Dean F. Jon Kull’s Letter to Alumni

On December 21, 2012 by Grad Forum

Dear Graduate Community,

Greetings from Hanover!

As we approach the end of the calendar year I wanted to take a minute to write to you all about the exciting state of Graduate Studies.

I must say that it has been quite an exciting term. Back in August, I began my tenure as the Dean of Graduate Studies. I have spent much of the fall speaking with students, faculty, staff, and administrators, learning about the important issues that surround graduate education at Dartmouth. I have been afforded the opportunity to witness the incredible diversity of talent and drive in each of our graduate programs. I also cannot emphasize enough how impressive the staff of the Graduate Office is. They do an amazing job taking care of our students and programs!

Looking across the spectrum of Graduate Studies, I’ve been touched by the closeness and sense of community that exists inside of and between our programs. Our resolve was tested this fall, as our community suffered a tragic loss. Mikhail Lomakin, a first year graduate student in physics, died in a devastating accident back in October. Mike, as he liked to be called, came to us from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He was interested in space plasma physics, and was very excited to embark on his career in research here at Dartmouth. Mike’s passing rocked our small community. But our students found ways to come together, supporting each other during an enormously difficult time. This togetherness has made us all closer, impressing again upon me the value of our small size and our sense of collective strength. These virtues keep us moving forward, together, into the New Year that promises to be transformative.

I am proud to report that graduate programs in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy have been awarded more than $2 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education through the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program, which will fund 17 three-year graduate fellowships. Dartmouth has received nearly $8 million in GAANN awards since 2004, an amazing success rate reflecting very highly on our graduate programs. Our students also continue to have success obtaining highly competitive funding, with six students receiving prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowships in 2012.

Our Graduate Student Council continues to be a strong student voice on campus, communicating with the administration about issues surrounding Dartmouth’s graduate community. The GSC Executive Board met with President Folt earlier in the fall to discuss a number of issues facing our students. The Council also took part in the 10th annual Ivy Summit, held this year at the University of Pennsylvania. The Summit is a meeting of graduate student leaders from across the Ivies. There the GSC had the chance to share ideas and learn new strategies to advance our student resources and handle issues related to graduate student life.

In looking to further our alumni-student relations, we have developed an Externship Program, which will pair current graduate students with graduate alumni. During December, students will spend a day with an alumni host, discussing professional goals, engaging in career-oriented conversations with staff, receiving feedback on their resumes or CVs, and shadowing their host in their day-to-day activities. Most importantly, they will help to develop sustainable links between graduate alumni and graduate students. These links help to ensure that Dartmouth alumni find themselves still engaged with the College, and that students have the opportunity to benefit from our alums’ expertise. I’m delighted that so many graduate alumni have signed up for this experience.

Finally, I wanted to thank the graduate alumni for donating to the Dartmouth Graduate Studies Alumni Fund. Each year, contributions from our Graduate Alumni allow us to fund research grants. This year, the fund has allowed a number of talented students to do all kinds of great work, which you can read about on our online news-blog, The Graduate Forum. Your continued support is greatly appreciated, and I am really excited to see what our students will achieve during the coming year.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season, and all the best for 2013!



F. Jon Kull

Dean of Graduate Studies at Dartmouth


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