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The Guide: Graduate Student Stories

Compiled, designed, and edited by Grace Allen and Janina Mera Distributed by the Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison 2013 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System A special thanks to all of the graduate student contributors This guide contains a compilation of essays and thoughts from UW-Madison graduate students. Their opinions and recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Cover Image by Jeff Miller/University Communications

Table of Contents Chapter 1: Housing 4

The Neighborhoods5 Isthmus Sector 5 Near East Sector7 Near West Sector8 South-Central Sector 9 University Housing10 Families and Furry Friends11

Chapter 2: Finances 13

PAs, TAs, RAs13 TAA14 Grants & Fellowships14 NSF15 Fulbright IIE15 Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships16 Graduate Student International Field Research Award16 Budgeting and Financial Planning17

Chapter 3: Transportation20
Biking20 Metro Bus22 Taxis22 Longer Trips22

Chapter 4: What to do in Madison 23

The Capitol Square Farmers Market23 Community Supported Agriculture24 The Madison Cheese Curd Guide25 Hoofers Sailing Club26 Some of our Favorite Things to Do in Madison27 Top Ten Destinations29

Chapter 1: Housing

adison may be a small city, but it provides many different living options for students. Like any college town, there are stark differences between living areas: undergraduates cluster in the center, while graduate students inhabit a broader swath of the city. Depending on your transportation situation, monthly budget, how often you need to visit campus, or whether or not you have a family or pets, some areas will fit your needs better than others. Resources like http://www.campusareahousing.wisc. edu, and Madison based housing agencies, are useful resources. However, what they dont have are graduate student opinions. This section provides a collection of advice from graduate students, in many different living situations, who can also help guide your decision. There are a few Madison specific concerns to keep in mind before you rent. Because of the size of the university, there is significant competition for housing, and many students sign their leases anywhere from six months to a year in advance. If you would prefer to live closer to campus, your options will be slimmer the longer you wait. However, if you are open to living outside the isthmus you will be able to find decent housing options within a few weeks before your move in date. Most leases last a year and start on August 15th, a day known colloquially as Hippy Christmas, when Madisonians gather up the panoply of furniture abandoned on the streets. Also keep in mind that Madison has both hot summers and cold winters, but while air conditioning is something many grads are willing to sacrifice (a cheap window unit will get you through the summer) heating is an absolute must. If you arent careful, come December your gas or electric bills can go through the roof. The best option is to find a location where heating is free, which is not uncommon in Madison, although that might mean that you wont have control over your thermostat. Some apartment agencies will provide you with heating bill averages for the past year if you ask. If not, find this information on the Madison Gas and Electric website: myaccount/averagecost/. Finally, remember to never rent an apartment sight unseen no matter how good the pictures look online. At the very least, have a friend or future colleague check it out for you.

North Franklin Street, Near East Side Photo Grace Allen

The Neighborhoods

Isthmus Sector
The above map shows Madisons separate neighborhoods as defined by the City of Madison. Their website also includes a breakdown of the neighborhood associations that make up each sector, which can be found at html. However, in popular parlance, the bounds of Madison neighboorhoods are not always as clear cut as this map suggests. For example, some Madisonians refer to parts of the eastern isthmus area as the Near East Side. Therefore, we have tried to make our housing chapter as clear as possible by categorizing the neighborhoods first by the sectors indicated on the above map (Isthmus Sector, Near East Sector, etc.) and then by the sub-areas that graduate students inhabit. Although this chapter does not include every sector of Madison that this map depicts, it does reflect the areas that most graduate students choose to live in. Within the Isthmus Sector Madisonians most often distinguish two distinct sections: the Downtown and Basset Street neighborhoods on the south-west side of the isthmus and the Williamson Street and the Johnson Street neighborhoods on the eastern side of the isthmus.

Downtown and Basset Street Neighborhoods

I lived in a studio apartment located in downtown Madison, on the corner of West Main and Basset Street, during my first two years of graduate school. You can view a detailed street by street map of this area--which is most often referred to as the Basset Street Neighborhood-detailed here: I chose this location for its convenient access to the Capitol Square and campus. I do not have a car, so walking, biking, and busing are my primary forms of transportation. Most days I walked to campus, which took about 15 minutes. The Capitol Market grocery store was only five minutes down the street, so I could make many small shopping trips there throughout the week. There are also some great restaurants, bars, and coffee shops near the Square. My new favorite place to study is Alterra. It serves great coffee and affordable food, and when the weather is nice their front windows open up to create a sunroom. It fills up quickly, so get there early to grab a seat. The Barriques on West Washington is another good study location. They have coffee, food, and alcohol, including a huge selection of wine. My favorite bars in the area are Gennas, Argus, Natt Spil, and Merchant. If youre in the mood for cheese curds, try the Old Fashioned, Tipsy Cow, or Graze. Harvest and LEtoile are the nicest restaurants on the Square, but a bit too expensive for the average grad students budget. However, I would recommend them if you want to impress a date, or if your family is in town and wants to treat you to dinner. The downside of the downtown area is its rambunctious undergraduate population. Luckily, my

Madison Neighborhood Maps City of Madison Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development

Close up detail of The UW-Madison campus, contained in the lavender-colored Near West Sector above.

neighbors were fairly quiet most of the year. The only time they bothered me was on game days in the fall, when barbeques and backyard parties raged into the early hours of the morning, and during the Mifflin Street block party in early May, which can get very rowdy. Centrally located apartments also tend to be more run down due to years of undergraduate abuse. My efficiency was reasonably clean and cost about $450 a month. Living there allowed me to save money and avoid dealing with roommate issues, although I rarely wanted to spend time at home due to the cramped conditions. I also like cooking and having friends over, which was nearly impossible in my tiny space. Although I enjoyed my two years near the Square, sharing a two-bedroom apartment on the Near East Side for about the same price turned out to be a better option for me. Grace Allen
History PhD Program

Williamson Street and Johnson Street Neighborhoods

The east isthmus area is a great place for graduate students to live for a variety of reasons. In terms of transportation, it is a reasonable walking distance to campus and well-served by the bus lines on campus (including the free night buses), and has designated bike lanes and paths for an easy and reasonably safe ride to campus (if you dont mind a few hills). This area has a

bit more character than the west side of Madison (a.k.a. the buildings are older and more varied), which means that it is a more pedestrian friendly, urban environment, with a number of well-established parks. There are many interesting housing options on the east isthmus: the majority of these are converted Victorian homes, which means that each unit is unique. These types of apartments usually come with heat included (a big plus in winter), but laundry facilities and dishwashers are much less common. Some units in this area are furnished, and there are also some really interesting older apartment complexes and some newer condo de-

velopments in the area. Because it is more built-up, the east isthmus is peppered with shops, restaurants, and coffee houses. However, the urban character of this part of town means that parking is a challenge, and will probably not be included in your rent. Since Madison imposes parking restrictions during the winter months, and has weekly street-cleaning, street parking is an adventure; many people choose to pay a monthly parking fee (ranging from $20 50) a month to park, after the first year. The Williamson Street area (detailed here: http:// has more amenities, and as a result, it is more popular with graduate students; however, this means that prices are higher than in the Johnson Street area, which is only blocks away. Amenities in the Williamson Street neighborhood: Restaurants: Jamerica Restaurant, Weary Traveler, Umami Noodle Shop, El Dorado Grill, Roman Candle Pizzeria, Bahn Thai Restaurant, Burrito Drive (takeout Mexican) Coffee shops: Mother Fools, Madison Sourdough Bakery and Caf, Lazy Janes Caf, Ground Zero Other shops/services: Willy Street Co-op (grocery store with hot and cold salad bar), Red Sage Acupuncture, St. Vincent de Pauls Thrift Store, Ace Hardware, Midwest Pottery, Mad Cat Pet Supplies, Batch Bakehouse, Natures Bakery Amenities in the Johnson Street neighborhood: Restaurants: Sophias Bakery and Caf (open only on weekends), MadTown Pizza Coffee shops: Johnson Public House

