Graduate Student Life Events

In collaboration with partners across campus, Graduate Student Life will present a number of events throughout the 2018-19 academic year. Events include academic, career, and professional workshops, Graduate Outdoor Adventures, Write-In Days, and Grad Nights In, and much, much more! See below for event details and relevant registration information; check back regularly to find out about updates and new events. 

View the Graduate Student Life Event Calendar for 2018-2019 (pdf).

Grad Student Welcome Days 

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Grad Student Welcome Days feature events and workshops designed to facilitate students’ successful transition to graduate and professional education at Mason. These programs have been designed to connect new and continuing graduate and professional students to key information, strategies, and resources to promote their success and well-being within the first six weeks of the semester.



Friday, Sept. 7, 2018

Johnson Center Meeting Rooms (third floor)

Johnson Center Ground Floor and South Plaza (check in at Dewberry Lobby)

All new and continuing Mason graduate students are invited to Gradstravaganza, Mason’s annual graduate student welcome event! Join fellow Mason grad students for FREE food, mini-workshops highlighting strategies for success in graduate school, connections with campus resources, and giveaways, including t-shirts! Families are welcome! Remember to bring your Mason student ID with you. For more information, visit Gradstravaganza. Mini-workshops for graduate student success will be held 3:30-5:00pm in the Johnson Center meeting rooms on the third floor. The picnic will be held 5:00-7:00pm on the Johnson Center Ground Floor, including Dewberry Hall, Dewberry Lobby, Cinema, Bistro, and South Plaza. Brought to you by Graduate Student Life, Student Involvement, the Office of the Provost, Mason Recreation,  and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA).

Maximizing Productivity During Graduate School Workshop Series

Learning Services and Graduate Student Life present “Maximizing Productivity During Graduate School,” a workshop series designed specifically for Mason graduate students. We know you have limited time and are balancing school along with multiple life commitments. In these workshops, learn how to make the most of the time and energy you have while working toward your graduate degree.

We are offering the following workshops during the 2018-19 academic year:

  • Graduate School Reading Strategies: Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, 3:00-4:15pm
  • How to Study for Online Courses Webinar: Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, 12:00-1:00pm
  • Overcoming Procrastination: Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 12:00-1:15pm
  • Managing Academic Anxiety: Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, 10:30-11:45am
  • Motivation and Goal-Setting: Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, 10:30-11:45am
  • How to Manage a Large Project (a part of GRADReCon): Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, TBA
  • Scheduling and Time Management: Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, 10:30-11:45am

For more information, including online registration, visit our Workshop Series page.

Innovations in Teaching and Learning Conference: Small Changes, Big Impact: 10 Years of ITL

Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, 8:00am-6:00pm
Johnson Center

The Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning invites graduate student instructors, faculty, and staff to the 2018 Innovations in Teaching and Learning Conference addressing the theme, “Small Changes, Big Impact: 10 Years of ITL.” Find out more and register by Sept. 10. Graduate students may apply for a limited number of free admission scholarships. To apply, send a brief statement explaining how attending this conference will support your career goals to the Stearns Center no later than Friday, Sept. 7; approved applicants will be given a one-time-use discount code. For more information, check out the Innovations in Teaching and Learning conference webpage.

Building Community: A Networking Event for Graduate Students of Diverse Identities

Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, 3:30-5:00pm
Student Union Building I, Patriots Lounge

Graduate Student Life; Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Queer Resources; Compliance, Diversity, and Ethics; and the Office of the Provost invite graduate students of diverse identities (including graduate students of color, graduate students who identify as LGBTQ+, and first-generation graduate students) to a welcoming and networking reception to kick off the academic year. Faculty and staff of diverse identities and other Mason community members who are interested in fostering inclusion and graduate student success on campus are also invited!

For more information, please contact Graduate Student Life at

Graduate Life Outdoor Adventures

Graduate Outdoor Adventures (GOAs) has become not only a stable of Graduate Student Life activities, but is also one of our signature events. Graduate Student Life and Mason Recreation: Outdoor Adventures have partnered to bring four outdoor adventures for the year.

We are offering the following trips:

  • GOA: Old Rag Hike: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018
  • GOA: Bike Tour of Monuments in DC: Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019
  • GOA: Canoeing: Saturday, Mar. 30, 2019
  • GOA: Stand-Up Paddleboarding: Saturday, May 4, 2019

For more information, including online registration, visit Graduate Outdoor Adventures!

