2016-2017 Executive Board Personal Statements

Presidential Candidates:

Tyler Allen

Hello, I am Tyler Allen, a PhD student in Comparative Biomedical Sciences. I am very excited to be running for the position of President for the Graduate Student Association (GSA). I was born in Houston, TX, and have lived in North Carolina for the past 10 years. I attended NCSU for my Bacehor’s in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Over the years I have attended this university, I have seen, first-hand, graduate students make great strides in terms of progression; I have also seen just how key the GSA has been in this progression. My desire to continue this upward trend and work with the brilliant minds of the GSA to make the graduate student experience as fulfilling as it can be is the main reason I am interested in serving in this position.

The current President, Jacob Majikes, has done an outstanding job during his term, and I hope to follow in his footsteps while also blazing my own path. I enjoy seeing the increased the amount of development opportunities graduate students have outside of their specific field/area, and wish to expand upon that. I currently serve as the Vice President of External Affairs, and in this position I have the opportunity to frequently interact with several graduate students, administration, and represent the GSA at several events. In this position I have also had the chance gain experience with the behind-the-scenes work that goes on with the executive team, something extremely important for anyone who is interested in a presidential position in an organization.

I have a plethora of leadership/service experience, and enjoy the responsibilities that comes with these positions. I currently serve as a Chapter Resident Director for the office of Fraternity & Sorority Life. Some of my past experience includes: : President of the NCSU Omega Psi Phi Fraternity chapter, Representative on the Student Center Board of Directors, Chapter Resident Advisor for Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Resident Mentor, Advisor for multiple University organizations, and many more.

I am also very familiar with the university and its departments. I have worked with the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED), the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Women’s Center, and the Graduate School, to name a few. I would love to help bridge the gap between us graduate student and the rest of the university, and enhance our experience while here.

Thank you for reading my personal statement and I look forward to working with you in the future. I promise, if elected, I will serve in this position to the best of my ability, and will ensure that the GSA continues to stay committed to enhancing the experience of all graduate students!

 VP of Academic Affairs Candidates: 

Jessica Nash

My name is Jessica Nash and I am fourth year graduate student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. I am writing this personal statement to accept the nomination for the GSA VP of Academic Affairs for 2016-2017. I have been involved with GSA for two years. For 2014-2015 I was the Vice President of my departmental GSA and a rep to the GSA, serving as the chair of the Research Recognition Committee, This year (2015-2016), I am Vice President of Academic Affairs, a position which is the executive board liaison for the Research Recognition Committee.

The main task of GSA’s Research Recognition Committee is the award the GSA Award for Conferences. When running for VP of Academic Affairs last year, my main objective was to revise the application process for the GSA Award for Conferences so that graduate students could apply for advance funding. In the past, students could only apply for the GSA Award for Conferences after their conference travel took place, preventing many without funding from applying. This year, I changed the deadlines so that students may apply for funding in advance of travel. In addition to changing submission deadlines for the awards, I have also implemented a new submission system for applications and reference letters. The new submission systems considerably streamline the process for applicants and for those processing the applications.

Because of the changes to the award, we received a record number of applicants last semester. However, we could only award approximately 20% of the applications we received. Though the allocated amount totals nearly 15% of the GSA’s operating budget, the GSA can only provide funding to approximately 10 students each year. For Fall 2013, NC State’s graduate student enrollment numbered over 9,000. With this number expected to increase as NC State follows the 2020 Enrollment Plan’s main goal of increasing graduate student enrollment, the amount the UGSA is able to provide is insufficient for NC State’s graduate student population. In the upcoming year, my main goal would be to continue to advocate for the establishment of additional university wide funds for graduate student travel from the Graduate School.

