The Graduate College

Spring 2012


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GSG Update
GSG, 2011-12

Working to Purpose

The purpose of the Graduate Student Government (GSG) is to champion academic excellence, create leadership opportunities, and provide a conduit for scholarly development and research integrity. According to a recent report from the Council of Graduate Schools, graduate education is a major driver of American economic development and graduate students are this century’s pool of potential global, national, and state leaders. The 2011-12 academic year marked GSG’s first year of independence and autonomy as a student-led government. Independence gave graduate students a legitimate voice in university policy-making and advocacy for graduate students and required organizational decision-making, process development, and budget allocation. Working towards purpose has been the main theme for 2011-12.

Visible Value

Visible value has been the result of working towards purpose. In mid-April, GSG hosted the 2012 National Association of Graduate-Professional Students Western Regional Conference. The two-day conference featured twenty student leaders representing five Western state universities’ graduate/professional organizations: Arizona State University, Colorado School of Mines, Eastern Washington University, Northern Arizona University, and University of Colorado-Boulder. David Boyce, at-large representative, presented one of six conference panels centered on the conference theme, Emergent Leadership: “Creating What Is: Purpose—Value—Autonomy.”       

In fall and spring semesters, the travel award committee led by GSG treasurer Moussa Tankari distributed a little more than $20,000 to 200 graduate students to share research at professional and academic conferences. In March the executive team traveled to Phoenix and joined extended campus graduate students and event organizer Miranda Tinney, the extended campus representative, for a free evening of family ice-skating. Rebecca McIlvaine, at-large representative, hosted an informational Brown Bag Lunch regarding the loss of certain subsidized federal loans for graduate students. She also coordinated several excellent “Grad Hrs” at the 1899 Grill as the Social Committee chair. David Vaillencourt, CEFNS representative, was also instrumental as the webmaster leading the transition to a new content management system. The revitalized website, going live this summer at, will make budget and business operations transparent and accessible for detailed inquiry. Finally, graduate students served on major university committees, including the University Graduate Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, University Library Committee, ASNAU, and Parking Services Committee, as well as the Arizona Students' Association.

Sustainability and Development

Organizational sustainability and substantive contributions by NAU’s Graduate Student Government are a function of the organization’s ability to identify its niche and work within it. The unique niche we believe the GSG could fulfill is that of a leadership institute focused on student development, practice, and scholarship researching leadership. We congratulate next year’s new GSG officers and representatives and wish them well in their work to make the graduate experience at NAU ever stronger and richer.

The 2012-13 GSG officers will be:

President:  Michael Scott Cook, Politics and International Affairs
Vice President: Jessica DeShazo, Politics and International Affairs
Secretary:  Marcelina Rynea, Politics and International Affairs
Treasurer: Timothy Bonson, Psychology 

The 2012-13 representatives will be:

Arts and Letters: Emily Wells, Music
Education: Alison Le Grand, School Psychology; Adam Lockwood, Educational Psychology
Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science: Cassandra Rivas, Environmental Science and Policy
Health and Human Services: Krystyna Posvenski, Physical Therapy
Social and Behavioral Sciences: Emma Townsend, Criminology and Criminal Justice
Extended Campuses: Denise Avalos, School Counseling; Jessica Lymberopoulos, English
At-Large: Richard Henderson, Administration; George Coulon, Human Relations

—The Graduate Student Government, 2011-2012