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From The Graduate Student Council Steering Committee: Heading into Year 3

Thursday, April 27, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Laura Hamman
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The Steering Committee of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) is entering its third year as an organizational body within AAAL. As I begin my second (and final) year on the committee and my first as the co-chair, I am proud of what we have accomplished thus far and excited to begin working with our new team during the 2017-2018 year of service. In what follows, I share some of our accomplishments from this year and introduce the incoming GSC Steering Committee.


One of our top priorities this year was to find new ways to engage with the AAAL graduate student community outside of the annual conference. In response, we launched AAALgrads, a student-run newsletter published twice annually that features articles written by and for graduate students (see below for links to the fall and spring editions). Our pre-conference newsletter, released this March, featured articles that addressed the following topics: tips for successfully navigating a conference (Elnaz Kia, Northern Arizona University), an interview with 2016 Dissertation Award winner Dr. Katie Bernstein (Laura Hamman, University of Wisconsin-Madison), advice for working collaboratively in higher education (Shakina Rajendram, Mimi Mason, & Elizabeth Jean Larson, University of Toronto), building support systems in graduate school (Lisa Gonzalves, University of California-Davis), writing for publication (Meng Zhang, The Ohio State University), finding balance between teaching and being a grad student (Olivia Rines, Arizona State University), and effective note-taking strategies (Anna Mendoza, University of Hawaii-Manoa). We had many more article submissions than we could accommodate for the spring edition, and we are thrilled that the newsletter has been so well received by graduate students and the greater AAAL community. For the upcoming term of service (2017-2018), Rayoung Song (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) and Jessica Lian (Georgia State University) will be moving into the role of co-editors. They will announce the call for submissions for the fall newsletter in the coming months. If you are a graduate student, please consider submitting a piece!

Conference Events

As in previous years, we organized and led two graduate student events at the 2017 AAAL conference. The afternoon event, “Making a transition: From graduate student to faculty member” featured a panel of early career faculty who shared their experiences on navigating the job market and their first years as assistant professors. In the post-event survey, grads reported that they enjoyed hearing from individuals in a variety of positions and appreciated the candid sharing of experiences. Our evening event, “Publishing 101: Graduate students’ forum on writing for publication,” included presentations from graduate students who have had experience publishing for academic audiences. After the presentations, students had the opportunity to meet with presenters in break-out groups to ask questions and get to know one another better. Survey data revealed that students enjoyed the practical tips, range of experiences, and delicious food!

Social media

We have continued to grow our social media presence. This year, the AAALgrads Facebook account (AAAL Graduate Students) reached over 1,100 followers and has become our primary means for engaging with graduate students. We have used Facebook to share important dates and deadlines, announce newsletter publications, recruit volunteers, advertise jobs, and provide pre- and during-conference information, among other things. We also tweet (@AAALGrad), post on Instagram (aaalgrads), and engage in grad-focused forums on the AAAL website ( If you haven’t already, connect with us on social media!

Incoming graduate student leadership team

I am excited to present the incoming AAAL GSC Steering Committee: Laura Hamman, University of Wisconsin-Madison (co-chair); Mengying Liu, University of Minnesota (co-chair), Michael Amory, The Pennsylvania State University (secretary), Rayoung Song, University of Massachusetts-Amherst (member-at-large), and Ai-Chu Ding, University of Indiana-Bloomington (member-at-large). We held our first leadership meeting at the 2017 AAAL conference to begin planning strategic priorities for the upcoming year and will continue to meet virtually each month as we work to serve and represent the AAAL graduate student community.

Looking ahead

We have begun to identify goals for the upcoming year. Some are internal: as the GSC Steering Committee grows and evolves, we plan to continuing to improve our organizational systems, including streamlining task management, cleaning up archives, and building a more efficient volunteer database. Additionally, we will extend our external reach by continuing to find new ways to engage with graduate students during the year and by increasing our collaboration with other grad leaders, such as this year’s AAAL conference planning team at the University of Georgia (Rhia Moreno Kilpatrick, Nicole Siffrin, and Lei Jiang). We will also continue to organize graduate student events for the annual AAAL conference, choosing topics and session formats that align with grad interests based on survey feedback from this year’s conference. Finally, we will continue to represent graduate student interests on the Executive Committee and AAAL task forces, ensuring that grad perspectives and needs are heard. We look forward to a productive and engaging year!

Have a question or feedback for the GSC Steering Committee? We love hearing from you! Contact us at:

AAALgrads newsletter

Fall Edition

Spring Edition

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