graduate school has set for me. In it I found not only academic and practical resources but also the social support necessary to help you keep on going with your graduate studies. The PROMISE staff does a wonderful job in facilitating social exchanges that allow people to draw on resources that help enhancing the academic experience of minority students. In addition, it also helps building community across disciplines, something that does not often happens at the graduate level.

Anonymous said...

Promise has been an integral part of my success as a graduate student here at UMBC. Dr. Tull and the Promise staff have been more than supportive and motivating in so many ways! The opportunities and experiences I have been exposed to as both a mentee and mentor in this program will stay with me throughout my career. I have nothing but good things to say about Promise and I wish the program much success in the coming years.

Kholiswa M. Laird, Ph.D
UMBC

lashalep said...

As a non-traditional student the academic process seemed to be a greater struggle for me. I found the support provided by the PROMISE activities helped me to maintain my focus and continue to work towards my goal. The mentors provided me with information that was crucial to completing my degree. When I felt overwhelmed the and wasn't sure I could finish it was the PROMISE community building retreat and dissertation house activities that gave me the push I needed. I learned how to keep going and this I really did have what it takes. My former department was the geography dept. at UM-College Park.

Dr. Lashale D. Pugh
Asst. Prof.
Youngstown State University

Lina said...

I agree with all of you! PROMISE has been pivotal on providing resources, time, encourage and motivation on this long path. As international student there are many obstacles to overcome such as writing and research standards. PROMISE through all workshops and excellent speakers have provided me the tools that need to succeed in this venture.

Keep up the great work!

Lina Martinez
PhD Student
UMBC

Robert Holder, PhD Candidate, Computer Science said...

Returning to school as a part-time student, I didn't expect to feel the need to be part of the community at UMBC. However, the isolation I felt from not knowing anyone on campus, combined with the challenging school and work schedule, eventually took a toll, and I considered leaving the program.

I happened to meet a friend of a friend who knew of the PROMISE program and encouraged me to attend the Rocky Gap retreat. Although I still spend the majority of my time off campus, I now have a network of friendly faces and email addresses with whom to share the good and bad times that compose a PhD program.

I think most impressive is that the PROMISE community truly spans all three University of Maryland campuses. The inter-campus comradery exists beyond our gatherings, and relationships continue outside of PROMISE.

The impact of this community has been obvious as I've watched my PROMISE friends support and lean on each other as they successfully complete the PhD.

Katisha said...

Promise is the BEST! I am so grateful to have this program. When I first came to grad school, I felt very isolated in my department, and being a part of Promise was integral in keeping me motivated and sticking with my program. The Promise staff and students are like my second family, and I don't think I would have been as successful in graduate school without them.

Katisha Smith
Ph.D. Candidate, Mechanical Engineering
UMBC

Angela said...

I've been fortunate enough to be included in numerous Promise events over the years, and I credit Promise for provided much needed moral support. The experience has been consistently positive and I hope they know how much we all appreciate them.

Angela McRae
Ph.D. Candidate
Human Development, UMCP

Ethio Sammie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Being a part of PROMISE has been a great experience for me. I have enjoyed so many of the PROMISE activities and I look forward to them each year. The activities are very enjoyable and also very beneficial. Some of my favorite PROMISE activities are Summer Success Institute and the Winter Retreat. I always feel so refreshed and encouraged after spending time with other PROMISE students and staff. PROMISE is something that every student should know about.

Holly Porter
Ph.D Candidate,
Molecular Medicine, UMB

Sammie said...

Although it is a little early to start giving Thanks Giving speeches, I must. When I moved from Mississippi to attend UMBC I didn't know anyone! After attending my first Summer Success Institute, I left with a respectable friend base as well as with a new found confidence. I am extremely thankful for the Promise program for that and for the many seminars that serve to renew my confidence. And now as a peer mentor, I feel fortunate that I can help uplift/support another graduate student so that they can feel the support that I do. To the Promise program, I say THANK YOU!

Samuel Haile
Ph.D. Student
Biological Sciences
UMBC

Anonymous said...

Coming back to school after going through the loss of a parent, and making the grim determination to follow through after failing orals, has been a lonely and frustrating endevour. The PROMISE program has been there for me when I needed the encouragement, and whenever a seminar comes up I make a point to attend.. for the food, fellowship, and to see Dr Renetta Tull's smiling face! PROMISE has been a great support for my past few years , and I know it will be there for the next trying few. Thank you all at the PROMISE program for helping us students when we need it the most!

Dung Tran said...

I think Promise staff does a wonderful job of motivating the students in their graduate program.

barbara said...

The PROMISE program has been an invaluable resource for me throughout my graduate school career. I attended Dissertation House in 2007, and it kickstarted my work on my dissertation at a time when I was feeling overwhelmed and literally did not know where to start. I gained concrete writing and conceptual tools for beginning my dissertation, and these tools have been useful throughout the long process of writing while balancing teaching and other graduate assistant responsibilities.
In January this year I attended the community building weekend at Rocky Gap. This was an inspirational weekend, at a time when I was really exhausted and not sure which direction my work was taking. Being part of a community of successful, positive people of color re-energized me and allowed me to regain my focus on my work. Since the Rocky Gap retreat, I have completed four chapters of my dissertation, and have two more to write until I am done. I am confident that I will graduate with my PhD in May 2010. I don't think I would have come this far without the support and guidance of Promise staff and peers. Thank you everyone!

Barbara Boswell
Doctoral Candidate
Dept. of Women's Studies

Yao said...

Good jobs. I really enjoyed this event.

Johonna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wenjia Li said...

Hi all,

I am now a senior PhD student in Computer Science major at UMBC,and I am from China.During the first couple of years in my PhD study here, I have not attended many activities unless they are closely related to my research area or hosted by my department. However, when I first got a chance to participate a Promise Success Seminar in my third year, which was by chance invited by one of my friends, I found that the seminar was very helpful for me since it gave me some new ideas on how to successfully go toward completion of PhD degree BESIDE my own research, which I thought should be of equivalent importance to the research itself now. As I participated more Promise events,such as community retreat and various seminars, I gradually felt that it is so valuable to attend all of the Promise events,and all the Promise staff members are so helpful and kind. Each time I will get some new thoughts and learn something new from a Promise seminar. Therefore, I especially would like to express my appreciation to Dr. Tull, who is the director of Promise, for her continuous helps and efforts to run the Promise program. I really hope that there will be more such Promise retreats and seminars in the future.

Wenjia Li
PhD Candidate
Computer Science (CMSC)
UMBC

Dawn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawn said...

I have to say that the PROMISE Program has been very instrumental in my completion of the Ph.D. program in Dept of Chemistry and Biochemisty at UMBC. I always had someone to talk to and encourage me in my studies. Drs. Tull and Carter have given me very good advice over the years. The activities that have been provided through the program are invaluable. Summer Institute and Rocky Gap(Coolfant) Retreat gave me the mental strength to deal with graduate school and I have learned something at each of the various workshops I have attended throughout the years. Last but not least the comraderie developed between fellow students has been wonderful. To each person intergral to the program you are doing an awesome job.

Dawn N. Ward, Ph.D.
Chemistry and Biochemisty, UMBC

Mycah Wilson said...

PROMISE has play an important role in my experience as a student in graduate school. Starting out at UMCP I have participated in numerous events that have positively influence my experience as a graduate student. My closest friends were met at PROMISE Events. Working as a PROMISE mentor allowed me to give back to the graduate community and to ensure another student's success in graduate school.

Participating in the Summer Success Institute played a large role in my decision to pursue a PhD. Being able to see so many confident and determined students pursuing this degree made me realize that my goals were too low. I needed to strive for much more. All students gave credit to PROMISE for their success. When considering an institution for a PhD I knew I wanted to go somewhere that had a similar program as PROMISE. I ended up at UMBC :-) I appreciate the love and support I receive from Dr. Tull and Tawny M. They really care about our well being and our futures.

Promise is important to graduate student development and success. PROMISE helps students in all areas, including academic support, professional support and emotional support. PROMISE is aware of many factors that influence graduate student retention, such as the importance of family and friends, finances, managing advisors, mentors, creating realistic milestones, etc. This is the only AGEP program that I have been exposed to that is so grounded in theories that are proven to work. PROMISE is inclusive of all students, and utilizes the talents of all to help the greater good.

