I am grateful and excited to be your GSA President and CEO for the 2017-2018 term! Before this, I served on the GSA as a General Director representing the Human Health and Nutritional Sciences (HHNS) department for two years, as well as on both, the GSA’s By-Laws and Social Outreach Committees. As such, I am eager to use my knowledge gained and experiences therein to represent and advocate for all University of Guelph graduate students.
As a bit about me: I completed my BScH and then my MSc thesis, both in the HHNS department, and I am now a third-year PhD student there too. Before I started graduate school, I worked within my field, but I soon realized the necessity and value of higher education to achieve the competitive career that I aim for. Now, here in graduate school, I take advantage of the technical and professional skill development opportunities that knock at our doors, but still, I notice a gap between what we have available to prepare us for that ideal career and what achieving and succeeding in that career actually demands. Further, that gap is not “one-size-fits-all” across all of our fields, and therefore, as your GSA President, I aim to first understand the demands of your ideal careers, and then create especially relevant opportunities for you to gain the knowledge, experience and skills that you need to achieve and succeed in them.
Relevant to that, I also notice an ongoing gap in the communication of existing resources to graduate students, and even worse, of existing questions and issues on which all graduate students should be given the opportunity to form an opinion on and influence the outcome of. The GSA’s General Directors valiantly represent their departments’ graduate students’ interests, however, more often than not, the question or issue is raised too late or without sufficient and clear information for graduate students to become invested. Related to this, another gap in communication exists amongst us graduate students, who the GSA aims to unite and serve equally across all fields, and who we should each consider to be part of our professional network. As such, as your GSA President, I aim to bridge these ongoing communication gaps to ensure your satisfaction during your time spent in graduate school, and to empower you to gain the most from it; again, in hopes of leading you one step closer to that ideal career.
Finally, and near and dear to my personal and professional interests, as your GSA President, I aim to advance the GSA’s current initiative to promote graduate students’ health and wellness. In particular, the GSA has made encouraging strides in raising awareness of and reducing the stigma around mental health; accomplishments that I aim to uphold and match from a physical health perspective.