PRESIDENT (1 seat)
Brianne Pragg – Liberal Arts – I am a fourth year PhD candidate in Sociology and Demography. My research focuses on families, parent-child relationships, and how parents’ work and unemployment is related to their children’s outcomes. This year, I am serving as the vice president of GPSA, and last year I served as the chair of the student caucus in the Graduate Council. In these roles, I have been a vocal advocate for graduate and professional students in many domains, including making sure that students with the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) have the coverage they need and expect and advocating for more timely resolutions to Title IX violations.
As president, I would be able to continue serving on committees that I am currently on and utilize connections that I have made, ensuring that projects that have been started are continued without interruption. I believe that I could make a smooth transition to president, and that I will be best equipped to assist the other new officers with their transitions; I am the only current officer who is not graduating in the next year, so my institutional memory will help ensure that the new executive officers know their roles and that the assembly be engaged immediately.
Adam Walder – Science – I am a second year PhD in Statistics. I am also a pretty cool guy.
Tired of the same nonsense. Sick of the status quo. Vote for me, like I said, I am a pretty cool guy.
VICE-PRESIDENT (1 seat)
Stephanie Winkler – Information Sciences and Technology – I am a second year Ph.D. candidate in Information Sciences and Technology. My research focuses on intervention strategies for fake news as well as data privacy and security. During the past year I served as delegate for the College of Information Sciences and Technology. As a delegate I was involved on the Programming committee and also served as a liaison to the Canvas Advisory Group.
As vice president I hope to continue serving in my current position as liaison as well as on the programming committee. In addition, I want to increase my engagement with the university and groups across campus. While I have not been a member of GPSA for long, I have served as president of Pi Kappa Delta Speech and Debate alumni chapter at the University of Kentucky for the last two years. The experience I gained through this position will help me as vice president of GPSA. I believe I will be a good representative of GPSA and hope I will be given the opportunity to further serve the organization.
David Dopfel – Intercollegiate Graduate Degree Programs – Third year PhD candidate in Bioengineering. I study translational models focusing on differences in behavior and brain function related to susceptibility and development of stress disorders as part of the Translational Neuroimaging and Systems Neuroscience lab. I am currently a delegate and Internal Development Chair. As a committee we worked to improve the governing documents and created new documentation to help retain information from each Assembly to make the work of future delegates easier.
I have participated in GPSA all the years I have been at Penn State. This experience makes me well versed in the function of GPSA both during our assembly meetings and between meetings working with members of the University and the community. With the past few Assemblies, I have worked to improve GPSA’s ability to enrich the graduate and professional student experience through my involvement in planning events and improving GPSA practices. This work has contributed to a more active and respected organization both within and outside our constituency. I hope to continue this further as Vice-President.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY (1 seat)
Nick Dietrich – Liberal Arts – I am a fourth year Ph.D. student in Political Science. The focus of my research is the international politics of human rights, with a particular interest in the processes by which states are held accountable for human rights violations and the political methodology of studying human rights. I previously served as President of the Graduate Association of Political Science, where I focused on graduate representation on committees within the department, transparency in funding decisions and assistantship assignments, and facilitating collaboration between graduate students.
As Secretary, I will work to ensure that the graduate and professional student body remains up-to-date and informed about issues that affect graduate education at Penn State. I successfully advocated for increased representation within our department and increased engagement among graduate students as President of the Graduate Association of Political Science. I look forward to expanding these efforts to the graduate and professional student body at large.
TREASURER (1 seat)
Alex Zhao – Science – I’m a current 2nd year Ph.D. student in statistics, and current delegate from the Eberly College of Sciences. My experience in the past has included serving in GPSA as the head of the professional development subcommittee.
I have served in a similar treasurer capacity for the Statistics Graduate Student Association for the past 2 years. As treasurer, my hope is to continue the work previously done in this role. I want to provide an accurate, up to date budget to track our spending, make it easier for graduate students to receive funding for their events, and to efficiently use and distribute our budget so that more the GPSA can put on more events.