As the VP of Academic Affairs for 2015-2016, I have revised the GSA Award for Conferences application process and letter submission process, worked with the GSA Research Recognition Committee in applicant selection, met with the Graduate School to plan the Graduate Research Symposium, and served as a graduate student representative to the Administrative Board of the Graduate School. In the upcoming year, I look forward to the possibility of working with the GSA, the Graduate School, and the Research Recognition Committee as VP of Academic Affairs for 2016-2017.

VP of Internal Affairs Candidates:

Doug Czajka

My name is Doug Czajka and I am a 2nd year PhD student in the Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Science Department, where I also completed my Masters degree in May of 2014. I am running for the position of Vice President of Internal Affairs, a position I currently hold. Prior to serving as VP of Internal Affairs, I was the GSA rep for the MEAS department and served on the Departmental Outreach and Leadership Committee (DOLC) during the 2014-2015 academic year.

During my two years of involvement with the DOLC committee, both as a rep member and as executive board liaison, I feel we have made some beneficial accomplishments. We created the start-up funds grant which allows newly formed departmental GSAs to get an advance on their rebate, an incentive to lure new or inactive departments to get involved with GSA. We also created the Best Practices Award for departmental GSAs which allows them to show off their operating procedures and win a cash prize. This is the second year of the Best Practices Award, and we have had a record numbers of departments apply. The DOLC committee will begin to document these practices and create infographics of best practices to serve as a resource that departmental GSAs can use to guide their own operations, get tips, and ensure good standing with the GSA from year to year. We also tested a new model for our leadership conference this year, where we partnered with the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) to send graduate students to a 2 day conference/event dealing with the future of work in NC. Hopefully we can work to make the annual DOLC event one that many graduate students find value in and would be eager to attend.


As VP of Internal Affairs I have a few goals I would like to accomplish in the upcoming year. One is to streamline the process that allows departmental GSAs to submit their Letter of Credentials in order to be in good standing with the GSA. This has been a slow process in the past, and one that could use some updating. This will require working with GSA reps to determine what steps in the process are least clear or causing the greatest delay. I would also like to (re)create a beginning of year rep orientation that begins to build a sense of community and professionalism among the incoming GSA reps before the first all council meeting. In addition, I plan to continue keeping the constitution up to date and relevant to the actual workings of the GSA, making changes and amendments as necessary.

My past two years of service with the GSA and on the DOLC have me well equipped to continue serving in the role of VP of internal affairs. I am hopeful that I can continue to work on and improve many of the programs and changes that I’ve been involved with over the last couple years through GSA and the DOLC. Serving on the GSA has allowed me to play a role in making sure that the best interests of graduate students are represented and respected, and I hope to continue serving in this role.

VP of External Affairs Candidates:

VP of Communications Candidates:

Treasurer Candidates:

Mohamed Desoky

Dear GSA Members,

As a former Financier, I am writing to reassert my abilities for a second term as the GSA Treasurer. Currently, I am a fourth-year PhD student in the Industrial & Systems Engineering Department and also teach Financial markets and methods to Masters of Science students at Skema Business School on Centennial Campus. Much of my professional career has surrounded leadership, given my West Point education and five-year service to the US Army, as well as Finance as I decided to earn my MBA and pursue a career in investment banking post-military tours. Although life as a banker was indeed a thrill, my longstanding dream of earning a PhD was the key inducing factor to my career change.

I am re-running for this GSA position as I’d like to continue having the opportunity to give back to the N.C. State graduate student body. Moreover, my research has taken significant strides while my teaching continues to improve so I am keen to maintain this additional fiduciary responsibility that makes me accountable for our financial health. Having had the chance to work with fellow executives over this course of this past year has also been incredibly memorable and solidified my interest in reapplying for this role. Looking ahead, I plan to continue forging efficiency throughout my year in office.

My sincerest wishes in gaining your support as we approach election.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Warm regards,

Mohamed A. Desoky

Secretary Candidates

Public Relations Officer Candidates:

Graduate Student Association 2016-2017 Election

It’s that time of year again! Nominations are open for eight executive board positions until 8 pm on Monday, Feb. 29th. You may self-nominate as well. Below, you will find important dates, the process, as well as other crucial information about positions. Do not hesitate to contact executive board members about specific positions and duties!

