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Social Networking Gets Smartó Grad Students Make Connections with Yaffle

Yaffle Most graduate students understand the connecting power of social networking— Facebook has an uncanny lure, especially when you really ought to be proof reading the bibliography section of your thesis.

Yet, procrastination aside, many grad students are less familiar with the professional potential of engaging in online social networks.

That’s something John Duff of Yaffle hopes to change.

Since it was launched by the Harris Centre last year, Yaffle, Memorial’s online tool for fostering research linkages, has been forging connections between Memorial and the greater provincial community— a sort of research dating site, bringing knowledge and application together at last.

Faculty and community groups were early adopters, but since then, more and more grad students have found ways to make it work for them.

“Initially, Yaffle was aimed primarily at faculty and community groups, but the great thing about social networks is that they evolve organically,” explains Duff. “For a tool that takes less than five minutes to set up, the benefits, at all stages of the post-grad experience, are huge.”

For example, some prospective students are using Yaffle before they ever set foot on campus.

Finding the right program can make all the difference to a student’s post-graduate experience, and Yaffle is an easy way to get a big picture look at a department’s research strengths, then focus in on potential supervisors and projects.

Once they begin studying, Yaffle’s Experts Function helps students navigate “who knows what?” around the university.

One strength of Yaffle is that it is a truly interdisciplinary tool. For example, a search for “Newfoundland Fisheries” returns experts across all corners of the university, spanning Philosophy and Medicine, to Business and Engineering

Yaffle is also a chance for students to talk about what they’re up to. “There’s nothing self-centered about it,” says Duff. “Grad students at Memorial are doing exciting work, and getting the word out is essential.”

Of course, after graduation, a job hunt looms. While it wasn’t an anticipated benefit of Yaffle, according to Duff, several companies and organizations are using it as a recruitment tool.

“We encourage our network to use Yaffle in whatever way works for them. If that means helping talented grad students enter the work place, that’s a major bonus.”

To learn more about Yaffle, visit the site at www.yaffle.ca or meet Duff at the Aldrich Interdisciplinary Conference, March 27th and 28th, in the Arts and Administration Building.

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