GSA wins NAGPS Regional Member of the Year

For the Colorado School of Mines Graduate Student Association (GSA), a year of successes and innovative ventures was recognized by the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) at the National Conference this November. Competing against top-notch universities such as MIT and Texas Tech, CSM walked away with the highest award: the National Member of the Year. Mines GSA members received three awards and participated in the national conference held at Duke University in North Carolina earlier this month.

Each year, NAGPS awards one member school in each of its five regions as the Regional Member of the Year. The CSM GSA was awarded the Western Region Member of the Year in late October. The Member of the Year awards are given based on which institutions best exemplify the values and mission of NAGPS. The nominees are adjudicated on how effectively the institution addresses the needs and concerns of their graduate student body and campus community.

The five awarded Regional Members of the Year then go on to compete for National Member of the Year at the annual conference. CSM went head-to-head with the University of Cincinnati, Duke University, Texas Tech, and MIT for the overall Member of the Year. After each institution presented the accomplishments of their graduate government, judges unanimously announced CSM as the National Member of the Year.

To close out the awards, an NAGPS President’s Award was also given to former GSA President Zach Aman for individual efforts and service to the organization. “The CSM GSA is a dynamic group of leaders, and their competitiveness in winning the National Member of the Year award is a testament to their drive and spirit of service for students. I am proud to have worked with them this year, and appreciate their dedicated service to students at CSM and across the country,” said Matt Cooper, President of NAGPS.

At the National Conference, graduate government leaders represented over 70 institutions from across the nation. Topical sessions ranged from “Using Data to Drive Institutional Change” to “Enhancing the Graduate Experience through Entrepreneurship.” CSM partnered with Arizona State University to deliver a topical session dealing with state-level organization. Amanda Meier, Social Chair for the GSA, said, “The topical sessions were very insightful for our GSA; it was very interesting to see how certain goals are shared by a multitude of member institutions.”

“I’m very excited and proud that our organization and institution was recognized with this award. It is a great, tangible representation of the work we put toward GSA and NAGPS over the past year,” said Nikko Collida, GSA Treasurer and NAGPS Western Regional Chair.

Three notable accomplishments of the 2011-2012 GSA Council are the Graduate Continuance Fellowship, the Conference on Earth & Energy Research (CEER), and the 2012 Graduate Leadership Summit. The implementation of the Graduate Continuance Fellowship grant program helps cover tuition and living expenses for late-term graduate students who unexpectedly lose their primary funding source. The graduate research fair was transformed into the innovative CEER, which features graduate student presenters from multiple universities. CEER now offers an online judging system that allows presenters to receive real-time feedback on their presentation style, encouraging continual development of communication skills. Through Alumni, industry, and government participation, CEER fosters interaction amongst young and veteran scientists alike. This past summer, the CSM GSA planned and hosted the first-ever NAGPS Graduate Leadership Summit where strategic planning and effective goal setting were the key concepts of breakout sessions.

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