We represent, advocate for and support Niner Graduate Students.
Graduate & Professional Student Government serves as the primary representative body of graduate and professional students at UNC Charlotte. The organization is designed to meet the academic, social, and logistical needs of the graduate and professional student body, totaling more than 5,400 students, and all the registered Graduate Student Organizations. Each Graduate Student Organization is provided one vote on the GPSG Senate.
Since 1999, GPSG has funded and supported over 35 registered Graduate Student Organizations. GPSG has helped over 5,000 graduate students travel around the world to share the exciting research they conduct at our University. The GPSG Senate provides an accessible open forum for graduate students to share their concerns and to initiate change on campus as a student body.
Whether you are looking for funding information, leadership opportunities, or just checking the latest news, we welcome you to GPSG of UNC Charlotte. Any student at UNC Charlotte is welcome to participate in the activities and work of GPSG. Please contact us if you have any questions, comments, or ideas.
GPSG Elections are coming up. Check out our nominees:
Who are you?
My name is Tonderai Mushipe and I am a second year PhD student in the Geography and Earth Science program. I am a 49er through and through as I also obtained my Bachelor’s and Masters degrees from UNC Charlotte. Durham, NC is my hometown but I am originally from Zimbabwe. My current research interests are examining how investments in large public transportation infrastructure projects such as the light-rail translate into increased accessibility to opportunities especially for low-income residents in urban settings. This is an especially relevant topic in Charlotte since we have the newly completed light-rail system and there are issues that are connected to this type of development that include housing affordability and potential displacement of long-term residents. This research has afforded me the opportunity to interact with a wide array of community leaders which include the current Mayor of Charlotte.
Reflecting on this experience makes me think deeper and realize that what has made my experience special at UNC Charlotte is that being a student here has served as a stepping stone that has afforded wonderful opportunities to interact with the wider Charlotte community at large. This has in turn helped me develop holistically both inside and outside of class. The vast array of opportunities to get involved as a student at UNC Charlotte is what I believe makes this campus a great institution. I have been blessed to have had a wide array of experiences through the Black Student Union, Student Alumni Ambassadors, LeaderShape, Leadership Fellows, University Transitional Opportunities Program (UTOP), SAFE, Toastmasters, and Graduate Life Fellows. It’s the experience in these programs and organizations that helped me grow from a shy kid when I first arrived on campus to grow in confidence and be able to “Stake my claim” in the Charlotte community. It’s this personal experience that inspires me to want to contribute towards further enhancing the campus experience so that more students are in a position to take advantage of the opportunities this campus has to offer. I believe being a GPSG President would provide the platform to continue to enhance this student experience.
Why are you running for GPSG?
I have observed the wonderful work that the current GPSG Executive Board consisting of Priyanka, Jennifer, and Pady has done. I even worked closely with them as a Graduate Life Fellow on some of our signature events. It inspires me to see the wonderful work these various organizations do, but I tend to feel like there are large pockets of students who could be benefitting from the programs and resources that are available, but for whatever reason do not partake in these activities. As a graduate student myself I am fully aware of the rigorous demands placed upon us, but I also feel that there is an apathy that may occur among graduate students who feel like campus involvement is just for undergrads. There are some practical benefits to getting involved beyond just one’s program. These benefits include having access to a support system and resources outside your department. An additional practical benefit is being able to develop partnerships outside one’s department which can lead to cutting edge inter-disciplinary research opportunities. Being deliberate in building this community as is done through the Graduate Student Appreciation Week (GSAW) and further promoting these activities is something I am motivated to do. Even engaging in simple activities such as having “Lunch with GPSG” events once a month where we offer to pay for lunch for the first 20 people to sign-up and we have lunch at one of the campus dining halls. This will encourage more open dialogue and if nothing else, just sharing a good meal goes a long way in building good relationships.
