Senator (2005-06); Secretary (2006-07); President (2007-08)
In spring 2005, at the end of my first year as a graduate student, the Department of Biochemistry Senator position for Purdue Graduate Student Government became available and I volunteered to fill it. That was just the beginning of what was to be several years of involvement in this fine organization!
As a senator, I was a member of the Student Affairs Committee, and over the years I served on at least 29 different committees with important roles such as the Steering Committee for the 2008-2013 strategic plan of Purdue University, the Graduate Council, the University Senate, as a representative to the Board of Trustees, the Campus Appeals Board, the Sexual Assault task force, Graduate Student Library Advisory Council to name a few.
The most rewarding part of my tenure with PGSG was always advocating for graduate student rights and concerns. One of my biggest accomplishments came when I was serving as president. I was able to persuade Purdue’s president and upper administration to include graduate student ‘staff’ in the parental leave benefit policy that was implemented in 2008. Originally, graduate student ‘staff’ were not being considered as employees for this new benefit. Also during my tenure, we worked toward getting better housing options for graduate students, and spearheaded the reduction of graduate-staff fees, which came to fruition in 2009.
PGSG had a significant impact on my professional development. By serving in the role of a graduate student representative, I acquired a patient ear for all students’ concerns, learned to come to compromises, and find common grounds that worked for the better good. Through this service toward graduate students, I honed my interpersonal, communication, managerial, entrepreneurial and leadership qualities. These skills have definitely provided immense advantages to pursue opportunities in academia and administration. I believe these skills will shape my future aspirations of serving and expanding my knowledge as a teacher, a research scientist and a skilled administrator. These are credentials any graduate student can attain if they decide to take on leadership roles via PGSG.
PGSG has not only shaped my professional career, but also played a big part in my life. It was at PGSG that I met my wife Allison when she was serving as the Chair of Student Affairs and I was President.
Graduate students have a hectic life, but it is imperative that they step outside the lab/research and involve themselves in extracurricular activities - and there is no better choice than joining PGSG! There are numerous opportunities for everyone from getting heavily involved to just participating in volunteer activities. Not only will a graduate student shape and mold their own career and character, they also stand to influence the campus community by making graduate student life better and easier with each passing day.