Graduate students get involved
By Liz McCarthy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-2848
Balancing family, work and studies is a challenge most graduate students face, but the Graduate Student Association wants to add one more thing — getting involved on campus.
Brittany Walter, a doctoral student in anthropology, currently balances her studies with serving as president for the association, a duty that takes about 20 hours a week. On top of that, she conducts research, teaches courses and works part-time for a local brewery
“That’s the usual graduate student plight. Some grad students have children, spouses,” she says. “Actually having that work-life balance is really important. Still having a life as a graduate student is possible.”
Walter got involved with the association her first semester on campus, participating with committees and doing universitywide service. It’s good experience for the doctoral student who hopes to be on the tenure-track when she finishes her degree.
Serving as president has helped her with public speaking and helped her establish relationships across the university.
“It’s really helped me to become a better leader,” she says. “Before I had this problem of delegation but with all you have to do with GSA, it’s helped me mentor other students. It’s helped with my time management and prioritizing things.”
Since getting involved, Walter has seen the association expand its involvement on campus, working closely with The Graduate School and developing its relationship with Student Government. She says she hopes to see that role continue to grow on campus and for more of campus to recognize graduate students.
“We’re a diverse population. We have tons of international students, moms, dads, people who have been in the workforce,” she says. “The GSA is here to enhance that experience while you’re going through graduate school.”
In addition to advocating for graduate students, the group plans events throughout the year, including happy hours and social gatherings, and professional development programming. Walter says these events are the perfect time for graduate students to interact outside their disciplines and network across departments. That can lead to collaborations on research and work.
“I know people in engineering, biology and fine arts now,” she says. “These are connections I never would have made if the GSA didn’t have events open to everybody. It’s really cool to see different departments coming together and interacting.”
This week, the Graduate Student Association is hosting a week of events to promote graduate students on campus. The week will culminate with the annual Graduate Student Day on Friday, April 10, an annual celebration, competition and award ceremony.
Graduate Student Day is the university’s most comprehensive showcase of graduate scholarly and creative work. Sponsored by The Graduate School and held each spring, the event provides students an opportunity to present their work to the university and the larger community.
All graduate students are automatically in the Graduate Student Association, but to find out more about how to get involved or about upcoming events follow the group on social media and check them out online.
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