CWRU Graduate Student Senate Calendar

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GSS Committee Chairs

GSS Organizational Chart 2009-2010Committees are the business end of the Graduate Student Senate (GSS), so a majority of the Senate's objectives are executed by its standing (permanent) and ad-hoc (temporary) committees. Often, committees are formed in response to an issue endemic within the graduate student community which demands the creation of a specialized task force charged not only with defining and investigating the problem but also engineering a solution in consultation with and in collaboration with graduate students, faculty, and University Leadership.

Therefore, Committee Chairs are responsible for leading these efforts by setting objectives for their committees, recruiting an engaged and able body of committee members from throughout the graduate student body, and authoring reports documenting the results of their committee's meetings, productivity, and progress toward meeting their objectives. The Graduate Student Senate has a number of committees including the Activities, Health & Wellness, Mentoring, Student Organizations and Allocations, and Professional Development Committees. Committee Chairs sit on the GSS Executive Committee and are voting members of the Graduate Student Senate (GSS).

Chair, GSS Activities Committee, Melody Maxson


Duties and Responsibilities: The activities committee chair organizes activities to encourage interschool social interaction among graduate students.

Biosketch:  Raised in northeast Texas, I received an undergraduate degree in Physics at Colorado College before joining the Physics department at CWRU as a PhD student. I am a second year graduate student researching the properties and growth processes of the ternary nitrides, an exciting and largely unexplored class of semi-conductors. I originally joined the Activities Committee as a way to branch out and meet graduate students not associated with my own program. Through the Committee I came to collaborate with the CWRU chapter of Colleges Against Cancer which organizes Relay for Life and currently serve as the Graduate Student Engagement Chair. Within the Physics Graduate Student Association (PGSA) I also serve as co-Vice President and Senator. other students.

Statement of Intent::  : I believe that for many graduate students, the driving motivation behind joining GSS has been to meet and form friendships with students outside of our own programs and concentrations. Often, graduate school is a place where students find themselves so fully immersed in their research that they forget that this is also a time to build friendships and create memorable experiences outside of the lab or classroom. As Activities Chair, it is my responsibility to organize and promote events that help students break out of their bubble and fully enjoy this transformative time of their lives. I aim to both continue the successful programs of previous chairs (e.g. Happy Hour at the Jolly Scholar) and devise new events to include graduate students, particularly international students, who have inadvertently been underrepresented by our committee in the past.

Committee Memberships: GSS Executive Committee, GSS Activities Committee



Chair, GSS Health & Wellness Committee, Stacey Chung


Duties and Responsibilities: The Chair of the Health Care Committee is responsible for representing student interests as decisions are made regarding health benefits for students and their dependents. This year, that includes addressing the need for increased choice among dental care providers, gathering information that will allow students to use health care in a more cost-effective way, and taking a comprehensive look at how health benefits and other financial aid and compensation relate to each other for graduate and professional students at Case.

Biosketch: Stacey Chung is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Nutrition studying vitamin E trafficking in the liver. She has served as Senator and Secretary of GSS and is still currently the representing Senator for the Department of Nutrition Ph.D. program. Being a part of GSS has opened her to many opportunities to be involved with promoting professional development and improving sustainable practices on campus by starting the Graduate Sustainability Coalition (former named Graduate Student Green Team). Stacey also enjoys practicing Kendo, the way of the sword, to help balance work and physical activity.

Statement of Purpose: As Health and Wellness Chair, my goal is to work alongside Health Services and graduate students to improve health option awareness on campus. I am also interested to help organize sessions to promote health on campus. I am currently incorporating sessions in the Professional Development Conference where facilitators can talk about healthy eating despite having busy schedules. I also want to ensure that Health fairs focus on graduate student health and wellness.

Committee Memberships: GSS Executive Committee, GSS Health Care Committee

Chair, GSS Mentoring Committee, Chaturia Rouse


Duties and Responsibilities: The mentoring committee helps develop the graduate student's transition from a junior student to a future colleague. Emphasis is on infrastructure and support, graduate student training, conflict resolution, and reengineering of the importance of graduate student education.

Biosketch: I graduated from Spelman College earning a BS in Biology. After graduation, I moved to Boston, MA (climate shock!) to begin graduate school at Boston University. Upon obtaining my MPH in Biostatistics, I relocated to Atlanta to work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), as a public health analyst contractor in the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination. Currently, I am a first year graduate student in the MS in Medical Physiology program. Outside of school, I enjoy watching TV, trivia, cooking, and yoga.

Statement of Intent: Becoming the chair of the Mentoring & Diekhoff Committee would not only afford me the opportunity to become involved with GSS, it would also allow me to invest in Case Western Reserve University in a positive and productive manner. I am keenly aware of the value of collaboration, innovation, diversity, and commitment needed to serve as chair of the Mentoring & Diekhoff Committee. My goal as the committee chair would be to sustain the integrity of the committee, and expand its goals for future Case graduates, something I am excited to commit to. Serving as the chair of this committee would additionally permit me to be supportive in the area of professional development for graduate students, an integral part of career and personal growth.

