The 10 SHOCKING Secrets to
Graduate School Success Experts
WANT You to Know!
Prof. Clark Evans
University of WisconsinMilwaukee
A bit about myself…
• First attended the AMS Student
Conference in 2004, just the third-ever
such event!
• It’s great to see the conference’s success,
and I’m honored to have been invited to
• This talk is a mixture of what I learned the
hard way, what my students have taught
Without further ado…
(Image from
He was an on-camera meteorologist in a former life, after all…
Have Learning as Your Goal
• It can be tempting to have top grades, or
even perfection, as your primary goal.
• What may work best to ace that test does
not produce the greatest long-term benefit!
• Science, research, and life are all about
applying what you know to the unknown.
Learn How to Learn
(Images from Google Images, audio from
Use Failure as a Path to
(Image from Google
We are defined as scientists not by our failures – of which there are, and
will be, many – but by how we respond to failure. Don’t be afraid to
Don’t Be Afraid of Questions
• Our tendency is to want concrete answers.
• But, sometimes, our studies provide more
questions than they do answers.
• Or, worse yet, they provide the dreaded
“null” result. These have value, however!
Treat Graduate School Like a
(Image from Google
Graduate school is your occupation. It does not define you as a person.
Let go of the tendency to have your studies occupy your every waking
Know Before You Go
• There is no how-to guide to navigating
graduate school in the atmospheric
• Anything you can do to ease your
transition into graduate studies will help
you succeed.
• Opportunities to consider: undergraduate
research, tutoring, attending
Get With the Program…ming
Whether you are a researcher, forecaster, or theoretician, data analysis
and/or numerical modeling underpin your work. Proficiency in one or
more programming languages helps foster discovery.
Let Others Help You
(Image from Google
We each don’t have all of the answers – to our research, to our
homework, to life itself – individually. Let others help you solve your
challenges, and in turn be willing to help others in a similar fashion.
Get the Most Out of Yourself
(Image from Google
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Take ownership of your work.
Learn how to say no. Manage time and tasks well. Above all, be fair to
Advisor-Student Relationship
Find an advisor with whom you would work well. Know what you want
and need from your advisor and clearly communicate this to them.
Valuable Resources
Make it Stick
Graduate School
and Beyond
The Art of
Being a Scientist
A Big “Thank You!”
My students
My advisor and mentors
David Ryglicki
Aaron Paget
Jimmy Correia
John Knox
Paul Roebber
David Masciale
Russ Schumacher
Courtney Baber
Melissa Griffin
Marty Baxter
Paul Ruscher
Jim Waller
James McCormick

The 10 SHOCKING Secrets to Graduate School Success …