First Time on Tenney Lake Photo Brad Baranowski

Other shops/services: Madison International Market, La Lingerie (clothing), Corner Store, Cork and Bottle (free wine tastings on Saturday afternoon), Burnies Rock Shop, Old Town Cycles, Studio 924 (hair salon) This area is great for couples and singles who want a quieter atmosphere, away from the undergraduate scene, but still wish to enjoy the benefit of urban living. Both these neighborhoods have a lot of personality. One big plus is the east side Farmers Market on Tuesdays between 4 7 pm. If you enjoy diversity in terms of housing and people these are good neighborhoods to consider. N.B. If you choose to live in a converted house, your landlord/lady is likely to own just a few properties if that is the case, some maintenance issues make not be dealt with immediately. However, if you have unique housing requirements (a.k.a. pets, disabilities, special equipment, extra storage needs), you are more likely to be able to negotiate this with an individual landlord, rather than with a property management company. Jess Clayton
Political Science PhD Program

Near East Sector

Most often referred to as the Near East Side, this sector includes the Shenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara neighborhood. It stretches from the eastern-most edge of the isthmus to Milwaukee Avenue and is situated between the Yahara River and East Washington Avenue. The Isthmus newspaper includes a street by street map of this neighborhood here: http://

Shenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara Neighborhood
This up-and-coming formerly working- and middle-class neighborhood is increasingly inhabited by graduate student couples and families who have been in Madison for a while, are tired of fighting for parking, and need a bit more space, but still want to live in an urban neighborhood. The Near East Side has lots of parks and other amenities that are great for people with pets and those with young children. Located near Lake Monona, it is great for walking and biking. The Capitol City Path runs straight through the area and the Olbrich Botanical Gardens are within easy walking distance. While close to Williamson Street, the Near East Side is quieter and more family oriented. There are a few apartment and condo complexes for rent, but most rental units in this area are duplexes and converted single fam-

Williamson Street Sign Post Photo Grace Allen

ily homes. Parking is free and plentiful, even in the winter, and properties often come with extra storage space, basement laundry facilities (perhaps shared with your co-renter), and backyards. As a result, more places in this area will accept renters with pets (including large dogs and multiple cats). While bus service is not as frequent as it is closer to campus, there are at least two buses to campus each hour, even on weekends. As this area is undergoing a period of revitalization, there are a lot of new shops and businesses coming into the East side. However, there are also many well-established institutions and businesses. One big draw to this area is the Barrymore Theatre (, which hosts live entertainment (concerts, comedians, etc.). The Goodman Community Center ( is also a great amenity for residents in this area it houses a small gym with low membership fees, a small caf that trains youth in the food service industry, a pre-school facility, and several meeting rooms, where one can take many different types of classes. In addition, the Near East Side has its own small and independently owned grocery store called the Jenifer Street Market, which carries lots of local and organic produce, and has a very respectable deli. Restaurants: Montys Blueplate Diner, Alchemy, Green Owl (vegan/gulten free), Bunkys Mediterranean Caf, Daisy Cupcakery, Glass Nickel Pizzeria, Tex Tubbs Taco Palace, Stalzys Deli and Bakery Coffee shops: Caf Zoma, Victory Caf, Ironworks Caf, Mermaid Caf Other shops/services: Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Revolution Cycles, Absolutely Art, Aikido of Madison, Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier, Bad Dog Frida Pet Shop It is important to note that the Near East Side is a cash-culture frequently credit cards will not be accepted, while local checks will be! While there are several ATMs in the area, purchasing can take a bit more planning. Jess Clayton
Political Science PhD Program

Hilldale Shopping Center and continues through North Whitney Way. Very few graduate students live in the Monroe neighboorhood (which runs along Monroe Street and includes Edgewood College and Trader Joes), which is why it is not included in the following descriptions.

Hilldale Shopping Center Source: Wikimedia Commons,

Greenbush Neighborhood
The Greenbush neighborhood is located just south of the UW-Madison campus. It is a short 15-minute walk to State Street and most of the central buildings on campus. Since I do not own a vehicle, what I enjoy most about my home is the proximity to UW-Madison and all of the major bus routes. After taking many evening and night courses, I realized that living close to campus is most convenient for my lifestyle. The students living in my neighborhood are a mixture of graduate and undergraduate students. Many of the apartments are

Near West Sector

The Near West Sector includes the Greenbush, Hilldale and Monroe neighborhoods. The Greenbush neighborhood is south-west from the isthmus, located just south of Regent Street and Camp Randall Stadium and butressesing Lake Wingra and Monona Bay. Further north-west along University Avenue is the Hilldale neighborhood, which includes the

2- to 4- person homes that include parking, which is a plus if you plan to bring a vehicle. My apartment is located just a few blocks from Camp Randall Stadium so on game days this area will be filled with tailgating and lots of school spirit. Additional advantages to living in this neighborhood: close proximity to Community Car (if you choose to sign up for a membership); a five minute drive to Trader Joes; short walk to some of the popular Madison eateries like Hong Kong Caf and Mickies Dairy Bar, and near Vilas Park and Lake Wingra. I recommend this neighborhood if convenience is your top priority. This neighborhood can get quite rowdy during football season but overall it is fairly quiet. Tangela Blakely Reavis
Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis PhD Program

South-Central Sector
Student amenable housing in the South-Central Sector is primarily located near the south transfer point region, which includes the areas just north of the Beltline and on either side of Park Street. The neighborhoods directly surrounding the Arboretum are much more expensive and would not accommadate a student budget.

South Side Neighborhood

Madisons south side is typically viewed in two different fashions: a gang infested inner-citylike area to be avoided or an entirely different county whose inhabitants have no connection to the university. I was told to never go to south Madison when I first moved here; so of course it was the first place I headed. Having now lived in the south-central area for 6 years, I can say that neither of these views are accurate. I live north of the Beltline in a community that has apartment buildings, condos, and single-family homes. My neighbors consist of fellow graduate students, families, and single individuals. The very street that I live on has African-American, Hispanic,Hmong, European-American, and Asian-American individuals, young and old people, and several gay pride flags flying high. This eclectic group of people live together in a quiet and happycoexistence; the most noise Ive ever heard has been children trying to pick the apples growing in front of my apartment building. Another reason this is an ideal place to live is being away from the stress of the campusenvironmentand being able to leave work at work. While you can always spark up a conversation about school or campus life if you want, you dont have that pressure and often find yourself talking about something elseaspects of life that dissertatorslike myself call real-life things.The bus stop is at the end of the block and it takes less than 15 minutes to get to campus. The food options are endless,whetheryou are interested in something quick and dirty like fast food or pizza or some of the many local ethnic foodrestaurantson Park Street such as Thai food, Chinese food, Japanese food, Peruvian food, and more. There are several nearby coffee shops and grocery stores, and Copps and Trader Joes are fairy close as well. You are also very close to the Arboretum, bike/walking paths including Wingra Path (my neighbor bikes to work every day), and Madisons largest off-leash dog park. In fact, my street has a really high rating on Because of the location being farther away from campus (and by farther I mean the distance from the front door of my apartment to my office on campus is 3.8 miles, so not that far), rent prices tend to be lower than campus area housing. Also, if you look at the right