PROMISE PLAYS A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN THE RETENTION OF GRADUATE STUDENTS AT UMCP, UMBC, AND UMB. I don't want to imagine a day without it.

I look forward to attending the Rocky Gap Retreat!

I have participated in the following events:
* Dissertation House @ UMCP '08
* Success Seminars
* Summer Success Institute '08
* Saturday Dependable Strengths Workshop (@ UMBC, @ College Park SSI '08)
* Fall Harvest Dinners at College Park
* Family & Friends Cookouts
* Promise Mentor/ Mentee program at UMBC, UMCP

Thank you NSF for funding and continuing to fund the PROMISE Program
Mycah J. Wilson
PhD Student in Mechanical Engineering

Andrew said...

I went to several Promise activities, and found them to be very helpful for the Ph.D students community. I am right now hoping to graduate in one or two years, and would like to attend some more Promise activities in the coming future, such as the dissertation house and the one about teaching in community college. Thanks, Promise!

Andrew Yu
Ph.D candidate in Psychology
UMBC

Johonna said...

I entered graduate school in the fall of 2002 and successfully defended my dissertation on Monday, Nov. 9, 2009. I am the first person in my 2002 cohort to graduate with a Ph.D. although half of the other students came in with a Masters and I entered directly from college. I am also the only person in my cohort to participate in the Promise Program.

The Promise Program prepared and supported me throughout every step of my graduate school career from navigating course work and graduate school overall to proposal writing to dissertation writing to the final defense. For example, I held a mock defense before my actual dissertation defense, and knew what questions to ask my committee in advance -- because of the lessons I learned from Promise workshops and seminars.

I have attended three Promise Retreats - one at Coolfont and two at Rocky Gap, and participated in the Dissertation House during the 2008 Retreat at Rocky Gap, which helped me to prepare my dissertation proposal. I finished and successfully defended my proposal that spring!

In 2009, I decided to participate in the outdoor community-building component of the Rocky Gap Retreat because I desperately needed refreshing, revival, outdoor physical activity, as well as community and connection. At that point, I had not made much progress on my dissertation since becoming ABD in spring 2008. During the retreat, Dr. Renetta Tull asked me if I had created a document titled Dissertation and changed the verbs in my proposal from past to present. I had not. My proposal also needed substantial revisions on order to serve as the first chapter of my dissertation. After I returned from the Promise Retreat, completed chapter 1 within a few months, beginning with Dr. Tull's advice.

I attended the week-long Dissertation House on the UMCP campus in July 2009 after a tumultuous beginning of the summer, in which I had made little additional progress on my dissertation. During and after the Promise Dissertation House, I made continuous progress on my dissertation -- so much progress that I completed my dissertation before the end of October 2009 (just three months after the Dissertation House!) and passed my defense in early November, with very minor revisions required. The Promise Program has been an immense factor in my successful completion!

As my story attests, the Promise Program is not only a valuable and much-needed resource for underrepresented graduate students in the STEM fields, but also those of us in other disciplines and fields as well.

Thank you so much to UMCP's AGEP (Promise Program), and to the NSF for continuing to support this program and ALL of the students that Promise supports!!

Johonna McCants
Ph.D. American Studies (Dec. 2009)
University of Maryland - College Park

Di Su said...

Just want to say that PROMISE is very good and important for our graduate students especially for the international students, like me. I come from China and at the beginning of entering the UMBC, I was shy to attend activities. It is PROMISE to host so many exciting seminar, workshop to make me open. And also I have made some friends from PROMISE. Thanks PROMISE!

Yvette said...

PROMISE is a wonderful program for graduate students!
In January 2008, I participated in the Dissertation House. I recommend that PhD students at all stages participate! It was a very productive time and environment for helping students to ponder questions about their research, work on proposal writing or organize dissertation chapters.
All the best for PROMISE!
Yvette Williams
PhD Student
Geography & Environmental Systems

Mileidy Gonzalez said...

The support system provided by PROMISE has been crucial to my success in graduate school. Through PROMISE I have participated in professional development seminars, have had access to one-on-one dissertation completion coaches and have participated in DIssertation House. I've also been able to present my research internationally with PROMISE financial support.
Yet, one of the most helpful aspects of PROMISE has been to have had access to Dr. Tull's mentoring and wonderful advice at several crossroads I've experienced in my PhD completion path.
Thank you PROMISE family!

Mileidy Gonzalez
PhD Candidate
UMBC Biological Sciences Department

Wen said...

Memory of the Rocky Gap

I like Rocky Gap retreat. I like the beautiful lake, the snow, and the experience of learning outdoor surviving. I really hope I can go there again. Next time, I am going be one of the members in the dissertation house, I hope.

Wenlong Tang
Ph.D Candidate of Mechanical Engineering

hkholdenva said...

I started graduate school at UMBC in Spring 2003 before PROMISE was introduced to campus. I plan was to only go for my Masters. My first year was the hardest. I wanted to quit so bad at least 5 times that year. I felt as though I was going through the process on my own. I joined PROMISE in Fall 2004. It was the greatest thing I could have ever done for myself. I felt I finally had an extended family who understood what I was going through in grad school. I made many lifelong friends who were there for me in all aspects of life. After talking with Dr. Rutledge and Dr. Tull, I decided to go for my Ph.D. The workshops and seminars sponsored by PROMISE were very motivating and inspirational. There were at least two times when I wanted to quit the Ph.D. program. If it was not for the PROMISE program, I would have quit a long time ago. This extended gave me the motivation to continue and finish (I successfully defended my dissertation last month).
At the beginning of my Ph.D. studies, I only planned to finish and go to work in industry. Over the past year, I have realized that I love teaching and doing research. I am currently in the process of applying of assistant professor faculty positions and am confident in my abilities. The support that I have received from the PROMISE program is invaluable! I know this program works, and I am a living testimony. I encourage my mentees to take advantage of the program because PROMISE is literally life changing. Thank you PROMISE for all that you do! You have my eternal gratitude! Keep up the great work!

Sincerely,
Heather Holden
Information Systems
UMBC

Sathya Janardhanan, Graduate Student, Chemical and Biomolecular Engg, UMCP said...

I attended the venture by PROMISE in the Spring of 2009 at Cumberland,MD. Throughout the two day program I experienced strong lessons in team building, character development and people appreciation. I do believe that such qualities are useful in an academic environment where a constant communication between members of a laboratory, for example, can prove very useful to the individuals involved and to overall progress in general. I would strongly recommend my juniors to future ventures of PROMISE. Please keep up the good work !

Sonia Arteaga said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dr. S. Sonia Arteaga, UMBC graduate said...

Hello,


I would like to share my thoughts on Maryland's Promise program. I joined
Promise as a peer mentor while I was working on my Ph.D. in psychology.
Prior to Promise, there was very little interaction among graduate
students of color at UMBC. As a Latina from inner city Chicago, I am quite
aware of the many obstacles that are faced by students from
underrepresented communities. Graduate school is a challenging time and
social support is so crucial. Once Promise began at UMBC, I noticed a
stark difference in the student of color graduate student community.
Promise provided several opportunities to not only students of color, but
to the entire graduate student community. Promise provided social support
events such as dinners and retreats, but also several events to prepare us
for academia such as: how to write articles for peer-reviewed journals,
how to apply for grants, the nuts and bolts of completing the
dissertation, how to interact with advisors, and numerous other practical
seminars that facilitated the graduate school process for me and for
others. These seminars and events helped further develop my skills as a
researcher.


I received my Ph.D. in psychology in 2006 and today I am a
program director working on obesity prevention/health promotion research
projects at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. I am also a
part-time instructor of psychology for UMBC. Promise had a great impact on
my development as a researcher and has influenced my choice to continue to
maintain a strong relationship with academia.


I strongly feel that
programs such as Promise should continue to be funded to further diversify
academia and provide opportunities for underrepresented individuals.


S.Sonia Arteaga, Ph.D.

Jianbo said...

I attended the dissertation house and it helped me started my dissertation writing. It is very instructive not only for disseration writting but also for other important things related to students' life. I want to wish the Promise staff all the best for the evaluation week. You guys are doing a wonderful job. UMBC needs you.

Jianbo Liu
Ph.D candidate. Mechanical Engineering, UMBC

Calvin Williams said...

