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    This past summer, CGS was fortunate to have five virtual interns from member universities across the country. Our interns are exceptional students in master’s and doctoral programs across a number of fields and contributed to grant-funded projects, government affairs and public policy, and communications and corporate relations. While their fields of study vary, they’re driven by a shared desire to support the accessibility of graduate education.

    Minding the Gap

    Diamond Cunningham describes her undergraduate experience at the University of South Florida as trial and error. She knew what she wanted to do, but she wasn’t sure how to get there. She’s always been interested in biology and the sciences, but she was also interested in the intersection between science and policy. Cunningham decided to double major in biology and political science but didn’t yet see a connection. During office hours with one of her professors, she finally understood how her two interests would fit together: the field of public health. Click here to read Diamond’s full GradImpact story.

    Finding a Path in Education

    As CGS summer intern Lydia Gandy-Fastovich was finishing her bachelor’s degree in human development at the University of California, Davis, she knew she wanted to do something in education. “I was really interested in education and how it’s a springboard for people to expand opportunities. In the K-12 setting, it’s also something that everyone in the U.S. experiences and it’s a very impactful time. But, teaching didn’t feel like a future career for me,” said Gandy-Fastovich. While unclear as to what comes after her doctorate, she’s enjoyed learning about the public policy and government affairs side of higher education during her time at CGS. “Understanding how advocacy happens, and all the ways you have to be plugged into what’s happening in the public policy arena has been eye-opening. I’m learning how to translate complex policy so that it’s more accessible to a broad audience, and I’ve found that to be very exciting and really important work.” Click here to read the rest of Lydia Gandy-Fastovich’s GradImpact story.

    Leading Through Adversity

    Kay Gomes Saul, an MBA student at the University of Illinois’ Gies School of Business and a CGS summer intern, is passionate about the importance of empathy in business leadership. “The lack of empathy in leadership started to get to me,” she said about her first jobs out of undergrad. I started reading books on leadership, took a ‘leading with EQ’ course, and really invested in being a better manager and leader. The curiosity grew and inspired me to pursue an MBA.” Click here to read the full GradImpact story.


    McNair as a Gateway to Research

    The Washington State University McNair director, Raymond Herrera, encouraged Ariana Garcia to consider the McNair program. Now, Garcia, one of CGS’s 2021 summer interns, is a doctoral student in higher education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, focusing on equity in graduate education. Each year, she also mentors five undergraduate students who are interested in graduate school. She enjoys working with the students and helping them navigate the hidden curriculum of graduate education. Click here to read the rest of Ariana Garcia’s GradImpact story.


    It Felt a Little Bit Like Fate

    Other-focused is how CGS summer intern Ahjah Johnson describes the guiding principle of her life. She has big career goals, but at the heart of everything is her desire to help people. As a freshman at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, she was working to get into the nursing program, but by her sophomore year, she was struggling to meet the requirements. She looked at the courses she had and compared them to other options and discovered that public health was a good fit with her academic interests and would still allow her to focus on helping other people. So, she pivoted and says, “Everything worked out perfectly. It aligns with who I am as a person and my values. It felt a little bit like fate.” Click here to read Ahjah Johnson’s full GradImpact story.



    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national voice for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource on issues regarding graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS collaborates with other national stakeholders to advance the graduate education community in the policy and advocacy arenas.  
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.