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The Graduate School welcomes grad students to the Carolina family

Picture a room of about 800 new graduate students all ready to learn about their new academic journey. This was just one of many scenes from The Graduate School’s half-day orientation. The event featured presentations on health and wellness, advice from current graduate students, and welcoming words from Graduate School Dean Steve Matson and other campus officials. Students also visited a Student Resources Fair and concluded the event with a welcome reception.

“When I think about the purpose of The Graduate School orientation, I think about helping students understand the unbelievable breadth of resources available to them here at UNC-Chapel Hill,” said Hoi Ning Ngai, associate dean for student affairs at The Graduate School.

“Sometimes I think the biggest challenge with graduate students, regardless of how much experience they’ve had, is that they think they ought to be able to figure it out or do it all on their own,” she added. “The reality, though, is that the best ‘adulting’ comes with reflecting on who you are, assessing your strengths and weaknesses, asking questions when you’re not sure what’s going on, and seeking out those individuals who might be able to help you.”

Carolina welcomed 2,461 new graduate students to its campus this August. Of that number, more than 1,846 students are enrolled in the 80-plus academic programs administered by The Graduate School.

Carolina Graduate School Magazine caught up with four new graduate students and they shared their thoughts on beginning their graduate education at Carolina.

Lt. Matthew Case
LT Matthew Case

LT Matthew Case, master’s degree student in public health leadership, Gillings School of Global Public Health, and doctor of osteopathic medicine

Jordan Davis, doctoral student in anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences

Betsy Mann, master’s degree student in strategic communication, School of Media and Journalism

Tanvi Shah, master’s degree student in public health leadership, Gillings School of Global Public Health

What made you want to pursue your graduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill?

Jordan Davis
Jordan Davis

Matthew Case: It was the top-ranked public school in the country for public health. It was a great opportunity to come here to North Carolina, which is one of my favorite locations. I used to live in Charlotte before being stationed in South Carolina for the U.S. Navy. My wife is also doing the same program. I’m looking forward to both of us being able to go through it together.

If you had to guess what your first year will be like, what would you guess?

Betsy Mann: I think it’s going to be challenging and not just with the coursework itself, but just figuring out the next steps thinking career-wise. I’m going to grow a lot and I’m looking forward to it all.

Tanvi Shah
Tanvi Shah

Tanvi Shah: Well, before I got here, I thought my first year was going to be books and books and just books. But now that I’m here, it looks fun and looking at how diverse the culture is and meeting new people, I think it’s going to be fun.

How are you going to change the world?

Jordan Davis: First and foremost, being a man of color myself and being in, hopefully, a tenure-track faculty position is my goal with my research and the work that I’m going to do. That in and of itself shows students who are like me, who come from places that I come from that it can be done. The research that I want to do speaks to how people in adverse social conditions can survive and thrive. And more specifically, how they use music to do that across different cultural contexts.

Betsy Mann
Betsy Mann

As an official Tar Heel, what are some things that you are looking forward to this year?

Betsy Mann: I have been saying “Go Heels” nonstop! The school pride here is so contagious! So I’m just really looking forward to taking it all in and seeing that unfold throughout sports and being part of the Tar Heel community.

Jordan Davis: I’m really looking forward to all the variety of extracurricular programs available at the University. I’ve always been a choir singer and I’m looking forward to getting into that. And I’m also looking forward to getting involved with a lot of the programs that they have, support-wise, like the Initiative for Minority Excellence [part of The Graduate School’s Diversity and Student Success program]. So just exploring the variety of different programs and support systems that they offer here and making use of those throughout my career.

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