Important Dates

Nominations Open:                     January 25, 2016 during New Business (8 pm)

Nomination Acceptance:            January 25, 2016 – February 29, 2016

Nominations Close:                    February 29, 2016 during New Business (8 pm)

UGSA Council Votes:                March 28, 2016 during New Business (8 pm)

Officer Service Begins:              April 25, 2016 until April 2017

Nomination Process

Eligibility: Any graduate student may be nominated regardless of full-time or part-time status.

Applicants may study within any program (PhD, MS, etc). While having experience with the UGSA is helpful, it is not required. Past officers have successfully been elected without serving as a UGSA Representative first.

Nomination Process: Nominations may be submitted via two methods: (1) an email to the list

group-ugsa-reps@ncsu.edu [or via group-ugsa-execs@ncsu.edu if you are not a current GSA

Rep], or (2) in person during our all-council meetings. In both cases a nomination may be as simple as “I nominate name for the position of position.” Optionally, you may include additional supporting text. All nominations must receive a “second”. A second may be announced verbally at a council meeting, or by a reply to the nomination email. For example “I second the nomination of name for the position of position.”

  1. Nomination Acceptance: Nominees must either accept or decline their nomination prior to the voting period. This may be done in person at a council meeting or via email to the UGSA Reps list.
  2. Personal Statement: All nominees that accept their nomination should submit a personal statement within two weeks of being nominated so that it may be shared with the UGSA Representatives. Additionally, this personal statement will be posted on the UGSA website.

Election Process

Each nominee that has accepted their nomination will be allotted time to address the GSA

Council immediately prior to voting. The time determination is as follows:

  • President and Vice President positions shall each give speeches of 10 minutes or less.
  • Treasurer, Secretary, and Public Relations officer shall receive:
    • A time limit of 15 minutes for each position [Each officer position IS separate]
      • Which will be divided evenly among candidates
      • With a minimum of 2 minutes and a maximum of 5 minutes
    • These [potentially confusing] time limits may be changed at the council meeting via a majority vote, if the council desires to do so.

Voting will commence on paper ballot. In the event no candidate receives the majority of votes, then the two candidates receiving the most votes shall have an immediate runoff. In the event of a tie, the presiding officer will vote to break the tie.

If the election is uncontested, then it will be proceed verbally. The nominee may opt to be present or leave the room. Additionally, “If the nominee’s vote is necessary to break a tie, he or she shall be asked to cast a vote in the presence of the quorum.”

Service Term

As a reminder, each officer serves from April’s GSA Council Meeting at the start of ‘New

Business’ —until— the conclusion of ‘Old Business’ in April of the following year. More or less, exactly 12 months.

Upcoming officers start serving in April, but are elected in March. This month of overlap with the previous officers is a valuable time to begin understanding your new role in close detail.

Although you have no obligation, it may be wise to begin serving or observing alongside them if possible to help ensure a smooth transition.

Reach out to us with questions!

GSA Officer Positions in Brief

  • President
  • Vice President of External Affairs
  • Vice President of Academic Affairs
  • Vice President of Internal Affairs
  • Vice President of Communication
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Public Relations Officer

Each officer receives a stipend based on their UGSA role. This stipend is determined by the budget passed in the previous year.

As the president’s meetings may be scattered across multiple NCSU campuses and buildings, a parking pass is absolutely essential to the role and will be provided free of charge. All other officers are eligible to purchase a ‘Student Leader’ parking permits if they choose. The SL permit is valid in “C”, “CC,” “CD,” “DD,” “RC,” “RE,” “RP,” “RW,” W,” “P,” and “V” areas.

