Graduate programs host first week-long fair

By , Reporter  |  Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11:17 PM

St. Thomas graduate programs changed their one-day fair to a week-long event as a way to include more students.

Director of Graduate Enrollment and Marketing Julie Gacnik said the first Graduate Education Week from March 10-15 provided undergraduate students with information on how they can continue their education at the university.

“We wanted to expand it to (be) all week this year so it could be for everyone,” she said.

St. Thomas holds a graduate fair in Scooter's for Graduate Education Week. Students had the opportunity to stop by during Convocation hour and learn what the university's grad program has to offer. (Jamie Bernard/TommieMedia).

St. Thomas holds a graduate fair in Scooter’s for Graduate Education Week. Students had the opportunity to stop by during Convocation hour and learn what the university’s grad programs have to offer. (Jamie Bernard/TommieMedia).

Students had opportunities to learn about the programs throughout the week at an informational fair and an open house, and participating in daily online chats with representatives from the graduate admissions department.

Junior Michaela Tschida attended the fair and said she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in special education.

“I knew when I came here that I wanted to be a teacher. But then, just getting more experience, I knew I wanted to go into special education,” Tschida said. “So for me, grad school is my only option if I want to stay at St. Thomas.”

St. Thomas graduate programs are comprised of seven colleges and schools: the College of Arts & Sciences; the College of Education, Leadership, and Counseling; the Opus College of Business; the School of Engineering; the School of Law; the School of Social Work; and the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity.

All seven schools offer masters degrees in different areas, among other options.

Tschida said it was nice to learn about the connection between St. Thomas’ undergraduate and graduate programs at the fair.

“There’s about five undergrad classes that I can take in the grad school that will help me keep the process happening a lot faster,” Tschida said.

Gacnik said two areas of study are set to be added to the 57 programs already offered and that St. Thomas is constantly doing research to expand the graduate programs.

Gacnik estimated between 100-150 students attended the grad fair on March 11, and she said that many students came prepared to learn more about the programs. The fair targeted on-campus students who already know the culture and values of St. Thomas, while the open house on March 15 was aimed toward commuter students and the community at large.

“Surprisingly, students have some of the same apprehensions as (they did for) undergraduate admissions,” Gacnik said.

Gacnik said the greatest benefit from Graduate Education Week is the awareness it brought to students. She said this week-long event will “definitely” happen next year.

“I hope that students will consider us (for graduate school) and that this will pipeline earlier awareness for students,” Gacnik said.

Jamie Bernard can be reached at

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