Recently my former master thesis advisor (I finished more than a year ago, and want to return to academia / PhD studies after my still ongoing other research job) informed me about a summer school that fits my interests and skills very well. They suggested to mention them in the cover letter in the application process, since they are affiliated with the organizing institution, as a pro-argument and a way to possibly overcoming my recent non-academic background.

However, I am having bad feelings about being to pushy with their name and the possibility of a resulting "I know someone, therefore I need to be admitted"-effect for the reader.

How do I benefit from my network without leaving a wrong impression? Any phrasing suggestions?

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    maybe write something along the line of "I am glad that my advisor prof. X brought summer school Y to my attention." – henning -- reinstate Monica Jun 10 '15 at 17:54
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    "My advisor, prof X, has encouraged me to apply to this summer school" – avid Jun 10 '15 at 18:32
  • Too many "they" and "their" to understand exactly what you are saying, especially as you mention "advisor" as a singular (hence not "they"). – Dave Clarke Jun 10 '15 at 18:45
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    @DaveClarke "they" can be and is commonly used as a singular gender neutral pronoun – Stephanie Jun 10 '15 at 19:38
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    Fair enough but "they" still may choose not to associate with a gender. – Stephanie Jun 10 '15 at 20:24

How about writing something like: "My masters thesis advisor, Prof. X, has encouraged me to apply for this summer school". No doubt you can adapt this to suit your particular circumstances.

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