Pre-Fall 2020 // Class of 2021 Newsletter

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's

CLASS of 2021


Claire Gonyo, Ph.D.

Schedule appointments
P: (518) 276-8022 | E:
Hours: M-F: 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

In Case of Emergency:
Public Safety: P: (518) 276-6656




What a strange few months it has been. I hope that you continue to be safe and healthy and that you are prepared to take on a new semester that will be new and different for all of us. Whether you have decided to study remotely, on campus, or are an Architecture student on your away semester, I hope that you will have a productive and fulfilling semester. This newsletter will be a mixture of things you need to know because of COVID and a "regular" newsletter as we look towards the semester beginning, so please bear with me because I have a lot of information to share. 

If you are returning to campus to complete the fall semester in person, please be sure that you have completed the online training and signed up for your testing block between August 25-27. While it is our hope that you will all be able to get back for testing during those three days, we know that some of you will unable to get back to Troy due to work, pre-booked travel plans, lease dates, and a variety of other reasons. If you absolutely cannot make it back for testing between August 25-27, please email and keep an eye on the scheduling site for later dates to open up. Just remember that you will still have to quarantine for two weeks from the date of your arrival back in the area. 

I recognize that you're likely experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety regardless of what your plans are for the semester and I want to make sure that you know that what you're experiencing is totally normal and that you're not alone. There's some scary stuff happening in our world right now and there so many unknowns. Ultimately, I want to make sure that you know that you are not alone. Lean on those close to you for support and don't hesitate to reach out for support at the Institute. While there will likely not be a whole lot of face to face interactions happening this semester, the Counseling Center, your academics advisors and hubs, professors,and so many others will continue to be available to you virtually.

As I have said to many of the students I have met with this summer, whether I'm on campus or in my dining room, I will continue to be here for you. Feel free to email me, set up an appointment, or connect with our Success team on the Student Success Discord server.

Take Good Care.
Claire Gonyo
Undergraduate Class Dean, Student Success

Updates from the Counseling Center

Counseling Services (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.) 
No in-person appointments: phone and video appointments only. 

  1. Counseling Appointments 

  • Counseling appointments will be conducted via phone or video. To schedule an appointment, email or call (518) 276-6479 or (518) 276-6287. Indicate the best time and phone number for a counselor to contact you. 
  • Drop-in counseling in the Mueller Center, ECAV, and the Rensselaer Union is canceled. 
  1. Psychiatric Services 

  • Psychiatry appointments will be conducted via phone and/or video. To schedule an appointment, email or call (518) 276-6479 or (518) 276-6287. Indicate the best time and phone number for a counselor to contact you. 

  1. Crisis Intervention (24/7/365) – Follow normal procedures 

  • Call the Department of Public Safety (518) 276-6611 and request to speak with the Counselor-on-Call. 
  • If life-threatening, call 911 or the National Suicide Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255 
  1. Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 


The Rensselaer Counseling Center, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Capital Region, and Active Minds are proud to announce a partnership to help expand counseling resources and services for students experiencing mental health issues. This will be a weekly Virtual Peer Led Support Group for students who have lived experience with mental health symptoms or who are currently living with a mental illness.    

The Peer Led Support Group will be held virtually every Wednesday from 6-7pm.  A start date will begin Wednesday September 9th.  Mark your calendar and stayed tuned for a Virtual Link to take you there! 

For more information on the benefits of Peer Led Support Groups: 


Are you a HASS Major?

Please schedule a meeting soon with your Hub advisor (Brian Woods for GSAS students, Michelle Riley for everyone else) to review your fall registration and what you have left for the spring. We want to be sure we know when you plan to graduate and be sure that there are no surprises right before graduation! Meetings can be scheduled here:

Considering Graduate School?

Welcome, Seniors!
In these uncertain times, there are still amazing opportunities to secure an exciting future. Corporations, government organizations, and private foundations are seeking promising students to invest in; fellowship programs may include a salary (stipend) and tuition as you pursue a Masters or PhD.
The mission of the Office of Graduate Education Fellowship Advisor is to assist RPI students, undergraduate and graduate, in finding and applying to fellowships and other programs to fund their graduate education. Support is offered regardless of graduate school you choose to attend. You do not have to attend RPI for support securing funding.
Fall is application season. Most programs accept applications from September through December to fund the 2021 – 22 academic year. NOW is the time to select appropriate programs and submit applications.
Fast facts –
  • The award rate of all programs combined is approximately 30%. If you apply to three programs, you increase the odds of your successfully securing support for grad school.
  • There is funding available for every discipline.
  • There is funding for international students.
  • Awards come in a variety of forms and durations: months, one year, multi-year.
  • Awards offer the opportunity for research and travel abroad, networking within your discipline, and guaranteed employment post-education. 
  • It takes 4-6 weeks to put together a strong application…. Start now.
Please contact Betty Madigan if you have any questions, would like support finding and applying to programs, or would like to receive the monthly e-newsletter (upcoming deadlines, workshop information, and tips for applying). Note, Betty has an extensive list of funding programs that have historically supported RPI graduates, please contact her for more information.


