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Stanford tells new graduate students: ‘Home is where the Farm is’

Stanford welcomed incoming graduate students to campus during New Graduate Student Orientation, introducing them to the vast network of resources available at the university.

During New Graduate Student Orientation last week, Stanford welcomed new master’s, doctoral and professional degree students with a series of events, including open houses, workshops, library tours and a mixer for graduate students with children.

Students attend the Graduate Orientation and Lunch Information Event – GOALIE – in Canfield Court during New Graduate Student Orientation. (Image credit: Andrew Brodhead)

The annual event introduces incoming graduate students to the vast network of academic, career, health, athletics, social and recreational resources available at Stanford.

This year, Stanford invited rising second-year graduate students to participate in the program, which included in-person, virtual and hybrid events. Last year’s NGSO was a virtual event, due to the pandemic.

Stacey F. Bent, vice provost for graduate education and postdoctoral affairs welcomed new graduate and professional students Wednesday at the President’s Welcome Reception. Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and his wife, Mary Hynes, associate professor (research) of biology, hosted the reception, which was held in the gardens of Lou Henry Hoover House, a historic campus residence.

At the reception, Bent told the new students that their life experiences, intellectual passions and future aspirations are all important to Stanford.

“Our community, our teaching and research and our university are all enriched by what each of you brings to campus,” she said. “The Stanford graduate experience is built on relationships and is characterized by connectivity and collaboration. We encourage you to seek opportunities to engage with your fellow graduate students and our faculty to create a community that will sustain you through your graduate program.”

This year, Stanford is welcoming 2,796 new graduate students, including master’s, doctoral and professional degree students who began their studies in summer and fall, according to preliminary numbers from the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support.

The cohort includes 1,309 women and 1,482 men, and five people who did not identify themselves as male or female. Their ages range from 18 to 74, with an average age of 26. The incoming cohort includes 1,134 international students.

‘Home is where the Farm is’

Three current PhD students – Grace Han, art history, Emily Lindgren, materials science and engineering, Kwamina Nyame, biochemistry – worked with organizations across campus over the summer to create an extensive roster of events and resources for new students.

Nadine Humphrey, a first year doctoral student in chemical engineering, left, talks to Ankita Rakhe from the Office of Inclusion, Community and Integrative Learning during a New Graduate Student Orientation event. (Image credit: Andrew Brodhead)

As NGSO Coordinators, they chose the theme – “Home is where the Farm is” – and designed t-shirts. During the weeklong event, they moderated panels and oversaw volunteers.

Han, whose graduate studies are focused on film and media studies, said she enjoys event planning and welcomed the opportunity to help organize NGSO.

“After a year of Zoom life and the pandemic, I was itching for an opportunity to get back on the ground,” she said. “I also thought it would be a really good way to meet people, including incoming graduate students and other coordinators. I’ve been craving social interactions with new people.”

The coordinators worked under the direction of Christine Gibo, dean of students and associate director of the Graduate Life Office, and Irene Deng, the programs associate in the office, which serves the entire graduate student population and their families.

Featured NGSO events

Among the more than 40 events held during NGSO, one of the most popular is “Grad 101,” which features a panel of current graduate students talking about life on campus, including food, housing, transportation and social life, and a Q&A.

During another panel, “Top Tips for Managing Grad School,” current graduate students offered advice about how to thrive academically at Stanford. In the workshop, “Starting Grad School Right,” academic coaches from the Center for Teaching and Learning presented strategies for learning effectively and efficiently, including ways to curb procrastination.

Incoming graduate students also attended the Graduate Orientation and Lunch Information Event – GOALIE – which brings together representatives from offices and programs across campus for one-on-one conversations with students. Student organizations, including the Graduate Student Council and the Graduate Student Planning Board, also staffed tables during the event.

Among the other NSGO events were:

  • Undocumented at Stanford provided incoming graduate students information about resources, opportunities and support systems available to the undocumented community at Stanford during an identity-secure webinar.

Making new friends

New students attended a Welcome Movie Night, spreading out blankets and settling into lawn chairs on the Kennedy Commons Lawn to watch “Ready Player One,” a science fiction adventure film, and to enjoy friendly games of cornhole – a beanbag toss competition.

They gathered Friday evening in the TV Lounge at the Graduate Life Office to eat pizza and cheer the Cardinal in its football game against Vanderbilt University.

New students assembled on Manzanita Field for a Speed Friending event – three rounds of 100 people per round – during which participants answered questions about some of their favorite things and their dream vacations.

NGSO also featured a Families and Couples Mixer – brunch was served – to share information about resources for partners, spouses and families of graduate students.