Ready to change the world? The Graduate Center helps you find opportunities to develop professional and leadership skills that complement your degree.

In Fall 2014, the University of Arizona Graduate Center opened its doors to provide graduate students and postdoctoral fellows — as well as their programs — support that enhances their academic and professional success. The Graduate Center supports the next generation of researchers, academic professionals, and leaders by facilitating recruitment of distinguished graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, building opportunities for professional development and mentoring, and fostering interdisciplinary research, innovative collaboration, networking, and engagement with diverse communities.


The Graduate Center will assist University and Graduate College support for the next generation of researchers, creative and scholarly professionals, and other leaders by enhancing recruitment of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, offering professional development opportunities, and providing programs that foster interdisciplinary research and collaboration.

Goals and Objectives:

  • Recruit more graduate students to UArizona
  • Recruit the top graduate candidates to UArizona
  • Provide opportunities for professional development
  • Establish new funding opportunities including new fellowships for graduate students
  • Increase the diversity of the graduate student body
  • Improve retention of graduate students at UArizona
  • Establish an intellectual and physical locale to increase interdisciplinary collaborations among students
  • Provide a needed focal point for improving services to post-doctoral fellows at UArizona
  • Provide a new structure for establishing mentorship relationships outside of traditional academic advising

Graduate Center Staff:

Meg Lota Brown, Ph.D., Director of the Graduate Center

Portrait of Dr. Meg Lota Brown, Director of the UArizona Graduate Center

(Photo by John De Dios)

Meg Lota Brown is a Professor of English. She is the author or editor of four books and has published numerous articles on Reformation politics, Renaissance literature, science, art, theology, education, and authors from Shakespeare and Donne to Christine de Pizan and Rachel Speght. Dr. Brown has received nearly every UA major teaching award, as well as recognition for her research, service, and leadership. She is active on numerous graduate education committees, including the Graduate and Professional Student Council Advisory Board. As the Director for the Graduate Center, Meg Lota is guiding the development and awareness of resources to help graduate students augment their studies with professional development, skills workshops, and interdisciplinary interaction.

David Bradshaw, M.P.A., Assistant Director

 Portrait of David Bradshaw

(Photo by UAHS BioCommunications)

David Bradshaw is the Assistant Director for the Graduate Center. He is responsible for the daily management of the Graduate Center and for assisting the Director in the implementation of new initiatives for the center and the University Fellows program. David is a University of Arizona alumnus having earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Management and Policy from the Eller College of Management, and a Master of Public Administration from the School of Government and Public Policy. Prior to his work with the Graduate Center, David worked with the UA's Office of Sustainability and the City of Tucson implementing third party reporting, and promoting sustainability initiatives including the City of Tucson Green Business Certification Program, Project Pawprint, and the Arizona Higher Education Sustainability Conference.

Joel Muraco, Ph.D., Ph.D. Career Counselor & Assistant Professor of Practice

Portrait of Joel Muraco

(Photo by Amanda Harrell)

Joel Muraco is the Ph.D. Career Counselor for the Graduate Center. He works with and develops professional development programming for doctoral level graduate students looking to transition into industry, government, business, and non-profit employment sectors. He is available to assist with identifying opportunities, conducting searches, networking, drafting application materials, and interviewing. Joel is a University of Arizona alumnus having completed his Doctorate in Family Studies and Human Development from the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences. Joel's previous experiences include two years at the University of Arizona in Student Engagement and Career Development as a Career Educator, and three years at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay as an Assistant Professor of Human Development.

