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New Graduate Student Senate Administration Prepares for the Upcoming Year

Sergio C. Bedford (left) congratulates Cara Sulyok (right), the new GSS president.

As the 2017–2018 academic year comes to a close, the Graduate Student Senate is making plans to continue its outstanding support for the UT graduate and professional student community in 2018–2019. Tasked with leadership of the GSS for the coming year are Cara Sulyok, the incoming president, and Jack Ryan, the incoming vice president.

Cara Sulyok is in her third year of a PhD program in mathematics. She has served on the Graduate Student Senate as both a senator for the Department of Mathematics and as the chair of the Communications and Outreach Committee. Jack Ryan, also working on a PhD in mathematics, is in his second year of study. He is currently on the executive board for OUTGrads.

The Graduate Student Senate has flourished under the leadership of outgoing president Sergio C. Bedford and vice president Jamie Greig. One of their most notable achievements was getting graduate students to pass a constitution for the newly formed Graduate and Professional Student Association. This passage was the conclusion of a multi-year effort to provide autonomy for the graduate and professional students’ governing body.

Jamie Greig (left) congratulates Jack Ryan (right), the new GSS vice president.

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed by the Graduate School. Dixie L. Thompson, Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School notes that Bedford and Greig have “provided invaluable service to the university through their work on Graduate Council and various search committees.” And they have been valued partners in efforts such as graduate student orientations and Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week.

As Bedford and Greig return their full attention back to their studies, Sulyok and Ryan will assume their new roles and get to work. Some of their goals for the next year will be to restructure the GSS Travel Awards deadlines to enable travel throughout the year, work to eliminate differences between in- and out-of-state tuition and fees for those establishing Tennessee residency, increase communication between GSS and the departments, and build upon prior GSS success while continuously evaluating existing programs. And most of all, they intend to continue to advocate loudly and effectively for graduate student interests.

Both Dean Thompson and the Graduate School look forward to working with these leaders in the year ahead!