A detailed description of each role now follows:

Position: President

Liaison to the UGSA Committee: Special Projects and Political Action

Constitutional Definition:

  1. Call and preside over UGSA council meetings
  2. Call UGSA elections and special elections whenever necessary
  3. Represent the UGSA at University and Student Government functions
    1. Be the primary representative for the UGSA on significant university committees, such as the University Council, Tuition and Fee Review Advisory Committees, Chancellor’s Liaison, etc.
    2. Represent the UGSA to the Directors of Graduate Programs (DGPs), Board of Trustees and the Association of Student Governments – Matt
    3. Represent graduate students on any Nomination/Search committees for new University personnel that have relevance to graduate students – Matt
    4. Coordinate with the Secretary and Vice President of Academic Affairs to serve as the UGSA Representative to the Administrative Board of the Graduate School
    5. Communicate regularly with the Student Body President, Student Senate President, Chair of the Faculty Senate, and Chair of the Staff Senate to foster collaboration
  4. Serve as a member and liaison, but not chair, of the Political Action and Special Projects Committee
  5. Perform those duties imposed on the office by the Student Body Constitution.
  6. Connect with, and bring significant and relevant speakers to the UGSA council meetings.
  7. Work with the Treasurer, and then Executive Board, to create, manage, and appropriately adjust the UNIVERSITY GRADUATE STUDENT ASSOCIATION
  8. Lead goal setting discussions with the Officers over the summer
  9. Work with the Vice President for Internal Affairs to coordinate new Representative orientation and update the Representative Information Packet

Position: Vice President of External Affairs

Liaison to the UGSA Committee: Community Service Committee

Constitutional Definition:

  1. Preside over UGSA council meeting at the request of or in the absence of the President
  2. Act as proxy for the President at University or Student Government functions at the President’s request
  3. Serve as a member and liaison, but not chair, of the Community Service Committee
  4. Promote and appoint willing graduate students to serve on University Standing Committees
  5. Actively track attendance of appointed graduate students to University Standing Committees by collecting brief reports following each attended meeting and present these reports during UGSA regular council meetings
  6. Reappoint University Standing Committee seats that have a record of unsatisfactory attendance
  7. Be responsible for maintaining UGSAs “organizational membership” to the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) and collaborating with the Political Action and Special Interests committee to facilitate transportation, hotel accommodations, payment of attendance fees and advertising to the NAGPS Advocacy Summit (LAD) as well as keep UGSA members apprised of academic enrichment and pre-professional development opportunities external to NCSU
  8. Coordinate the planning and facilitation of the fall and spring International and University Graduate Student Orientations, New Graduate Student Information Fair and Social Event.
  9. Coordinate the planning and facilitation of the spring UNC System Graduate Student Association’s Leadership and Networking Workshop.
  10. Serve as a UGSA representative on the University Standing Committee on Committees.

Position: Vice President of Academic Affairs

Liaison to the UGSA Committee: Research Recognition Committee

Constitutional Definition:

  1. Serve as a member and liaison, but not chair, of the Research Recognition Committee.
  2. Provide leadership for and assist the Research Recognition Committee with the recipient selection process and disbursement of funds for the competitive UGSA Travel Award.
    1. Serve as the contact person for the receipt and response of student inquires related to the UGSA Award for Conferences
    2. Compile, organize and distribute all received application packets by the specified deadline to the Research Recognition Committee.
  3. Work closely with the Graduate School, and be the primary coordinator for Graduate Education Week.
    1. This includes assisting the Research Recognition Committee with the running and hosting of the Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium.
  4. Monitor and educate the UGSA Council on both current and future changes to academic policies at NCSU that affect graduate students.
  5. Coordinate with the President and Secretary to serve as the UGSA Representative to the Administrative Board of the Graduate School.

