The UMBC PROMISE/CGS/Grad Student Development GA Position: Information for Semi-finalists

Earlier this week, we posted a position announcement for a Graduate Assistantship at UMBC. This post recaps that position announcement and outlines next steps for semi-finalists.


The original Announcement:

PROMISE Graduate Assistantship – Website, Media, and Database Management

This graduate assistantship requires knowledge of computer concepts and programming languages.   The position requires design, trouble-shooting, and support for websites and databases.  Duties include database management.  The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) uses the Xcalibur Scribe Tracking System and Registry (TSR) as part of the national evaluation program, Survey Monkey, and software for webinars.  The position also requires extensive use of social media and includes website programming.  The GA in this position will have knowledge of webpage design using Hypertext Markup Languages (HTML), Cascade Style Sheets (CSS), Extensible Markup Language (XML), and Java; all are necessary for designing and maintaining the program’s website and blogs.

The GA will also have a sense of project management to assist with events and long-term projects.  The following media are used for PROMISE:  WordPress, Google sites, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogspot.    The GA in this position should have background in the following topics: online communities, database implementation (SQL-based interface), project management, decision technology, information management, emerging technologies, system design, system performance, usability, and system architecture.

This position will support several projects; the primary project will be the new Council of Graduate Schools Financial Literacy program:, and will be responsible for implementing the “Go Live” project: county The applicant should have basic knowledge about  credit rankings and scores, budgeting, and debt reduction. 


Roles: The GA will work with the PROMISE team for the multi-campus AGEP, the Graduate Student Development unit in The Graduate School at UMBC, and UMBC’s campus-wide committee on financial literacy that includes a collaborative team of staff and students from Enrollment Management, the Graduate School, Financial Services, and The Office of Undergraduate Education.

This is a 20 hour/week assistantship. It includes tuition remission, and student health insurance for the GA. Assistantship stipend rates:


To Apply:

Send a cover letter and CV to Dr. Renetta Tull at, with the subject “CGS GA Position.”

Additional criteria: The initial email must include links from websites that you have designed, and links to public social media sites that you manage, e.g., Linked In groups, Twitter, blogs. The links must be accompanied by a few sentences that describe your role, e.g., administrator, content provider, editor.

This opportunity is only open to graduate students at UMBC.


NEW! UPDATE as of 11:50 PM, August 22, 2013

DEADLINE: 3:00 PM, Friday, August 23, 2013.

Due to the overwhelming response to this announcement, we will stop taking applications at 3:00 PM, Friday, August 23, 2013 so that we can take time to evaluate each applicant.  Applicants can begin to check their emails on Friday afternoon for notifications.  Interviews (for finalists only) will begin next week. Thank you for your interest!



Semi-finalists, please see steps a, b, and c below, and complete them by Monday, August 26, at 9:00 AM. 

Finalists will be scheduled for interviews Tuesday and Wednesday, August 27-28.

a) Produce a short (3 minutes maximum) promotional video that advertises the Funding Seminar to undergraduate and graduate students on Saturday, September 7:

b) Embed your video into the comment on the site, and convince people to rate it.  Include 2-3 tips about managing a budget (provide sources) within the comment that houses your video. (Note: People who receive fellowships will have to manage a budget. Consider the example of a stipend of $15,000/year.)

c) Use social media or venues to encourage people to post information on fellowship opportunities in the comment section of the site,  Include sources for fellowships for international students. Find a way to ask people to give you credit for leading you to the site, e.g., #YourName. All Twitter and Facebook posts should also have the hashtag: #PROMISEagep and should steer people to follow @PROMISE_AGEP.

