NRES Online M.S. Blog

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NRES Online M.S. Blog

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  • Information for graduate students on awards and external funding

    The Graduate College posted the following information this week on Grad Links (

    Be sure to check these out if you are interested in awards, scholarships, or external funding.


    Warren Lavey and Dr. Holly Rosencranz Climate Change Impact Awards (apply online)

    Deadline: Monday, April 20th, 5:00 pm.


    The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) and the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) are pleased to announce these two new research awards for U of I students. The awards intend to foster investigation of the various mechanisms interconnecting climate change and human health, including by affecting environmental quality, ecosystems, crop productivity, food/water security, pests, and diseases. One award of up to $5,000 will be available to support a graduate student research project, either domestically or internationally. Applications are encouraged not only from students in the physical, biological, medical sciences and engineering, but also from students in social sciences, education, social work, humanities, and other realms that can help raise public awareness about climate change and its consequences for human health. For more details visit:


    Upcoming External Funding Deadlines – there are many external fellowships and grants on the Graduate College’s Fellowship Opportunities database. For a complete list go to:  Here are a few:

    Hispanic Scholarship Fund: Deadline  - March 30

    Gloria Barron Wilderness Society: Research Scholarships – March 31

    Davis- Putter Fund: Scholarships in social justice – April1

    American Planning Association: Scholarships for women and minorities – April 30

  • Upcoming Local and Regional Events

    Hi Everyone,

    We want to make you aware of some upcoming events of interest that have been brought to our attention by students:

    National Science Teachers Association Annual Convention at McCormick Place in Chicago. March 12 – 15, 2015. For more information go to:

    Chicago Flower and Garden Show at Navy Pier. March 14 – 22, 2015. For more information go to:

    Ohio Storm Water Conference in Sandusky, Ohio. May 6 – 8. For more information go to:

    Please let us know if there are other events that we should bring to the attention of our NRES online students. Also, please let us know if you will be presenting at any conferences or events so that we may share the information.

    Renee Gracon

  • Chicago Area Get Together - March 15 - Please RSVP

    NRES Chicagoland Area Get-together! You are invited!

    Here’s your chance to meet Piper Hodson, Director of the NRES Online Program,  network with classmates and recent graduates, share your NRES experiences, and help us recruit friends or family members interested in the NRES online program. Join current and former NRES online students for a FUN-filled get-together on Sunday, March 15, at Pinstripes in  the South Barrington!

    For planning purposes, it is very important that you RSVP by March 7th if you are able to attend! (Note we have extended this date to encourage more participation!)

    What: Informal get- together for bocce and bowling

    Where: Pinstripes Bistro, 100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, Illinois 60010

    When: Sunday, March 15, 1:00 to 3:00 pm (Brief program report and introductions at 1:00 pm)

    Cost: Individuals will be responsible for their own food, drink, and shoe (bowling) rental ($4.00).

    Additional Option: A Sunday brunch/buffet ($20/person) is available. Those planning to enjoy the scrumptious food should meet at 12:00 pm.


    RSVP:  Please let us know whether you will be attending by filling out the response card at:

    Come and bring a friend interested in the NRES program! For further information, please contact Renée Gracon at

    See you there!

  • 2015 Annual Review due February 23rd!

    All students in the NRES online Master of Science degree program are required to complete the annual review process. Please complete the 2015 Annual Review Form and submit it, along with your resume and a copy of your capstone proposal, to Renee Gracon ( no later than February 23rd. If you have not received the Annual Review Form, or need assistance completing the Form, please contact Renee.  

  • Reminder - NRES Annual Review due February 23rd!

    All NRES online students are required to submit their 2015 Annual Review, a current resume, and a copy of the capstone proposal (or a short description of the intended project) no later than Monday, February 23rd. This is compulsory for all students whether you are currently enrolled in coursework or not. Please contact Renee Gracon at if you need assistance.


  • Planning to Graduate This May?

    Congratulations to those students planning to graduate in May!

    Here are some important things to remember:

    Pending Degree List: It is your responsibility to add your name to the pending degree list. You may do this by going to: UI Integrate (

    Degree Audit: Please request your degree audit early in the semester by contacting the NRES office ( This is required for all students prior to graduation.

    Oral Presentations: Prior to scheduling your oral presentation, your final written paper must be approved by your Research Advisor or Piper Hodson (for those doing an internship). Keep in mind that most capstone papers take several rounds of revisions before they are approved.

    In addition, you should select your oral presentation date at least 3 weeks in advance of your presentation. The deadline for the oral presentation of your capstone project/oral exam for May graduation is on or before April 10, 2015. Therefore, if you are planning to graduate in May, you must select your oral presentation date no later than March 20 (and only after your Research Advisor or Piper Hodson has fully approved it). 