What Motivates me and What will I Do
I have already touched on being motivated by encouraging and empowering as many students to take advantage of the resources available on campus. Part of this desire of empowering people to take advantage of opportunities is to provide students with platforms to showcase their outstanding work. This could be in the form of a Brown Paper Bag series where students, once a semester, come together to showcase their research to the broader student body. Another key issue is advocacy on behalf of students on key issues. I know in the wake of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott a couple years ago Chancellor Dubois and the University leadership were very supportive of the rights of the students to express how they felt about a tragic event that had occurred literally down the street. It is important to continue to empower our students to speak up on issues that are important to them. Another key issue regarding advocacy is being engaged conversation regarding policies that affects students. An example is how I participated in the open discussions led by the Task force for Graduate Funding. The role that I would play as President would be to mobilize more student participation in these conversations.
Related to the issue of cost for graduate students an issue I would advocate for is the reviewing and reforming of the parking payment policy for graduate students on an assistantship. Currently due to Title IX dynamics student status dictates that in order to purchase a parking permit one must pay the full amount upfront which can be prohibitively expensive. On the other hand full-time staff and faculty are able to have a partial payment deducted from their payroll. The irony of this situation is that the full-time staff and faculty who are receiving a much higher pay are also afforded the option of making partial deductions while students who are making meager pay do not have that same option of partial deductions. In the case of graduate assistants whose contracts with the university can easily be retrieved and verified it seems like a relative straight forward fix to allow these students to also have their parking permit costs be partially deducted from their bi-weekly pay. This is an issue I would advocate for as GPSG President.
Sri Yeswanth Tadimalla (Yash)
Hi, My name is Yeswanth (Yash), I am a MSc. Computer Science student here at UNCC. If I had to describe myself with one word it would be Leo-Geek mode. I love to involve in as many activities as I can on campus (when my course schedule allows it :p ) ranging from painting to trying to burn out a few more extra calories at Belk’s fitness sessions. I love to read a lot of fiction and watch anime, and if there was one thing that I can’t live without, it is cooking. But if you were to ask me what motivates me in the long run, I would say world peace (don’t roll your eyes); like how a every single drop counts towards making an ocean every single person’s contribution will lead us there one day(Hopefully).
I also feel that graduate life in general often involves too much focus on one’s academic goals and objectives with the personal or emotional growth of the students being neglected. As Dean Reynolds often says” Being a research university the graduate community is the engine which runs the UNCC train forward” it can’t be stressed enough how important a strong and active Grad community on campus can make a huge difference. UNCC specifically prides itself on its diversity which translates to students who have come from far and away to pursue their education and achieve various academic or career goals in their life. In such a situation, an inclusive and active community that also complements their interests can compensate for the lacking support system. This will not only increase our output in terms of research but also equip our students with skills to impact the society for the better. Thus, as the Vice President I would work towards establishing GPSG as the go to on-campus resource for all graduate students for any form of support they might need.
My focus would be to establish equal representation of graduate community on campus and have more collaboration strategies between the GPSG and other on campus facilities like CGL, SGA, ISSO, Student Health center, Green House, Student Union, Office of Disability services, existing student clubs etc. For more inclusive and diverse programs/activities for the graduate community. To help graduate organizations gain more publicity and help undergraduate organization with many graduate students to better cater to their member needs through involvement with GPSG. Last but not the least to publicize and deliver an awesome Graduate Research Symposium 2020.
Greetings! I am Jessica Robinson, a fourth year doctoral student in the Curriculum & Instruction Program (Urban Education) and the Post-Master’s Certificate Program for University and College Teaching. A vital responsibility for the Vice President is to chair the Graduate Research Symposium. Last year, I was a GRS volunteer and the experience really opened my eyes to the many graduate programs here at UNCC and left me enthused to witness the vast research initiatives. This year, I served as a co-chair for the Abstracts committee as well as co-chair for the Volunteers committee. Through this active participation, I was able to utilize my leadership and communication skills. I coordinated the recruitment and assignment of volunteers for the reviews of abstract submissions with my committee. Additionally, I organized volunteers for the actual event. Next year, I have the goal of establishing even more participation across the disciplines for the 20th Graduate Research Symposium to highlight the exceptional research here on campus.
