Mentor Spotlight: Nicole Reiz
Nicole Reiz is a program manager at the KU College Office of Graduate Affairs. Reiz has worked at the University since 2007 and has earned three degrees (c’07, g’11, PhD’17). Nicole can help students with applying & navigating a graduate degree, resume review, transitioning from graduate school into your career and more. Connect with Nicole on KU Mentoring.
What do you do at your job?
Broadly speaking, I support graduate student professional development and our strategic communications to graduate students about everything from funding opportunities to career development resources and fun events and community gatherings. More specifically, every day is a bit different. Some days I’m hosting workshops on various aspects of graduate student life and professional development. Other times I’m meeting with graduate students to help them discover and explore various career paths that may be a good fit for their interests and skills.
I also collaborate with units across campus to develop events to meet graduate student needs, support students in grant writing, crafting effective resumes, learning about hybrid career paths in the academy, and learning about how to give a perfect TedTalk. I’m also responsible for our strategic communications to graduate students which includes everything from website design to newsletters and social media so we can alert our students to important resources and events.
How do you support KU graduate students?
Most directly, I provide one-on-one career support for graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who are interested in careers beyond the tenure track – which includes career exploration and career assessment to help students understand the vast array of careers that are open to them, helping student craft effective job documents for non-academic careers, and helping students build their professional networks. I also teach a number of graduate-level courses in professional development and career preparation.
Perhaps a little more indirectly, I do a lot of our strategic communications to graduate students about various resources and opportunities both on and off campus to support their professional development and also finding their community while they’re here. This includes building a new student facing website for graduate students, creating and sending our bi-monthly newsletter to all of the grad students in the College, and managing our social media channels.
Who was a mentor for you during graduate school? How did they help you?
I had a number of mentors while I was in grad school, including my two dissertation advisors, Dr. Shannon O’Lear and Dr. Steve Egbert. Both were incredibly supportive of my rather depressing research project and crucially were really supportive of my desire to pursue a career in the public sector which meant I took advantage of some opportunities of working off campus for an NGO and a few internships. While this meant less writing and research time so the writing of my dissertation took a bit longer, they understood how important these experiences were to preparing me for the career paths I was pursuing.
Kathy Porsch, my supervisor in the Hall Center’s Grant Development Office made a huge impact on the last few years of my program – teaching me the ins and outs of research and grant development and research administration which led to my current position in the College Office of Graduate Affairs.
Favorite KU graduate school memory?
I have two – the first being the year we had a team of grad students and faculty from the geography department for the Brew to Brew marathon race from KC to Lawrence. It was such a hot and chaotic day, we learned not everyone knew how to drive a Prius, and had a really fun time running the route through a lot of funky urban and rural geography.
The second one is walking across the stage at the Lied Center during my PhD Hooding ceremony where both of my dissertation advisors were able to jointly hood me – it’s a really special moment that celebrates the end of a really long, difficult road in pursuing and finishing a doctoral project and dissertation (mine was on international sexual violence and rape laws, so there were many difficult days doing the research and writing) and the start of the next stage of my career journey.