Shelley Hawthorne Smith, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Graduate College, Writing and Fellowship Support

Portrait of Shelley Hawthorne Smith

Dr. Shelley Hawthorne Smith is an Assistant Professor of Practice who provides writing and fellowship support in the Graduate College and who serves as the Assistant Director of the Office of Fellowships and Community Engagement. Committed to supporting graduate students’ development as writers, she created and runs the Fellowship Application Development Programs for students applying for graduate level funding. She also supports graduate writers in Writing Efficiency Sessions and other programs. Dr. Hawthorne Smith earned an MFA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English at the University of Arizona. She has taught community college courses and served as a volunteer in Peace Corps South Africa. When not at work, she enjoys riding bikes and playing games with her family, but she is also continually on the hunt for a quiet corner where she can eat dark chocolate or read a novel.

Betsy Labiner, Communications and Outreach Coordinator

Portrait of Betsy Labiner 

(Photo by David Bradshaw)

Betsy Labiner is the communications and outreach coordinator for the Graduate Center. She is a PhD candidate in English literature; her dissertation focuses on English drama from the 16th and 17th centuries. Betsy earned her bachelor's degrees in English and History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and continues that twinned focus on literature and history in her doctoral work. Her work for the Graduate Center includes the newsletter, which comes out twice per semester (the back catalog of articles may be found under "Articles"), collaboration with UA and local media, event coordination, and outreach both on campus and in the Tucson community.

Ryan S. Sermon, M.A., Career Counselor Graduate Assistant

Portrait of Ryan Sermon

Ryan Sermon is the Graduate Assistant Career Counselor for the Graduate Center. During one-on-one appointments with him you can discuss a range of professional development topics including career resources, networking, interviewing, and LinkedIn to name a few. Ryan is currently a Ph.D. student in Higher Education and focusing his coursework around the areas of college access, equity, and sociology. His experience in helping others with their career development stems from serving as a Career Development Specialist with AmeriCorps during his first term of service and as a Career Success and Connected Learning Coordinatorwith the Pima County Public Library during his second term. Most recently, he brings his experience as a Career Trainer and Employment Facilitator working with the Department of Labor's Veteran's Employment and Training Services Transition Assistance Program, where he coached separating and retiring military personnel on job search strategies.

Alex Kemp, Graduate Assistant, Fellowship Support

Portrait of Alex Kemp

Alex Kemp is a Graduate Assistant working with the Office of Fellowships and Community Engagement and a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership & Policy. She has attended the University of Arizona for the past decade, completing a Bachelors in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology. Her doctoral fields of study include Higher Education, Mexican American Studies, Educational Psychology, and Educational Leadership and Policy. Currently, Alex is applying her interdisciplinary knowledge to a dissertation on the health of students' spirit while conducting research. When Alex is not writing or working, she is jogging up Sentinel Peak, cooking with her familia, and supporting youth art collectives in the local community.

Sedona Heidinger, Graduate Assistant, Special Projects

Portrait of Sedona Heidinger

Sedona Heidinger is the Graduate Assistant supporting both the Graduate Center and the Office of Fellowships and Community Engagement. She is also a candidate for the MA in Art History. She earned an MA in Art & Museum Studies from Georgetown University and a BA with Honors in Art History at Arizona State University. She has assisted with programs, exhibitions, and publications at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Phoenix Art Museum. Her current research concerns mysticism in modernist painting, particularly in spiritual and theosophical communities in the Southwest and West Coast. Her duties for the Graduate Center include facilitating the national Council for Graduate Schools PhD Career Pathways survey and building out graduate-level microcredential programs. With OFCE, she works with Shelley and Alex to enhance graduate writing support programs within the Graduate College and across campus.

K.C. Anderson, Student Office Assistant

K.C. Anderson is the Student Office Assistant for the Graduate Center. She is a candidate for the MA in Library and Information Science and hopes to pursue a career in academic librarianship
and information literacy instruction. She attended the University of Arizona for her undergraduate degrees in English and Creative Writing and a minor in Adolescence, Community, and Education. K.C. also supports K-12 students in science and robotics programs across the country as a mentor and coach. As the Student Office Assistant, K.C. supports various activities and programs at the Graduate Center, including event support, data management, and website and calendar updates.


Last updated 30 Apr 2021