Success at the Highest Level: Supporting Graduate Studies

Dr. Adia Garrett ’08, Ph.D. psychology, is quite familiar with ways of measuring success. While a doctoral student at UMBC, Garrett studied the effectiveness of standardized tests used by elementary schools to chart student progress.

She also understands that her own success as a graduate student was the result of more than plain hard work. Thanks to UMBC Annual Fund’s Graduate Student Success Fund, Garrett received a financial boost that helped her complete her doctorate faster than she originally expected.

“That was really a bright spot for me to have that support,” says Garrett, who because of the fund was able to hire an undergraduate student to assist her with cataloging research, preventing an anticipated delay in degree completion.

Financial support is a key component of degree completion. The Graduate Student Success Fund provides scholarships for beginning graduate students, develops support systems for degree candidates and awards dissertation fellowships to ensure students successfully complete their Ph.D. program.

Muneer Baig, who is working on his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, spends six days a week with his research, leaving little time to work outside of his graduate program. As the recipient of a dissertation fellowship, he will be able to finish his degree and enter the work force sooner than if he didn’t have the support. “I have a family – my wife and a nine-month-old daughter – so I have dad responsibilities too,” he says. “I really appreciate the fellowship.”

For Garrett, completion of her doctorate degree led to her becoming a lecturer in UMBC’s Department of Psychology. She feels thankful to have studied in such a supportive environment.

“Just knowing that people are out there (supporting our work as donors), believing in me…makes it even more special,” she says.

To support the Graduate Student Success Fund, click here.

Originally published Fall 2009

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