Chair, GSS Student Organizations & Allocations Committee, Tirth Bhatta


Duties and Responsibilities: Serves as a liaison to those graduate students and organizations wishing to receive GSS recognition and/or funding.

Biosketch:  I am a fourth year doctoral student in the department of Sociology. Employing cumulative dis/advantage theory, my current research projects examine the social determinants of health disparities in later life. My involvement in GSS as a graduate student senator begun in 2012. I have been serving on the GSS Executive Committee as the College of Arts and Sciences student executive since spring 2013. Previously, I was Vice President of Nepalese student association at Miami University. During my association with GSS, I have served on the professional development committee, Faculty Senate Research Committee, and V-fund task force. I have also endeavored to promote student engagement by volunteering at GSS organized or sponsored events. In addition to my involvement in GSS, I have been serving as a student associate at the University Center on Aging and Health and Palliative Care Education and Research Leadership (PEARL) group for the past 3 years. Through my leadership experience here and at other universities, I have gained experience in planning and organization of events. I have played major part in organization of professional development events. I have collaborated with the College of Arts and Sciences to organize events to promote interaction between student senators and the deans. As part of GSS executive committee, I have played a central role in establishing travel and research funding as major GSS initiatives last year. As the Chair of GSS Student Organizations & Allocations Committee, I will draw on my prior experience to perform activities as specified by GSS and will also help address some of the issues that became aware of as a member of GSS Executive Committee. More specifically, I will:

  • Endeavor to increase diversity among student organizations and encourage them to organize collaborative events.
  • Ensure that student organizations maintain current benefits to help them flourish under new organizational framework (after GSS-GPC unification).
  • Formulate policy to encourage representatives of student organizations to come to GA meetings to advertise their events.
  • Help GSS Executive Committee to establish more organized application procedure for student organizations seeking additional funds.
  • Propose to GSS Executive Committee to seek some form of discount for graduate students from organizations seeking additional funds of over $500.
  • Organize appreciation dinner to recognize contributions of student organizations.
  • In addition, as part of GSS Executive Committee, I will:

  • Continue working on issues relating to V-fund and research funding.
  • Advocate for more inclusive representation model during GSS-GPC unification.
  • Committee Memberships: GSS Executive Committee, GSS Organizations & Allocations Committee

    Chair, GSS Professional Development Committee, Elise Blankenship


    Duties and Responsibilities: The Professional Development Committee Chair is responsible for providing opportunities for career development to graduate students that they wouldn't ordinarily receive in their planned programs of studies, organizing regular professional development events for graduate students to attend.

    Biosketch: : I am currently a second-year PhD student at the Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics, where I study the structure of G-protein coupled receptors using x-ray crystallography and computational approaches. I have always enjoyed being actively engaged in organizations on campus, as I find it an essential part of personal growth and learning. During my undergraduate at The Ohio State University, I was an officer in both my sorority (Alpha Xi Delta) and for the student government of my major (Food Science and Nutrition). During my time at Case, I have become involved in several groups: I serve as a GSS senator for my department, on the Professional Development Committee, as Secretary of the Computational Biology Student Group (CBGSO), and as Chairperson of this year’s Biomedical Graduate Student Symposium (BGSS). Outside of the lab, I like to stay active and regularly practice yoga, rock climbing, and cycling.

    Statement of Intent: : I have been continually impressed by the quality of programming put on by the GSS, and hope to increase it even more by planning a series of conferences and workshops that help graduate students identify and improve skills that are essential for a successful career. Additionally, I hope to engage the new Professional Development Center in putting on these events. It is of paramount importance to me that the programming put on by the committee be relevant, complete, and broadly applicable to all graduate and professional students at the university. 

    Committee Memberships: GSS Executive Committee, GSS Professional Development Committee, Faculty Senate Committee on Research, Provost's Research Council

    Chair, GSS Activities Committee, Courtney Diener (resigned Feb. 2015)


    Duties and Responsibilities: The activities committee chair organizes activities to encourage interschool social interaction among graduate students.

    Biosketch:  As an Undergraduate, I attended Bowling Green State University where I received dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Social Work and Education. I am currently attending the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences where I am concentrating on Community Practice for Social Change with a special focus in adult mental health and a certificate in Management and Leadership. Specifically, I work with violence research, prevention, education and support. When I am not interning or studying, I enjoy volunteering in my community and meeting other students.

    Statement of Intent::  : When I first came to CWRU, I was so excited to get to know and build relationships with graduate students across campus. After a few weeks, I started to notice that I only had exposure to students in my program and even in my concentration. I began getting involved with GSS and GPC to build those connections and came to understand how important it is that the university and graduate student organizations create opportunities for community building and interactions between graduate students of all programs and councils. As Activities Chair, I plan on using the momentum previous events and chairs have created to continue to create events that support graduate student intermixing and connect graduate students to CWRU and the Cleveland community. Additionally, I plan on continuing the collaborations between Graduate Student Senate events and the events of Graduate Professional Council as I believe this is a great way to connect Graduate and Professional students.