Hilldale Neighborhood
The Hilldale neighborhood is a vibrant community including many UW-Madison graduate students. I have lived in the Near West since I started my graduate program and have loved it! There are benefits to being a little farther away from campus. First, it is quieter. As a graduate student you will want somewhere to study and sleep. The west side doesnt see the traffic youll find downtown. Also, you wont have to trade shopping for this peace of mind. Hilldale Mall is centrally located in the near west and includes many restaurants and shops in addition to 3 grocery stores, a pharmacy, a post office, credit union, coffee shops and the State Department and Department of Motor Vehicles. Sundance Theater has a coffee shop that stays open late and includes free wifi, the Great Dane offers great selections of local beer, and the huge Target retail store has almost everything you could possibly need. Copps is just around the corner from the mall and provides affordable shopping. For those who have a car, the majority of apartment complexes on Sheboygan and Segoe include outdoor free parking. The apartment complexes and houses in the Hilldale neighborhood are affordable, with apartment prices for those sharing rooms in the $400-$600/month range. They are also more spacious than those youll find downtown. My current 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment is 980 square feet and very affordable! Sheboygan Avenue has also become an area for international students and includes a diverse growing community of UW-Madison students. I would highly recommend living on this side of campus if you like a quiet and spacious area to live with the convenience of local shopping. Saili Kulkarni
Special Education PhD Program

buildings, you may also find that some of the places are bigger and more updated than campus area places. Landlords with housing closer to campus can charge more and upgrade less because they know people will always rent from them because of the location. The moral to the story is, dont let stories about South Madison scare you away. There are certain parts of South Madison that may be a little more tough than other parts, but that may be true for any part of Madison. People tend to see a certain kind of person walking around and make assumptions about the neighborhood. South Madisonnot a danger zone, not a journalistic investigation of a new worldmy world. Myeshia Price
Developmental Psychology PhD Program

University Housing
University sponsored housing for graduate students is composed of three distinct neighborhoods: Eagle Heights, University Houses, and the Harvey Street Apartments. Only the Harvey Street Apartments are furnished. While Eagle Heights has 1,044 apartment units, the University Houses and Harvey Street Apartments have 47 and 144 units respectively, which means that living there is much more compeitive. Also keep in mind that University Houses will be underging extensive renovations starting July 2014 and will not be open again until the summer of 2015. It is important to apply for these apartments as early as possible because their waitlists are very long.

Eagle Heights
The first thing that came into my mind after getting admitted to UW-Madison was where I should live. I looked at the options offered by the university and chose the Eagle Heights community because it is very graduate student friendly. The renting process was smooth and the staff were helpful. Once I got settled, I noticed all the other great things about this community: excellent maintenance service and repair, excellent service during snow (cleaning paths, etc.), a community center with many organized activities, a free bus to and from campus, a free high-speed Internet connection, easy access to the community gardens, a quiet and peaceful environment, and finally a great location (including access to Picnic Point). I believe that for families with small children (and no pets), this community is a great alternative to other housing in the area. Also, I am sure that single students can equally enjoy living here if they value less crowded areas, which takes me to the part about Eagle Heights that I like the least: not being able to make much noise or invite friends over because the walls are so thin. Finally, I have to say that I am happy with my decision. If you find yourself living in this community I hope you enjoy it. Taher J.

A bicyclist rides along Arboretum Drive Jeff Miller/University Communications

Engineering PhD Program


Families and Furry Friends Housing for Graduate Students with Families
If you have a family, look for housing on the east or west sides of Madison. Housing near campus that can accommodate a family will be very expensive, and less desirable in terms of quality. Look for single-family homes for rent these are more likely to be reasonably priced and may come with free parking and laundry facilities or a backyard. Check out school district ratings while there are arguably very good elementary and middle schools on both sides of town, Madison West High School is more highly thought of than Madison East High School. Think about your lifestyle before deciding on housing: The Near East Side is much more of an urban living environment it is easy and safe to walk around this part of town, bus service is relatively frequent, and many people bike to work. Commercial activities are more limited. The Near West Side has a more suburban feel it is easier to drive around than to walk, and commercial activity is located in shopping areas (malls, etc.), with many higher end options available. While there are several hospitals located near campus, many medical facilities and doctors offices are located on the west side of town. While there are daycare options all over town, the UW-sponsored daycare facilities are located on the west side. Jess Clayton
Political Science PhD Program

Eagle Heights residential housing area near Picnic Point and Lake Mendota. Jeff Miller/University Communications

Living in Madison with Pets

Moving to Madison with pets presents a couple of extra challenges. A lot of the nicer, renovated, and centrally located apartments do not allow pets. People who rent to pet owners do not frequently renovate apartments, so be prepared to lower your standards. Apartments that allow cats are easier to find than those that allow dogs and those that allow dogs normally have a 20 lb. weight limit and breed restrictions. If you have pets, you should start the apartment search early. If you have a larger pet or multiple pets it will be easier to find an apartment further out. I have

three Yorkshire Terriers and even though all together and soaking wet they dont even weigh 20 lbs, it was impossible to find an apartment within Madison city limits. Overall it turned out great because I found a nicely kept apartment with a huge courtyard in Fitchburg. There is a trade-off in proximity to campus and nightlife, but overall you will find nicer apartments and more accommodating property managers a bit further out. The city of Madison requires that all pets have a license, which can be obtained through the city treasurers office. The City of Madison and Dane County maintain several dog parks. One of them,Token Creek park, has a separate small dog area with an agility course set up. Something to keep in mind is that several City of Madison parks and all of the beaches are off limits to dogs. I assumed that leashed dogs were allowed in all parks and got told by a stranger, not so politely, that this was not the case. Janina Mera
Development Studies PhD Program

Token Creek Dog Park, Janina Mera


Chapter 2: Finances
waiver, you must have at least a 33% position. A 50% RA position would net you the funding below. But keep in mind that this is a best case scenario situation. Stipends range from $14,000 to $22,440 a semester (2012-13 funding level) and the individual premium for a group health care plan is roughly $81/month. Many students work below 50%, and might receive a monthly stipend of less than $1,000 2012-13 50% RA stipend level $ 20,400 $ 20,400 2012-13 Tuition Remission $ 13,525 $ 25,134 Comprehensive Health Insurance $ 6,732 $ 6,732 Total Offer Value $ 40,657 $ 52,266

Resident Non-Resident

Even if you receive a tuition waiver, you will still have to pay for segregated fees. Recently, the TAA negotiated an offer that allows grads to pay their fees later in the semester. For details on that policy visit the Bursars Office website: Summers can be a trying time financially for graduate students. Few teaching positions or fellowships extend payment past June. Make sure you either save enough money to get through a few extra months (a difficult task for even the most financially savvy students) or make a plan to find summer employment. Keep in mind that if you have a Fall semester position you will not receive your first paycheck until October 1st. However, if you did work as a TA, PA, or RA the semester before, you will receive a tuition waver for the summer term as well. Students often use this as an opportunity to catch up on language credits or other program requirements. Many students look for external fellowships to help make ends meet, fund research or conference travel, or free up time to focus on finishing their dissertation. The best place to start if you are looking for grants is the librarys Grant Information Collection webpage: http://grants.

inding funding is the number one concern of most graduate students. Whether or not you have a guaranteed funding package, learning how to budget is key. The budget sheet in this section should help you begin to think about how best to manage your money if you come to UW-Madison. It is also important to talk to your program advisor and coordinator to make a funding plan for your years here. Here are a few tips you might want to keep in mind as you plan.