Logan Rutten – Education – I am a Ph.D. student in Curriculum and Supervision within the College of Education. Before coming to Penn State, I was a middle school and high school world language and music teacher for five years in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. I also spent a year working as a federal assessment coordinator on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeast Montana. My current research examines teacher education and practitioner inquiry within Penn State’s award-winning Professional Development School. I hold a B.A. from Concordia College (Go Cobbers!) and a Master of Education degree from Penn State. I am certified to teach in the public schools of PA, MN, MO, WA, and VT.
I am seeking the position of treasurer because I believe that responsible financial management is the keystone of any successful organization, and I want to support GPSA’s outstanding programming. In 2012, I ran for and was elected to the school board of Minnesota public school district #4184, where I served as chair of the finance committee, approved a multi-million dollar budget, and reviewed audits. I completed state-approved training at the University of St. Thomas related to financial and legal compliance. If elected to this position, I would bring a classroom teacher’s strong organizational skills as well as relevant experience with budgeting and support for GPSA’s work to advocate for all graduate students. https://www.linkedin.com/in/loganrutten/
FACULTY SENATOR (1 seat)
Carmen Vanderhoof – Education – I am a third year Ph.D. student in Curriculum & Instruction (Science Education), and I am passionate about engineering education, STEM integration, collaborative learning, and discourse analysis. I have served as a delegate for the College of Education and a member of the Advocacy and Diversity committee for GPSA (2017-2018). During this time, I collaborated with many groups across the campus to pursue issues relevant to graduate and professional students. I was also a liaison for the Student Parent Child Care Subsidy Committee and a member of the Addressing Hate Taskforce. If elected, I will continue to listen to the needs of graduate and professional students and represent GPSA at Faculty Senate meetings.
I am interested in the Faculty Senate leadership position to increase my engagement with different groups across campus and to advocate for students’ needs. My hard work ethic and experience serving on the GPSA assembly make me well suited for this position.
Michael Lin – Health and Human Development – I am a first year Ph.D. student in School of Hospitality Management. My research interests lay in entrepreneurship, innovation, and decision making. I have served as the president of the graduate student association in the School. I strive for involving more students in campus activities to stay informed and make rational decisions.
As an international student, I am genuinely interested in serving and helping this underrepresented group at Penn State University. I want our voices to be heard in the Faculty Senate, whose mission is to seek ways to improve communication and collaborative decision making across the University. I believe in a quote “We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community – and this nation.” by Cesar Chavez. I wish all students, especially international students, to share their opinions and stay informed, so that the Faculty Senate can make efficient and rational decisions.
GRADUATE COUNCIL (5 seats)
Liana Glew – Liberal Arts – I am a Ph.D. candidate in the English department studying Disability Studies, Medical Humanities, and American Literature. I’m in my third year at Penn State. I have experience as an RA, a TA, and as the assistant to the Center for American Literary Studies.
I am deeply invested in advocating for graduate students. I study disability in American institutions and actively work to make Penn State an accessible place to pursue a graduate degree. In my view, this begins with policies that keep the needs of graduate students – including work environment, degree requirements, access to healthcare, etc. – in mind. I have been on Graduate Council and the Committee for Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity since December 2017 and would love to continue this work.
Claire Kelling – Science – I am a Dual PhD Candidate in Statistics and Social Data Analytics. I am originally from Morrow, Ohio and I completed my undergraduate degrees in Statistics and Economics at Virginia Tech.
Last year, I was a member of Graduate Council, where I served on the Graduate Student and Faculty Issues Committee. I advocated for the concerns of students, and we saw notable changes in the Graduate School. Together, we passed a set of mentoring guidelines that will be recommended to all departments across Penn State. We also have been advocating for the concerns of graduate students in new policies, such as changing candidacy exams to qualifying exams. I served on the Advocacy and Diversity team, where I helped in the effort to communicate clear and unbiased information about unionization to my department, and others. I am active in organizations throughout the university, including Stand for State, the Commission for Women, and others.