I have participated in several PROMISE events as well as severed as a Peer Mentor. All the events were well planned and coordinated. Collectively, I liked most the emphasis placed on acknowledging the milestones that come along the way, rather than just focusing on the completion of the PhD. I think these events combined with the Peer Mentor program helps to reduce the sense of overwhelmingness that some students feel at some point during their graduate education. Hearing, seeing and interacting with other students that have or are going through the same types of problems and struggles as you can help keep things from appearing to big for you to handle. I particularly benefited from the Dissertation house which helped to facilitate the transition from performing experiments every day to writing the actual dissertation. I was able to use the organizational skills and the techniques to overcome writer block gained from participating in the Dissertation House in the completion of writing my dissertation.
Calvin Williams, Ph.D

Oliver J. Myers PhD Mechanical Engineering, Asst. Prof. Mississippi State University said...

The PROMISE program fulfills the the promise of graduate education with overwhelming support and encouragement for all participants. The faculty and staff thoroughly give of themselves spiritually, mentally and emotionally to ensure the success of the students. All of the seminars, training, meetings and socials were instrumental in helping me navigate the PhD process through pedagogical training, publication and grant writing experiences and encouragement.

Xianshu Zhu said...

I have participated in several PROMISE seminars as well as the community building retreat. As an international students, I used to had very little interaction with student communities here. It is PROMISE that has taken me into the colorful life of the graduate students here at UMBC. I experienced a very exciting time and got to know lots of people there in Rocky Gap retreat 2009. I also enjoyed the 'when faculty say X, they actually mean Y' seminar. Thank you all the PROMISE members for your hard work. You guys did a very good job. Whenever someone asks me what the best graduate experience you've ever had, I will say PROMISE.

Xianshu Zhu
PhD Student in Computer Science
UMBC

Sergio I Prada said...

As an international student, I have enjoyed many of the events and activities provided by PROMISE. Even knowing that we are not the target population of the program, it certainly provides us with opportunities and content of great value in our experience.
If I end in a University setting back home, I'm certainly going to recommend to the administrators to take a look at this program.

Sergio Prada
Ph.D Candidate, Public Policy

Sonnet said...

Promise is an excellent program and acts as a much needed resource and support group for first year students to senior graduate students. The programs provides seminars, community building activities, and social gatherings/networking opportunities essential in our doctoral pursuit. Promise also makes it possible for students to attend much-needed conferences away from the campus. Through promise, I was able to attend a Post-doctoral preparation institute which provided me with information about post-doctoral work.

Sonnet Davis
Ph.D candidate, Chemistry UMBC

Wendell D. Hall said...

I've participated in several Promise events since entering graduate school. One of the most rewarding experiences was the Dissertation House in Summer 2009 hosted by Dr. Carter and Dr. Tull. The support and guidance I received at the Dissertation House is what helped me in turning the corner to completing my dissertation. I recently defended my dissertation and thank Promise staff for helping me to achieve this goal.

Wendell D. Hall
UMCP

Monique C. said...

Just want to say that I attended the Fall Harvest Festival and enjoyed it. Thanks for all of your hard work!

Monique C.

Susan M. said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your Dissertation House program! I attended last year's winter Dissertation House and the Rocky Gap Retreat. Both events helped me to re-focus my energy on getting my dissertation proposal done in time to defend in June -- which I did! I'm now a PhD candidate and in the middle of my pilot study. Both events not only helped me to focus my energy on what I had to do, but taught me valuable time and management skills (e.g. "15 minutes a day"). They also pumped me up for what would be coming down the road once I became a candidate. I know that more of these types of events would help me during my research and the writing of my final dissertation. I'm an "older" PhD candidate with many personal and professional obligations that I must juggle. Please keep this program alive! And thanks soooo much to Drs. Carter and Tull.

Susan Mitchell
PhD Candidate, Information Systems

Jennifer said...

Re-post
The Promise experience has been amazing. Dr. Tull and Dr. Carter continue to go well beyond the call of duty to ensure the personal, academic and professional success of all participants. Their enthusiasm and devotion is absolutely contagious! Over the past few years, I have been honored to be apart of such a caring, strong, supportive and beautiful community. And as I prepare for my dissertation defense and graduation next month:), I reflect on how wonderful and useful it has been to able to participate in the dissertation house and retreat(s).

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Without PROMISE, I would never had the ability to begin my graduate study. My physical limitations disappear with the strength I receive from the support of PROMISE. I have the chance to fulfill my dreams despite my disability.

I will always be grateful for PROMISE for providing me a lifetime opportunity with the gift of education. My hope is more students will continue to experience from the support of PROMISE in the upcoming years.

Kavita Krishnaswamy
PhD Student, Computer Science, UMBC

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. I did not know that promise is AGEP. I am soo busy this time that I did not pay attention to the definition of AGEP. I will retake my survey. I apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. We need money for our University.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Promise is a great resource for guidance, graduate assistance and to connect with students, who share similar concerns. The idea of having such a program on campus is in itself pressure relieving for graduate students. The support and guidance is unmatched.

Wen said...

The Promise fall harvest dinner was very nice last night. The food was good and we communicated with each other very well. Thanks to the Promise to give us such a chance.

Wenlong

Anonymous said...

I participated in the PROFIT program and was able to teach a course at CCBC, and it was a great experience. I was really grateful to be paired with a faculty mentor who was very helpful, and it allowed me to get a foot in the door and teach for CCBC again as an adjunct faculty. I really appreciate the opportunity!

Vic said...

PROMISE has been a very beneficial program for my graduate career in many ways. Through PROMISE I have made many great friends who understand my personal experience in grad school. I have had the opportunity to attend training sessions on post doctoral opportunities at the NIH, how to submit grant applications and write scientific publications. I have also had leadership training that I will be able to apply in school and beyond. I am very grateful to all the staff members involved with PROMISE and hope that they will be able to continue this great program for future students.

Jsk said...

I rally think this PROF-IT really helps the students ambitious in their career sharp their skill in public speaking and dealing with all kinds of problems. As a student just entering UMBC, I hope one day I could be able to have the opportunity to become a teacher, and PROF-IT is gonna be my perfect start! And still, you guys are really doing a great job! Best Wishes to PROF-IT!

Michelle said...

During the time that I was at UMBC in the Instructional Systems Development Masters Program, I was intent on making up for my undergraduate years at Johns Hopkins. During my Hopkins years, I did not take advantage of the opportunities that may have been available. This I say as background to my comments.

When I entered UMBC, I really just came to fulfill my educational requirements to keep my teaching certification. As the time passed, I decided I would make up for those Hopkins years. I started to look for activities on the UMBC campus that would help me do this. I attended all kinds of events. But the ones that meant the most to me were the Promise events.

I learned so much and felt so welcome. The main thing that struck me as an African American student was the feeling that if I needed help, I could get it through Promise or Dr. Tull could direct me to help. This was very important to me because it let me know that universities WANT their students to SUCCEED.

During the time I was there, I attended so many events that I feel have helped me academically and in life. Below is a sampling, though the seminar names may not all be correct:

Sleep Depravation
Guaranteed A+
When Your Professor Says X They Really Mean Y
Dr. Posner's Presentation Skills
The Thanksgiving Dinner
Promise Meetings
Clickers in the Classroom
The Research Conference at UMCP

On top of all of that, on graduation day, I just happened to run into Dr. Tull and she offered a wonderful smile and hug of congratulations. That made the day even more special because of the opportunities that came through her and Promise.

If I didn't have a job at the time, I would have been at ALL of the Promise activities because they were so enriching.

Through all of the events that I attended, and I know the list above is not complete, the one thing that I felt through attending them all is that I, even I, could become an African American PhD (and eventually professor) if I wanted to. That was something that I did not feel before I started to attend the Promise events. That is one of the greatest values of Promise to me.

Michelle Moore
Masters in Instructional Systems Development, UMBC 2007
Chemical Engineering, Johns Hopkins, 1986

Anonymous said...

I have attended a few of the Prof-IT sessions at UMBC, and have found them useful. These sessions are unique in providing a forum for experienced educators and those considering or just starting teaching, to share ideas and experiences.

Anonymous said...