PAs, TAs, RAs

The main sources of funding for graduate students are Project Assistanships, Teaching Assistanships, and Research Assistanships. The hours you work and the stipend you receive are based on a percentage system, which varies by department and position. In order to receive a tuition

Grants & Fellowships

TAA Members at the 2012 Refounding Party

The oldest graduate student union in the world, the Teaching Assistants Association (TAA) represents TAs, PAs, RAs, and graduate lecturers at the Madison campus. UW-Madison employs approximately 2,700 graduate employees who perform much of the universitys vital teaching and research work. The TAA is a union run by graduate students for graduate students and advocates on behalf of the well-being UW graduate students. Previous TAA victories include tuition remission, paid sick leave, health care, sick days used for maternity leave, benefits extending to domestic partnerships, moving the segregated fee due date and late charge to the end of the semester, LGBTQ advocacy issues, daycare issues on campus, and other issues affecting the Madison graduate student community. Despite state-wide legal changes impacting unions, the TAA is still hard at work, fighting for its members. Its strength depends on its members; all decisions are made democratically at membership meetings and carried out by graduate student volunteer-members. Sign up online, learn more about the TAA by visiting our website (!
Matt Reiter, Co-President TAA, History Department PhD Program

Tips for Grant Applications from the Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources
1. Its a long process so plan ahead and be prepared for the length of the timeline. 2. PAY ATTENTION TO REQUIREMENTS! In most competitions, 10-30% of applications can be eliminated right away without ever being read because the applicant has failed to follow some of the minor instructions. 3. PAY ATTENTION TO TIMES ATTACHED TO DEADLINES! Many deadlines come with times attached. Make sure you know what time the application is due in your time zone! 4. Know your audience. Applications are often put at the bottom if the readers have a hard time following the jargon. The Writing Center is a great resource that can help with this. 5. Give your references enough time to write the letter and think about providing them with information about you (such as a C.V.) so they can use it while they writing your letter. 6. Find ways to show how your research is relevant to others! This is often what will put a candidate at the top of the list.


7. Get someone to review and provide feedback on your final application.

Tips for Grant Applications from a Student

Apply more than once. You might not get the award the first time around, but you will be better prepared for next time by the very act of getting the application together. If its allowed, continue to apply for the same fellowships even after you have received that same award. Let your recommendation letter writers know about deadlines as far in advance as possible. Most will ask for a draft of your purpose statement so that they can tailor their letters to your ideas. Dont delay getting information to your letter writers because your purpose statement isnt perfect. Hit the important points and get the info to them quickly. Be polite and cultivate good relations with the administrative staff that are handling your various applications. They may or may not be in on the award committee meetings and they often have the burden of organizing application paperwork. Rachel Gloc
Ethnomusicology PhD Program

you should spend less time worrying about whether you are accurately describing the sampling process you will end up using and more time identifying a sexy topic and thinking about the methodological and theoretical tools that could be used to address it, even if you actually end up doing something quite different. This is an amazing fellowship. You get 3 years of funding at $30,000 a year. You have five years in which to use up the funding, so you can even break up the years in which you receive the fellowship if you receive other funding offers in between. Madeleine Fairbairne
Sociology PhD Program

Fulbright IIE
Because the Fulbright is not just funding for dissertation research, but also a cultural exchange, it is a grant unlike any others. As a result, it requires a bit of preparation. The campus deadline for the grant is in early September, but its wise to start writing drafts of the applicationof which you will write manylong before this deadline. Two pages single-spaced may not seem like much, but it will be perhaps the two densest pages of your grad career, and it is well worth consulting your advisor and the International Fellowships Office, which has plentiful resources for applicants, early on. Once submitted to the campus grant officer, you have an interview with a professor outside your department; both to rate the quality of your grant (UW-Madison must give ranking to all its applicants before passing them on), and to prepare you for the often rigorous process to follow, often consisting of more interviews, sometimes in the language of your country of destination. If and when you are awarded the grant, the interactive process continues; the Fulbright is of course meant to fund your dissertation work, but you are also expected to be a representative for the U.S. in your country of study, and to engage yourself in more than just research. Grantees are expected to interact with their new communities, to get involved, to put themselves in new situations. The result is incredibly rewarding: not only do you get the chance to pursue research for nine months overseas, but you also gain the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of your host country for nine months. Fulbright scholars will find themselves connected to a network of scholars and other notables in their host country; attending cultural events, travelling within the country, and learning to live like the locals. Its at once an invaluable funding opportunity and unforgettable life experience; well worth the hard work! Terry Peterson History PhD program The Fulbright program includes several award types and levels. My experience is with the Fulbright IIE Graduate Research Fellow competition. Most importantly, start early and check

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship is unique in that it is aimed at supporting individual students who are still early in their graduate careers. You can apply for it once youve been accepted to a grad program (MA or PhD) but before youve begun, during your first year, or in the fall of your second year, at the latest. If youve already done a MA degree and are now starting a PhD, you are probably ineligible, since it is really aimed at students with a year or less of grad school under their belts. Although it may seem difficult to write a research proposal when you are only just beginning grad school, it is also very freeing because the application process is mostly about you, rather than your exact project, and you dont have to stick precisely to what you propose. The application consists of three, short essays: a personal statement, an account of your previous research experience, and a research proposal. The first two are mostly about showing that you are an impressive candidate in terms of what you were able to accomplish as an undergraduate or in the first year of grad school. For the research proposal, they know that a first year graduate student cant really be expected to know exactly what their dissertation will be on or how best to research it. The proposal is therefore really more about showing that you are capable of identifying an important research topic (both in terms of your discipline and broader impacts to society) and crafting a practical approach to studying it. In other words,

dates on websites! The Fulbright award cycle is summer and early fall and the deadline for your Madison submission comes quickly during the fall semester. You submit your application to the local office about a month before the national deadline. This ensures that you will have everything completed by the official national deadline. Erin Crawley, who runs the Madison office, is an incredible resource. She is experienced and and will give you personalized advice on your application (if you give her a reasonable amount of time). If possible, attend the Fulbright information sessions and any writing workshops. As is the case with all fellowships/grants, read the background material on the award. What is the philosophy behind the award? What do they want you to accomplish in addition to some writing or research? They hope that you will develop relations with scholars in other countries, promote good local relations through volunteering, etc. Articulate clearly (and in the first paragraph) how your project fits within their award philosophy. This is especially important for a program like Fulbright. Rachel Gloc
Ethnomusicology PhD Program

your application more competitive. For the last part of the application, you are asked to describe how foreign language fits within your graduate research focus and career goals, but you do not need to submit a detailed thesis or dissertation proposal. In addition to academic year awards, FLAS summer fellowships typically include $5,000 to support study at UW and elsewhere. Fellowship deadlines are typically in mid-February, see for the application and more information. These awards position you well not only for subsequent international graduate work but also career opportunities which favor scholars skilled in a foreign language. Vijay Limaye
Population Health Sciences and Environment and Resources PhD Program

