Dean Amanda Bryant-Friedrich featured on WDTK to talk about the 2023 Graduate Research Symposium

Dean Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, Ph.D., who leads WSU Graduate School, spoke to Assistant Director of Media Relations for WSU Athletics Cameron Weidenthaler on WDTK The Patriot during halftime of the Thursday, Feb. 2, Wayne State basketball game against Michigan Tech. The dean talked about the 2023 Graduate Research Symposium that will be held March 6-8. 

Weidenthaler: And we welcome you back. We're at halftime of Wayne State basketball. We are pleased to welcome back at halftime, we've had her a couple times now, Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, the dean of the Graduate School here at Wayne State. Dr. Amanda, thanks for joining us. What’s been going on since the last time we talked?

Bryant-Friedrich: Well, I am excited to be back again. I was saying this is just wonderful to always get to come on and talk to you guys. The university has been doing wonderful things in the Detroit community. The Graduate School has been prospering and moving forward, welcoming students from all over the state the nation and the world, so we're really, really excited at Wayne State about graduate education.

Weidenthaler: Absolutely, and that's what we're here to talk about today. It's always nice having some repeat interviewees on the network here, but the first question I have for you just kind of a refresher for everybody out there but, what exactly is the role of the Graduate School here at Wayne State University?

Bryant-Friedrich: I'm going to take it back a little bit and say what is graduate education and then talk about how we help there, because graduate education of course is anything that's beyond the bachelor's degree and so many, many students come through Wayne State University to get their bachelor's degrees but then they get a taste for wanting to have more knowledge and so they want to become experts and really hone in on areas that they feel that they are uniquely qualified to be experts in and that's what graduate education actually allows you to do. It allows you to just really gain focus in a specific area. It lets you then find people who are like-minded, who are doing research and scholarship and creative work that you're interested in. You get to work with those people and then you get to move on and use those skills and that knowledge of course to have a wonderful life to advance your career to travel the world to do all the things that we all want to do, right? Have a little bit more money in our pocket a nice home to live in and to see the world. The Graduate School itself is responsible for making sure that those degrees are actually at the quality that would be expected by anyone who sees that someone has a master's degree from Wayne State University or from any institution, so we have to make sure that the curriculum is actually up to par to today's standards. Education is constantly evolving. It is our role to make sure that we understand what is important in the world as far as graduate education is concerned. Make sure that Wayne State is keeping up with those times and doing those things, and so other than that, we are there to support master’s students. Students who are getting graduate certificates as well as the prize doctoral degree or PhD, so we're there for that. There are of course other graduate level degrees at the institution like the PharmD, the MD, the JD, we don't get involved in those. There are experts in those areas that do that for us, but we're there for all the other graduates with degrees.

Weidenthaler: Yeah, there's only so much you can do and well I don't know if I asked you this the last time you were on, but maybe just go over some of the more popular grad programs we have here at Wayne State.

Bryant-Friedrich: Well, you know the MBA is one of the most important degrees that we see across all graduate education. A lot of people want to be very proficient and built in business and so we have a very popular MBA program being here in the heart of Detroit. In a place where automotive is king, engineering is very, very important to us so we see a lot of people who come here who want to get master's degrees in engineering that also includes computer science and we've moved into the data science area which is really popular nowadays. Civil engineering, chemical engineering, materials science, and engineering is important, so those areas are really big and then when you start looking at health care and taking care of the human condition, we do a lot of things around developing new medications, trying to figure out why people get diseases and all of those things are tied to degrees at the master’s or in the doctoral level. Our most popular doctoral degree here on campus is the chemistry PhD and then we also have PhDs in psychology which are also very popular so those are two areas at the doctoral level that we get a lot of interest in.

Weidenthaler: Yeah, what are some of your priorities since you've taken over as the head of the grad school and what are you looking forward to in the future with the grad programs at Wayne State?

Bryant-Friedrich: Well, anyone who knows me, knows that I preach access. I believe that an institution with Wayne State's mission, vision and goals should be accessible to anybody who has the skill set and the desire to get a graduate degree and so I am always looking at the ways that our interest institution provides that access to people from Detroit from the state from the country and of course from around the world. All of my ideas around access include the ease to which it is to actually apply when you need financing to get your degree. Do we have financing? Can we help you find financing so that you can actually pay for your degrees? Many of our doctoral-level degrees here—you can come to the institution, and we pay you to be here, to get a doctorate, so there are those kinds of things that are always important to me. I am really looking to expand our reach there by having the financial resources to help folks to have the academic resources to help folks come in and get the education that they desire, and they deserve.

Weidenthaler: Yeah, and are there some events coming up for grad students at Wayne State? I supposed to ask you about that, any events coming up for the program?

Bryant-Friedrich: Well we always have lots of things going on but one of the things that I get most excited about is our Graduate Research Symposium because that's the opportunity that we give all of our graduate students to put the work that they're doing whether it's creative work, whether it's scholarly research, whatever it is they're doing to put it out there for the public to see, and if you are interested in attending you can just go in and register at It's free, you can come in, you can see topics that are interesting to you. We have students here who are looking at every possible thing you can imagine, so that's one of the great ones. We also have an important professional development series that we have for our students. Many of those are also open to the public. We look at things like how to advance in your profession. We look at financial health for those who are at the university level or getting graduate degrees so our professional development series is really important and I just want to put one thing out there is that I love to meet people, I really do. I am a people person and in March the Graduate School is going to have an event at Tony V's in Midtown where I'm going to be there, my staff is going to be there, so if you're interested in graduate education, if you're a graduate student at Wayne, come by and eat a little something with me and let's sit down and have a conversation.

Weidenthaler: I love it. I have been there a few times definitely a great place and hope it won't be snowing in March when you have that meet up unlike today as we're taping this. Because we're in Michigan, we never know, right? It could be snowing, you never know, but hey, Dr. Amanda, thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule. I know you're busy here at the start of the semester. Best of luck the rest of the semester and go Warriors.

Bryant-Friedrich: Thank you. Great being here.

Weidenthaler: You’re welcome. It's Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, the dean of the Graduate School here at Wayne State joining us at halftime. Stay tuned, second half coming up after this. You're listening to Warriors Basketball.

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