Yale Physics Graduate Student Advisory Committee enables shared leadership

people at conference table
September 18, 2020

A new Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GSAC) has recently been formed in the  Yale Physics Department. This committee, which includes several representatives from Wright Lab, serves as a point of communication between graduate students and the department leadership.

GSAC advises the Chair, the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), and other faculty on matters related to graduate students and the graduate program, including (but not limited to) coordinating departmental events and advocating on behalf of graduate students with the Chair and DGS.

Since its inception in early 2020, GSAC helped organize a successful online open house for newly accepted graduate students, helped revise the Graduate Program Handbook, advocated on behalf of students affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and discussed graduate student concerns about the qualifying exam during the time of COVID-19.

The committee meets with the Chair and DGS once a month, and regularly solicits feedback from students and peers. GSAC members are appointed by the Chair, in consultation with the DGS and the graduate program team, for one calendar year. At the end of the Fall semester, students are asked to submit nominations for membership for the following calendar year.

The current GSAC has 13 members, including 8 from Wright Lab, with representation from each cohort in the graduate program. GSAC represents an inclusive and diverse set of interests–including gender, race, nationality, research field, and even physical location on campus—in order to provide a holistic view of the graduate student experience.

The idea behind GSAC was initiated in September 2019 by department chair Karsten Heeger, and developed throughout the 2019 Fall semester in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, Bonnie Fleming, and Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) representatives Estella Barbosa de Souza, Jeremy Gaison, Catherine Matulis, and Ryan Petersburg. The first meeting of the committee was held on January 21, 2020.

More information can be found on the GSAC website. Students who are interested in joining GSAC for the 2021 calendar year should look out for nomination information from the department near the end of the Fall semester.

2020 GSAC

Joseph Shomar (Year 2)
Samantha Pagan (Year 2)
Sanah Bhimani (Year 2)
Hannah Bossi (Year 3)
Ako Jamil (Year 4)
Lauren Saunders (Year 4)
Sheridan Green (Year 4)
Emily Kuhn (Year 5)
Kelly Backes (Year 5)
Sohan Vartak (Year 5)
Sumita Ghosh (Year 5)
Ryan Petersburg (Year 6)
Aniket Maiti (Year 3)

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