PROMISE has been an extremely important part of my graduate school experience. I have participated in numerous activities during the past 5 years both as a mentee and a mentor at UMB including Summer Success Institute, Rocky Gap Retreat and numerous Tri-campus events. Graduate school can be a very isolating experience, especially when there are very few minorities, and PROMISE meetings provided an opportunity to reconnect with peers and to realize that you are not the only one struggling with graduate school.

Dr. Tull and Dr. Warnick have been a constant source of support that was very much needed. They care about you and want you to be successful. When I struggled with research, funding and proposal and dissertation defenses it was because of their support and encouragement that I stayed in graduate school and not just finished but successfully completed graduate school and earned my Ph.D. Even though I had the support of family and friends that do not fully understand what you are going through whereas Drs. Tull, Warnick and the other support staff do and they know exactly what to say and do.

After hearing about the experiences of my friends at other institutions that do not have an AGEP and how much they are struggling and do not have an advocate for them I am extremely thankful for having an AGEP at my institution. I feel like all schools, especially those with a small minority population, need an AGEP at their institution. I told her to check if there was an AGEP at a neighboring institution who could offer her the support and advice that she needs.

In addition to the support services, PROMISE provided me with opportunities to enrich my graduate school experience with "non-lab" activities such as teaching and volunteer opportunities. Even as Postdoc PROMISE is still providing support and opportunities that are extremely important for me. I cannot stress enough how important PROMISE has been to me and how so very important it is to fund this program at even a higher level so that they can continue to provide the current programs and have support staff as well as to re-institute programs and stuff eliminated due to the decrease in funding.

Dr. Jocelyn Reader
Postdoctoral Fellow, Greenebaum Cancer Center, UMB
(Ph.D. in Human Genetics, UMB, 2009)

Byron said...

I participated in the focus group sessions and interviews during evaluation week. Hopefully, the evaluators realized the importance of the PROMISE program. Through the program, vital information from mentors have been passed to the proteges about completing the PhD process. Plus, the motivational support has been critical in keeping a lot of us in on the PhD track.

Byron Stancil
Graduate Student
Mechanical Engineering
University of Maryland College Park

Leia Dickerson said...

The PROMISE Summer Success Institute was the first event I attended as a graduate student. I am grateful for it because it provided me a network of friends I would have not gotten otherwise. Since then, PROMISE has helped me get to know other graduate students, learn important academic skills, and overall acclimate to the graduate school process. Thank you for this program.

Best,
Leia Dickerson
Masters student, Library Science
College of Information Studies, UMCP

Evie said...

PROMISE offers amazing programming such as Dissertation house, PROF-it, as well as other seminars and workshops. As a graduate student in the UMS, I feel very fortunate to be able to take part. There is no substitute for the programming offered by PROMISE and I hope these programs continue to be offered in the future!

Evie Gerber
Ph.D. candidate
Human Service Psychology, Clinical Track
UMBC

Frances said...

While I was first introduced to PROMISE as an attendee of Horizons in Fall 2003, I was familiar with NSF's AGEPs as a participant in AGEM, Mississippi's alliance, in which I participated as a masters student. Both AGEM and AGEP have been extremely instrumental in my graduate school success with guidance in areas such as degree completion, seminar/resources to apply for and receive fellowships (NSF GRFP, GAANN, GEM PhD Science), faculty and administrative mentors, as well as opportunities to attend conferences and present my research.

At UMBC, I have participated in the following PROMISE sponsored activities:
* Dissertation House
* PROF-it Professors-in-Training
* Success Seminars (Weds & Fridays @UMBC)
* Ph.D. Completion seminars and workshops (Saturdays @ UMBC, Fridays @ UMCP)
* Summer Success Institute (Each August)
* Saturday Dependable Strengths Workshop (@ UMBC, @ College Park SSI '08)
* Coolfont Retreat (in March, this retreat is now the Rocky Gap Retreat.
Alumni will remember it as Coolfont)
* Reflections Health & Wellness workshops & dinners @UMB
* PROMISE Research Symposium
* Fall Harvest Dinners at College Park
* Horizons
* Family & Friends Cookouts
* SREB Conferences
* Career Seminar @UMBC

These activities have provided academic, professional and social experiences that have been critical to my success and balance as a graduate student. As a PROMISE Peer Mentor since Fall 2007, I believe I have also had leadership opportunities that have better prepared me for future career opportunities in public research organizations as well as academia.

Frances Carter
UMBC Ph.D. Student
Public Policy

Kelly said...

PROMISE provides a great support system for graduate students. There are many challenges that graduate students encounter, and these challenges can seem overbearing when you think you're facing them alone. PROMISE fosters an environment where students of different academic disciplines and universities network and encourage each other. We quickly realize that other students, regardless of discipline, experience similar challenges and successes. PROMISE also sponsors many workshops and seminars that enhance graduate studies such as: how to prepare a GOOD dissertation; effective presentation skills; team building activities; etc. We also mentored newer students to help them transition to graduate school. I was honored when PROMISE invited me to speak on how I successfully defended my dissertation. I am proud that PROMISE continues its efforts to produce more minorities that earn a Ph.D., especially in the science and technology disciplines.

Kelly M. Kitchens, Ph.D.
Pharmaceutical Sciences
University of Maryland, Baltimore

Anonymous said...

The Promise group has supported me, challenged me, and encouraged me to finish my dissertation and to defend it without delay. The Dissertation House with Dr. Carter provided a much needed support system as I struggled to remain focused and worked hard to get all of my thoughts from my head onto the page. Dr. Tull was a constant steady voice of support and encouragement. She believed in me and never let me stop believing in myself. As a 38-year old student, (returning back to school with two kids and a husband) Promise helped me to find my way and then gently guided my boat into port.

Kaye Wise Whitehead, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication
Loyola University Maryland

Anonymous said...

Thank to PROMISE for all the help and excelent job you have always provided to graduate students inthese past years.
Now that I have recived my Doctorate I can see from another perspective how lucky I was to have such a support system with you all.
It is usually taken for granted that what we experience is something all students have access to. This is sadly not the case. Therefore, we are very fortunate to have AGEP, PROMISE and all memebers sinthe satff doing their best so that our way through graduate school happens in the most succesfull way.
AGAIN THANK SO VERY MUCH.
This is more than a program it is family.
Thank your for the information sessions, orientations, workshops, seminars, conferences, retrieve, the lovely meals in all events, the symposium, the dissertation house, mentor program, etc..ans specially all friends I made.
Being an international student myself, I felt at home
Dr. Elisabeth Arevalo-Guerrero

amanda said...

Before this semester, I was not very involved in PROMISE. However, this fall I began attending the PROF-it sessions hosted by PROMISE. I must say that these sessions have provided me with invaluable information in my journey to become an educator at the college and university level. I wouldn't want to see the PROF-it program go.

Amanda Peeples
PhD Candidate
Gerontology

Anonymous said...

The PROMISE program has been instrumental for my matriculation to a PhD. PROMISE offers a variety of productive career and writing workshops/seminars that made the process so much easier for me. Indirectly through these programs, PROMISE has given me access to other students who are going through similar situations as mine. These students functioned as peers and mentors but more importantly as a support group to help me through hard times.

D. Taliaferro PhD
UMBC Biological Sciences

Erica Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erica Taylor said...

This weekend, as I muddled through yet another draft of my methods chapter, I paused to think of how great it is to have a network of friends to share this experience with. Friends who encourage me and give me advice---you know folks who actually understand life in the trenches of doctoral work because they have been there, are climbing out, or right there beside you. Having this support and comraderie would not have been possible without Promise, the connections made in Dissertation House and the guidance and encouragement of Promise staff. Promise is like a family and we have become vested in each other's success. Everytime I speak with a fellow Promise student I am so impressed with the vast array of topics of research. It's a chicken and the egg kind of question really, Does Promise attract students with research projects that genuinely try to make the world a better place, or is this another value that Promise instills in its students? Either way, it is an inspiring experience and I, for one, am better for it.

Erica Taylor
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Public Policy
UMBC

Silviya said...

I have participated in the Dissertation House twice and some other related events while I was writing my papers and later the dissertation itself. The DH inspired me and helped me put things in perspective. I enjoyed working with people and having several days designated specifically for writing. I also received valuable information. I think that the DH is a great programm and every grad student should get a chance to particpate in it!

Adrienne said...

