Grad School Hacks for First-Year Students

The series “Grad School Hacks” consists of interactive workshops and roundtables designed to help participants select a thesis mentor and research group. In this series, participants have structured opportunities to reflect on factors to consider in making the decision and discuss strategies to use when faced with conflicting advice.

The series offers a brave space and forum for students to share experiences with peers and build community in an environment that is open and free of judgment. These programs also offer GPB an opportunity to assess the needs of its students in real-time and to allow for intervention should a student be experiencing difficulties or challenges.


Date & Time: September 13, 2022

Location: GPB Orientation

RSVP: GPB Orientation

During this workshop, participants will utilize case studies and small-group discussions to identify different mentoring styles, reflect on their preferred mentoring style, and consider other factors important for choosing rotations.

Date & Time: September 27, 2022, 5:00 – 6:30 PM

Location: Sent via RSVP


During this workshop, participants learn about the factors that are important to consider when selecting a thesis research mentor and discuss strategies to use when faced with conflicting advice.

Date & Time: Tuesday, May 2, 2023, 5:00-6:30PM

Location: Sent to those who RSVP

RSVP link 

An open judgment-free forum for students to share and reflect on their research rotations and first-year experiences with their peers and GPB directors.

Date & Time: To be announced

Location: To be announced

RSVP: To be announced

Sign up for a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Greg Payne and / or Dr. Diana Azurdia to discuss challenges in selecting a thesis lab. These one-on-one meetings are recommended for first-year GPB students who have completed their rotations and are struggling to choose a lab.

Frequently Asked Questions

Only first-year graduate students enrolled in a Graduate Program in Bioscience (listed below):

  • Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology
  • Bioinformatics
  • Cell & Developmental Biology
  • Gene Regulation, Epigenomics & Transcriptomics
  • Genetics & Genomics
  • Immunity, Microbes & Molecular Pathogenesis
  • Medical Informatics
  • Molecular Pharmacology
  • Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physics & Biology in Medicine

Dr. Greg Payne and Dr. Diana Azurdia.

Contact Dr. Greg Payne ( and/or Dr. Diana Azurdia ( to schedule a one-on-one appointment. They are happy to serve as a sounding board, point you to helpful strategies, and explore all resources to best address your situation.


Please email our Program Director, Dr. Diana E. Azurdia at