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The U of M Will Observe Graduate Education Week April 5-9 on Campus and at the Capitol University News
For release: March 26, 2010

For press information, contact Dr. Karen Weddle-West, 901/678-4212

To increase awareness of the value of graduate-level education and the contributions of graduate students, Tenn. Gov. Phil Bredesen has proclaimed April 5-9 to be Graduate Education Week in Tennessee. Events will include research forums, recruitment fairs, conferences and scholarly presentations.

Graduate education attracts more than 37,462 students to Tennessee universities annually from across the nation and the world, and more than 11,080 advanced degrees are awarded each year. Tuition and fees generate more than $250 million for the state.

Graduate-level education has benefits for its students as well. According to U.S. Census data, a master’s degree increases lifetime earnings by $400,000, and a doctoral degree increases lifetime earnings by $1.5 million.

The University of Memphis will observe the week in several ways, including two events on campus and one in Nashville:


Monday, April 5, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., University Center Ballroom

21st annual Student Research Forum

Student research posters will be presented from 10 to 11:30 a.m., followed by an awards ceremony. The Forum, which is free and open to all, will feature graduate and undergraduate students’ research. Approximately 120 students will participate in the Forum, presenting research from such fields as engineering, physical and applied sciences, life/health sciences, liberal and fine arts, education, business, social and behavioral sciences, and math and computer science. Cash prizes will be awarded to students whose research is judged exemplary. The Student Research Forum is co-sponsored by the Graduate School and the Helen Hardin Honors Program.


Friday, April 9, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.,University Center Atrium

Phase 1:  “Hearts for Haitian and Chilean Relief “

In January, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the small island country of Haiti, devastating its infrastructure and affecting the lives of millions. In February, the South American nation of Chile was hit by an earthquake of 8.8 magnitude, causing the Chilean president to declare a state of catastrophe. The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is coordinating a series of fundraising events to benefit the victims of these disasters.

Graduate students will collect donations in the atrium of the new University Center. For each dollar given, the donor will receive a paper heart to color and sign. Once this phase of the project is complete, the hearts will be displayed on campus to illustrate the concern of the University of Memphis for the victims of this disaster.

Donations from faculty, staff, and students who are not often on campus will be collected through April 9th in the offices of the associate deans of each college or school and in the Graduate School offices, 215 Administration Building.  Easily identifiable canisters marked “Hearts for Haitian and Chilean Relief” will be available for those donations.

Phase 2:  “Shake the Quake Benefit and Presentation”

Also on Friday, a Memphis representative of the American Red Cross will accept the U of M donations on behalf of that organization, which will facilitate the distribution of the funds in Haiti.  This event will feature entertainment including faculty and students performing Caribbean dances and playing steel drums. 

The GSA has set a goal of $21,540, representing approximately $1 for every student attending The University of Memphis.

The third event, “Celebrating Graduate Student Research in Tennessee,” will take place at Nashville’s Legislative Plaza on Wednesday, April 7, from 8 a.m. to noon, when graduate students from institutions of higher learning throughout Tennessee will present their research posters to legislators.  U of M student Pam Hurley, who is seeking a master’s degree in architecture, will present her research that is being conducted in Henning, Tenn.

The project, initially funded through a federal/state grant, has evolved considerably over the past year.  Pam has expanded the concept of community revitalization beyond the traditional realm of architecture and design and has incorporated story gathering, storytelling, and performance art, among others, into the process.  She is also integrating the work into her Master of Architecture thesis.

For more information, call GSA President Sean Connable, GSA Special Events Coordinator Sera Babakus, or Dr. Karen Weddle-West, U of M vice provost for Graduate Studies, at 901-678-4212.
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