Grand (re)Opening of the Pillsbury Graduate Quiet Study (MIKC 500)

Graduate Research Assistant and Internal Vice President of the Graduate Student Association Taissa K. Lytchenko talks about the dedicated study space for graduate students

Dean of Libraries, Catherine Cardwell, Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Dean of the Graduate School, David Zeh, Executive Vice-President, Provost, Jeff Thompson, President of Graduate Student Association, Matthew Hawn and Internal Vice President of Graduate Student Association, Taissa K Lytchenko in front of the study area

(L to R) Dean of Libraries, Catherine Cardwell, Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Dean of the Graduate School, David Zeh, Executive Vice-President, Provost, Jeff Thompson, President of Graduate Student Association, Matthew Hawn and Internal Vice President of Graduate Student Association, Taissa K Lytchenko

Grand (re)Opening of the Pillsbury Graduate Quiet Study (MIKC 500)

Graduate Research Assistant and Internal Vice President of the Graduate Student Association Taissa K. Lytchenko talks about the dedicated study space for graduate students

(L to R) Dean of Libraries, Catherine Cardwell, Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Dean of the Graduate School, David Zeh, Executive Vice-President, Provost, Jeff Thompson, President of Graduate Student Association, Matthew Hawn and Internal Vice President of Graduate Student Association, Taissa K Lytchenko

Dean of Libraries, Catherine Cardwell, Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Dean of the Graduate School, David Zeh, Executive Vice-President, Provost, Jeff Thompson, President of Graduate Student Association, Matthew Hawn and Internal Vice President of Graduate Student Association, Taissa K Lytchenko in front of the study area

(L to R) Dean of Libraries, Catherine Cardwell, Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Dean of the Graduate School, David Zeh, Executive Vice-President, Provost, Jeff Thompson, President of Graduate Student Association, Matthew Hawn and Internal Vice President of Graduate Student Association, Taissa K Lytchenko

Taissa Lytchenko
Graduate Research Assistant in the Cognitive Brain Sciences program and Internal Vice President of Graduate Student Association Taissa K Lytchenko

One of the biggest challenges many graduate students face is finding a quiet, uninterrupted, moment in the day to work. To address this challenge, in partnership with the University Libraries, the Graduate Student Association held a Grand (re)Opening celebration on March 7, during which GSA and the Libraries unveiled the Pillsbury Graduate Quiet Study (MIKC 500).

The Pillsbury Graduate Quiet Study is a dedicated space for graduate students. It is on the fifth floor of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. The dedication of this space specifically to graduate students was of tremendous importance, as graduate students tend to hold many positions within the University beyond just being a student, such as teaching, research, counseling, program coordinating, and the like. Having a proper quiet space to focus exclusively on work, makes it a sanctuary in many ways.

To give a glimpse of how this event came about, I would like to share a bit about my personal role in the Grand Opening. However, I would like to emphasize that this story is only a small part in the greater scheme of how this space became dedicated to graduate students. Without the concern of many wonderful individuals at the Libraries to commit this space for graduate use, and their organization, marketing, and hosting of the celebration, this would not be possible. Likewise, without the hard work of our GSA Council members, who helped organize and prepare the materials days prior to the event, this too would not be possible. Finally, without the generous donation of William F. and Nadine M. Pillsbury for the initial creation of the space, none of this would be possible. So at this time, on the behalf of graduate students at the university, I would like to give all of these individuals a heartfelt “Thank You!”

Last semester, I was fortunate to take the PSY 763: Scientific Writing graduate course taught by Dr. Jacqueline Snow. This course came at just the right time as many of us in the class were working on our master’s theses. One of the principles Dr. Snow discussed during lecture is how crucial it is to set a dedicated time and appropriate environment to sit down to write. Having learned that, a few students from the class and I decided to form a thesis writing group. I suggested that we meet on the 5th floor of MIKC, since I recently heard a presentation by the new Dean of Libraries, Catherine Cardwell, that the gorgeous corner suite was going to be the new graduate quiet study space. Our writing group decided to meet there weekly, to enjoy the serene environment and a dedicated time for us to put away our phones, close our email browsers, and focus exclusively on our manuscripts.  

Having personally experienced the beauty and functionality of the space, I was eager to inform other graduate students about the suite. As part of my role in GSA, I reached out to the Libraries to find out more about their plans for the space.

A GSA member at the opening
GSA members had a chance to network and learn about different programs and services available to them from the Libraries, Career Studio, and more during the Grand (re)Opening celebration

I was excited to learn that graduates have access to two such suites in the MIKC:  1. the Pillsbury Graduate Quiet Study (MIKC 500), which offers a spacious layout, comfortable lounge chairs, quiet atmosphere, and beautiful views of campus; and 2. the Faculty and Graduate Reserved Studies (MIKC 421), which features assigned lockers, desks with computers, and study carrels for private space for research, which can be reserved for a full academic year. While MIKC 500 was a newly dedicated graduate space, MIKC 421 has been around for many years. This space has remained mostly underutilized since the pandemic forced many graduates, post-doctoral researchers, and faculty to work remotely off-campus.

After the initial discussion about the space with members from the Libraries’ team including but not limited to: Associate Dean, Linda Kopecky, Administrative Assistant, Leslie Chiguichon, Marketing Communications Specialist, Jill Stockton, and a team from GSA, we decided the best way to unveil Pillsbury Graduate Quiet Study and re-open the Faculty and Graduate Reserved Studies, was with a Grand (re)Opening celebration. We also considered new graduate students might not be aware of all the resources available to them on campus, since many of them spent their first graduate years working from home.

The team set out to organize a tabling event during the Grand Opening featuring:

Moreover, knowing of their unwavering support for graduate education, we were honored to have Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Jeff Thompson, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School Dr. Dean Zeh, and Dean of Libraries Catherine Cardwell, kick off the event with the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Pillsbury Graduate Quiet Study Grand Opening marked a continual collaboration between the Libraries and GSA to support graduate students. Among other partnership events, we also co-organize an annual Manuscript Accepted! symposium, which is designed to help graduate students and faculty successfully navigate scholarly publishing. This event is usually held in early months of the spring semester, and we hope that such events will give graduate students the toolkits necessary to be effective and productive in their research endeavors. And we suggest a good place to practice these writing skills is in the Pillsbury Graduate Quiet Study or Faculty and Graduate Reserved Studies. If you are interested in using these suites, please submit this form for access or visit the Libraries’ Administration Office, Suite 513, located on the fifth floor of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, during regular business hours. Students can also call 775-682-5684 for more information.

Request access to the Pillsbury Graduate Quiet Study

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