Financial Funding 101

by Ami Patel, Computer Science MS student

Let’s not lie, Graduate school can be expensive and what’s better than financial funding to a grad student? But, at times it’s confusing what all are the available options, what do those options mean and how to approach? This article is going to be your Financial Funding 101. Let’s begin:

1. Scholarship: Based on previous scholarly activities, students are awarded merit-based scholarship upon admission. The amount varies based on how much funding the department has. This is the percentage value of your tuition and you don’t need to apply explicitly for it, each applicant is automatically considered for the scholarship. It might increase after 1-2 semesters based on your academic performance.

2. Graduate Assistantship: This role involves working as a support role or conducting research work for your academic department. The compensation includes some percentage of tuition waiver along with payment for the hours you work. Check your Department Office for any vacancy.

3. Graduate Assistant with RIT Student Affairs: So, this one includes a variety of roles like the resident advisor, Greek life assistant, orientation programming assistant, health promotion and marketing, assistant to Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement and few more. Compensation varies from hourly wage to stipends along with housing and meal plan. Check here for more details:

4. Research Assistantship: This one is simple. You work with a professor on a research project. Usually, the compensation is in the form of hourly wage but in some cases, you might receive some percentage of tuition waiver in-addition-to or instead-of the hourly wage. For this, you need to approach professors who are conducting a research project in your area of interest.

5. Teaching Assistantship: TA is generally assisting the professor with instructional responsibilities and you get paid for the number of hours you work. For TA opportunities, you will need to approach professors teaching a course you have completed before.

6. Clerical Jobs: These are on-campus jobs which involve clerical tasks like office assistant, student assistant with different departments, library, student center and various other offices at RIT. Compensation is in form of hourly wage. To apply, you can check for opportunities on RIT’s job portal:

7. Technical Jobs: These includes all kind of computing jobs from lab assistant, system administrator, web development for various departments. Compensation is in form of hourly wage. To apply, you can check for opportunities on RIT’s job portal:

8. Dining Services: If you love food and working with it, then this is interesting with roles involving food prep, production, inventory, cashier, dining room attendant for various dining locations on-campus. Again the compensation is the hourly wage. To apply, you can check for opportunities on RIT’s job portal:

Note: For all of these opportunities, you will need your RIT email address.


First Semester of Grad School – An overview

by Josiah Bonifas, MBA student

A wise man once said “And alas, I take this weight off my shoulders, far heavier than any object I have held.” A quote, which I like to believe, the author wrote in regards to finals week. Every year of College you go into finals week either astonished at how much you’ve learned, or abashed at how little you remember. Often times a little bit of both. Either way, it can be overwhelming as you summarize the learnings of the semester. At the same time there is something special about finishing that last test. You walk out of the room with a feeling of accomplishment, finally relieved knowing that you can truly relax for a bit. Oddly it often feels like there is still some assignment looming over your shoulder, but that feeling soon fades.

For my first semester of Grad school many of the feelings were similar, but there was something significant that differed. The classes in Grad school are conducted to bridge the gap between knowledge and experience. There is a much greater focus on practical use and implementation. You spend four years storing up and building knowledge from undergrad that you now not only add on to, put also learn the practicality of, through case studies and situational analysis. This kind of learning is special, because it doesn’t only enhance your knowledge of the subject matter, it also helps you form a leader’s mindset. For any job, regardless of position, this mindset only helps you. If you are in the lowest position at your job but you think like a leader, then the sky is the limit for you. Because that mindset shows in your excellent work ethic and demeanor, both of which foster success.

It took me a long time to decide to go to grad school. It’s expensive and a big commitment. I wrestled with the decision, and weighed many pros and cons. Maybe I could go and work for a couple of years and then come back or do night classes. Maybe I can get a job that pays for it down the road. Maybe I will never want to go back to school. Maybe I should just go right into it with the 4+1 opportunity. There are so many possibilities. It gets overwhelming. But I think that at the heart of it you come to realize that the right or wrong answer that you’re looking for, might not exist. Sometimes you just have to make a decision and go with it. Life is full of these moments. In June I decided to go with it. Was is the right decision? Who knew if I’d get in on time? Hadn’t taken my GMAT yet, hadn’t even started my application. There were so many questions and “what if’s?”, but I ran with it. And now, as I sit here relaxing on winter break, one great semester into grad school, and one last semester left… I’m glad I did.

It only takes a moment to change everything!

by Ketan Srivastava, RIT alum ’17, Telecommunications Engineering MS

So, let us go back a little more than 3 years from now. It was August 2013! I had a very productive discussion with my team-lead at Ericsson who was working there years before I joined Ericsson in 2010. He was hence, pretty experienced as far as work and the business trends were concerned. And I, being a new GET (graduate engineer trainee), was always interested in listening and analyzing any advice that a senior would give to me since I could always catch something to learn in what they said. I actually considered myself really fortunate in this regard that my seniors thought me as able enough to understand them and hence, always guided me through things voluntarily even when everything went smooth and I most welcomed it each time!

So, that day in August 2013, my team-lead told me that I was limiting my fascination. That the product and the software upgrade procedures that I was keen on mastering would only help me in Ericsson and nowhere else in the world. At first, I was a bit disappointed but after a lot of research, I realized that the Ericsson platform I worked on was excellent but used only by Ericsson and nowhere else at all! And I? I was early in my career and I wanted to be flexible enough as far as my competency is concerned so that I can show my work to others as well and gain appreciation at an inter-organization level and not just within the organization.

I was already troubled by it and I kept on finding things not knowing what I wanted. Some weeks later, in September 2013, I had a long discussion with an AT&T US engineer about the upcoming changes that Ericsson was planning to make in order to keep up its top position. During that, I was amazed how that engineer who was same age as mine, was literally talking technology! Yes, indeed! I felt like he wasn’t speaking English but he was actually talking technology! And moving totally away from the topic awkwardly, I asked him what he studied as I explained how fascinated I was with the kind of knowledge he had. He was humble and generous enough to tell me a few things. He also shared some docs that he asked me to go through to get a clearer picture of what he was talking about. I went through that and understood that it was exactly what I wanted to learn. The whole internet technology! One which Ericsson or AT&T or any organization in the world uses now and in the future i.e. the Internet technology!

As much as I felt incomplete then, I also had found a way to not only learn but to be able to get rewards back for my learning. I could work on multi-company platforms with the same knowledge as no matter what equipment a company used, they would ultimately use it for the same purpose and i.e. the internet! I had decided to learn the fundamentals of networking now and shift my domain from Wireless. And, on further research, I had also found my destination to have the same. None other than the United States of America where, networking technology is the ultimate backbone of the country’s economy. The universities here like RIT not only want their students to learn something new, but make sure that the technology that they learn is up to date and at par with the demands laid down by some of the internet technology giants like Cisco, Amazon Web Services, Facebook and uncountable names more. Thus, I decided that I should rather get into something 100% which I’m interested in, than just being able to manage to study something randomly after my work hours at Ericsson.

This whole process did take a lot of time and effort. In point of fact, I had stopped going anywhere on weekends too as I wanted to utilize that time I got, in researching further about studying networking from the US universities including RIT. It was then, in November 2013, when I had finalized that I wish to pursue MS. So, I am always curious and willing to learn. To add, I am also the recipient of the prestigious ‘ACE’ award by Ericsson but having worked for almost 4 years for the company, it was now time to move on in pursuit of more knowledge and those 4 months from August to November played a crucial role in my decision making for pursuing higher studies in the US.

So, this is the story, my experiences, as to what really motivated me to take this nervous step of leaving ‘everything’ behind like my job, family, friends, my girlfriend, my home, my food, that weather, those sweets, those spices, those festivals, those dresses, those dances and what not! In point of fact, it was a nervous step for me to leave that ‘FEELING’ behind! But, like my mom told me that one has to sometimes give up something close to the heart in order to gain something. And after all, they are all always there for me anyway. So, with a heart filled with sorrow, excitement, motivation, happiness, tears, a smile, and simply every emotion you can think of, I decided to move on towards my pursuit of a Masters degree here in the US.

Disclaimer: This is the first blog of my life that I wrote and, as a proud RIT TIGER!