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships

FLAS fellowships, offered by academic centers at UW-Madison through grants from the U.S. Department of Education, support the study of foreign languages beyond those most commonly taught in American high schools. The UW-Madison campus is home to an array of renowned language training programs and FLAS awards allow you to engage in foreign language training while also fulfilling your other graduate coursework requirements. Academic year fellowships (September-May) for graduate students offer a stipend of $15,000 in addition to tuition remission and health insurance. These grants are especially helpful for graduate students seeking to conduct international research, and are most easily used for students who plan to complete their language training courses at UW-Madison Students in the humanities have historically been most successful in obtaining FLAS funding, but students in the sciences are encouraged to apply if a compelling case can be made for funding their foreign language training. To apply, students must submit their GRE scores (unofficial scores are fine), undergraduate and graduate transcripts, two reference letters, and an optional language reference. You should identify a two-semester sequence of language courses (one per semester, introductory courses are fine) and related area studies courses (one per semester) that you plan to enroll in, though your area studies course selections may change subsequent to your award. Depending on your language of study and your academic focus, you may be able to use independent study credits to satisfy the area studies requirement-- you should contact your regional centers FLAS coordinator (listed on the FLAS site) for guidance on this point and other tips that can make

FLAS is aimed at students who want to focus on a particular language or geographic area. Fellowships for both full academic years and summer programs are granted through the area studies departments. With this fellowship you take both a language class and a related area studies class each semester. Its great early on in your academic career because you can get through your degree requirements and take language classes (something that can be hard to fit into your regular course schedule). FLAS is for beginners through advanced speakers, so dont feel like you need a high level in a foreign language to apply. The application basically consists of several short essays and recommendation letters. Check with individual area studies departments for other requirements. Because of my FLAS awards, I have been able to write stronger applications for several other grants/fellowships. Rachel Gloc
Ethnomusicology PhD Program

Graduate Student International Field Research Award

This award is for PhD students to conduct exploratory summer research abroad. It is an excellent way to get some research started and doesnt require a fully developed project. It is administered through the Division of International Studies but you apply through an area studies department. This is also a great stepping-stone award, as it helps you become a more eligible candidate for larger research awards. Rachel Gloc
Ethnomusicology PhD Program

Want more help? There are many companies and financial institutions that will provide you with free financial advice, but be a smart consumer. Do your research. Find someone who focuses on financial education; look for those who focus on helping someone without significant (or any!) assets. As a student, you will relate better to and learn more from those who share your values about the importance of education in any setting. Further, financial planning is a growing career path. As the financial underpinnings of our increasingly global society are shifting rapidly, so are the options and possibilities in the financial and investment sectors. Some financial companies have programs that allow those interested in learning more to set very part-time, flexible schedules while they gain education and teach others about moneysomething to consider if you find yourself intrigued as you do the research and planning you need to set your own budget and plan for your future.

Budgeting and Financial Planning

Lets talk about money. Youre a smart persona very smart personor you wouldnt be a grad student here. But how smart are you about money? Only four states in the United States require high school financial literacy courses. Few of us take personal money management classes as undergraduates. We get accepted to grad school and are left to make serious life choices (paying for education, choosing where and when to work, deciding how to spend wisely) with little or no guidance or background information. Its time for you to think seriously about budgeting, financial planning, priorities, and your future. You are responsible for your own finances, and only you can decide what is best for you. Where do you start? Paper, pencil, calculator. List your bills and expenses, and then calculate your income including grants and loans. Track your spending and craft your budget plan! Your budget needs to reflect your personal values and priorities as well as your month-to-month reality. Compare the numbers. Are you spending more than you earn? Will you leave grad school in debt? Are you planning wisely and deliberately for your future? Being aware of how much you are spending, how much you are earning, and how far in debt you are is imperative. Dont take the easy way out now and ignore your future obligations by overspending on charge cards or taking excessive loans to support a lifestyle you arent ready \for; you will regret your decisions later. You are too smart for that. Take charge of your money, and you will be taking charge of your life.

The more you think about moneythe more you actually learn and understandthe better your future will be, and the more options you will have. Focus on your graduate work, but never forget that its money that makes the world go round. And its money and the decisions that you make about money that will determine what kind of life you live after you finish grad school. Determine your priorities and plan wisely!
Tina Hunter
MS Educational Administration 01 GSC PA 1999-2001

Budget Considerations

adison is not an expensive city. The average price for a pint of beer is $5.00. You can go out to dinner at many of the ethnic restaurants along State Street or on the Capitol Square for $15-20. The following table will help you get an estimate of your monthly expenses.

Sample Budget: One Adult

Food Rent Medical Gas/Electric

250 820 50 40 50 30 30 150 0 1420

Estimates for Monthly Expenses

Food Medical w/stipend Medical w/o stipend Rent Gas/Electric w/heat Gas/Electric w/o heat 1 Adult $250 $50 $144 $820 $100 $40 2 Adults $450 $100 $292 $820 100 $40 2 Adults, 1 Child $550 $100 $369 $922 150 $60

Cell Phone Internet Cable Leisure Transportation Total

The estimates in the table are based on the living wage calculator at edu/places/5502548000 where they were available. Rent is based on 2013 projections. Rent is estimated for a one bedroom apartment for a single adult or a couple and as a two-bedroom for 2 adults and 1 child. Other aspects to consider are utilities such as cell phones, Internet, and cable. Madison does not get good cell phone reception. That being said you will get better reception with, according to, U.S. Cellular followed by Verizon and AT&T. By far the worst carrier in Madison is T-Mobile. Another budget buster is generally transportation. As a UW student you have access to a bus pass so you do not need to drive to campus. If you are going to drive, factor in parking permits as well as gas. Madison gas prices run at about the national average.


Budgeting for Children

1. Research and sign up for CCTAP funding through the university. 2. Contact the UW-Madison OCCFR office to find out about daycare providers, and consider accredited facilities in particular. 3. Choose a place to live farther from campus and close to parks. 4. Consider Eagle Heights as a housing option (because of the daycare facilities located there) 5. Take advantage of the semi-annual Half-Pint Consignment Resale and the Madison Mothers of Multiples Resale for inexpensive childrens clothes, toys, equipment, etc. 6. Explore the many free programs for toddlers and pre-school kids. 7. Use the bus (without strollers) bus travel is free for kids under 4 years old, but strollers are not particularly welcome. 8. Consider transportation options carefully if you have kids in Madison, you will occasionally need access to a car (the bus wont always provide acceptable options) if you dont want a car, think about Community Car and similar options. 9. Use the UW-Madison Job Center to advertise for qualified babysitters. 10. Actively look for PA positions on campus, which will provide you with a regular schedule in comparison to being a TA. 11. Ask family to give you an annual membership to the Madison Childrens Museum especially great in the winter months. 12. Check out free children programs/activities at the Madison public libraries. 13. Sign up for the Hulafrog listserv. 14. Ask other graduate student parents in your department for recommendations regarding health care options that are good for parents. Photo Jess Clayton

The most helpful parent resources for me on campus have been gained from living at Eagle Heights, including the Community Center and the Eagles Wing childcare/4K program. Helpful off-campus resources include the following: 1.) Local venues for activities that are fun and inexpensive, such as the zoo and the Madison Childrens Museum; 2.) the Kohls safety center at the American Family Childrens Hospital, where they offer safety products--from carseats and bike helmets to gates and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors--at amazing prices, typically wholesale; 3.) Happy Bambino, which is not only a child/family retail store dedicated to only selling high-quality, natural, and environmentally friendly products, but this shop also is a breastfeeding resource center and offers various parent education courses in addition to parent and child social/play-groups (fee required); and finally, 4.) local resources geared towards parental challenges/stress, like the Respite Center (free, emergency child care--based on availability--244-5730) or the Parent Stressline (2412221). I make every effort to minimize my work hours so that I can devote much of my time to my son, field placement, and schoolwork. I am fortunate to qualify and have access to some CCTAP funds, which have reduced my child care payments by about 25%. Jessica Kinkade
Child, Youth, and Family Welfare MSW Student


Chapter 3: Transportation
winter months so be sure to remove your vehicles so that the streets can be plowed. Information is announced through the media prior to and during the snow season (November 15March 15). If you need to go on a longer trip or buy a lot of groceries, try one of Madisons shared ride programs. Community Car and the Uhaul-owned U Car Share offer different arrangements for residents who do not own cars but would like to use a car occasionally.

