A Field Guide to Grad School: A Conversation with Jessica McCrory Calarco


Welcome to The Academic Life. You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island, and neither are we. So we reached across our mentor network to bring you podcasts on everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Wish we’d bring in an expert about something? Find us on Twitter: The Academic Life @AcademicLifeNBN.

In this episode you’ll hear: things you really need to know to navigate graduate school, why there’s a hidden curriculum, and a discussion of the book A Field Guide to Grad School.

Our guest is: Dr. Jessica McCrory Calarco, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Indiana University in Bloomington. She is the author of A Field Guide to Grad School: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum (Princeton, 2020), and Negotiating Opportunities: How the Middle Class Secures Advantages in Schools (Oxford 2018). Her research examines inequalities in education and family life, which she has written about for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Inside Higher Ed, and The Conversation.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women, gender, and sexuality. She sincerely wished she had had a guide to graduate school; the lack of one coupled with the ongoing mysteries of the hidden curriculum of her PhD program led her to create a mentorship program while still a student. She later co-created the Academic Life channel for NBN with Dr. Dana Malone.

Listeners to this episode might be interested in:

  • A Field Guide to Grad School: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum by Jessica McCrory Calarco
  • The Merit Myth by Anthony Carnevale, Peter Schmidt and Jeff Strohl
  • The Hidden Curriculum by Rachel Gable
  • Degrees of Difference: Reflections of Women of Color on Graduate School by Kimberly McKee and Denise Delgado, eds.
  • The Academic Life channel on New Books Network
  • Dr. Calarco’s graduate school advice  here

Your Host

Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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