The Department of Mathematics is pleased to announce a graduate student advocate program. A collaborative effort between the department's Climate, Equity & Inclusion Committee and the Office of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Student Advocate Program provides a valuable resource for graduate students in mathematics.


How the Program Works

A group of advocates will be formed each year to assist with problems graduate students may encounter that fall outside what they could resolve by consulting the Graduate Student Manual or talking quickly to other department staff. These problems could include (but are not limited to) burnout, imposter syndrome, doubts about their research topic or advisor, confusion about procedures/policies, social interactions, and more.

The advocates are each assigned to a certain set of topics based on different phases of the graduate program or possible categories of concerns. In the pilot phase of the program, we have three advocates assigned to three sets of topics: Pre-Preliminary Exam Topics, Post-Preliminary Exam Topics, and Climate Topics

Pre-prelim topics might include

  • how to choose an area of research;
  • how to approach a potential advisor; or
  • how to navigate the formal requirements of a preliminary exam.

Post-prelim topics might include

  • how to start writing a paper;
  • how to form connections to a future professional community; or
  • how to approach careers outside academia.

Climate topics might include

  • how to handle feelings of discouragement; or
  • what to do about problematic behavior from a peer/advisor/instructor.

For a more detailed description of each set of topics, please see announcement on MS Teams from November 2022.

Get the help you need

The Graduate Student Advocate Program is meant to improve communication and help with problem-solving and guidance, for issues both large and small. You are invited to contact any of the advocates for informal, confidential* discussions.

*If you are reporting an incident of sexual harassment/misconduct, remember that the advocates are mandated by the University to report the incident to the Title IX office as responsible employees. We understand that some students might want the opportunity to brainstorm their options before reporting. In that case, please reach out to the confidential advisors or confidential resources provided at Illinois: We Care.

2023–24 Graduate Student Advocates

Jesse Thorner

Pre-Preliminary Exam Topics

Contact this advocate

Jared Bronski

Post-Preliminary Exam Topics

Contact this advocate

Vesna Stojanoska

Climate Topics

Contact this advocate