Graduate Student Association recognized nationally

June 28, 2013 | News, UToday, Graduate Studies
By Casey Cheap

The UT Graduate Student Association has been recognized by the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students in the spring issue of its publication of The Postgraduate Voice.

A news article called UT a leader in support for graduate education and complimented the institution for investing in its graduate students. The publication also announced two awards for the University: the New Member of the Year Award and the 2013 Friend of Graduate Students Award.

In the last four years, the UT Graduate Student Association has gone from being a relatively unknown organization with four executive board members to representing the University’s 4,700 graduate students.

The association has increased its budget from less than $4,000 to $154,000, which puts it on par with graduate student associations at other Ohio universities and has allowed the group to create initiatives in support of students.

“The new blood brought new vision,” Joshua Waldman, outgoing association president, said about the student leaders elected to run the organization, including former presidents Thehazhnan (Thihal) Ponnaiyann and Michael Bechill. “The visions of these individuals and others spurred the implementation of new programs such as the Travel Reimbursement Program and the annual Midwest Graduate Research Symposium.”

The symposium is a multi-university and multidisciplinary event that is focused on giving graduate students the experience required to better their presentation skills and to meet fellow graduate students and potential collaborators from schools throughout the region.

“We could not fulfill all the needs of each student before,” Waldman said. “Now we have invested more into programs like the symposium and travel reimbursement, which allows graduate students to attend conferences where they speak about and showcase the exceptional research being conducted at UT. We also have been able to award research funding through the newly formed Graduate Research Award Program, which averaged $2,000 for the 10 student projects.

“I am honored to have served such an intelligent and vibrant group of individuals,” Waldman added.

The National Association of Graduate and Professional Students presented the Friend of Graduate Students Award to Dr. Patricia Komuniecki, vice provost for graduate affairs and dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

“Dr. Komuniecki’s commitment to graduate education continues to positively impact graduate students at The University of Toledo and throughout the nation,” according to the article in The Postgraduate Voice.

Komuniecki is a strong advocate for UT graduate students and has been an adviser to the Graduate Student Association since her appointment as dean in January 2009. She has worked with the organization as it underwent its recent transformation.

“I am very grateful for the support for graduate and professional students from the UT administration,” Komuniecki said. “They took a leap of faith that will have a positive impact on future graduate enrollment and have showcased UT at the international level.”

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