About Graduate Studies

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs is dedicated to creating a University-wide focus on graduate education and postdoctoral training by establishing good communication and working relationships with graduate schools, departments, and graduate students. We collaborate on efforts to develop intellectually-stimulating environments for research, teaching, and service and to recruit, mentor, retain, and graduate a talented and diverse community of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and research associates. We believe successful graduate and postdoctoral experiences rely on high-quality faculty, competitive financial support, and opportunities for professional and career development.

This office performs a number of interrelated tasks to enhance the experiences of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and research associates, including reviewing policies concerning graduate students or those with postdoctoral appointments; recommending changes to improve and enhance the graduate and postdoctoral experience; and serving as a single office to act as a clearinghouse for information and assistance. For postdoctoral fellows and research associates, it facilitates and acts as a liaison with the appropriate University offices. The office also provides assistance in dealing with post-doctoral administrative issues such as compensation, health insurance and benefits, visa and residency requirements, employment duration, professional development, research funding sources, and grievance resolution.

Diversity Programs works to identify, recruit, retain, mentor, and graduate a diverse graduate student body. In collaboration with other departments, schools, and organizations at the University, Graduate Student Diversity Programs provides services, resources, and guidance to establish a welcoming and supportive environment for an increasingly diverse graduate student population.

Graduate Career Services provides direct career services tailored to the needs of Master's student, PhD students, and postdoctoral researchers at the University of Virginia. These services supplement the career planning and professional development programs offered by academic departments and other support services on Grounds. Our function includes streamlining resources, keeping abreast of current trends, and collaborating with faculty, employers, and professionals in higher education and in other sectors of the economy.



Phillip Trella


Phillip Trella is Associate Vice Provost and Director of the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs. With a PhD in anthropological archaeology, his research interests include ancient food production systems, the disintegration of complex societies, and long-term environmental change.  Before joining the VPR staff he held a postdoc position with the Sciences Humanities and Arts Network for Technological Initiatives (SHANTI) where he worked to advance digital scholarship among faculty and graduate students at UVa.

Sonali Majumdar


Sonali Majumdar is Associate Director for Graduate Professional Development. Prior to joining us, Sonali earned her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of Georgia and did postdoctoral training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where she developed a passion for enhancing career-related training for early career scientists. Through volunteering experiences with the Postdoctoral Association of Sloan Kettering, the NYC Postdoc Coalition and the Genetics Society of America, Sonali has developed a vision and expertise for career and professional development. At UVA, she will develop and implement university’s signature PhD Plus programs, and provide resources for graduate students and postdocs, to create the next generation of versatile PhDs capable of long-term success in a wide variety of careers.  

Shernai Banks

Shernai is in the Clinical Nurse Leader Program in the School of Nursing, obtaining a Masters of Science in Nursing and CNL certification, with a concentration in systems and leadership. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and African and African American Studies from the University of Virginia in May of 2014. Banks is most passionate about the opportunity and journey in becoming an oncology nurse and potentially researching ways to help find a cure for cancer. She is also passionate about dance and serving in underprivileged communities.

Amy Garrou head shot

Amy Garrou


Amy Garrou is a UVa grad.