Ask a Grad Life Fellow

Graduate Life Fellows (GLFs) are upper-level graduate students (both master's and doctoral) who understand how daunting graduate school can be. The GLFs are here to provide a listening ear to any graduate student, new or continuing, who may be dealing with challenges related to academics or otherwise. The GLFs are also in a position to help grad students make connections with other grad students, as well as provide the appropriate resources needed to ease the transition into graduate school.  Please email the if you have questions.

Cara Blevins
Doctoral Student in Health Psychology - Clinical
I am a graduate student in my fourth year of the Clinical Health Psychology Ph.D. program working towards dissertation and clinical internship application. I grew up in the Northern VA/ Washington, DC area and received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from George Mason University. I moved to Charlotte in 2013 with my husband and we have come to call this area home.  I enjoy yoga, music, dancing, vegetables, painting, and spending time with family and friends. I have an affinity for the mountains, enjoy spontaneous adventures, and do my best to savor my moment-to-moment experiences.

I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as a Graduate Life Fellow and help support and strengthen the graduate community at UNC Charlotte. Connection and community are two of my most treasured values, and I am so excited to facilitate events and programs to help enhance your sense of each. Please reach out to me with any questions you might have related to professional development, academics, mental health, health/wellness, work/life balance, or anything else. Please come say "hello" during office hours and share any ideas/wishes you have for classes or programs. I look forward to meeting you soon! Come see me in the Center for Graduate Life (Cone, 268) on Wednesday's between 1:00-3:00P. Email:

Yicheng Li
Master's Student in Applied Statistics

Hello, my name is Yicheng Li, and I am a Master's Candidate in Applied Statistics. I am hoping to become a data analyst when I graduate, and in general I am very passionate about data. I became a GLF because I wanted some experience with leadership and campus involvement. I hope to help the different groups of graduate students meet other people and make friends outside of their respective fields of study. Also, I hope my events can be both fun and informative for attendees. In my free time, I enjoy weightlifting, so feel free to say hi if you see me at the gym. Although I am shy, I will always do my best and will keep a smile on my face when I greet you! Come see me in the Center for Graduate Life (Cone, 268) on Monday's between 9:00-11:00A! Email:

Delphia Smith
Doctoral Student in Curriculum & Instruction

I am Delphia S. Smith, a fourth year doctoral student in the Curriculum and Instruction, Literacy Education program. I am a native of the Bahamas who also happens to be an up-and-coming children's book author. I decided to become a Graduate Life Fellow (GLF) because I experienced firsthand, some of the difficulties navigating graduate school can bring. What I hope to accomplish as a GLF is to not only help graduate students maneuver this often challenging journey, but to also be their voice in order to help bridge the gap between the graduate student community and the Graduate School. Come see me in the Center for Graduate Life (Cone, 268) on Thursday's between 1:00-3:00P! Email:

Austin Jefferies
Doctoral Student in Biological Sciences

Hello, my name is Austin Jeffries and I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biological Sciences here at UNCC. I work in Dr. Ian Marriott’s laboratory where we study host-pathogen interactions in the central nervous system. Following the completion of my degree, I plan to apply for a post-doctoral fellowship position for additional training, and, ultimately, have my own research laboratory in academia. I decided to become a GLF because I want to help establish a sense of community that is inclusive of all graduate students. Also, as graduate students we have a tendency to become absorbed in our work, by bringing together students from all departments we can gain perspective on life outside of research. I also want to assist graduate students with their transition into a new role so that they may thrive during their time at UNCC. Graduate school is a lot of work, but learning how to manage your time well will improve your experience and provide you with the chance to enjoy your time spent at UNCC. You put in the work, let us help you make the most of it! Come see me in the Center for Graduate Life (Cone, 268) on Monday's between 4:00-6:00P! Email:

Miranda Rouse  
Master's Student in Communication Studies

My name is Miranda Rouse and I am a 2nd year Graduate Student in Communication Studies. My interest in the field are Public Speaking and Pedagogy. I am CSGSA President, a Consultant at the University Speaking Center, and work with Communication Across the Curriculum as well. I decided to becoming a GLF because of the impact they had on me during my first year at UNCC as a grad student. I felt very welcomed and accepted. I hope to have that same impact on others and believe that I can do so because of the connections I have made on campus, and with my passion to help others. I enjoy kickboxing in my spare time. Come see me in the Center for Graduate Life (Cone, 268) on Monday's between 10:00A-12:00P! Email:

Lelia Forbes
Doctoral Student in Health Psychology

Hello, I am a 6th year Health Psychology doctoral student at UNC Charlotte. My research interests include chronic illness management and the use of mindfulness-based interventions in clinical populations. I’m extremely excited to be a GLF this year and hope to give back to the graduate community by connecting fellow students to resources and activities of interest. I’m  originally from Rhode Island and currently live with my husband and two children in Charlotte. Come see me in the Center for Graduate Life (Cone, 268) on Tuesday's between 2:30-4:30P! Email:

Rajan Puri
Doctoral Student in Applied Mathematics

Hello, my name is Rajan Puri and I am a PhD candidate in the Applied Mathematics program at UNC Charlotte. My primary area of interest lies in partial differential equations; I’m currently working on my dissertation with Dr. Boris Vainberg. I am extremely pleased to be part of an active research community that is both nurturing and supportive. Moreover, I also believe in a vibrant student community! As a Graduate Life Fellow, I hope to engage with other students by sharing my own experiences as a graduate student to provide support and advice to fellow students, and to allow for a smooth transition into the graduate community, while adjusting to the demands of graduate school. I’m excited about representing graduate students in various student-government related activities to best address their needs. Originally from the beautiful country of Nepal, I certainly enjoy being outdoors in nature. Some of my hobbies include hiking and playing soccer. Come see me in the Center for Graduate Life (Cone, 268) on Monday's between 2:00-4:00P! Email: