Now more so than ever graduate students at Kansas State University are enhancing their leadership experience, professional development potential and communication skills. Through the student led Graduate Student Council (GSC), graduate students have opportunities to learn and develop transferable skills outside of their academic programs. They are becoming well-rounded individuals, learning how to balance graduate school with other extracurricular opportunities through the support and opportunities provided by GSC.“The GSC is a group of dedicated individuals that aim to improve graduate student life at K-State, which includes providing professional development workshops and opportunities for students to present their research effectively and enhance the social life of graduate students,” said Amanda Martens, 2015-16 graduate student council president, doctoral student in psychology.
Four members of the GSC make up the executive committee, with 13 other sub-committees serving under the executive committee. The executive committee consists of a president, president-elect, secretary and treasurer. Each position serves one year, with the president-elect serving two years – one year as elect, the following year as president.
“The goal of GSC is make our graduate students more competitive in the job market and introduce graduate students to resources on campus that they might not be aware of,” said Tucker Jones, 2015-16 president-elect, doctoral student in psychology. ” The GSC partners with campus units such as Powercat Financial Counseling, K-State Post-doc Association or the Writing Center to expand services for graduate students and professional development opportunities. Graduate students who don’t go outside out of the lab or classroom may not be aware of the available services to them.”
The committees of GSC consist of: fundraising, awards and recognition, student affairs, professional development, research forums, health insurance, international graduate student affairs, union governing board, library, recreational services, women of K-State, state relations and 8020.
“The professional development program has grown tremendously in just four years. Based on the feedback from students, GSC is offering workshops that enhance what individual graduate programs providet,” said Amanda Fairbanks, professional development chair, 2014-15 president, doctoral student in counseling and student development. “One of our goals is to plan events that are relevant and helpful for the graduate student body as a whole.”
Any graduate student can serve on a GSC committee. Serving on a committee has many benefits including developing the student’s professional and team building skills. Graduate students have better visibility with K-State administrators, interact with students from outside of his or her field and create a different social network.
“Serving on a committee contributes to the CV or resume,” said Jones. “It shows that a person is willing to help out and go above beyond what is required of them.”
“When graduate students present their research at conferences, they often bring undergraduates with,” said Martens. “We promote the visibility of undergraduates and provide those students with a professional development opportunity at these conferences.”
Monthly, the GSC awards students up to $750 to travel to present their research at conferences, internationally and $500 to travel domestically.
When it comes to graduating and looking for a future job, serving as a leader on the graduate student council makes graduate students more competitive.
“The knowledge and skills I have gained from serving as a president and committee member for GSC is unreplaceable,” said Fairbanks. “It has provided me with opportunities to serve on university-wide committees and develop personal relationship with K-State administrators.”
Serving on a committee not only adds credentials to a graduate student’s resume or CV, it helps keep graduate students connected to the university.
“The GSC has really made me feel connected to K-State,” said Fairbanks. “I’m done with my coursework, so I’ve had many reasons to stay away. Yet, the Council is a way that I stay connected with the campus community.”
Like Amanda Martens, Tucker Jones and Amanda Fairbanks, over the past ten years, there have been hundreds of students who have found enjoyment from serving their graduate students on the GSC.
In the fall 2015 and the spring 2016 semesters, GSC hosted 10 events ranging from a research forum to a workshop on tax preparation. To learn more about the GSC and to see the full list of events, please visit the Graduate Student Council website here http://www.k-state.edu/grad/students/studentcouncil/. To show your support for the Graduate Student Council, please visithttp://www.found.ksu.edu/graduate-school/index.html.