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At PhD Balance, we aim to hold spaces for graduate students to learn from shared experiences.

We facilitate this goal through both in-person and virtual speaking events catered towards empowering students with the tools and support they need to personally and professionally thrive. 

Through enthusiasm, experience, and an empathetic approach to engagement, PhD Balance speakers will help make your next event a success!


Our organization places great care on providing opportunities for graduate students to connect, learn and discuss often sensitive topics in a safe way. 

The PhD Balance Speaking Team facilitates this mission by holding the following values:

  • Accessibility

    • ​We aim to use our privileges and knowledge to make discussions about mental health more accessible and beneficial to academia’s most marginalized and oppressed communities. We do so by ensuring our events include a number of accessibility measures to accomodate a wide range of needs.

  • Self-care

    • Through our events, we encourage audience members to reflect and engage in honest conversations that lead to tangible change. Some of the things we discuss or share may be thought provoking, feel uncomfortable and/or lead people to reflect on their own experiences. If at any time someone feels extremely uncomfortable or triggered, we emphasize the right to take care of themselves in whatever means necessary and provide tools to do so. 

  • Growth

    • ​We acknowledge the evolving nature of the mental health space and are constantly thriving to refine our information, language and messaging. Please let us know how we can best improve to meet current standards and norms.


We encourage you to select from our current offerings, but we are happy to help create the ideal engagement opportunity for your specific needs!


Generally 45-60 minutes in length, these talks resemble lecture-style presentations but with plenty of opportunities for audience engagement.

Building Community and Resilience

  • Brief overview of the mental health climate in academia 

  • Understanding our needs and how they involve the community support

  • Actionable steps to build community and resilience

Together Alone: Graduate Student Mental Illness

  • Evidence for a mental health crisis in academia

  • Barriers to maintaining well-being and seeking care

  • Combatting stigma and supporting individual and peer mental health

  • Tips to make your institution more supportive

Mental Health and Resiliency During a Crisis

  • Evidence for a mental health crisis in academia

  • How crises exacerbate underlying or instigate new mental health conditions

  • Six steps to build resiliency

  • Self-reflection activities throughout the talk


We facilitate hands-on workshops for small and large groups alike. With a focus on inquiry-based learning, these workshops are designed to get everyone thinking and learning.

Storytelling to Create a Community

  • Importance of sharing stories and experiences

  • Story structure

  • Crafting and sharing your short story

  • Active listening skills

Mental Well-Being: Self-Care, Sharing Your Story, and Surviving Grad School

  • Mental health crisis in graduate education 

  • Strategies for self-care

  • Sharing stories to create community

  • Communicating with your advisor

Creating Boundaries and Optimizing Productivity

  • Define and identify people pleasing

  • Explore reasons one might “people please”

  • Learn the downsides

  • Discuss the importance of boundaries and learn how to create them

How to Work With Your Advisor

  • Understand your advisor's expertise and limitations

  • Strategies to get the support you need 

  • Practice communicating needs with your advisor 

Why Language Matters When Talking About Mental Health

  • Evidence for a mental health crisis in academia

  • Person-first vs. identity-first language

  • Contribution of improper language on mental health stigma

  • Dismissive, misused, and ableist language

  • Tips to refine your mental health language


Panels and Podcast Interviews

  • Our speakers provide invaluable insight and tips on mental health and professional development-focused panels and podcasts

Cultivating Mindfulness Through Daily Meditation

  • Learn how to meditate and build a daily practice to help reduce stress, enhance focus and experience greater ease amidst your busy lives

  • Special offering by Lynn Curry


Our diverse speakers represent various career and education stages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, gender identities, and locations around the world. All have completed an internationally-recognized, accredited course in either mental health or psychological first aid


PhD Balance leadership also provides comprehensive training in the following areas:

  • In-person and virtual events

  • Presenting keynotes and seminars

  • Facilitating workshops

  • Sharing personal stories

Copy of BUhlorn.png

Brittany Uhlorn, Ph.D. (she/her)

Meet Brittany


Lynn Curry (she/her)

Meet Lynn


Raghav Sampangi, Ph.D. (he/him)

Meet Raghav


Liesl Krause, M.S. (she/her)

Meet Liesl


Linda Corcoran (she/her, they/them)

Meet Linda


Liesl was very effective at meeting our brief both from an organizational, online delivery, and social media engagement point of view. I would be very pleased to have her speak again at similar events for the UK chemical science community.

-Manchester Metropolitan University, March 2021

Thank you for this talk! Really glad of all the mental health awareness that you are doing!


It was such an important topic!

it is true that in academia we face anxiety and this kind of webinar is very useful for the creating awareness.

-Royal Society of Chemistry
Graduate Student Mental Health Panel
March 2021

I like all the provided suggestions by Dr. Uhlorn, more specifically regarding an interactive presence on Twitter. 

One of the most amazing speakers I have encountered. 

-University of California, Davis Networking on Social Media Panel

March 2021

-Computer Architecture Student Association

Working with Your Advisor Workshop
March 2021

Very useful material, very engaging workshop and speaker (Liesl), very well conducted, and the breakout sessions were amazing.

Very good flow, great prompts, awesome all around!

-Computer Architecture Student Association

Mental Illness in Graduate Students Keynote
March 2021

Brilliant keynote! Fay was very engaging throughout, and shared with us her personal journey through grad school and with mental health. This was really encouraging to hear as graduate students, and Fay addressed and acknowledged many issues which are familiar to many. Highly recommend! 

-Fordham University
Building Community and Resilience Seminar

March 2021

-UMass Amherst

Mental Health and Resiliency During a Crisis Seminar

April 2021

Our graduate students greatly enjoyed this session, which is impressive considering the challenges of delivering engaging presentations over Zoom!  


Students appreciated the presenter's (Dr. Brittany Uhlorn) willingness to share personal stories. I appreciated the effective balance between validating challenges (because we so often feel we are the 'only ones' experiencing this challenges) with constructive solutions (and there is something you can do!). The presenter kept the session engaging and productive by embedding thoughtful, reflective exercises throughout.


We would be delighted to host PhD Balance again in the future!

We've been working on launching a graduate student run initiative at Fordham University on promoting mental health and wellbeing, and Ph.D. Balance has been very helpful in providing a framework for thinking about what such an initiative can look like. Working towards an open and supportive graduate community is easier with this great example of what one looks like. 

This is exactly what we were looking for...Brittany was amazing.


I felt Brittany provided us with great tools and excellent insight to start talking about mental health in grad school. The way she shared some of her own mental health journey made the workshop easier to participate and talk to each other.

-Boston College

Mental Well-Being Workshop

July 2021

Raghav did a wonderful job guiding our community through one of the most important conversations our graduate students need to have - how to assess their needs and seek support for their mental health concerns.

-University of Washington

Mental Well-Being Workshop

February 2022


Review our current fees, or request a quote for your specific project through the basic intake form!

A note from our team:

Through our events, we aim to allow people to reflect and engage in honest conversations that lead to tangible change.

Some points of discussion may be thought provoking, feel uncomfortable and/or lead people to reflect on their own experiences. If at any time you feel extremely uncomfortable or triggered, please know that you have the right to take care of yourself in whatever means necessary.


We also acknowledge the evolving nature of the mental health space, so please let us know how we can improve our messaging and terminology to meet current standards and norms.

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