The most popular form of transportation in Madison is undoubtedly biking. Bike paths crisscross throughout the city and will take you to almost any destination. The Capital City Trail, for example, brings you on a 7 mile ride around and through Madisonfrom Industrial Drive near Nob Hill, under the Beltline Highway, along John Nolen Drive, past the Monona Terrace Convention Center downtown, and through the east side of Madison. You can also follow it all the way out to the Glacial Drumlin State Trail. Nine miles of the trail also go through the scenic Capital Springs State Recreation Area. Most of the commuter city trails are free, but for the Capital City Trail you will need to purchase a $20 annual state trail pass or a $4 day pass. The City of Madison biking website (http://www.cityofmadison. com/bikeMadison) provides an interactive map that you can use to plan the fastest route to your destination and also includes biking etiquette tips and a breakdown of the laws. Biking laws are strongly enforced in Madison; you will be stopped if you dont use a white headlight and red rear reflector at night or if you commit any traffic violations. Wearing a helmet will also earn you Bicycle Benefits ( Many local businesses offer discounts if you spend a few dollars on a Bicycle Benefits sticker and attach it to your helmet. Every time you and your helmet come back to the store, you can earn rewards. Dont have a bike? Then rent one through B-Cycle, a shared bike program that has 35 stations throughout the city. You can pick a bike up on campus and drop it off near your home. You can also borrow a bike through the Red Bike Project. Budget Bicycle Center maintains a fleet of red bicycles as a public service to residents, students and visitors to Madison. A credit card is required to check out a bike and lock. The cost is completely free when the bike is returned.

Jeff Miller/University Communications

adison is an easy town to get around in without a car. So if you dont have one, there are many options for getting places. Alternative forms of transportation such as taking the bus, biking, and walking are easy, enjoyable, and free. Just think how much money you could save on car payments, insurance, maintenance, and gas! Even if you do have a car, biking, taking the bus, and walking are better ways to get to campus and the downtown area. Parking downtown is limited and costly, and you will most likely have to park far from your destination. The City of Madison does not require any permits for street parking, but some university lots do require permits, so be sure to check signs. You can find parking on the weekends or after hours in some of the lots. Be sure to check the fine print and see when permits are required. Residential parking permits can be purchased to allow residents to exceed the posted one- or two-hour parking limit on some streets. Information can be found at www. Some neighborhoods clean the streets during the warmer monthstypically April through Novemberand signs should indicate when you cannot be parked on that side of the street. Emergency snow plowing may take place during the

Biking through the winter

with upright handlebars would work just as well for biking in Madison in the winter, and I see plenty of people riding around on their road bikes and touring bikes. In general, any bike with thumb or grip-twist shifters, knobby (or studded tires) and low gearing allows for safe and easy winter biking. The absolutely essential accessories include: fenders (to help keep you and the bike clean), good lights (front and back), reflectors (on the bike and you), and a helmet. I actually have two helmets one I wear in the warmer months, and one thats a little too big for my head, so I wear that one in the winter with a brightly colored hat underneath. In addition to my windproof winter coat, I wear gloves and a face-mask (also known as a balaclava). I also carry a pack of tissues in my pocket, since I always seem to get off my bike in the winter with a snotty nose. In order to prevent damage to your bike (and you) when biking in the winter, make sure your brakes and gears are in good condition, especially cables and cable housing. Grease all cables to help them move smoothly and to protect them from the wet and salt. Its common that your bike will get wet and then that wetness will freeze overnight when the temperature drops; so remember to check if your breaks are frozen before hopping on your bike (some WD40 can help unfreeze the cables, if this happens). Use less air in your tires when the roads are snowy or icy for better traction, and remember that the melting snow will make your rims wet, making it harder to brake. Make sure you have good brake pads, and give yourself more time to stop than you would when riding on a dry surfacePanic stops dont work on snow or ice. Use easier gears to pedal through snow and across ice, and try putting more of your body weight forward to keep your front wheel from skidding around. When choosing where to ride, remember that the heat from traffic helps clear streets of snow and ice. The places that will be best to ride are where cars are driving (like on Gorham, University, Mifflin and Johnson). Bike lanes that usually exist on the side of the road may stay icy and snow covered for days, with cars often parking in what is usu ally the bike lane. I often find myself riding in the road (where the path has been cleared by cars), but right next to where the bike lane normally is. I use a metal U-lock (with key), and this type of lock seems to hold up well through the winter. But sometimes if the lock and key are old and worn, the colder temperatures will make it harder to turn the key in the lock. If you know that snow, ice, sleet or really cold temperatures are in the forecast, move your bike inside, or at least to a sheltered location.

Bike in Winter Photo Grace Allen

I bought a mountain bike when I moved to Wisconsin because I wanted to take advantage of all the great mountain bike trails in and around Madison. But having a mountain bike also allowed me to bike all year round, despite the cold, ice and frigid temperatures. A hybrid bike

Two big concerns for bicyclists in the winter are changing road conditions and changing light through the day. Bright sun will reflect off snow and create glare in the eyes of motorists (and other bikers). The sun will also often melt snow throughout the day, which will cause new patches of ice once the temperatures drop again at night. Therefore, be alert, ride slowly and defensively, and use hand signals and eye contact to make sure motorists and other bikers see you and know which direction youre going. Alyson Sewell
German Department PhD Student

Longer Trips
The Van Galder Bus Company runs daily buses from the UW-Madison campus to Chicagos Midway and OHare airports and downtown Union Station (Amtrak). A convenient pickup location at UW-Madison Memorial Union and intermediate stops in Janesville, Beloit, and Rockford make this an attractive travel option. For route schedules and more information, see www. Make sure to double check the bus pick up and drop off locations because they occassionally change due to construction. Megabus is another great option of you are traveling to Chicago or the Twin Cities. You can find tickets for as low as $1 if you carefully watch their website: Badger Bus provides regular transportation to and from Milwaukee and Mitchell Airport. Find more information at or call 6082551511. You can buy tickets online, at the Memorial Union, or at the Badger Bus Depot, located at 2 S. Bedford Street Run by and for students who travel between Madison and the Twin Cities, Better Bus usually operates for Thanksgiving, winter, spring, and Easter/Passover breaks. They do not make frequent stops, and do offer free food and movies for the trip. Usual pick-up points in Madison are the Towers, the southeast dorms, and the Lakeshore dorms. Drop-off points in Minnesota are at the Ridgedale Mall in Minneapolis and the Best Western Kelly Inn in St. Paul. See for more information. The Dane County Regional Airport connects to Chicago OHare and many other gateway cities in the United States. You can use Metro bus services (Route 24) to reach the airport. For flightrelated information to and from the airport, visit Tip: Dane County Regional Airport is small, and ticket prices are often higher there than at larger airports. If you have enough time, it is sometimes cheaper to travel to Chicago or Milwaukee by bus and take a flight from there.

