Orientation and Mentoring for New Graduate Students
After the incoming class is admitted, current and incoming graduate students fill out a survey to gauge their mathematical and non-mathematical interests. Then, using the results of this survey, each incoming graduate student is paired with a current graduate student. This is done before summer, so the incoming graduate student can email the current graduate student with questions they have about finding housing, life in Ithaca, and anything else they want to know. Once the incoming graduate students arrive in Ithaca, the mentor and mentee receive funding from the department to have dinner together and get to know each other. After this, the mentor and mentee pairs continue to meet on their own terms. In most years the department sponsors a group activity for the entire mentoring contingent, usually in the Fall semester.
For a period of a few weeks in late July and early August, the incoming Ph.D. students meet as small groups with individual members of the Advising Committee to work on small group projects. This allows students to get acquainted with their cohort and to work on math problems collaboratively. The department arranges another team-building outing at the Hoffman Challenge Course, usually on the weekend prior to the beginning of Fall semester.
Cornell's Graduate and Professional Student Orientation is followed by an orientation to the department--including a tour of our physical spaces in Malott Hall, TA training for first-year students and first-time teaching assistants, and "Desk Fest," where office spaces are assigned and graduate volunteer roles are distributed.