As a former part-time student who worked full-time and now a full-time student working part-time, I have experienced several of the challenges experienced by graduate students, such as time management and aiming for a life-work balance. My previous experience includes being an active member and previous Vice President of Urban Educators for Change (UEC), which is a progressive student organization on campus. I am motivated to make sure ALL graduate students are represented as choices are made on campus. My overall goal is to foster a sense of community on campus throughout the graduate student body. If elected to office, I will be sure to advocate for the current needs and interests of graduate students while serving on university advisory boards, committees, and task forces.
My name is Alex Suptela and I’m currently a second year PhD student in the biology department here at UNCC. I’m running for the Treasurer position to better serve the graduate school community and graduate students as a whole. For the past year, I have been serving as a member of the GPSG Finance Committee in which I’ve learned the ins and outs of funding allocation and seen a glimpse into how the Treasurer fits into that equation. I’ve also become comfortable with GPSG bylaws and have even played a role in making recommendations for changes in them along with Pady – the current Treasurer – and my other colleagues on the committee. If elected, I hope to continue the legacy left behind by the current executive board and, of course, make improvements as myself and the future executive board see fit. I will represent the graduate program to the best of my ability and see to it that we receive appropriate funding in general, as well as within our individual organizations. I am fully committed to ensuring fair representation and allocation of funding throughout our vast and quickly growing network of organizations. I hope you will consider casting your vote for me!
Greetings my fellow classmates & colleagues. My name is Lynn Phanor I am presently pursuing my Masters in Teaching at UNC- Charlotte. I am running for treasurer for the Graduate Professional Student Government (GPSG) to engage in UNC mission of providing support to graduate and professional students. I have personally benefited from this and would like to share my success with others. IF elected I will increase access to resources that promote the success of graduates, professionals and post-baccalaureate students. As treasurer, I will support the initiatives of the Graduate Student Organizations (GSO) and combine my skills in business and education to allocate funding that encourages membership.
I have always been an active member of the community and played an instrumental role and creating a positive learning environment. At Brighton High School, I served as President of the Class of 1999. While studying at the University of Petermiertzburg, I was an active participant of the post- Apartheid student government movement towards reconciliation. At the University of Ghana, I researched economic development through non-traditional trade of Shea trees. In 2005, I earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from Bentley University, where I became the Editor-n-Chief of the Multicultural Center’s literary magazine. I hope my life will be a living testimony to those in need of encouragement while pursuing personal development through higher education. Outside of my achievements in the field of business & education I enjoy spending time with my daughter, poetry, & football. I look forward to serving you as treasurer.
I am a graduate student pursing masters in computer science at the College of Computing and Informatics at UNC Charlotte. GPSG serves as the primary representative body of graduate and professional students at UNC Charlotte. GPSG is like an anchor which is designed to meet the various requirements of all the Graduate Student Organization which serves more than 5400 students. GPSG has a rich history of 20 years where it funded and supported over 35 Graduate Organizations and helped over 5000 graduate students to share the research over the world that they conducted at UNC Charlotte. It would be an honor and a great privileged if I am selected to contribute to work for the greatest representative body UNC Charlotte has ever seen. I want to contribute my small share towards the development by helping the students by working for GPSG. If I am elected I will make sure that the amazing work that GPSG has been doing over the last 20 years remains consistent and try to reach new heights by working harder to help the students in every way possible and address their concerns and initiate changes on campus as per the requirements of the students. Students require a representational body which will listen to them and help them out in any issue that they are facing. GPSG is one such organization which is open to all graduate students and given a chance to work as the Treasurer at GPSG I will try to serve the students in the best possible manner and help the organization to carry out all tasks in a smooth and efficient manner in order to take GPSG to another level.