SUBgroups is an initiative to help first-year students in math PhD programs to connect and support each other. There is no cost involved.
First-year Master's students considering a math PhD are also welcome.
A pilot program of SUBgroups is being run in the Fall 2018 semester. Registration is now closed.
The SUBgroups pilot program is being organized by Justin Lanier, a fourth-year math PhD student at Georgia Tech, as a personal project.
A SUBgroup is a small group of first-year students (4 to 6 members), all from different PhD programs. The group meets twice a month by video chat for about an hour through the fall, seven meetings in all. Topics of conversation will include members' recent successes and difficulties in grad school as well as tidbits of math they've recently encountered. Some norms and some suggestions for how the meetings can run well will be shared with participants. For instance, everyone will have a turn to talk about whatever recent experiences they choose. The meetings will be run by the participants themselves.
There are three main goals for these chats.
share: One challenge of math graduate school is that it isn't always easy to share the experiences you're having. Family and friends may not always "get" these experiences, and you may or may not feel comfortable sharing everything with your new classmates or professors. In your SUBgroup you will be able to share your experiences with people who can relate to beginning a graduate career, but from a little distance, You'll also have the chance to share about the cool math you're learning!
uplift: One way that the members of your SUBgroup will uplift each other is just by listening to each other. Being heard feels good. You will also cheer each other on, sympathize, commiserate, and offer advice and perspectives.
bridge: Your SUBgroup will help you to bridge the transition into being a graduate student. It will also help you to bridge into the wider mathematical community beyond your program. You'll get to know people "virtually" who you may later meet in person at conferences and other events. And finally, you will be helping to bridge the information barrier: different PhD programs are different, and what seems normal at your program might seem wonderful or worrisome to someone else. It's good for all of us to share best practices and worst pitfalls!
In order to seed the pilot program and to keep it a small manageable program during the pilot year, students from twelve PhD programs have been specifically invited to participate. However, if you are from another school and have landed on this webpage, you are also welcome to sign up and we will do our best to accommodate you.
The Internet. The meetings will likely happen over Skype or Google Hangouts — whatever works well for your SUBgroup.
Meetings will happen every two weeks, beginning in early September and going through the start of December. We will help you to coordinate meeting times and dates in your small groups.
How do I sign up?
If you're interested in participating in the pilot program this fall, please fill out this form. We will get back to you soon!
If you are a potential participant and have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please direct them to Justin Lanier at the following address:
If you are not an incoming math PhD student but want to express interest in SUBgroups or would like to offer help, you can reach out at the same address.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-1650044. Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.