Metro Bus
The Madison public transportation system, commonly known as Metro Bus, is one of the most commonly used resources by the students here on campus. Metro buses connect all the corners of the city, and provide service to almost all important services in and around Madison. For schedule information see Ride Guides are available on all the buses, but using Google maps is probably the easiest way to plan your trip. The buses are also bike friendly, and as long as there is room you can store your bike on the front of the bus. UW-Madison students are entitled to a bus pass good for unlimited Metro bus rides in Madison. Passes are issued two times every year, once at the beginning of fall semester, and again at the beginning of spring semester. The spring semester bus pass is valid through the summer, as well. Bus passes are paid for by segregated fees so every student at UW is entitled to a pass at no additional charge. Passes are available at Memorial Union. You must present your student ID to get a pass. Due to a recent policy change, you might be asked to show both your student ID and metro pass to the driver when you enter the bus.

There are four main taxicab services available in and around Madison: Badger (6082565566) and Green Cab (608255-1234) are shared cab services, so they are usually cheaper, especially for longer trips such as to the airport. Green cab also has a handy bike rack. The two other Madison taxi companies are Madison Taxi (6082558294) and Union Cab (6082422000).


Chapter 4: What to do in Madison

during my Saturday morning walks around the Square than I did over the entire course of my childhood. Proprietors at the market also pride themselves on their ability to provide organic produce and meats. Vegetarians, vegans, ethical eaters, and general omnivores all have items waiting for them. Grass-fed beef and free-range chicken are reasonably priced and locallyraised while signs attesting to the absence of pesticides and herbicides adorn produce stands. If freshly baked bread, squeaky cheese curds, and organic vegetables, fruits, and meats are not (yet) a large part of your diet, the Farmers Market is still worth a weekly tour. On nice days, a stroll around the Square makes for a great (and cheap) way to unwind after a hectic week. Personally, I like to grab a pastry and coffee from one of the bakers and lay in the grass with it, watching the steady flow of people move counter-clockwise around the Capitol, slowly but surely. But be prepared to come early: though the market is open until 2 pm, crowds gather quite quickly as Madisons legendary winters give way to summer. The market is periodically combined with other events such as marathons and festivals, increasing the traffic along with adding to the scenery. Crowds do not bother me. Photography is a hobby of mine and I find the market to be an excellent source of subject matter, both early in the morning when the stalls are just opening and closer to the afternoon when the sidewalks are full of hungry Madisonians. From pamphleteers handing out literature concerning their cause and customers haggling with venders over prices, to displays of fresh vegetables and scores of different buggies, there are always at least a few photos worth taking. I visit the market even when I do not have a list of necessities just to capture a few images of the scenesas well as grab an apple turnover. Brad Baranowski History Graduate Student

Musician at the Farmers Market Photo Brad Baranowski

The Capitol Square Farmers Market

Every Saturday morning from mid-April to early November, representatives from Wisconsins expansive acres of farmland migrate to downtown Madison and set up shop. The Capitol SquareMadisons magnificent public commonsbecomes an outdoor supermarket as farmers, bakers, beekeepers, and others congregate to form one of the largest, and easily the best, farmers market that I have ever frequented. The food is both fresh and affordable. The venders are pleasant and informative. For foodies, the market is a paradise. I like to bake and the selection, quality, and pricing of the fruits that farmers bring to sell has allowed me to keep a steady stock of tarts, pies, breads, and muffins in my home. Bulk orders from most venders are also an option for students who want to split the food bill among their roommates. For those who are more interested in the production rather than the consumption end of eating, the farmers are largely eager to share their knowledge as well as the back story to what might make it to your plate. Oddly, though I grew up in a small rural farm town, I think that I have learned more about planting cycles and other agricultural matters from talking to vendors

Community Supported Agriculture

Becoming a part of the Madison area CSA community is a great way to support local farmers and to buy affordable, organic produce. You can purchase a share or a half-share of a wide variety of organic foods, including produce, cheese, meat, herbs, and eggs. You can also volunteer on a participating farm or for the FairShare CSA Coalition organization. For two summers, three friends and I worked on a farm in exchange for produce. We found our farmer, Michelle, through the volunteering section of the FairShare CSA Coalition website, www. Michelles farm is in Waterloo, a 40-minute drive from Madison through some beautiful Wisconsin countryside. It was great to get out of town a few hours every week and to get our hands dirty weeding and planting. Sometimes we helped Michelle with big projects, such as tending to a fresh crop of hops, and sometimes we worked on our own projects, like my little tomato patch. At the end of each shift, we loaded up our bags with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. We even made an appearance in Michelles quarterly newsletter! <No intersecting link> <No intersecting link> You can also purchase a share or half-share of produce for home delivery or pick up on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The season is usually about 10 weeks, and the produce you find in your box can vary with the crops. On FairShares website, youll find a list of participating farms and a variety of options for pricing and pick-up. The FairShare CSA Coalition also organizes events and fundraisers that bring farmers and consumers together. Bike the Barns is a really popular event every Septemberparticipants spend the day cycling through the countryside, stopping at farms for snacks along the way. FairShare also organizes dinners, cooking classes, and concerts throughout the summer. Katherine Eade
History Graduate Program

Student participating in CSA, Jeff Miller/University Commications


Surprisingly, what first attracted my partner and me to the CSA was not the prospect of fresh seasonal produce every week (though that was certainly a major benefit), but rather budgetary concerns. Grad students with any of the four major health plans offered by the university can receive a wellness benefit reimbursement every year for enrolling in a CSA: $100 for individuals, and $200 for families, which makes joining a CSA as cheap or cheaper than buying produce in the grocery store over the long haul. But if it was the prospect of economizing that first motivated us to join the CSA, it was the veggies that kept us coming back. The process is easy: every week, on a predetermined day and at a location somewhere in townwhich you can usually choose from among several to ensure its close to homeyou pick up a big waxed-cardboard box full of locally-grown produce. Because its seasonal, the produce ranges widely from spring through fall:

leeks and greens in the spring, then heirloom tomatoes and squash (or even strawberries!) in the summer, and potatoes and other hearty cold-weather vegetables like broccoli in the fall. And lettuce; always large round heads of lettuce. The farmers make an effort to diversify their crops, not only to give you as much return for your beginning of the season investment as possible, but to add variety to the table. For someone who enjoys cooking like me, it was always an adventure to open the box and see what new bizarre things Id get to learn to cook this week: Jerusalem artichokes, garlic shoots, etc. The CSA provided not only an easy way to get healthful, nourishing food that I often wouldnt otherwise have time to go shopping for, but a much-needed diversion from my studies. It kept our eating habits healthy (sometimes hard when youve got stacks of papers to grade), and put something interesting on our plates at a very affordable price. I would recommend it to all incoming grad students! Terry Peterson
History PhD Program

