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From the Graduate Student Council: A Graduate Student Council Steering Committee Update

Wednesday, December 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Michael Amory and Ai-Chu (Elisha) Ding
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The Steering Committee of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) has entered its third year as an officially recognized entity within AAAL. It is our hope to maintain what we have done previously and to improve with our new initiatives as we continue to serve and represent the AAAL graduate student body. In this article, we would like to detail some of the exciting avenues that we are currently pursuing.

AAALgrads Website

Connecting and providing professional development opportunities outside of the AAAL conference continues to be one of our top priorities. As such, this year we have developed the AAAL GSC website that provides information about our organization, events and useful resources for graduate students. The website is very close to completion and we aim to complete the website construction in December. If you have any feedback regarding on our website, please contact us and let us know.

Webinar Series

Another communication initiative we have launched this year is a webinar series for graduate students. We will host webinars on a variety of topics to help graduate students navigate their academic lives, to provide professional development, and to engage students in topical discussions related to applied linguistics. The first GSC webinar will take place on Monday, November 13th, 2:20PM to 4:00 PM (US Eastern Time). For this webinar, we have invited two scholars and one doctoral student to share their experiences and insight in writing effective grant proposals. All AAAL members are welcome to register and participate in this webinar. You may find additional information regarding this webinar event in this flyer.

The GSC will host webinar events like this throughout the following year. The next webinar “Meet an AAAL Scholar” is currently being planned and will be hosted in January 2018. This webinar will provide an opportunity for graduate students to meet an applied linguistics scholar and to engage in discussions on critical topics in the field. If you would like to suggest topics and panelists for our upcoming webinars, please email us at

AAALgrads Newsletter

This November, we will publish our third edition of AAALgrads, our student-run newsletter which is published bi-annually, one edition in the Fall and the other in the Spring. As with previous editions, the current co-editors, Rayoung Song (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) and Jessica Lian (Georgia State University) have been working with graduate students from various institutions to craft content articles discussing a range of topics related to graduate student experiences. This fall, we received more submissions than we could accommodate, and are excited to see the newsletter continue to expand and to engage with topics that are relevant and important to graduate students.

Graduate Student Conference Events at AAAL 2018

At AAAL 2018 in Chicago there will be several events for graduate students. One event is designed to create a space for M.A. students. This session will be organized and chaired by Dr. Luke Plonsky (Georgetown University) and will focus on identifying, applying for, and getting accepted to doctoral programs in applied linguistics. Dr. Plonsky will be working with two Ph.D. students, Dan Isbell (Michigan State University) and Aysenur Sagdic (Georgetown University), in preparing this event. In addition, the GSC will organize and lead three events designed by and for graduate student. The first event will be a “Grad Students Meet and Greet,” which will be held on Friday night at the conference hotel and will be a chance for graduate students to get to know other grads with similar professional interests. The next event – held on Saturday, March 24 – will be a workshop to present the newly endorsed AAAL Ethics Guidelines. Organized by Peter De Costa (Michigan State University), Michael Amory (The Pennsylvania State University), David Chiesa (Georgia State University), and Wendy Li (Michigan State University), this session will provide a space for graduate students to engage with the guidelines created by the AAAL Ethics Taskforce, as they "provide..."as they “provide guidance on ethical practice toward and among graduate students” in three areas: research, teaching, and service. Our final event – held Sunday, March 25 – will be a roundtable session geared toward graduate students at all stages. Organized by Ai-Chu Ding (Indiana University-Bloomington), Laura Hamman (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Rayoung Song (University of Massachusetts-Amherst), this session will provide opportunities for graduate students to interact in small groups with invited panelists, who will address crucial topics that arise during the doctoral journey, such as: publications, grant proposal writing, the job search, and strategies for leading a more effective and productive doctoral student life.

T-shirt Fundraiser

Finally, the GSC will lead a new initiative to raise more funds for graduate students. With the support of the Executive Committee, this year the AAAL GSC Steering Committee is organizing a t-shirt fundraiser. These t-shirts will be sold at AAAL 2018 and proceeds from the sale will be used to provide more funding for graduate student awards. The GSC will soon release a call to graduate students for the design competition. We hope you will consider submitting a t-shirt design!

Stay Connected with the GSC

Serving on the GSC Steering Committee has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience for both of us. We are both honored to be able to serve not only within our own respective home institutions, but also in the broader AAAL community. The GSC Steering Committee will continue to advocate for graduate students. To that end, we would love to hear from you regarding additional initiatives that you would like to see us undertake. If you have any questions and/or feedback for the GSC Steering Committee, please contact us at:

To learn more about our events and to stay up-to-date with what the GSC is planning, we encourage you to follow us on our social media outlets: Twitter, Instagram, and AAALgrads Facebook page.
Michael Amory is currently a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics at The Pennsylvania State University. Michael serves as the secretary for the GSC Steering Committee. His responsibilities include: taking and maintaining meeting minutes, distributing minutes after each meeting with actionable items, managing the GSC Steering Committee database, and collaborating in the planning of conference events for graduate students.

Ai-Chu (Elisha) Ding is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Indiana University-Bloomington with dual major in Literacy, Culture and Language Education and Instructional Systems Technology. Her responsibilities in the GSC Steering Committee include: overseeing all aspects of the GSC’s social media, recruiting and leading a team of student volunteers to grow GSC social media presence, developing and managing the GSC website, and organizing and assisting in GSC conference events.

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