Grad Night In

Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 4:00-9:00pm Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, 4:00-9:00pm
Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, 4:00-9:00pm Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, 4:00-9:00pm
Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, 4:00-9:00pm Thursday, Mar. 28, 2019, 4:00-9:00pm
Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, 4:00-9:00pm Thursday, Apr. 25, 2019, 4:00-9:00pm

Fenwick Library, Room 1014B

Need a break while on campus? Want to meet with your cohort? Working on a group project? Want to meet other Mason grad students and also get some work done? Join Graduate Student Life at Fenwick Library for Grad Night In, a monthly collaborative study date just for Mason grad students! We will provide caffeine and snacks; come with your work and a friend! Come by Fenwick Library, Room 1014B, and stay for a minute or stay for a while — we hope to see you there!

Graduate Student Career Workshop: The What, Why, and How of Résumé and CV Writing

Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018, 1:00-2:30pm
University Career Services Resource Room (SUB I, Room 3400)

When you apply for jobs and internships, you need to be able to communicate your skills, experiences, and qualifications effectively to prospective employers; whether you use a résumé or curriculum vitae (CV) to do so depends on your career goals and the kinds of positions you seek. Join Graduate Student Life, University Career Services, and the Stearns Center for Teaching & Learning for a Graduate Student Career Development Workshop on résumé and CV writing. Learn what résumés and CVs are and how they differ, why you would use one or the other, how they are used in academic and non-academic hiring, and what you can do to craft the strongest document for your future job search. You will also be ready to share your skills and qualifications at the Fall Career Fair on October 3 & 4!

The workshop will begin with an overview of résumés and CVs in the University Career Services Resource Room (SUB 1, Suite 3400). Break-out sessions will follow, so participants can learn the specifics of writing a résumé or CV and have an opportunity to write and/or peer review drafts. Please bring a draft of your résumé or CV, if you have one.

Register for the Résumé and CV Writing Workshop now. 

Please note: You will only be able to attend either the résumé writing or CV writing break-out session.

If you would like to receive personalized feedback on your résumé one-on-one after the workshop, plan to attend a Résumé Clinic:
– Monday, October 1, 11:00am- 5:00pm, SUB 1, 3400
– Tuesday, October 2, 1:00pm-7:00pm, SUB 1, 3400

If you would like to learn more about the academic job search process, check out the Preparing for Careers in the Academy workshop series!


Preparing for Careers in the Academy Workshop Series

The Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning and Graduate Student Life present “Preparing for Careers in the Academy,” a workshop series that provides an opportunity to gain knowledge about the nature and expectations of career paths in higher education.  The workshops feature a series of guest speakers that share insights about the academic career path experience (traditional, alternative academic), as well as what sets application materials and job candidates apart in the hiring process.  These workshops are free and designed for Doctoral or MFA graduate students who are interested in a career in higher education and will be on the academic job search next year or are currently on the market, but anyone interested is welcome.

We are offering the following workshops during the 2018-19 academic year:

  • Understanding the Academic Job Search Process: Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, 1:30-2:45pm
  • Cover Letters for Academic Positions: Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, 1:30-2:45pm
  • Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement: Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, 1:30-2:45pm
  • Designing a Course: Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 , 1:30-2:45pm

For more information, including online registration, visit our Workshop Series page.

GRADReCon: Graduate Student Research Connections Day

Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, 9:00am-5:00pm
Fenwick Library

Build your productivity, research, and writing skills at GRADReCon! Graduate Student Life and University Libraries have partnered with other offices to provide a day of workshops on topics essential to your success in grad school. For full details including the schedule, visit GRADReCon.


Graduate Student Life Write-In

Fall 2018: Saturday, Nov. 3, 8:30am-5:00pm
Spring 2019: Saturday, Apr. 13, 8:30am-5:00pm

Looking for a way to make progress on your dissertation, thesis, or paper? Graduate Student Life’s Write-In Day will give you group accountability and a space to write with other Mason graduate students who are also serious about getting writing done. Graduate Student Life will provide the space, coffee, meals, and snacks. You need to bring your computer, any other necessary materials, and most importantly, your personal commitment to working diligently and productively.

Registration for the Fall 2018 Write-In Day will begin in October. Registration for the Spring 2019 Write-In Day will begin ni March. For more information and online registration, visit Grad Life Write-In Day. If you have any questions, contact Julie Choe Kim, Director of Graduate Student Life, at


Graduate Student Career Workshop: Creating a Professional Brand and Strategies for Networking 

Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, 1:30-3:00pm
Fenwick Library, Room 1014B

Looking for ways to start getting recognized in your field? Want to boost the visibility of your research or professional qualifications? Join Graduate Student Life, the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning, and University Career Services for this workshop focusing on creating your professional brand and networking. In this workshop, we’ll discuss what a professional brand is and outline steps to identify and create your own professional brand plan. We will also identify resources and strategies for networking and developing professional relationships in your field both in person and virtually. There will also be an opportunity to practice your elevator pitch!

