Dean's Message

Resources for Jacobs School graduate students and postdocs

March 2023

Albert P. Pisano

Dear Jacobs School graduate students and postdoctoral researchers,

As your Dean, I am pleased to write directly to you – our graduate students and postdoctoral researchers – here at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Our mission at the Jacobs School of Engineering is to train and empower future generations of technical leaders while driving innovation in engineering and computer science for the public good. This is not an easy mission, but it's an incredibly important one – and it's one that we fulfill together. I understand that as graduate students and postdocs, you experience exhilarating and challenging combinations of roles that are critical to this mission.

Depending on the situation, you may find yourself sometimes a student and sometimes an educator. You might be a mentee in one scenario and the mentor in another. You may be learning, teaching and developing research techniques – sometimes all at once. This complex journey deeper into engineering and computer science is never easy and can be fraught with challenges. But my sincere hope is that both the process and the destination are meaningful and satisfying for you, personally and professionally.

I take great pride in your academic accomplishments in the Jacobs School of Engineering. We're ranked #10 in the nation, #6 among the publics. But I also know how important it is to take care of yourself, your friends and collaborators, throughout your journey here. Through my conversations with graduate students and postdocs, I'm well aware of many of the challenges you are facing. Today, I'm writing to make sure that you are aware of the wide range of resources that are available to support your academic and professional success, as well as your personal well being.

The resource list below is not perfect. No list is. So, if you know of resources that are not listed, or if you have constructive suggestions, there are multiple ways to get in touch with the Dean's Office. Associate Dean for Students Darren Lipomi holds regular school-wide office hours which are a great venue for continued conversation. In addition, I myself can be reached at

In closing, I offer my sincere appreciation to you – our graduate students and postdocs – for the countless ways you contribute to our dynamic, academic community. Together, we are leveraging engineering and computer science for the public good, a noble goal for all of us here at the Jacobs School of Engineering.


-- Al
Albert P. Pisano 
Dean, UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Connect with the Dean and Associate Dean for Students

Associate Dean for Students Office Hours
Two weekly walk-in office hours (virtual or in person) are set aside every week on the calendar of Associate Dean for Students Darren Lipomi. These office hours are an opportunity for all Jacobs School graduate students and postdocs to discuss issues related to academics, professional development, transition support, research strategies, and direction to resources on campus for personal and professional well being. To sign up for office hours, visit this booking page.

Grad Student & Postdoc Lunches with the Dean and Associate Dean
Dean Pisano and Associate Dean Lipomi periodically host lunch discussions with students and postdocs on any and all issues related to academics, professional development, laboratory climate, and school and campus resources. If you would like to participate, please send an email to Please indicate your department and whether you are a graduate student or a postdoc.

Guaranteed Transition Support
Guaranteed transition support for PhD students in engineering and computer science who find themselves in an intractable relationship with their advisors and need to move to a different lab. Please see the program description for details or reach out to Associate Dean Lipomi at

IDEA Engineering Student Center
The IDEA Engineering Student Center aspires to be the hub of student engagement, community, and flourishing for graduate students, and postdocs, in the Jacobs School. It offers a number of opportunities for students and postdocs to build community, get involved in mentoring, connect with industry partners, and develop their professional skills. Every graduate student is automatically signed up to receive the weekly e-News, which is a complete inventory of upcoming events.

Grad and Postdoc Scholarly and Professional Talk Series
The IDEA Engineering Student Center hosts biweekly seminars known as the Grad and Postdoc Scholarly and Professional talk series. In Winter 2023, this series of talks features sessions on well being, managing PI relationships, and long-term financial security. Archives of talks are readily available: the last two years and previous talks in this series given by Associate Dean Darren Lipomi.

IDEAs in STEM Ed Podcast
The purpose of this podcast is to provide a forum for the discussion of innovative and inclusive approaches to teaching and mentoring, and to support the personal and academic flourishing and success of students in engineering and computer science. Each episode contains an in-depth conversation with an academic leader or industry professional. The target audience is graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. The archive of video episodes can be found on this YouTube playlist, and the audio version can be found on Spotify.

Connect with the Jacobs School Racial Equity Task Force
The goal of the Jacobs School Student and Faculty Racial Equity Task Force is to make the Jacobs School a truly inclusive community. The Task Force kicked off in 2020 along with the first cohort of Racial Equity Fellows. The Task Force is working on issues such as improving retention and time-to-degree for Black, Latinx and Native American students. The task force helped launch several new recruiting events for admitted Black, Latinx and Native American students that resulted in an increase of newly admitted undergraduate engineering students from those groups. To raise an item for consideration by the Racial Equity Task Force, please reach out to Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Gilberto Mosqueda,

Engineering Graduate Professional Development Series
This is a series of workshops focused on professional development, career preparation, networking, and building community among graduate students at the Jacobs School of Engineering. The 2023 Winter Quarter workshop was a resume workshop and review. Learn more.

Jacobs Graduate Student Council
The Jacobs Graduate School Council (JGSC) is a student-run organization comprising officers that represent well over 3,000 graduate students across 6 different departments in the Jacobs School of Engineering. Its mission is to provide engineering and computer science graduate students the opportunities, resources, and networks that will enable them to have successful graduate careers and strengthen the sense of community within the Jacobs School. The primary means of carrying out this mission is by utilizing programs that help foster professional, educational, and social development opportunities.

Career Development

Jacobs Research Expo
The annual Jacobs School Research Expo offers Jacobs School graduate students the opportunity to present a research poster to a non-specialist community, to practice communication skills, and to talk and network with industry representatives and students from all across the Jacobs School.

Corporate Affiliates Program
The Jacobs School of Engineering Corporate Affiliates Program (CAP) provides career development resources in a variety of ways through its Talent Engagement Programming. Learn more.

Institute for the Global Entrepreneur
Many graduate students and postdocs have gone on to start their own companies. The Jacobs School of Engineering and the Rady School of Management have joined forces to create the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur to inspire and prepare engineers and computer scientists to be entrepreneurial leaders and translate technology innovations to market to fuel the economy and benefit society. With a unique blend of education, workshops, and one-on-one mentoring, its programs are geared to help our engineers address real-world issues with technology solutions.

Division of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (GEPA)
Within GEPA, Grad Life supports the success of all UC San Diego graduate and professional students by providing academic, financial, social, community, and health resources, as well as promoting events relevant to graduate students.

The Office of Postdoctoral Scholar Affairs provides guidance and expertise, fosters professional advancement and enriches the community for postdoctoral scholars.

Campus-wide resources

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has been an integral member of the UC San Diego community since the late 1960s. It is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS). Its integrative and student-centered services are designed to support students towards their academic success and personal development and well-being while at UC San Diego.

The Hub Basic Needs Center provides students with essential resources, including access to food, housing, and financial wellness.

TogetherAll is an online mental health support community that is anonymous and available 24/7. This resource is available at no cost to UC San Diego students who sign up using their student email.