As a graduate student at UMBC, Promise has been a consistent place and source of encouragement. Every year they have sought out to develop workshops, retreats, or events to build student moral, level of expectation as researchers, and for preparation at each stage of graduate student education. Having the unique opportunity to bring 3 campuses together for events brings a larger sense of community and celebration for the accomplishments of fellow colleagues. The Promise staff has been phenomenal by providing support and even giving personal attention to personal or academic matters. I have friends that attended smaller and larger universities for graduate school and they have expressed their wish to have the same type of support that Promise brings to the UM system. I am grateful to the program personally for the support that they have provided me and I strongly believe that the Promise program has been apart of my retention at UMBC.

Adrienne M. Starks
Ph.D Candidate, Biological Sciences, UMBC

Dr. Stacey Williams said...

Promise started on the UMB campus the year I started graduate school, which was in 2003. Although I didn't know much about the program, the warm welcome I received from the staff made me want to continue my involvement in Promise sponsored activities. Eventually, I became so involved in Promise events that I was offered an opportunity to be a peer mentor. Being involved in the day-to-day activities provided me support and ways to cope with different situations while in graduate school. Specifically, promise offered seminars about effectively communicating with advisors and other faculty, information about preparing grant submissions, preparing for interviews, lists of job opportunites and so many other valuable resources. Then, towards the end of my time in graduate, I began to tackle the task of writing my dissertation. Fortunately, I was offered the opportunity to participate in the Dissertation House (DH). Initially, I was apprehensive about participating in DH because I did not think that this one-week period was long enough to gain substantive progress in writing my dissertation. Fortunately, I decided to attend and it was a great experience for me. Although I did not complete my dissertation while in DH, I was given valuable advise about strategies for planning out the writing of my thesis within a reasonable amount of time, strategies for overcoming writer's block, and ways of coping with the stress that comes with writing a thesis, just to name a few. The Promise program was an integral part of my graduate school success. It is imperative that this program remain funded so that the many students who will come after me will be provided with the support that so many of them need to successfully complete their Ph.D.

Sincerely,
Stacey Williams, Ph.D.

Anonymous said...

Promise is a great program! It can be very easy to become isolated during the graduate school experience especially as we progress in our programs and are taking less classes. It is at this time when people tend to focus heavily on their own research which is a pretty stressful experience. The programs that PROMISE sponsors not only connect us with other students but also gives us the information and resources that will help us to succeed in our programs. I have participated in Dissertation House a number of times and found it to be extremely helpful. Not only was I motivated to keep pushing but I was given the tools to come up with a plan that would further me in my goals. My specific goal was to start writing my proposal. I've accomplished that and have now set a date for my proposal defense! Being in an environment with other graduate students and with faculty who want to see you succeed was truly vital to my success. I look forward to becoming involved in other Promise events!

Joy Thompson
Applied Developmental Psychology
UMBC

Dr. Sylvester L. Mosley said...

The Promise program is very near and dear to my heart. It provides an opportunity for graduate students to receive the support and training that is very hard to come by in many universities. I served as a Promise Peer Mentor for UMBC from 2003 through 2006. This position afforded me the opportunity to get to know many of my fellow graduate students. By being a mentor, I was able to learn from a lot of them. The training that we received was top notch and it helped me to finish my Ph.D. I believe that it would have been harder to finish without the help of the Promise Program.

Sylvester L. Mosley, Ph.D.
UMBC Chemistry (2006)

Anonymous said...

There are not enough words to thoroughly describe how important Promise has been to me over the past few years. Promise has provided me with an incredible amount of resources that allowed me to build and refine my skills as a scientist and as a professional. Promise brings underrepresented minority students from all across the state to fellowship and to create strong networks so that we may call upon one another when necessary. The connections that I have made through this network have already proved to be invaluable. It is because of connections through Promise and Dr. Tull that I was given the opportunity to work as a postdoc at the Broad Institute of Harvard & MIT. Never in wildest dreams did I think that I would find a postdoc position that was truly fulfilling and exciting. Without the career development workshops and general support from Dr Tull and Dr. Rutledge I would not have had the confidence to apply to work at such an elite institution. Without Promise I would not be where I am today, which is Ph.inally Done, still in love with science & extremely happy to practice my craft in one of the most amazing scientific environments in the world!

LaTese Briggs, PhD
Chemistry 2008
UMBC

Shanna L. Smith said...

PROMISE has been invaluable to my experience personally, and in my doctoral program. I was fortunate to work with PROMISE as a graduate assistant and see first hand all of the hard work that goes into it. I have participated in everything from the academic rigor of Summer Success, PhD Completion Projects, and Research Symposium to socialization of the Mentoring Program, Retreat, End-of-Year Brunch, and Cookout. Many of my strongest support systems and closest friends were found through PROMISE. I have the highest respect for Dr. Tull, Dr. Carter, and the legacy of Dr. Johnetta Davis. Their committment to doctoral students - and their success - has ensured so much of our progress and successful outcomes. We need PROMISE in order to continue this tradition.

GA UMBC AGGIE said...

Promise has helped me bridge the gap of graduate school and learning community. The people and the knowledge shared within the Promise Community. The programs are insightful and provide assistance in improving graduate studies and tying learning and research. Thank you Promise and its Leaders

Shannan Robinson
Master's Candidate
Instruction Systems Design
UMBC

Rodney said...

I'll add my opinion that the PROMISE program provides many resources that are essential for helping students to complete their graduate programs. I have served as a peer mentor for several years, and my protegees and I have used most of these resources, including the Summer Success Institute, Dissertation House, Wendy Carter's dissertation counseling, several lectures on topics related to completion of the degree, and many official and unofficial social events.

All of these are extremely helpful in moving towards completion of the degree, and PROMISE's format allows every individual to take advantage of the programs that are most helpful for her. That may may the overall impact harder to measure, but I believe it also makes the program beneficial to a wide range of students, and covers a wide range of the needs of graduate students who are members of underrepresented groups.

Funding has become tight for many programs but I believe that the support that PROMISE provides helps to ensure that these students have the necessary support to receive their degrees.

Rodney Harrell, PhD
UMCP

djaware said...

I have participated in the PROF-IT program and feel better prepared to get in front of the classroom and engage with students in a way that better allows for learning to take place. Having the opportunity to get training in teaching is such an important skill for those of us who are considering teaching at the higher education level. I would argue that this service PROMISE is providing is invaluable and we need more of it in our colleges and universities.

-Brent Gibbons, Ph.D. Student, Public Policy

Trudy Smith said...

PROMISE was a wonderful resource for me during my graduate career. I had the opportunity to meet and interact with students and faculty from all the Univ. of Maryland schools and formed friends and connections that wil last a lifetime. Through PROMISE I recieved the Graduate School Enrichment Fellowship which provided monetary support for 2 years, I particpated in a number of academic workshops and talks focused, as well as, different team building retreats and activites. The PROMISE program was an invaluable tool during my graduate carrer and hope it continues to help and support other students of color during their graduate tenure.

Trudy Smith, Ph.D.
Pharmaceutical Sciences
UMB

Anonymous said...

I met Dr. Carter at Dissertation House at UMCP. The assistance I have continued to receive from Dr. Carter, the Dissertation Coach, is invaluable. I cannot get this kind of access to my own advisor. I don't think I would be as far along in my proposal writing process if it weren't for Dr. Carter's assistance. I am looking forward to future Dissertation Houses at UMCP.

Dora, Ph.D. Candidate, Higher Education, UMCP

Meredith said...

I participated in Dissertation House the summer of 2009 and I successfully passed my proposal this past September, meeting a very important deadline in my program. I am grateful to the Dissertation House program for motivating me to work on my proposal and make the progress necessary to move forward! It was very helpful to work with a group of peers going through the same struggles. I recommend Dissertation House to my all my fellow graduate students!

Sara said...

AS a new graduate student, I have heard many great things about Promise and the opportunities they provide to help us succeed in our academic programs and beyond. I sincerely hope Promise will be operational through my graduate career at UMBC so I can take advantage of all it has to offer and that it will continue to provide excellent support and information to students for years to come. I am especially looking forward to participating in the student Success Seminars and PROF-it. Thank you to those who have made these opportunities possible!
Sara, Masters candidate, UMBC

Susan Hannum said...