Register now for the Creating a Professional Brand and Strategies for Networking workshop.


Graduate Student Professional Development Workshop: Planning and Writing Successful Research Grant Proposals: Getting Started

Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, 1:30-3:00pm
Fenwick Library, Room 1014B

Join the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning and Graduate Student Life for a professional development workshop for graduate students. This session will provide a “nuts and bolts” introduction to grant writing. Faculty presenters will share tips and strategies for writing successful research grant proposals by demystifying the research grant proposal process. The components of a proposal will be discussed, along with explanations of what reviewers look for in proposals.

Register now for the Planning and Writing Successful Research Grant Proposals workshop.

Graduate Student Career Development Workshop: Exploring Careers with Your Doctoral or MFA Degree Webinar

Friday, March 1, 2019, 12:00-1:00pm
Online Webinar

What can you do with a doctoral or MFA degree in addition to teaching? Join Graduate Student Life, the Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning, and University Career Services for a webinar focused on exploring careers available with a doctoral degree or terminal MFA degree. Although teaching-oriented faculty positions in academia remain a popular career choice for graduate students, the job market for tenure-track faculty positions is extremely competitive. Learn about different possible paths (such as “alt-ac,” industry, government, nonprofit, and independent/entrepreneurial), strategies for exploring options further, and steps you can take now to be competitive and flexible in the job market later.

This webinar will be presented by WebEx. Information for logging on and participating will be sent to all registered participants.

Register now for the Exploring Careers with Your Doctoral or MFA Degree webinar. 

Instructions for Joining the Webinar

Graduate and Professional Student Networking and Etiquette Dinner

Friday, March 1, 2019, 5:30-9:00pm
Founders Hall Multipurpose Room (Arlington Campus)

Hosted by University Life Arlington. Mason graduate and professional students and recent Mason alums (Spring 2018 or Fall 2018 graduates) are invited to attend a fun and instructional networking and etiquette event. You will have the opportunity to connect with other students as well as with seasoned Mason alumni and employers. A professional networking and etiquette expert will lead the evening, along with University Career Services. The evening will feature hors d’oeuvres, a plated dinner, and a dessert bar. A cash bar will be available.

A free pre-event LinkedIn Speedshop will begin at 5:30 pm. The LinkedIn Speedshop is open to all students and you do not need to be registered for the dinner to attend this session. To RSVP for the LinkedIn Speedshop only, email If you are interested in the dinner and the Speedshop complete the online registration.

For more details and registration information, visit the Networking and Etiquette Dinner webpage.


Mason Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference 2019

Saturday, April 6, 2019
Founders Hall, Arlington Campus 

Plan now to join the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA), Graduate Student Life, and the Provost’s Office at the annual Mason Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference on April 6, 2019! Call for Proposals will be released in December and posted here. We are seeking oral (10 minutes), poster, and visual/performing arts presentations from ALL disciplines! For more information, contact GAPSA.

For more information, view the Call for Proposals Flier.


Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week 2019

April 1-6, 2019

Join the Graduate and Professional Student Association and Graduate Student Life in celebrating Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week 2018! During this week, we honor the contributions of Mason’s 10,000+ graduate and professional students. For more information and dates, check out our event page.  


Graduate Student Spring Picnic: RESCHEDULED DATE AND TIME

Friday, April 26, 2019, 12:00-2:00pm 
Friday, April 19, 2019, 4:00-7:00pm
West Campus Pavilion 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the forecast for rain and storms on April 19th, the Graduate Student Spring Picnic has been rescheduled for Friday, April 26, 2019, 12:00-2:00pm. It will still be held at West Campus Pavilion.

Join Graduate Student Life, Mason Recreation, and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA) to celebrate spring and the end of the academic year and unwind before finals! Featuring free food (including meat and vegetarian options), fun games, prizes and more! Families and pet dogs are welcome (dogs must be kept on a leash and off the recreation fields), so bring the whole gang!

West Campus Pavilion is located next to the West Campus Parking Lot; the street address is 4605 Rapidan River Road, Fairfax, VA 22030. Click here to see it on a campus map.

The menu will feature hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, vegetarian baked beans, cookies, brownies, and soda. Limited number of gluten-free buns will be available.

Games include giant pong, cornhole, and can jam; we’ll also have frisbees, soccer balls, and a football available.

We will be giving away Mason Grad Student t-shirts (limited sizes available) and other goodies; Mason grad student attendees will be able to win Mason gear!