GradFUTURES Hosts Second Annual GRADitude Luncheon, Fete Honoree Leonard Cassuto

Dec. 16, 2022

In a packed Garden Room in Princeton's Prospect House, the second annual Partner GRADitude Luncheon was hosted by the GradFUTURES team on December 1st to thank their partners across campus, those within the graduate alumni community, as well as the academic and industry partners involved in their experiential programs. 

Campus partners and members of the Professional Development Working Group (PDWG) were acknowledged for the work they do to provide, sustain, and expand the professional development ecosystem of support for Princeton's graduate students. The Professional Development Working Group (PDWG) is a collaborative, cross-functional coalition that convenes to integrate, assess, and promote all of the robust professional development programs, opportunities, and resources offered for graduate students across campus. The group includes faculty, staff, graduate students, and graduate alumni with a shared mission to support graduate student professional development, advance the GradFUTURES campus-wide initiative, and ensure the strategic priorities of the Graduate School.  

In addition to campus PDWG members, also in attendance were several academic, nonprofit, and industry partners, many of whom are helping to create bespoke experiential opportunities for current Princeton graduate students through the GradFUTURES Fellowship and Internship programs including the Social Impact Fellowship, Micro-Internships in Industry, and the Community College Teaching Fellowship programs.

Partners were welcomed and thanked by Rodney Priestley, Dean of the Graduate School, as well as Associate Dean Eva Kubu, who also gave an overview of the year in review, and looked ahead to the plans for 2023, including the GradFUTURES Forum.

Rodney Priestley GRADitude

Rodney (Rod) Priestley, new Dean of the Graduate School welcomes partners. Photo: Sameer A. Khan / Fotobuddy

Many graduate students collaborate with GradFUTURES to co-create meaningful professional development programs that meet their unique and evolving interests. The luncheon featured a Graduate Student Spotlight that showcased the work of two GradFUTURES Professional Development Associates, Seraya Jones (GS, MOL), and Rose Guingrich (GS, PSY), who shared the various initiatives they have led and participated in during their time with the GradFUTURES team.

Seraya and Rose GRADitude

Graduate student professional development associates Seraya Jones and Rose Guingrich share their experiences. Photo: Sameer A. Khan / Fotobuddy

Following this, there was a Partner Spotlight, featuring PDWG member Anu Vedantham *94, Assistant University Librarian for Research Services in the Princeton University Library, who shared with PDWG members the wide array of resources the Library has for graduate students and those who work to support them.

During her introduction of the event's keynote speaker, Leonard Cassuto, Associate Dean Kubu presented Cassuto with the 2023 GRADitude Award for Advancing Graduate Professional Development. Cassuto is an English professor at Fordham University and the author or editor of nine books on American literature and culture, most recently The New PhD: How to Build a Better Graduate Education (with Robert Weisbuch; 2021) and The Graduate School Mess: What Caused It and How We Can Fix It (2015), both inspired by his monthly column, “The Graduate Adviser,” for the Chronicle of Higher Education. He has facilitated the American Higher Education learning cohort for Princeton graduate students for the past four years. 

Cassuto Gratitude Award

Associate Dean Eva Kubu presents the inaugural GRADitude Award for Advancing Professional Development to Leonard Cassuto.

"We present you with this inaugural award in recognition of your pioneering work in modeling and promoting graduate student professional development at the local, national, and global level," said Kubu. She noted that Dr. Cassuto's nearly three decades of writing and speaking about graduate education and graduate professional development has had a profound impact."In seminal books as well as in your regular columns, your voice has been a consistent clarion call for reform and forward-thinking." She shared that she and many others in the field draw inspiration from Cassuto's commitment to and championing of graduate student-centered graduate education, and his strong conviction that a graduate student’s own professional development goals should be central to their experience in graduate education.