August Jenkins – Health and Human Development – I am a second-year doctoral student in the Human Development and Family Studies program. I am originally from Detroit, MI. Alumna of Michigan State University.
I am running again for the Graduate Council member. I served on Graduate Council for the first time for this past year. This experience has been enjoyable and informative. I feel that I now have a greater understanding of how Grad Council works, and how to be most effective and efficient while serving on the Council.
Logan Rutten – Education – I am a Ph.D. student in Curriculum and Supervision within the College of Education. Before coming to Penn State, I was a middle school and high school world language and music teacher for five years in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. I also spent a year working as a federal assessment coordinator on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeast Montana. My current research examines teacher education and practitioner inquiry within Penn State’s award-winning Professional Development School. I hold a B.A. from Concordia College (Go Cobbers!) and a Master of Education degree from Penn State, and I am certified to teach in the public schools of PA, MN, MO, WA, and VT.
I am running for a seat as a graduate council member to promote inclusion of diverse perspectives from the College of Education in GPSA’s work. As a former classroom teacher, I know how to make sure all voices are heard and considered during processes of democratic deliberation. I believe that it is through these conversations that communities come together and move forward as one. If elected as a council member, you can rely on me to hear you and bring your ideas to the table. https://www.linkedin.com/in/loganrutten/
Gregory Mountain – Science – I am a PhD student in my 4th year. I work for the Keating lab in the chemistry department developing cellular model systems based on liquid-liquid phase separation of biologically inspired peptides, nucleic acids, and synthetic polymers. I have lived in Pennsylvania all of my life and come from the small town of Imler, which is roughly 1 hour south of State College. Outside of the university I enjoy many outdoor activities such as fishing, and hiking.
At my undergraduate university I was the president of our Chemistry Club for two years during which time we received several nationally recognized awards for our activities. I had a major hand in organizing and execution of events, meetings, and funding proposals. Since then I have had many leadership roles within my group at Penn State from overseeing the maintenance and upkeep of instrumentation, to organizing outreach events and acting as a peer mentor. My past roles give me the experience and skills necessary to be a great asset in crafting policy for the benefit of all graduate students.
Alexander Wilson-Heid – Intercollegiate Graduate Degree Programs – I’m a 2nd year PhD student in the Materials Science and Engineering Department with research focused on additive manufacturing of titanium and stainless steel alloys. I served on Grad Council this past year and felt I helped represent the viewpoints of many graduate students in this role.
I think it is important to be involved in student government and I try to fairly represent all graduate viewpoints. I enjoy being able to communicate decisions that are made in the Grad School with both the elected members of GPSA and graduate and professional students that I interact with in other capacities.
AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (2 seats)
Amanda Burton – I am a PhD candidate in the Plant Science department where I research sustainable agriculture and managing abiotic stress in crops. I previously received my MS from Tufts University, where I serve as a mentor to current students. At Penn State, I have been actively involved in the Penn State Community Garden, where I have been named Vice President for the 2018 season. I look forward to serving the wider Penn State community as a College of Agricultural Sciences delegate.
I believe that increasing the graduate student programming and initiatives on campus is an important component of graduate student life. Both wellness-based and professional development programs can make a difference in graduate and professional students’ experiences throughout their tenure at Penn State. I hope to increase the access, frequency, and awareness of helpful programs offered through the university. I have experience representing organizations ranging from the Penn State Community Garden where I am currently Vice President, to New Haven Farms where I represented the non-profit to the greater New Haven (CT) community as the Operations & Volunteer Coordinator.
Megan Griffin – I am pursuing an M.S. in Rural Sociology and International Agriculture and Development from the College of Agricultural Sciences, and am particularly interested in working with the External Affairs and International Student Affairs Assembly Committees. I also work as RSGA treasurer and am a member of the Penn State International Dance Ensemble.