Published by Renetta Garrison Tull

Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull is the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at the University of California Davis. She previously served as Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at The Graduate School at UMBC, and was Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering & IT. She was Special Assistant to the Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate and Professional Pipeline Development for the University System of Maryland (12 institutions). She is the Founding Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) –, and Co-PI for the USM LSAMP. Her research on global diversity in STEM continues, and she is an international speaker, covering nearly all continents, for groups and conferences such as the World Engineering Education Forum, the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, and the Pacific Sciences Congress. Her personal website is: Connect with her on Twitter: @Renetta_Tull;

5 thoughts on “The UMBC PROMISE/CGS/Grad Student Development GA Position: Information for Semi-finalists

  1. We thank all of the applicants for their thoughtful submissions. All of you were very talented. Here are some of the reasons why those who were chosen as semi-finalists rose to the top.

      The semi-finalists had ALL of these attributes:

    1. They followed all of the directions.

    2. They included weblinks from publicly available websites, and included a narrative about their roles.

    3. They mentioned something about PROMISE, working with students or student-based websites, and/or there was some indication about ability to work with issues connected to financial literacy, e.g, work in the business world, start-up. In some cases it was based on their own participation in activities, or based on what they learned from reading about it on the website, or from talking with other people about the programs.

    4. The websites that they referenced within the email (not just the cover letter) contained elements that fit the vision of what the committee wants to see for their websites.

    5. They have internship or work experience that suggests that they can develop a great website, AND work well with a team, AND support student development activities.

    6. There was evidence of a passion for web programming, and social media through submission of several social media sites, websites, blogs, and even embedded videos.


    Applications that did not rise to the level of semi-finalist include those that were missing materials or those that didn’t showcase enough interest or experience. Here are some examples of gaps in applications, and reasons why they were not chosen.

    1. Submission of a resume or CV without a cover letter.
    2. Submission of a resume or CV without an introductory/initial email.
    3. An introductory/initial email without weblinks
    [Please note that if there weren’t any weblinks, there was no way to assess whether you can develop a publicly accessible website. We’re looking for people who are passionate about web presence.]
    4. No mention or indication of ability to work with graduate student programs or financial literacy issues.


      Some tips for the future


    If you are applying for a job, do some research about the position. At the graduate level, supervisors usually want specific skills, and they want you to be a good fit for the organization. Make sure that you convey that you are not just submitting your resume for the job without checking to see if you have the qualifications that fit the description. Finally, always follow the directions and provide the requested materials. Use the method or style requested. For example, we asked for applicants to send emails with the subject line “CGS GA Position.” Those who did not use that subject line may have missed the review.

    We look forward to seeing the submissions from the semi-finalists. Good luck to all of the applicants. Thank you for your interest in our programs.


  2. To those who were not chosen for this round, please see the following suggestions:

    1) Be sure that you join the PROMISE AGEP group on MyUMBC so that you can get the latest information. We post jobs when we learn about new opportunities:

    2) Consider subscribing to the external PROMISE website, we post jobs there as well. There is a listing at the bottom of the page:

    3) Register with

    4) When you are looking for a job, be sure to tell the employer why you have talents that would be specifically applicable to that specific position, program, office, or unit. Here are some examples:

    a. Do you have experience that is student-centered? An Office of Undergraduate Studies would need to know if you have been a mentor, or worked with student programs, or participated in student government.

    b. Are you able to assist with analysis of quantitative and qualitative assessments? Faculty and centers might be looking for people to develop models, tutor, or conduct analysis for their programs.

    5) Participate in events and spend time meeting new people. Many graduate students get jobs over time because they meet people and are recommended to replace graduates. Many of these positions are filled based on recommendations by faculty and staff; they are not always advertised.

    6) Stay connected to the job opportunities that people are getting within your department.

    Good luck!


  3. Dr. Tull, I think I am overqualified for the graduate assistantship position you forwarded to me. Find me a challenging job at the level of my professional training. I have Ed.D., Post-doc training and B.Sc in security management.

    I only contacted you because I wanted to do a program –Instructional Systems Desing and Online instruction. However, your tuition per credit hour., is too high for me at this time. I have a mortgage and not a high paying job for my professional level, but I have to do it because of my home.

    Great to hear from you.

    Dr. Valerie T. Akeyo


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