Saint Mary's College Hosts Prestigious Forum on Diversity in Graduate Education


A couple of visiting students enjoy two of the 1,700 box lunches made by Sodexo for the forumWhile Saint Mary’s students took a four-day weekend after their midterm exams, the campus continued to buzz as it hosted the California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education on October 26.

More than 1,200 students flooded to the SMC campus, arriving on 24 buses that packed the commuter lot. The students came from all across California to attend panels and meet more than 200 recruiters representing 134 institutions from across the country.

“To see so many students who are considering graduate education and countering the pipeline of underrepresentation in graduate programs was really inspiring to me,” said Professor Raina Leon, a member of the Saint Mary’s faculty in the School of Education, who said the students seemed "enamored" with SMC. “Everyone seemed so happy about the forum and being able to be a part of this and learning about all the different programs," she added.

This was Saint Mary’s first time hosting the event, and more than 40 SMC community members volunteered to make it happen, along with staff, student and faculty presenters. The forum, which is planned by a group of public and private colleges and universities from all over California, was created to assist advanced undergraduates who belong to groups that are underrepresented in doctoral-level programs.

From law school to molecular biology, all programs were represented by recruiters passionate about their programs and ready to assist in any way they possibly could.

The forum also included numerous workshops that occurred throughout the day, covering topics such as how to prepare for specific academic programs, the GRE, and much more.

Here’s what some of the students who attended had to say:

Carlos, UC Merced

Carlos, UC Merced
“Well, I came by to check out the workshops because my school talked about how this event would present a lot of opportunities to learn more about the GRE and the application process, so I wanted to learn more about that. As a graduating senior, I thought it would help me out.”


Jessica, UC Santa CruzJennifer, UC Santa Cruz
“I definitely did learn a lot because I was thinking about going into law school primarily, but I got to learn more about what graduate school was as well, so that’s been really nice.  


Cameron, Palo AltoCameron, Palo Alto
“I came here to learn more about the process of becoming a grad student, like what it takes to get into a grad program. I had been considering it to
help further my career, and it has been really fulfilling so far. The way they’ve split it up, it's worked really well with the multiple programs that are offered.”


Jasmine, UC Santa CruzJasmine, UC Santa Cruz
“The campus is beautiful. I did really appreciate how there are maps everywhere. It's been really easy to navigate today and all of the rooms have been really accommodating for all the panels. Having the separate times also helps because if a panel did fill up, you could just come back again later.”



By Alex Kummert '15

View more photos from the diversity forum.





At SMC, the Diversity Forum was the work of a planning committee that included Graduate & Professional Studies, Graduate Kinesiology, Graduate Leadership, the Intercultural Center, the MFA in Creative Writing program, the Career Center, Graduate Education, Media Services, IT Services, College Communications, Scheduling & Promotions, Public Safety, Athletics, Sodexo and Facilities Services.