I have extensive experience in community and labor organizing and non-profit management, which have taught me how to use my voice as a conduit for community voice and change. I am committed to social justice and want to participate in creating policies and initiatives that make Penn State a more inclusive and representative community.
ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE (1 seat)
BUSINESS (1 seats)
COMMUNICATIONS (1 seat)
EARTH AND MINERAL SCIENCES (2 seats)
Harrison Cole – I’m a Ph.D candidate in the department of Geography studying the visualization of dreams. I received my B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin and my M.A. from The University of Kentucky, both in Geography. At this time, I’m also the co-president of the Coalition of Graduate Employees, which is the graduate assistant union here at Penn State. I’ve been involved with the organization since November of 2017, and have been co-president since January of 2018.
My leadership role in the CGE has given me a unique perspective on university politics, one that I hope I can leverage as an assembly delegate. Critical examination of university policies and procedures can help expand the possibilities for what it means to attend this school, and ultimately allow grads to focus on the important things in their own lives instead of struggling with bureaucracy or politics on their own.
EDUCATION (3 seats)
Bagmi Das – I am a PhD candidate in Counselor Education and Supervision and also a Graduate Assistant in Career Counseling.
I am interested in getting involved with how we, as graduate students, connect with others beyond our programs, departments, and colleges. We can bridge our differences in specializations and come together to better serve ourselves and our Penn State and State College communities.
Hye-Su Kuk – I am a first-year Ph.D student in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education. I’m also pursuing a dual-degree in Comparative and International Education, and a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. My research interests can be broadly categorized into three: workplace learning, social movement learning, and gender ideologies. I believe that education and learning is a key part in gaining control of one’s own life.
I interpret the activities taking place at the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) as inherently adult education in character. Thus, I understand my role as an assembly delegate for the College of Education to put forward and facilitate educational implications within GPSA, which can help the learning of graduate and professional students at PSU. Such positioning of myself is concrete evidence of why you should vote for me.
ENGINEERING (3 seats)
Keerti Prakash – I just finished my MS and started with my PhD in Aerospace Engineering. My research is focused on vibration mitigation for high speed flight in rotorcraft.
I want to voice the interests and concerns of engineering grad students by voting on legislation that are presented in GPSA’s meetings.
Charles Tierney – This last spring I completed my undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign. I am currently pursuing my MS in Aerospace Engineering with intent to continue to earn my Ph.D. I am also currently involved with Engineering Graduate Student Council as the community service chair.
I am running for this delegate position because I wish to take a more active role in the direction of the graduate school, as well as interface with and learn about graduate and professional students outside my program and the issues that they face. If elected, I would additionally like to serve on the Community Service Sub-committee or the Advocacy and Human Diversity Committee, as they would allow me to directly advocate for the betterment of the lives of graduate students at Penn State and the community of State College as a whole.
HEALTH AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT (2 seats)
Abigail Keim – I am a doctoral student in Human Development and Family Studies and the current GPSA general assembly delegate for the College of Health and Human Development.
As a delegate for HHD this year I have actively participated in GPSA general assembly meetings and the advocacy and diversity committee. If elected, I plan to continue my involvement with this committee and our efforts to improve the experiences of graduate and professional students at Penn State.
INFORMATION SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY (1 seat)
Tiffany Knearem – I am a first year PhD student studying Human Computer Interaction under Dr. John M. Carroll. Prior to attending Penn State, I spent 5 years in industry working in Silicon Valley. Before that, I lived and worked as an English teacher in a rural Japanese community.
I am running for Assembly Delegate because I want to represent the IST community’s voice at the university level. I care about the IST community and want to ensure that all IST graduate students have the best possible experience while studying at Penn State. I believe I am a good fit for this position because I have a diverse set of experiences that will allow me to advocate for changes that benefit our department. I have collaborated with various stakeholders during my time working in the tech industry and have cross cultural communication experience (living and working abroad in Japan). I hope to serve the IST community during the 2018-2019 school year. Personal Website
INTERCOLLEGIATE GRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMS (2 seats)
Sailahari Ponnaluri – Second year Ph.D. student in the Bioengineering Department studying cardiovascular devices. For the past year, I have been a delegate for the Intercollegiate Graduate Degree Program and the secretary for the Biomedical Engineering Society for Graduate Students.
I am once again running for the position of delegate for the Intercollegiate Graduate Degree Program. With this position, I have been involved with both the Internal Development and Advocacy/Diversity committees. My primary role within the Advocacy committee is to better understand the policies surrounding qualification and comprehensive exams and determine how to improve the process for graduate students. My position within Internal Development is to understand and summarize Robert’s Rules to be clear and simple. By running for this position again, I hope to continue my work on PhD examinations and start to take on additional projects to advocate on behalf of graduate students.
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (1 seat)
LAW (2 seats)
Shanjida Chowdhury – I am a first year J.D. candidate at Penn State Law. Born and raised in New York, I completed my undergraduate studies at NYU, where I received my B.A. in Anthropology, with a focus on cultural anthropology. I have a strong interest in pursuing a career in public interest law, particularly in the fields of immigration and civil rights, and I hope to use the skills I develop as an attorney to help those in need. I am currently the 1L Rep. of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA), where I help to advocate Asian American leadership and cooperation between different diversity groups in the law school.
As a visibly Muslim woman of color, I have a strong commitment to advocacy, equality, and social justice. There’ve been countless times throughout my life where I’ve felt misrepresented and underrepresented, and I believe that serving as a Law Delegate will allow me to ensure fair representation for me and my peers in the greater Penn State community. I also recognize that there is a plethora of knowledge that law students can gain by dialoguing with non-law students, and vice versa. There is a rich and diverse graduate student body that our law school can get involved in. Such inter-disciplinary dialogues will only enhance our already thriving graduate/professional community and allow for more fluid networking opportunities.
Tracy Wong – I’m a J.D. Candidate for 2020. Before returning to school I worked with a national literary nonprofit and enjoyed book parties, live music, and taking my time with food and drink.
I am running to represent the law school as an Assembly Delegate because I want to support my peers in fostering closer relations with the graduate and professional student community. There are phenomenal opportunities to be found, based on the existing success, there is endless potential in collaborations between our legal clinics and the various colleges in new initiatives. I am passionate about creating space for the marginalized voices because creating community is furthered by creating a space/opportunity meant for another.
LIBERAL ARTS (3 seats)
Trevor Bero – Currently, I am a first year M.A. student pursuing a degree in Hispanic Linguistics. As an undergraduate, I also studied Political Science and was involved in similar student organizations. Serving as a GPSA delegate this past year gave me an opportunity to represent the members of the Penn State graduate student community to which I now proudly belong. I hope to continue and build upon this involvement in the following assembly.
My most important qualification for this position is my experience serving as a delegate in the most recent assembly. In this role, I had the privilege of expressing the will of my fellow graduate students on a wide range of issues. With a greater knowledge of how GPSA works, I believe serving in the same role next year will allow me to become even more involved in this important part of graduate student life at Penn State.
Jerome Clarke – I’m a first-year graduate assistant pursuing a doctorate in Philosophy. Coming from Philadelphia, I’ve been highly engaged in political/representative organizations since my high school years. I spent a good portion of the past four years doing advocacy work for migrant communities in South Central PA. Since my research is predominantly in political philosophy, one can say that I’ve injected community engagement in just about every aspect of my life. I love meeting new people and learning about the variety of folks in State College.