Promise has been a great asset to the UMBC graduate community in its provision of myriad opportunities that are not otherwise available through individual academic programs. I have recently participated with the Promise program thorugh the PROF-It (Professors-In-Training) program, which has allowed me to gain invaluble knowledge and teaching skills that would not otherwise have been available to me. Best wishes to the program for continued success!

Anonymous said...

I am a first year PhD student. I attended the "When Faculty say 'x', They Really Mean 'y'" talk in November. From that talk I saw a broad range of professor's attitudes towards mentoring and advising students which was really helpful to me in terms of framing how I approach different profs. It was also hammered home that initiation on the student's part is everything at this point in the game - it's your career and your interests now.

Anonymous said...

I would like to thank PROMISE for giving me the opportunity to present my work in a supportive environment at the annual graduate student research conference.

These types of events are important for receiving extremely helpful feedback on research from students of all disciplines. Thank you to the PROMISE staff for encouraging me throughout this process!

Patricia Joseph
Doctoral Student, Criminology & Criminal Justice
UM-College Park

Dan said...

The program appears to be very impressive, however I am unable to participate because I am an online student. Presenting some of these sessions in an online format would be tremendously helpful.

Kimberly said...

PROMISE program and events have been the primary places in which I have been able to connect with a diverse group of students going through the graduate school process. As a first year student, there is a lot that I did not know, and PROMISE has provided me opportunities to meet others with knowledge and skills that will aid me in my graduate school experience. Just being around other motivated students encourages me and pushes me further towards my own goals.

I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the peer mentoring program, which has enabled me to get to know another student and colleague who has provided invaluable insight during my first year. My mentor has provided advice about courses in our department, balancing an assistantship and courses, and sources for conference and research funding.

Furthermore, the PROMISE staff (Dr. Parham, Dr. Tull, Maritza, etc) has been incredibly welcoming and supportive. In the midst of the personal and academic challenges that come along with graduate school, it has been great to know that there are people in my corner with a genuine interest in my success.

Thank you PROMISE and NSF for the opportunity to be part of such an amazing program. I truly hope that this program will be a part of the graduate experiences of many other students in years to come.

Kimberly Holmes
Doctoral Student,
Higher Education (EDHI), UMCP

María Virginia Sánchez Puerta said...

I graduated with a PhD from UMD-College Park in 2006 and I'm now a Professor in Argentina. I participated in the PROMISE program in several ways. In particular, I was a peer-mentor of three different girls pursuing a PhD in Biology. Those experiences were highly rewarding because I could pass on my experience as a latin student and woman in science to this girls, who would listen to me very carefully and share their fears and dreams. Thanks Promise for the spirit and good work!

Anonymous said...

I think the PROMISE program is an extremely valuable resource for graduate students on campus. The staff of PROMISE do an excellent job promoting the program, and although I have not yet attended any of their events (mostly due to scheduling conflicts), I have been aware of their seminars and sessions since I arrived at UMBC. Their seminars, workshops and "dissertation house" sound well-targeted and useful, and I certainly hope to be able to attend these events in the future.

Erica Antill
PhD Student
Geography and Environmental Systems
UMBC

Sophoria "Nikki" Westmoreland said...

I just wanted to say that I hope the evaluations this week go well. I can honestly say that I wouldn't be where I am today in my degree program with PROMISE and the support that I have received from this program. Ever since my 1st SSI in Summer 2007, I have been a PROMISE student and plan to continue as such until I complete my PhD. I was happy to find that a community had already been built before I came to Maryland and all Ih had to do was find my place in line. I always enjoy the many seminars that PROMISE sponsors. I have been in the PROMISE Peer Mentoring program for 3 years now. I have also attended many other PROMISE events and have many friends and mentors due to my participation in the PROMISE program. I hope that this program continues for years and years to come. Many blessings to PROMISE this Holiday Season, all staff and friends as well.
Keep Going!!

Nikisa said...

PROMISE is an extremely valuable program. Professional development activities along with social community building events are key to help motivate and retain students in graduate programs. I owe much of my success to PROMISE and I’m aware of others that feel the same way. It is important that PROMISE continues to be funded, because without it we will have fewer students to complete their PhD and/or MS. Let’s keep PROMISE alive!

Nikisa Jordan, PhD
Environmental Sciences

Anonymous said...

PROMISE is a great opportunity to train graduate students to be successful in their academic an teaching future. I attended some of the Prof-it seminar and got a lot. I could not attend all of the seminars though, because all of them came on Fridays, I wish you would have a solution.

Thanks

Jo said...

The PROMISE family has been a source of huge inspiration and support during my doctoral education. It is hard enough grinding through the wilderness years of a phd with plenty of soul searching by oneself. I like to refer to PROMISE as one's "promise Land" where we all share in the trials and tribulations of each other.

Events such as the Fall Harvest, seminars and retreats have all brought us closer as a family. From answering Vincenzo's questions regarding the American culture to taking Sammie to school on the pool table, we all carried away very fond memories of PROMISE events that have helped to get us through our testing times. I completed my doctoral studies recently but I would jump at the opportunity to partake in any future PROMISE events!

Wen said...

Promise is already an important part of my life in UMBC. I can not imaging the days without Promise. We are like a big family. We ecourage with each other. We help with each other, no matter what nationality you are. I like the atmosphere in the Promise. It is one of the most impressive experience of mine in the US.

Wenlong Tang
Ph.D Candidate in Mechanical Engineering

Patriot357 said...

PROMISE is essential to progressive education. It is vital to diversity, and absolutely necessary for equality. I am certain I would not have made it this far in my program without the supprot of PROMISE. It creates mechanisms to cope with the onslaught of grad school, and training that is otherwise unavailable to some groups of students.

Jamal Okon
Ph.D. Student,
International Relations, UMCP

kat said...

I've attended various activities, lectures, and programs sponsored by Promise, and really have gained a lot from them. It's so encouraging o feel supported and to have a way to meet and interact with other graduate students who are diligently pursuing studies. Thank you so much for all the many resources and being available to students!

Katrina Hein
Masters student
Emergency Health Services Department, UMBC

Di Su said...

PROMISE is good place to take friends, talk with staff and relax in our busy graduate schedule. The activity of them are very exciting and happy. I like them all very much

Di Su
Ph.D. student
UMBC

Anonymous said...

The work that you are doing through PROMISE is absolutely essential for the University of Maryland community!!

Thank you Dr. Tull, Dr. Carter and the entire PROMISE staff!

Anonymous said...

Had it not been for attending dissertation house, I would not have been able to complete the groundwork for completing my dissertation within my time-frame.

Thank you for everything!

Anonymous said...

I recently attended a workshop on Dissertation writing. The workshop was very helpful, but I mostly appreciated the way in which the Promise presenter and staff members took the time to answer individual questions and even meet with students after the session. Promise provides a space for graduate students to voice their challenges and concerns as well as to gain the support they may not be able to get elsewhere.

Anita Baksh
Doctoral Student, English Department
UMCP

Lisa M Gill said...

I originally joined the Promise program at UMCP as a mentor to first year graduate students. At the time, I had already been in graduate school for 4 years. I could readily see the benefit of having a built in network of students, administrators, and professors helping to transition incoming graduate students. The program became much more than that the year I was writing and defending my dissertation. The assistance I received from Dr. Wendy Carter was invaluable. Because of Dr. Carter's straight-talk, work hard philosophy, I transitioned from graduate student with ideas on her dissertation to a Ph.D. graduate. For that I will always be grateful.

Anonymous said...

I attended the Dissertation House this past summer and it was invaluable to helping me continue toward my proposal defense. The resources offered by PROMISE are extraordinary. While I have benefited immensely from those resources, I have seen others who literally would not be able to stay in their programs or graduate without them. Graduate school and academia are foreign to many and PROMISE helps us navigate successfully. Many thanks!

Gratefully,
Lisa M. Vizer
PhD student, IS, UMBC
NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Amy Pucino said...

I have participated in the professor training program, Prof-it, part of Promise. This is one of the few programs I have seen of its kind, and I am grateful that UMBC, particularly the Promise staff, recognize the importance of training and supporting current and future new professors. I have found the workshops related to syllabus construction, public speaking and teaching theories to be quite useful, and I will employ certainly many of the strategies I have learned in courses I teach. Kudos to Promise for acknowledging the importance of preparing students for future jobs in academia!