From Your Class Council President

We hope everyone has had a chance to enjoy their summer in a safe and fun way. We know this is not the senior year we were expecting, but we are confident that peers like you will work hard to make it through the semester. We are eager to share what we have been planning over the summer and look forward to sharing some of it with you in the coming weeks. Know that your Council Representatives and Class Dean are always here to listen to and answer your questions and concerns.
Stay healthy and safe!
Class President Lisa Sulmasy ( and the members of the 2021 Class Council

Featured Events »

Finding Fellowships to Support Graduate Education

Fall virtual workshops have been announced:
Fellowship 101 - Introduction to External Funding: Fellowships allow you to set your own research agenda; they also carry prestige and help develop your career. In this session we’ll cover the basics, including where to search for funding and what goes into a successful application. Learn about opportunities for full fellowships with stipends, travel grants, opportunities for research abroad, and more. External funding is not just for US citizens! We’ll discuss options for international students as well. 
Please register for ONE session by clicking on the date/time session below. Replace my name and email with yours:
Thursday, September 10, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Wednesday September 16, 10:00am -11:00am
Fellowship 101 is also available in short video segments HERE
Writing for Fellowship Applications: Prepare to put together strong application materials for any fellowship program. This workshop will discuss how to develop materials for the specific program you are applying to. Writing tips for drafting and editting your material will be explored. Have paper and something to write with handy as will do a few exercises that will enhance your writing skills - NOTE: This is for ALL level writers! Students who are fluent in English benefit from this workshop.
Please register for ONE session by clicking on the date/time session below. Replace my name and email with yours:
Tuesday, September 22, 2:00pm -3:30pm (1.5 hours)
Monday, September 28, 10:00am - 11:30am (1.5 hours)
Individual Consultations are always available via Webex. Contact Betty Madigan for more information. 

Updates from ALAC

  • Drop-In Tutoring for the Fall is being planned and set up. All tutoring will be virtual and have consistent times week to week. We will post this schedule on our website. 

  • We will still be accepting “requests for tutors” if we haven’t identified a tutor for a particular class. We will make every effort to find a tutor for a student who needs one. 

  • Students who need academic coaching or general advising will be able to make an appointment with an ALAC counselor/advisor either to meet briefly in person or to set up a virtual meeting.  Walk-in appointments will be limited in time and density and based on the institute’s regulations.  

  • We will continue to meet regularly with students who are Continued on Probation (COP) and student who may be on Financial Aid probation. Most of these meeting will occur virtually. 

  • Students should call the ALAC office at (518) 276-6269 or email with questions or if they are looking to make an appointment. 


(More info to come!)

September 1 - September 18 - Pub Daily Trivia
September 1 - Tuesday Tea Talk
September 2, 5pm - How to Use LinkedIn to Research, Network, and Find Opportunities
September 3, 6pm - Applying to Graduate School
Week of September 8 - Resumania: Resume reviews by employers and alumni
September 8 - Tuesday Tea Talk
September 15 - Tuesday Tea Talk
September 17 -, 6:30-9:30pm - SAAC (Student Athlete Advisor) Career Fair via Handshake for student-athletes only
September 25 and September 26 - NSBE/SHPE Career Fair
October 27, 10am - ISSS & CCPD Career Planning for Undergraduate Students

Success Labs

Tuesdays | 4:00-5:00 p.m.

This series of workshops prepares you to achieve your academic and personal goals. You are encouraged to attend one or all of the sessions which have included presentations by faculty, deans, administrators, and renowned experts.

Important Dates »

August 30

Deadine for city of birth reporting for international students

August 31

First day of classes


August 31 - September 4

All classes will be held online


September 7

Labor Day - No Classes

September 8

Follow a Monday schedule

First day of in person classes for those not studying remotely who have completed quarantine


September 11

Last day to add courses, change sections, or put courses on audit

September 18 - September 20

Rosh Hashana

September 27 - September 28

Yom Kippur

October 12

Indigenous Persons' Day - No classes

October 16

Last day to file an online Degree Application via SIS for December graduation

October 23

OPT Soft Deadline for international students

October 25


November 1

End of Daylight Savings Time
(turn back your clock!)


November 3

Election Day

November 11

Veterans Day

November 14


November 15

Deadline to for Co-Term Applications for May Graduates 

November 25 - 27

Thanksgiving Break - No Classes

November 26


November 30 - December 11

All classes will be held online

December 10 - December 18


December 12 - December 14

Online Reading Days

December 15 - December 21

Online Final Exams

December 22

Winter recess begins



Schedule an Appointment with the Health Center

Student Life Resources, Information, and Upcoming Events »

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