Position: Vice President of Internal Affairs

Liaison to the UGSA Committee: Departmental Outreach and Leadership Committee

Constitutional Definition:

  1. Be responsible for obtaining a letter of credentials and constitution from each chapter, graduate degree program and SIG, and verify each chapter’s registration with the Student Organization Resource Center
  2. Appoint and oversee the operations of the UGSA Internal Standing Committees and serve as a liaison with those committee chairs
  3. Serve as a member and liaison, but not chair, of the Departmental Outreach and Leadership Committee.
  4. Maintain parliamentary procedure at UGSA council meetings and have a copy of Roberts’ Rules of Order present at each council meeting
  5. Work with the Treasurer and Secretary on the calculation and distribution of chapter rebates.
  6. Give the secretary a list of representatives and chapter (GSA) officers’ contact information.
  7. Notify the secretary to contact the representative and chapter officers if a representative fails to remain in good standing on his/her internal standing committee.
  8. Obtain and verify the minutes of the meetings of the internal standing committees every month.
  9. Lead discussion and revisions of the Representative Information Packet with the Officers before the first Council Meeting of Representatives in August
  10. Plan and coordinate new Representative Orientation with the Officers

Position: Vice President of Communication

Liaison to the UGSA Committee: Publicity Committee

Constitutional Definition:

  1. Maintain the UGSA Website.
  2. Maintain the UGSA email list-serves.
  3. Serve as a member and a liaison, but not chair, of the Publicity Committee.
  4. Work with the Executive Board to provide and maintain a prompt and reliable flow of information from the UGSA and its constituent members.
  5. Communicate pertinent information regularly to the graduate student body in a manner deemed appropriate (blog, e-newsletter)

Position: Treasurer

Liaison to the UGSA Committee: Social Committee

Constitutional Definition:

  1. Keep the financial records of the UGSA.
  2. Serve as a member and liaison, but not chair, of the Social Committee
  3. Work with the Vice President for Internal Affairs and Secretary on the calculation and distribution of chapter rebates.
  4. Coordinate the submission of annual budget requests from the UGSA internal standing committee chairpersons. The budget requests may be submitted in a manner chosen by the Treasurer and approved by the UGSA Council
  5. Submit the annual budget, approved by the Executive Board, to the UGSA Council
  6. Oversee block grant requests in accordance with the UGSA Block Grant Policy.

Position: Secretary

Liaison to the UGSA Committee: Teaching Effectiveness Committee

Constitutional Definition:

  1. Record and maintain minutes of the UGSA council meeting and circulate copies of the minutes to the council members
  2. Maintain a roll of council members and call the roll whenever a roll call vote is taken
  3. Determine and announce whether or not a quorum is present for each council meeting
  4. Serve as a member and liaison, but not chair, of the Teaching Effectiveness Committee as appointed by the Vice President for Internal Affairs
  5. Prepare and carry out UGSA correspondence
  6. Work with the Vice President for Internal Affairs and Treasurer on the calculation and distribution of chapter rebates.
  7. Contact the representative and chapter officers if a representative fails to remain in good standing on his or her internal standing committee.
  8. Contact the representative and chapter officers when the GSA representative is absent from a Council meeting.
  9. Coordinate with the President and Vice President of Academic Affairs to serve as the UGSA Representative to the Administrative Board of the Graduate School

Position: Public Relations Officer

Liaison to the UGSA Committee: Publicity Committee

Constitutional Definition:

  1. Write a Press Release after each All-Council Meeting.
    1. The Press Release should not simply be the meeting minutes. It will instead be a concise summary of the main points discussed at the meeting that conveys to our stakeholders how the GSA is enhancing graduate student life at NCSU.
    2. This should be distributed to all Representatives and any other outlet the GSA deems necessary.
  2. Serve as a member and a liaison, but not chair, of the Publicity Committee.
  3. Hold regular meetings, no less frequently than monthly, with media outlets to ensure the GSA is represented in their publications.
  4. Create an annual report to highlight the GSA’s accomplishments and provide goals for the upcoming year.
  5. Write articles for media outlets after major GSA events.
  6. Proof and provide editorial support to the GSA newsletter submissions prior to publication
  7. Take pictures at GSA events and share them online via Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  8. Keep Twitter and Facebook accounts of the GSA active and updated to effectively communicate with the graduate student body.
  9. Actively recruit students to follow the GSA on Facebook and Twitter at GSA events.
  10. Maintain a presence on departmental GSA Facebook pages and ensure that GSA material is being publicized in the individual GSAs

