Professional Development



Andrej Kosmrlj:  Guidelines for Giving Good Talks (May 10, 2018)



Graduate Student Travel Fund


The department values the importance of professional development and engagement with professional societies early in a graduate student’s career. The MAE Graduate Student Travel Fund was created for the purpose of facilitating development outside the classroom through attendance at professional conferences within the first and second year.  MAE graduate students are eligible to apply for travel funding to attend one professional conference or meeting per year in their first (first and second semester) and second (third and fourth semester) years in residence.  Presenting a paper or poster are not required to receive funding support.  Funds may not carry over beyond the summer following the fourth semester.  The conference and/or professional society must be in a related research area.


At least 60 days in advance of departure or at least two weeks prior to the conference ‘early bird’ fee deadline, whichever is greater.


Applicants must be enrolled graduate students in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at the time of their application and the time of attendance at the conference.  Applicants must be in their first through fourth semester of study.   First and second semester students may request up to $1,500 and third and fourth semester students may request up to $750 (with a required match from their faculty advisor’s resources).  Students are eligible for one travel grant per year, based on availability of funding.


To request travel funds students must submit an application to the Graduate Administrator via the MAE Graduate Student Travel Fund Application.

The following information is required from all applicants:

  • the name, date(s) and location of the conference
  • the title and abstract of paper/poster, if relevant, and confirmation that an application has been submitted for support from the SEAS Travel Fund.
  • a travel budget for all trip expenses including transportation, registration, lodging, and meals

           You may use these rates for guidance

  • an accounting of funds committed and applied to from other sources (SEAS, Graduate School, advisor, etc.)
  • a statement from the applicant how this will benefit your research or academic study

In addition, second year students must include:

  • advisor name
  • ​a recommendation from your advisor indicating their approval for your attendance and a commitment to match department funding up to $750, by having their faculty advisor submit the Faculty Recommendation Form
  • for those presenting at the conference, you must apply for the SEAS travel fund
  • Once you submit the application you must email Jill Ray and Theresa Russo, and your advisor's faculty assistant, Tom Wing or Melissa Nini, to notify them that you have completed the application

Review Process

Awarding of travel funds is at the discretion of the chair.  Funding is not intended to replace support available from the faculty advisor or research projects with which the student is associated.

Accessing Travel Awards

  • Student will be notified of the award in writing. 
  • Reimbursements are subject to University travel expense policy guidelines
  • Students should maximize use of the funds by utilizing cost effective fares and advance purchases as well as sharing lodging costs with others, when applicable.  
  • Graduate students are required to register all University-sponsored international travel in Concur.
  • Students can access the award through the following:
    • Advance purchases can be made through the faculty assistants, Tom Wing or Melissa Nini in D226 EQuad. 
    • Make travel arrangements and purchases directly through Concur and submit an expense report for an out-of-pocket reimbursement.
    • Make travel arrangements outside of Concur and submit an expense report for an out-of-pocket reimbursement.   
    • All Concur reports for first year students must be sent to Theresa Russo by making her your expense approver in the Concur system (go to Profile > Profile Settings > Expense Settings (on the left) > Expense Approvers.
    • Second year students should make your advisor your expense approver and the faculty assistant your expense delegate.
    • Click on the link for instructions about adding an expense approver or an expense delegate.
  • In the receipt section of the Concur report: along with your receipts please attach the Reimbursement Form (see form below), which should be updated each time you submit an expense report and if applicable, the notification from SEAS about your SEAS travel grant application.