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Graduate Student Life

Graduate Student Groups | SMD Social Spaces | SMD Trainee Handbook

Participating in activities beyond the lab and classroom is extremely beneficial for graduate students. Below is a list of current student-run and University of Rochester organizations open to SMD graduate student membership. You can explore each group’s mission by clicking the links. Campus Community Connection (CCC) links are also provided (must inquire individually about membership rules).

Graduate Student Groups

ADSE: Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering

We aim to increase the representation and visibility of underrepresented groups (women, African Americans, Latinos/as, Native Americans, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and DREAMers) in the STEM fields. We serve as a platform for the scholarship and professional development of minority students in the pursuit of advanced degrees and careers in STEM. Our goals are to connect scientists across our campus, showcase non-traditional career paths and minority experiences in academia, industry, and government; and to educate students at all levels about opportunities in STEM.

ALAS: Association of Latin American Students

We are interested in analyzing and discussing the economic, political and social issues of Latin America as well as their impact in the USA. We host public forums, cultural events and social gatherings to create bonds between Latin American graduate students and the rest of the community. 

CSA: Chinese Student Association

We are a non-profit organization, aiming to offer academic, living, and entertainment help for UR students, postdocs, visiting scholars and their family members coming from the People’s Republic of China. We are always working to enhance mutual help and affinity among our members and serve as a link between UR Chinese students/scholars and the Chinese Consulate General in New York. We also provide a chance for UR students and US citizens in Greater Rochester to become familiarized with Chinese culture by hosting annual performances and various events.

GSOC: Graduate Students of Color

We are sponsored by the David D. Kearns Center and School of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. We promote and offer academic, professional, and social programming for underrepresented graduate students, and provide a forum for topics addressing the racial and ethnic diversity of the Rochester graduate student population.

GSRF: Graduate Students Raising Families

Our aim is to help pre-doctoral SMD students who have/are planning families while pursuing their degrees. Establishing a manageable work/life balance is key and we sponsor several meetings, socials, and a virtual network for students to discuss their experiences.

GWIS: Graduate Women in Science

We provide mentoring for the professional and personal development of all graduate women at the University of Rochester. Meetings tap into expertise and experience on campus, and they also include presentations from outside guest speakers. Speakers include successful scientists in academics (universities, medical schools, and smaller teaching colleges), industry (large and start-up), forensics, grant management/program development (government agencies and private associations), science writing, journal editing, patent law, and clinical diagnostics.

KSA: Korean Student Union

We strive to expand interest in Korean culture to the campus community and the greater Rochester area. Our members include Korean Americans, Korean international students, adopted Koreans, and non-Koreans. Our annual Korean Night, held in the spring of each school year, showcases a variety of Korean cultural exhibits and entertainment for the community. Some of our other events include movie nights, Korean food outings, and Running Man viewings.

RIA: Rochester Indian Association

We serve as a platform for conducting social events geared towards students hailing from the Indian subcontinent (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan) at the University of Rochester. We take pride in hosting multiple events around the year such as Republic Day, Holi, Independence Day, Diwali and many more. We support incoming students to help them make a smooth transition to graduate student life in Rochester.

Second Friday Science Social

We highlight University of Rochester research presented to an audience from all departments involved in biological and biomedical research. A social mixer with food and drink is featured after each talk.

PONS: Pre-doctoral Organization for the Neurosciences

We serve as a bridge for the neuroscience and neurology focused student groups at the University of Rochester sponsored by the Rochester Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Our mission is to expose pre-doctoral students to interdisciplinary neuroscience topics and research opportunities, mainly via our Luncheon Roundtable Series (PONS LRS) with guest panelists. 

BAC: Brain Awareness Campaign

We are a community outreach program sponsored by the Rochester Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.  We provide relevant neuroscience education to elementary school students, perform activities with the local Girl Scout Troops, and sponsor an annual Brain Bee for high school students.

Daybreakers Toastmasters Club

We offer a fun, low-pressure learning experience that uses a proven methodology to improve your presentation skills. Our goals are to help you communicate more effectively, become a better listener, increase your leadership potential, grow your ability to motivate and persuade others, and increase your self-confidence.

RYSC: Rochester Young Scientists Club

We mentor a group of 5th and 6th grade students from a local community school as they learn about how science is practiced in a professional setting. Activities include exercises to demonstrate principles of the scientific method and tours of working laboratories at URMC. The RYSC program culminates with a longitudinal project in which the5th and 6th grade students apply what they’ve learned by developing a scientific experiment and presenting their findings at URMC with the help of their mentors.

Thinkers & Drinkers

Our goal is to simultaneously improve students’ communication ability and improve science literacy in the general adult public. Students can practice their elevator pitches and also address people’s questions about graduate school, their theses, and the current state of science.  We perform our outreach at several local bars, taverns, and restaurants in and around Rochester.

AcademyHealth Student Chapter at URMC

Our purpose is to disseminate AcademyHealth National agenda among members, promote better health services research (HSR) practices, organize HSR doctoral students for more effective research, and raise awareness about the HSR field among other health and medicine related fields.

Susan B. Anthony Center

We work to bring awareness to, and advocate for, social justice and equality. We collaborate with the University community and partner with a wide range of local, national, and international organizations to fulfill our goal of translating research into policy. We conduct this work in the spirit of Susan B. Anthony, who fought tirelessly throughout her life for the betterment of disenfranchised populations. We have several opportunities for students to engage in our mission.

UR SPI: US Science Policy Initiative

Science policy sits at the intersection of public policy and science, combining two fields in order to highlight, promote, and advocate for policies regarding science, research, funding, technological advancement, healthcare, and the environment. We are open to any graduate students and postdocs interested in learning more about science policy, gaining experience in the field, and advocating for science.


myHub brings together eight critical areas, including writing services, alumni mentorship, events, fellowships and grants, research ethics, graduate student and postdoctoral groups, URBEST career services and internships.

Meliora Collective for UR Student and Alumni Networking

The Meliora Collective is a new online platform developed to foster all types of professional exploration. The Collective offers members a place to network, seek and provide mentorship, and connect and collaborate.  

SMD Social Spaces

Need somewhere to grab a quick bite, study, or relax?  Check out the following spaces located in and around the SMD campus.

Medical Center

  • Student Lounge and Music Rooms (Ground Floor, accessible by student ID card)
  • Forbes Mezzanine (1st Floor)
  • Sarah Flaum Atrium (Ground Floor)
  • Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters and Patio (Ground Floor)
  • Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters (Strong 1st Floor)
  • Courtyard (Ground Floor)
  • Edward G. Miner Library (1st Floor)
  • Café 601 at Strong (Strong 1st Floor)
  • West Winds Café (Strong 1st Floor)​

Saunders Research Building

  • Saunders Atrium and Cafe (Ground Floor)

College Town

Just a short walk from the Medical Center campus, College Town offers University of Rochester and University of Rochester Medical Center students, faculty and staff a one-of-a-kind, vibrant place to live, learn, dine, shop, work and play.

Genesee Valley Park

Genesee Valley Park is dominated by three intersecting waterways, Red Creek, the Genesee River and the New York State Barge Canal. The park is an access point to a major network of trails along the river and canal as well as the route 390 bike trail and the Genesee Valley Greenway. Also included in the park are softball diamonds, multi-use/soccer fields, a cricket pitch and two 18-hole golf courses.

SMD Trainee Handbook

The School of Medicine and Dentistry hosts its own trainee handbook site. This fully mobile friendly website is designed to assist trainees with resources and information.