I’m running for assembly delegate to represent the College of Liberal Arts. I’m active in the graduate organization of my department, Philosophy, as well as the larger campus community. I hope to advocate against the silo-ing of graduate students at Penn State; I find intercollege collaboration and understanding paramount. At my previous institution, I spent much of my time working on administrative committees concerning diversity and various social justice initiatives. I’ve taken quite a few mental notes on the needs, wants, and uniquenesses of various graduate communities on Penn State’s campus. I believe that I can help in steering the GPSA in the direction of friendly community engagement and representation.
Mikaela Westhoff – I am a second year Ph.D. candidate in the political science department. I study human rights and strategic political violence. I am the co-president of the Graduate Association of Political Science where I have worked to increase graduate representation in faculty meetings and department committees. I also have spearheaded changes to department policy regarding comprehensive exams, climate issues, graduate representation which have resulted in improvements for the students of my department. I also serve as the graduate representative on the Political Science department head’s advisory committee.
Through my experience advocating for the graduate students of Political Science, I have developed skills for crafting and advising policy changes that improve graduate life for my colleagues. Prior to my experience in Political Science, I worked in University wide advisory commissions at the University of Minnesota to address social justice issues in university housing. I look forward to using my past experience in university and department leadership to help address issues that face graduate students university wide.
NURSING (1 seat)
Jyotsana Parajuli – I am PhD student in the college of nursing and my research interest areas lies in cancer and palliative care. I am very interested in networking with fellow graduate students from other departments, learn their take and perspectives on the issues faced by graduate students all over the campus and work jointly to resolve the issues.
I am running for the ‘assembly delegate’ position so I could represent the college of nursing and advocate on the issues and difficulties faced by the graduate students to GPSA and potentially offer some solutions. I have been actively involved in various leadership positions since my undergraduate degree. have been involved in the Graduate Student Association in my previous university and have worked towards the welfare of graduate students. Therefore I believe I am qualified to take on this role. I look forward to meeting and networking with students from other departments at Penn State and jointly work as advocates for the issues surrounding graduate students and provide services catering to their professional needs.
SCIENCE (3 seats)
Alex Zhao – I’m a current 2nd year Ph.D. student in statistics, and current delegate from the Eberly College of Sciences. My experience in the past has included serving in GPSA as the head of the professional development subcommittee.
I’m running because I think I’m best able to represent College of Science students, both from the events that I have helped put on as well as my previous experience in the Assembly. My hope is to put on more events and reach more graduate students across Penn State in order to build a more connected and engaged campus.
Charles Wolstenholme – Second year chemistry graduate student seeking a doctorate.
Running for an Assembly Delegate, last year I joined the Programming Committee and successfully coordinated the GPSA Winter Gala along with many other events. Interested in becoming more involved with different aspects of the assembly and well as a leadership role.
Hui Zheng – I’m a first-year masters student in applied statistics. I also did my undergraduate studies here at Penn State. This is my first time running for serving in GPSA.
I’m running because I think as an international student from China, it is necessary to have a representative voice. Despite comprising a majority of the Eberly College of Sciences, asian international students rarely get involved in graduate committees such as GPSA. This is my fifth year at Penn State, and I hope to serve as a communicator between GPSA and students who normally do not get involved in GPSA activities. I hope by serving as a assembly delegate, I can make more graduate students realize how wonderful college life is.
Claire Kelling – I am a Dual PhD Candidate in Statistics and Social Data Analytics. I am originally from Morrow, Ohio and I completed my undergraduate degrees in Statistics and Economics at Virginia Tech.
I am running for a position as a delegate because I would like to continue advocating for students in my college. Last year, I was a member of Graduate Council, where I served on the Graduate Student and Faculty Issues Committee. I advocated for the concerns of students, and we saw notable changes in the Graduate School. Together, we passed a set of mentoring guidelines that will be recommended to all departments across Penn State. We also have been advocating for the concerns of graduate students in new policies. I am active in organizations throughout the university, including Stand for State, the Commission for Women, and others.
UNIVERSITY PARK ALLOCATION COMMITTEE
MEMBER (2 seats)