Trivia Bowl

The Social Committee would like to invite you to:
The 2016 GSA Trivia Bowl! Join us as we find out which graduate department will take home the trophy this year.
The Trivia Bowl will run throughout February on Tuesdays at 8pm, and be held at
Ba-Da Wings Raleigh
2161 Avent Ferry Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
The calendar is as follows:
Preliminaries: February 2February 9February 16.
Championship: February 23.
This year’s Trivia Bowl will be hosted by GSA Social Committee member Lee Jones (operations research).
Each week will feature five founds of trivia, with each round consisting of ten questions. The teams with the top two cumulative scores from each week of the preliminary rounds will be invited to compete in the championship round.
Complimentary dinner and soft drinks will be served from 7pm to 7:45pm for the participating teams on the Tuesdays when they compete.
Please help us by spreading the word and letting us know which preliminary days would be best for you by filling out this form.
We look forward to seeing you at the Trivia Bowl! If you have any questions about the Trivia Bowl, you may email Lee Jones at hljones2@ncsu.edu or Melissa White at mmwhite8@ncsu.edu.

2016 Graduate Student History Conference: Place

The History Graduate Student Association the 2016 Graduate Student History Conference. This year’s conference will be held on April 2, 2016 and its theme will be ‘Place’. The proposal deadline is January 11, 2016.

Below, Co-President of the History GSA, Andrew Benton gives a synopsis of the annual conference:

“The NC State History Graduate Student Association invites graduate students to participate in the 2016 Graduate Student History Conference to be held on the campus of North Carolina State University. The conference provides a welcoming environment for scholarly interaction and professional development for new or experienced scholars and is open to all graduate students in history and related fields. Each presentation will last approximately 20 minutes, and each panel will be followed by comments from area faculty as well as general discussion.

The theme of this year’s conference is “place.” There is no geographical focus, and scholars of any historical places and spaces are encouraged to apply. As a broad yet useful lens of analysis, studies of place can give voice to underrepresented groups while also calling into question the complex motivations of structures of power. Possible topics for studies of place include the following:

  •        borderlands, both physical and cultural
  •        evolving rural or urban landscapes
  •        imperialism and colonial culture
  •       migrations
  •       memorials and monuments

Proposals of no more than 250 words should be sent together with a short biography including the applicant’s name, institution, and field of specialization. Presenters are urged to seek funding from their home departments and outside sources if possible. Limited funding for travel and accommodations is available for applicants who demonstrate need on the online abstract submission form.”

Proposals and questions should be directed to ambenton@ncsu.edu.

The 11th Annual Graduate Research Symposium

With great pleasure from the Graduate School, Dr. Shafer, and UGSA, we are pleased to announce the Eleventh Annual Graduate Research Symposium which will take place on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, from to 1-5:30 pm at the McKimmon Center.

The Graduate Research Symposium is an opportunity for graduate students to showcase the diversity of the research being carried out at NC State. Over 200 posters were presented last year from 60 departments. The posters are judged by faculty from the academic areas represented and monetary prizes are awarded to the top three winners of each academic field. The 2015 Graduate Research Poster winners were on display at the iPearl Immersion Theater in Hunt Library this September in its own exhibit. Currently, the posters can be viewed at any time.

The call for nominations is now open. If you’re interested in making a poster presentation, please contact your Director of Graduate  Programs (DGP). The deadline for nominations is January 15, 2016. Additional information is available on the Graduate School Website.

Please contact Dr. Shafer at dmshafer@ncsu.edu if you have additional questions.