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News & Press: AAALetter

From the Graduate Student Council’s Steering Committee

Thursday, September 7, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Laura Hamman
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Three years ago, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) became an official organizational body within AAAL. Since our inception, we have worked diligently to serve our fellow graduate students by (1) encouraging active AAAL membership and providing opportunities for leadership and participation within the organization, (2) maintaining social media and communication platforms for disseminating information related to applied linguistics and graduate student interests, and (3) planning and leading conference events for grads. This year’s GSC Steering Committee is comprised of five students from different institutions, including myself (co-chair, University of Wisconsin-Madison), Mengying Liu (co-chair, University of Minnesota), Michael Amory (secretary, Pennsylvania State University), Rayoung Song (member-at-large, University of Massachusetts-Amherst), and Ai-Chu Ding (member-at-large, Indiana University-Bloomington). We’ll have some (friendly) rivalries for Big Ten sporting events this year!

 We are honored to represent AAAL grads who, as of December, 2016, comprise 36% of the total AAAL membership (761 out of 2,101 members). Since April, we have held monthly meetings to begin planning graduate student events for next year’s conference and to enhance our outreach and communication platforms. After reviewing survey feedback from the graduate student events at the 2017 AAAL conference, we generated a list of the most requested topics and are currently in the process of finalizing themes for next year’s sessions. We have also been working closely with the AAAL Executive Committee and the conference organizing committee at the University of Georgia to enhance the graduate student experience at the 2018 AAAL conference. If you are interested in getting involved in conference event planning, keep an eye out for our forthcoming call for volunteers.

 Growing and improving our communication platforms continues to remain one of our top priorities. Last year, we launched AAALGrads, a newsletter created by and for graduate students, which covered topics such as achieving work/life balance, navigating the job search, becoming an academic writer, and transitioning from Master’s to Ph.D. student. This year, we will continue to publish fall and spring newsletter editions, under the leadership of co-editors Rayoung Song (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) and Jessica Lian (Purdue University). The deadline for articles for the fall issue has passed, but we encourage you to submit an abstract for the spring edition—look for the call mid-winter!

 This year’s communication initiative is to develop and maintain a AAAL graduate student website. Our website will contain information about the GSC Steering Committee and our conference events and will serve as a resource center for grads, with relevant topics such as writing conference proposals and applying for grants. We are currently looking for students to help produce some of the website content. If you are interested, please respond to this call by mid-September. This is a great opportunity to get involved and to share your experiences and advice with fellow grads.

 As always, we love to hear from you! If you have any questions or are interested in getting more involved in the Graduate Student Council, please email us at And, if you haven’t already, connect with us on our social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter (@AAALgrad), and Instagram (@aaalgrads). We wish you all a great start to the academic year!

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