The Madison Cheese Curd Guide

All fried cheese curds are created equal, right? Wrong! This Madison pub-snack staple can complement your hard earned post-seminar beer in all its cheesy goodness or sink to your stomach as an artery clogging disappointment. But fear not! You do not have to subject yourself to sub-par curds thanks to the efforts of four Project Assistants working in Bascom Hall. As part of our (off the clock) PA duties for the Office of Professional Development and Engagement, we undertook an extensive survey of Madison area cheese curds and ranked our top three favorites. 3. Grazes cheese curds are not for the faint of heart. These golf ball sized gobs of greasy wonder require at least two bites to effectively swallow. Depending on your preferred cheese to breading ratio, they may not be for you. Coming in at $9, they were also the most expensive curds we sampled. However, the members of our tasting group who favored large amounts of cheese and less breading most enjoyed Grazes interpretation of this Midwest classic. Their just-right elastic consistency, pleasing orange color, and crunchy vodka infused outer shellaccompanied by a house made ranch dipping sauce with a pleasantly thick mouth feelled us to place these curds at number three. 2. The Tipsy Cow restaurant and bar, located just around the corner from Graze, narrowly beat out its neighbor to claim slot number two. Its bite-sized curds have a balanced cheese to bread ratio and satisfying crunch. The Tipsy Cow blends their batter with locally made New Glarus Spotted Cow beer that gives the curds a distinct Wisconsin flavor. They are also more melty than the average curd, which occasionally caused them to ooze together. However, pulling apart mega chunks of cheese was a small price to pay for so much gooey goodness. The ranch dipping sauce was nothing special, but their unique taste and $7 price point caused us to give the Tipsy Cows curds a high ranking. 1. The whole group agreed, however, that the Old Fashioned has earned its reputation as the best cheese curd joint in town. Delivered fresh three days a week from Verns Cheese in Chilton, Wisconsin, the curds are dipped in buttermilk and then fried in a secret beer batter. Light, flaky, and delightfully stringy, they have just the right consistency. The Old Fashioneds dipping sauces are also unrivaled. Patrons can choose between roasted garlic, smoked Spanish paprika, tiger sauce with horseradish or blue cheese, and buttermilk ranch. Piled high in a huge basket for $6.95, they are the best value curds on the Square. The line for a table at the Old Fashioned may be long, but these curds are well worth the wait. Runners up: Hawks, Vintage, Dottys Dumpling Dowry, and City Bar. The Great Danes curds

Cheese Curds at the Old Fashioned Photo Grace Allen

Hoofers sailboats on Lake Mendota. Jeff Miller /University Communications

Hoofers Sailing Club

I often describe Hoofers Sailing Club as the single best thing about Madison; a city that I am mildly obsessed with in general. With over 1200 members and over 120 different boats spread across eight fleets, Hoofers is the second-largest inland sailing club in the nation. With one membership you can learn to windsurf and/or sail anything from small dingys to massive keelboats. Unlike most other clubs though, Hoofers' main goal is to spread a love for sailing, not to make a profit. To this end Hoofers keeps membership dues incredibly low--the cost of one year of unlimited lessons and sailing with Hoofers equals the cost of one lesson at some clubs. Although never having stepped foot on a sailboat before arriving in Madison, I joined Hoofers the summer after my first year in grad school. As soon as I figured out how not to tip over and how to move generally in the direction I was intending, I was hooked. On a personal level, Hoofers offered me a place outside of libraries and seminar rooms where I could nonetheless learn something new and exciting. Communally, Hoofers fostered relationships with grad students and professors from fields other than my own and even with people from (gasp!) outside academia. Finally, in the quest to maintain sanity as a grad student, nothing compares to the feeling of pushing off from the pier and leaving that paper or grant proposal behind on dry land. Charlie Cahill
History PhD Program

Student Sailing Jeff Miller /University Communications

Some of our Favorite Things to Do in Madison

1. Restaurant Week This semi-annual event gives Madison foodies the perfect opportunity to sample fine dining without breaking the bank. Starting at $25, participating restaurants offer a fixed priced menu with 3 courses and 3 options for each course. 2. Taste of Madison Taste of Madison is held on the Capitol Square during Labor Day weekend. Sample bite sized food from more than 80 local restaurants. There is free live music and all food is priced between $1 and $4. 3. Wisconsin Film Festival This five-day-long festival is held every April in Madison and presents a broad range of independent films from around the world as well as many made locally. This is the largest campus-based film festival in the United States. 4. Concerts on the Square Concerts are held on the King Street corner of the Capitol Square at 7:00 pm on Wednesdays during the summer and feature the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Bring blankets, friends, and a bottle of wine. 5. Winter Festival Truckloads of snow transform the Capitol Square into a race and recreational venue every February. The event features winter athletics and family oriented activities such as snow and ice sculpting, sled hill rides, snowshoeing, and winter-themed museum tours. 6. Ride the Drive Held two weekends each summer, Ride the Drive is a community event that turns Madisons signature streets into a public promenade that is open to bikers, walkers, and rollerbladers. Participants can also enjoy live music, food, and participate in various activities along the way. Arboretum Walk Jeff Miller/University Communicatiomns 7. Madison Rhythm and Booms Fireworks Held on or before the 4th of July, Madison puts on a large fireworks display synced to

music. Although the fireworks are set off from Warner park, there are many viewing points around the city. 8. Henry Vilas Zoo Free to the public, the Madison zoo is the perfect place for a summer outing. Although its small, there are plenty of animals to entertain kids and adults alike. 9. The UW-Madison Arboretum With 1,260 acres of restored ecosystems, the arboretum is a Madison treasure. Take a walk around the Curtis Prairie, Wingra Woods, and Gardner Marsh to clear your mind and invigorate your body. 10. Ohlbrich Botanical Gardens Located in the Atwood neighborhood, the Ohlbrich Gardens feature abundant Wisconsin plants. The outdoor gardens are free and open daily and the conservatory costs $2. 11. Overture Center for the Arts Located on State Street, this beautiful world class concert hall features plays, classical music, and popular bands throughout the year. Discounted students rush tickets can be purchased right before many of the events if you present your student ID. 12. Picnic Point A nearly mile-long peninsula along Lake Mendotas south shore, Picnic Point is the perfect place for an afternoon walk, or, of course, a picnic. Contact Campus Event Services to reserve a fire circle and wood for free.

And theres even more to do in Madison! Check out popular Madison websites like:
The Greater Madison Convention and Vistors Bureau Isthmus: The Daily Page Discover Madison 365 Graduate Student Performing at Overture Center Jeff Miller/University Communicatiomns

Top Ten Regional Destinations

water ski show, museums, amusement parks, and a casino make the Dells a popular summer destination. 4. Blue Mounds - A village about 40 miles from Madison, the Blue Mounds has many local tourist attractions, including Blue Mounds State Park, the Cave of the Mounds, Tyrol Basin Ski and Snowboard Area, and Little Norway, a living museum devoted to the regions Norwegian influence. 5. Wollersheim Winery - Located in Prairie du Sac, Wollersheim Winery offers daily tours and tastings from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guided tours are an hour long and take place every hour. 6. Devils Lake State Park - Devils Lake is a glacial formation created approximately 12,000 years ago. It is now the site of Wisconsins biggest state park, located near Baraboo. Spend the day hiking or bring camping gear for an overnight stay. 7. Chicago - For about $50 you can book a round trip bus ticket to Chicagothe third largest city in the United States. 8. Milwaukee - Drive the hour or so from Madison to Milwaukee to take in a Brewers game, visit the Milwaukee Art Museum, catch a show, or just enjoy some locally brewed beers by the lake. 9. Twin Cities - St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota are about 4 hours from Madison and make for a good weekend trip. 10. Lake Geneva - This small resort city on a lake is particularly popular with tourists from metropolitan Chicago and Milwaukee. Visitors can plan a cruise, play golf, fish,take in some live entertainment, or just relax on the many beaches that dot the lakeside.

New Glarus Photo Saili Kulkarni

1. New Glarus - Founded in 1845 by immigrants from Glarus, Switzerland, this town still maintains its Swiss heritage. A mere 42 minutes from Madison, New Glarus makes for a great day trip. Dont miss out on a visit to the brewery, which is famous for its Spotted Cow Beer. 2. Mount Horeb - The Troll Capital of the World, Mount Horeb is a scenic town that you can pass a few hours in. Its 20 mile distance from Madison and well marked Military Ridge trail makes it a great biking destination. 3. The Dells - Though a bit kitsch, the Dells is filled with kid-friendly amusements. Water parks, boat tours, golf courses, mini golf, go-kart tracks, water sports, horseback riding, a

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Memorial Union Terrace Jeff Miller/University Communications