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.
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.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY (1 seat)
TREASURER (1 seat)
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.
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.
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.
ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE (1 seat)
BUSINESS (1 seats)
COMMUNICATIONS (1 seat)
EARTH AND MINERAL SCIENCES (2 seats)
EDUCATION (3 seats)
ENGINEERING (3 seats)
HEALTH AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT (2 seats)
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)
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.
NURSING (1 seat)
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.