    Depositing your Capstone Paper: After your oral presentation, you must address all committee comments and make all requested revisions. Then re-submit your paper to your committee for final approval. Following this committee approval of your final paper, you must submit it to the NRES office. You should plan to submit the final (approved) paper before April 24th so there is adequate time for the departmental format check in order to meet the Graduate College deposit date of May 1st. 

    Graduate Exit Survey: All NRES graduates should complete the NRES Exit Survey before graduation. You can find the survey at:

    Graduation: The campus-wide Commencement is May 16th. The separate Tassel Turn and College of ACES reception is on May 17th. You should register for the Tassel Turn before May 11 by going to:

    For further information about graduation requirements, see the completion document, Final Steps for Graduation (aka “15 things”) available at

    For other deadlines and information, contact Renée Gracon at

  • Annual Review - Webinar

    The 2015 Annual Review materials were sent to all NRES online students this week. If you did not receive the information and Annual Review Form, please contact me at

    I will provide a brief overview of the Annual Review process and an opportunity for you to ask questions about the process on Sunday, February 8, at 6:00 pm CST. You can join the meeting by going to

    The deadline for submitting your 2015 Annual Review and auxiliary materials is February 23rd


  • Video on Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating information

    We all know that designing and conducting good research is only part of the job. In order for that new information to be useful, it must be communicated to others. Here is a quick video from Bozeman Science that emphasizes the importance of three steps: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information. http://bit/ly/1AL6tiJ Whether you are a classroom teacher (intended audience for this video) or are preparing to write your capstone paper, the message is an important reminder that communicating scientific information is a skill that requires concerted effort and practice. If you view the video, I would like to hear your thoughts/comments.


  • Important Reminders: Class registration, Annual Review, Pending Degree list

    Happy Ground Hog’s Day! Let’s hope he doesn’t see his shadow. None of us would want 6 more weeks of this winter weather.

    Spring 2015 Semester:

    Today (February 2) is the 10th day of classes. Therefore, you should check to be sure your class registration is correct. Today  is the last day to do the following:

    Drop courses to reduce your number of credit hours you are registered for to a lower tuition range and receive a refund between the two ranges Add a semester course without permission Submit forms to Audit a semester course Add a first half-session course

    Annual Review:

    The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences is conducting the 2015 Annual Review. As an online Master of Science candidate, it is our pleasure to help support your education plans and therefore, very important that your most current information is on file. Regardless of whether you are currently enrolled in classes or not, it is important that you submit the Annual Review.  Today you should have received an email with the Annual Review Form attached. Please take the time to complete the assessment and provide us with the requested supporting materials by February 23, 2015.

    If you did not receive an email with the Annual Review information please contact Renée . An online Advising Session will be held on February 8, 2015, at 6:00 pm for further online assistance. To join the session, please go to:

    If you prefer, you may send your questions directly to Renée at

    May 2015 Degree Conferral:

    Students who anticipate having all degree requirements completed for graduation in May 2015 should add their names to the degree conferral list via

    If you were on the degree conferral list for December 2014 and you did not graduate, you must add yourself to the May 2015 degree list via the link above.

    Warm wishes,

    Renée Gracon

  • Week 2 Announcements for NRES online students

    Welcome to the second week of classes! We have two important announcements. 

    1) NRES will be conducting the 2015 Annual Review during the month of February. You will be sent information on January 30th. Completing the designated Annual Review form and including the required attachments is a compulsory exercise for all online graduate students. For guidance on how to complete the form we will host an online advising session on Sunday evening, February 8, at 6:00 pm CST. You can join the session by going to: There will be ample time for questions at the end of the brief session.  The deadline for submitting the completed form is February 23rd. 

    2) We wish to share the following information from the Registrar's office with all online students.

    "By the 10th Day of Classes, February 2, Graduate Students should be correctly registered for spring term 2015. It is important to check your registration before February 2 on Student Web Self Service to make sure that you are registered for the courses that you are attending and attending the courses for which you are registered. If necessary, make corrections by adding and dropping courses to your schedule before the 10th day of classes, February 2.  

    In addition, the 10th day of classes, February 2, is the last day to do the following:

    • Drop courses to reduce your number of credit hours you are registered for to a lower tuition range and receive a refund between the two ranges
    • Add a semester course without permission
    • Submit forms to Audit a semester course
    • Add a first half-session course

    Students should be registered appropriately no later than February 2 in order to avoid possible issues with: 

    • Tuition/Fee Assessment          
    • Financial aid
    • Loan deferment
    • Health Insurance
    • Academic Record/Graduation issues"

    For those of you in the northeast, please stay warm and safe as you prepare for the "blizzard-like" conditions that are anticipated.

    Best wishes,