Iona Johnson, PhD student, Gerontology said...

The programs offered through PROMISE provide an awesome opportunity for graduate students! I am a new doctoral student, trying to balance full-time employment and grad school. As a non-traditional student, I felt that I would find myself isolated and without others who I could relate to. When I attended the Success Institute in August, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. The support system that is offered by the PROMISE program provides me with tools to succeed both academically and emotionally. Thank you Dr. Tull and team!

Anonymous said...

I wish PROMISE the best as it continues forward, and I hope that the number of individuals who participate in the programs take the time to make themselves known. PROMISE has been essential in not only social support, but in educating its participants with lessons not taught in the classroom- How to create a teaching portfolio, how to communicate with your advisor, how to complete the dissertation process, when so many become ABD, the elevator speech for making connections, I could go on. In addition to the knowledge I gain at the PROMISE EVENTS, just the sight of the multitude of minorities that are pursuing graduate education makes me feel less alone, and empowered to continue on. Sometimes PROMISE is the only opportunity I get to see 'familiar' faces, and I do believe that has made a difference.

Ph.D. Candidate, Psychology

Altinel VOGLOZIN said...

I had the opportunity to meet wonderful and very inspirational graduate and undergraduate students through all the numerous activities organized or funded by Promise. That is an extraordinary advantage that is given to the whole community of students and I look forward to these events in the future. Thanks to the whole Promise Staff, and especially Dr Renetta Tull for welcoming us and helping us achieve our goals, whatever they are!

Nohemi C. A. Voglozin
PhD Student
Geography and EnvSystems / UMBC

Vincenzo said...

I wanted to thank the PROMISE staff for all the work they have done in order to make graduate life fruitful and joyful. The Rocky Gap retreat was a wonderful experience for me. It was a recharge and it made me more productive in my graduate work. I really enjoyed networking and spending time with so many nice people. Thank you so much! I hope that PROMISE group will continue its mission offering other amazing programs in the future.

Vincenzo Tamma
Ph.D candidate, Applied Physics, UMBC

Vivek's Blog said...

It's great to have Promise staff in UMBC.

They are always approachable and helpful in each respect.

Promise program provides financial support for various activities to foster students skills, and future career.

I am always thankful to them.

Vivek Relan
MS Computer Science
UMBC

Invincible said...

PROMISE is an extremely valuable program and it a great opportunity to train graduate students to be successful in their academic an teaching future.I had the opportunity to meet wonderful and very inspirational graduate and undergraduate students through all the numerous activities organized or funded by Promise.

Anonymous said...

I have participated in the PROF-IT seminars and have found them extremely helpful! There are few, if any, resources available for training of graduate students for teaching at most universities; UMBC's offering of such a program is therefore an enormous asset. As a direct result of the PROF-IT program, I will feel much more prepared to teach as a faculty member after I complete my Ph.D.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of people here at UMBC that are passionate about the PROMISE Program!

jmjohnso said...

Wishing Promise folks the best. I entered my academic program in 2004 and had no idea what I was in for. The 4.0 Seminars and the instant Promise community created by the retreat weekend helped me get acclimated. Even though I am a humanities person, PROMISE helped me get situated and committed to the workload. In all honest, I may not have survived that first year without that guidance. And Dr. Tull and Dr. Davis are just too fly!!!! Which helped a lot too. :) Other events (like the Dissertation House) have helped keep me on task.

I haven't been able to participate in as many events as I would like to since that first year, but knowing that PROMISE is there to support me has made this experience bearable--sometimes even fun. :)

Promise staff--you guys are amazing! Keeping doing what you do!

Jessica Marie Johnson
Ph.D. Candidate
History

Andrea Romano Vespoint said...

I am very lucky to have the opportunity to attend a University that enjoys the wealth of community and academic programs to help me as a grad student and to assist my colleagues to ensure we are taking from the program what we are putting into it. A two way street is the only way to success for us as grad students. Thank you.

Andrea Romano Vespoint
INCC Masters Candidate

li zhu, Graduate student, Physics department, UMBC said...

The Promise staff have done a great job to help students to finish their PhD.

They really care about and really work on students' progress at school. I learned a lot by talking to Dr Carter during the dissertation house. It is one of my best experiences in UMBC. I really appreciate it and will never forget it.

Shayla said...

I really enjoyed being a PROMISE mentee and attending the numerous events PROMISE offered graduates. If not for Summer Success Institute or the Ph.D. Completion Workshops, I wouldn't have the friends, support system or skill set that I have. PROMISE definitely provided a caring and supportive environment in a place that encourages isolation.

Shayla Atkins
M.A. candidate, English Language & Literature, UM

nayrwiggy said...

It's pretty obvious from these comments just how important Promise is to our graduate community. Through Promise's PROF-It program, I have gained experience instructing undergraduate students that I doubt I would have been able at a lot of other places--experience that has been all the more rewarding because of the caring support of faculty and fellow students involved in the program. The seminars have been extremely helpful in exposing me to different teaching/learning styles and methods, and I'm looking forward to another year of insight. Thank you!

Ryan Wiggins
Masters Candidate, Historical Studies, UMBC

PROMISE at UMB said...

PROMISE provides sooooo... much: community, encouragement, practical tips for success, mentoring, networking... I participated in Dissertation House in Summer 2007, and got my dissertation done and defended in April 2008. As a student I took for granted many of the programs and events offered by PROMISE.
Now as the PROMISE Coordinator at UMB, I begin to appreciate the hard work that goes with organizing these programs. Not all universities have this kind of support. Students: take advantage of all that PROMISE offers!

Judith Pollack
PROMISE Coordinator @UMB

Patrice said...

Promise started my first year of graduate school at the University of Maryland in 2003. Graduate school can often be very isolating. Promise fills a void within in the graduate school experience. It gave me a sense of community and allowed me to connect with other graduate students who could relate to my issues and with whom I could bounce ideas off of. This helped alleviate some of that isolation. I am grateful to say that I do not know what graduate school is like without having the Promise program and hopefully future students at the University of Maryland will not have to either.

Patrice Gregory
PhD candidate
Mechanical Engineering
University of Maryland College Park

Anonymous said...

Please sustain the funding for this amazing program. Promise provides resources and sanity for students to get through the rigor and the challenges of graduate school.

Willie Merrell said...

I am grateful to the Promise program and staff. They worked very hard to enrich my graduate school experience at the University of Maryland and succeeded in doing so with both substance and class. Promise provides the type of atmosphere that is conducive to helping graduate students excel. By bringing together students of excellent ability, those students challenge each other to become even better. By providing professional development opportunities, Promise gives students the exposure to information and resources they will need to continue on to the next level of academic, government, or private sector work that they will pursue. I use many of my experiences at the Retreat and the Summer Success Institute in my capacity as a postdoctoral scholar and lecturer at the University of Kentucky. I hope for future graduate students to have the opportunity to receive the help that I received from Promise.

Willie Merrell, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar
University of Kentucky

Miss PhD in Progress said...

Funding for Change
I keep telling my students that if they truly want to see a change in the world, especially in academia, they have to BE THAT CHANGE. I applaud Michael Jackson for the song, "The Man in the Mirror," because truly we as individuals must be the change we want to see in America.
I recently made a huge decision and part of that decision-making process is due to my involvement with PROMISE at the University of Maryland, College Park. As an English literature major, I have decided to continue my PhD in Education, because it will allow me to make a bigger impact on the changes I would like to see made in Education.
So few of us get to attend college at the community college level, and for many, degrees in higher education are definitely out of the question. I would not be as successful as I am in college were it not for programs like PROMISE. In higher education, the support and extra help some of us need is not available in some academic departments. The belief is that at this level of education, we should be wholly prepared. I don't disagree with this way of thinking, but I must honestly say, there is nothing that can prepare anyone for the rigors of graduate school. The only solice I find is programs like PROMISE, which, in my case, offers the additional support and motivation I need to keep moving forward.
I hope that the government does not cut anymore funds to this program and others like it (i.e. Ronald E. McNair), because eventually the entire nation will suffer from the consequences of decreased funding for academic support programs. Cutting funds to these programs is like putting a bandaid on an open wound, gushing with blood. It simply can't work without the necessary medical treatment. In the case of PROMISE, the necessary care involves funding. The government has the potential to hurt and help its citizens. Please do not cut our funding. Thank you.
Melissa L. Browning
M.A. candidate, English Literature, UMCP

AerialKnight0714 said...

'Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for everything. The Promise program has made my first semester in graduate school a positive experience. I want to thank the staff for their availability and attentiveness. I probably should be used to it by now but the success seminars never cease to amaze me (never boring in the least). The peer mentors and other participants are very open and friendly. It truly is a blessing to be a part of a group of people with the same goals and to have others watching out for you :). Thanks!

Tashauna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tashauna said...

Promise is an integral program on UMBC's campus. I am particularly grateful for the Dissertation House seminar you all sponsor every semester. The skills and strategies offered by Dr. Carter (to help complete the dissertation) have been extremely helpful!! I do not know if I would be able to finish without participating in DH. Thank you to Dr. Tull and all other faculty/staff that make the Promise program what it is.

Tashauna Felix
Ph.D. candidate
Dept. of Biological Sciences, UMBC

Denesha said...

I participated in Prof-it for the Spring 2008 semester. I attended seminars in the Fall 2007 to prepare for the teaching experience. Below I share my thoughts on the experience at the end of the semester (May 2008).

My ideal career goal is to be a professor, although I'm not sure how that fits into my current life. I like my current job as an IT specialist, but teaching has always been a part of life as long as I remember. With a mother as a retired educator, a sister as a current school administrator, and a brother-in-law who recently became an educator, grading papers, learning styles, and lesson plans have always been topics of discussion.

During my time as an undergraduate student, I worked as a tutor and mentor. I was employed as a substitute teacher in the period after graduation prior to securing permanent employment. I am now working full-time for the federal government and my free time is limited.

This semester, I received a opportunity of an lifetime, to be an adjunct instructor at the Community College of Baltimore County. I always wondered how I would get the proverbial foot in the door and then I got an email from Dr. Tull (UMBC) about the Professors in Training program (PROF-it). I am so thankful for this opportunity. Although I was the teacher, I have learned and grown so much; I learned about people, teaching on the college level, and more about my discipline. Hopefully, it all goes well, I will continue as an adjunct in the future. Tomorrow is my class's final exam and after I submit the final grades, I will have officially completed my first semester. This program has a profound impact on me.

Denesha Brooks, Masters student, Information Technology, UMBC

Anonymous said...

The Promise program has been such an integral part of my success at UMCP. If it were not for all the Promise staff, workshops, retreats and support of other students my time as a student here would have been alot different. I am not a STEM student but that did not stop the staff from allowing me the same benefits as students who are studying in these disciplines. I have invited family members to workshops and they always comment about how blessed students who participate in Promise are for all the support we receive. I thank you PROMISE staff for your determination to help students reach their goals!

Paul Matthews said...

As a grad student at University of Maryland, everything felt unfamiliar. The graduate work was within my capability. However, everything on campus was so unfamiliar that I felt isolated, unsure about my acceptance into the department, and the larger research community in the future. Since very few professors and students were minorities I knew that this strong presence of unfamiliarity and isolation would likely propel into my future career as a professor where there was even fewer minorities. I doubted whether
I even wanted to finish a Masters degree much less a PhD at University of Maryland College Park. It was not until I
got involved with Promise that I started seeing signs of familiarity and began to feel apart of a community and thus
encouraged to continue my studies.

Paul Matthews said...

I forgot to place my info in the post:

Paul Matthews
Masters in Information Management, 2006/2007
College of Information Studies

Oliver J. Myers PhD Mechanical Engineering, Asst. Prof. Mississippi State University said...

The PROMISE program was instrumental in helping me follow through on a tenure-track career path in Mechanical Engineering. I have been fortunate to serve as a civil servant with the military and in private industry as a mechanical design engineer, but desired a research position upon completion of my doctorate. Drs. Tull, Carter and Rutledge encouraged me to strongly consider an academic career. I must admit, I respectfully gave them quite a bit of resistance as I was fully opposed to an academic career based upon my limited experience and conversations. As I investigated several career choices, academia became a more viable option and the seminars from SREB, AGEM became more relevant. I am currently an assistant professor at Mississippi State University in Mechanical Engineering developing research on smart/composite material coupling mechanics. I have been able to satisfy my desire to remain technically relevant, pursue entrepreneurial endeavors through grant/proposals and mentor under-represented students.

Renina Jarmon said...

Promise has been useful and helping me facilitate and formalize my realtionship with my mentor.

She has helped me to understand both the written and unwritten rules of graduate school.

Survival happens in community. Given this fact, both my relationship with Promise community in general with my mentor specifically will help me not only survive but also thrive in graduate school.

Renina Jarmon
Doctoral Student, Women Studies

Thought said...

PROMISE has been a great source of inspiration and community in graduate school. From the first seminar I attended, which was given by Dr. Howard Adams on success in graduate school to the most recent Fall Harvest Dinner, PROMISE continues to provide students with opportunities and advice for the roadblocks that await in graduate school.

I didn't know what to expect from graduate school when I first arrived and some of my first experiences here were nothing like my experiences in undergrad. The opportunity to attend so many PROMISE events and listen to so many of the speakers who spoke of similar stories - from problems passing quals, to adapting to being the only minority in a classroom, or department, to the problems finding an advisor, to the problems with understanding your advisor, to the fears of speaking in public, to the details of dissertation writing, and many many more steps along the way, PROMISE has provided me with great advice and opportunities that has not been offered to me from outside programs and for that I'm truly thankful.

Thought said...

I forgot to leave my info

Charles N. Glover
Ph.D. Candidate
Applied Mathematics

Anonymous said...

The PROMISE summer institute was one of my first orientations to the graduate student experience at UMDCP. I was invited to attend the institute with a personal telephone call, which made me feel welcome and like there was a "place" for me in a community at the university. After attending the institute, I felt confidence that all of the resources I needed to succeed in graduate school were available to me and that there was a knowledgeable and experienced community on my campus I could turn to for help and support. I can't emphasize enough the value of the PROMISE program for students who might otherwise feel disoriented and isolated in graduate school. Thank you PROMISE staff!

Kara Fontenot
Ph.D student, English Dept, UMDCP

Jennifer Rivers said...

Promise played a large role in facilitating the meeting I had with all of the minority members of my department (ENGLISH) when I first arrived at the University of Maryland College Park. I didn't get much of a chance to participate this year because many of the events were in Baltimore Maryland and because they have decided to refocus on STEM Graduate students mostly, but I still believe that PROMISE is a necessary program and is vital to keeping Minority students in the Maths, Sciences and Other degree fields, engaged with one another, encouraged to complete and excel in programs, and enlightened about the ways to improve themselves academically and systemically go into othe Academic realm and make an impact and a difference in the Educational or Workforce systems.

Anonymous said...

Promise has helped usher me smoothly into the crazy life of a graduate student. The friends, staff, faculty, and administrators that I have met have helped me beyond measure. Their dedication to enriching the lives of graduate students is what has kept me coming back to events every month. The time and energy that Dr. Davis and Dr. Tull have invested in cultivating a inclusive environment has made a significant impact on my graduate experience. PROMISE has become a vital feature of the the graduate experience of students of color. Programming is great, and people are even better. I applaud the efforts of PROMISE, and I look forward to staying involved during my last semester next spring.

Krystle Norman
Master Candidate, Public Policy, UMCP

Rhonda said...

If it were not for PROMISE, I wouldn't know many of the people I know now. When I first came to the University of Maryland, I was overwhelmed by many things, but when I found people in my program who were also a part of PROMISE, my apprehensions were eased. The mentoring component of PROMISE helped me a great deal my first year, because I (and two colleagues) were able to learn first-hand how to navigate the University and our department. I hope my comment and others demonstrate the effectiveness and value of the PROMISE program and I hope to see it flourish in years to come.

PROMISE Community Building - A Place for Graduate Students.

PROMISE: Maryland's Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) seeks to increase the numbers and diversity of Ph.D.s in the STEM fields by building community and supporting graduate students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Here, we salute the spirit of PROMISE!
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Click one of the tabs at the top: "Home" to see the main blog site with all posts, "Retreats" to see more information about the Community Building Retreats for grad students, and "PROMISE Videos" to see some videos from the PROMISEagep YouTube Channel. Other topics and pages will be added as the blog site grows.
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