Graduate Student Council Elects New Executive Officers

On May 7th, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) held elections for executive board positions for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. After hearing a series of speeches by each of the candidates, the department representatives and outgoing executive board voted via a secret ballot to determine who would take over the nine open officer roles.

Enhancing graduate student mental health awareness, bridging the gap between Guarini graduate programs, and fostering a stronger graduate student community are just a few of the many initiatives the incoming GSC executive plan to implement in the upcoming year. The team of officers represent diverse disciplines spanning the three schools that send representatives to the GSC – the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, the Thayer School of Engineering, and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. 

President Curtis Petersen, a doctoral candidate in Health Policy and Clinical Practice, looks forward to utilizing his experience as GSC Academic Chair to continue the development of a mentorship training program for faculty who mentor graduate students. He would like to expand this program to graduate students so that they can have “the opportunity to learn what it means to lead others in research.” Curtis also strives to create a graduate student senate with students from the Tuck School of Business and the Geisel School of Medicine to facilitate the interaction of these student groups and enhance the sharing of ideas between programs.

Vice President Sarah Steimel is a doctoral student in the Program in Experimental & Molecular Medicine (PEMM). As Vice President, her goal is to “bridge the gap between graduate schools and graduate programs by creating large- and small-scale events specifically aimed at fosteringcommunity that spans professional interests.” Sarah hopes to enhance the quality of life for all students at Dartmouth by working toward affordable housing, as well as improving support structures for individuals of the LGBTQ+ community, persons of color, women in higher education, and first-generation graduate students. 

Finance Officer James Brown is a master’s candidate in computer science. In this position, he aims to “provide a transparent representation of the GSC’s finances.”

Communications Chair Catherine Pollack is a doctoral student in the Quantitative Biomedical Sciences (QBS) program. During her time as a department representative, she worked with Curtis to design, edit, and produce the monthly video recaps for each GSC meeting, an initiative she hopes to continue during her tenure as Communications Chair. Catherine is eager to develop new projects that “facilitate outreach efforts to the general graduate student body,” such as a welcome video for incoming graduate students and the creation of a biannual newsletter to be sent out to all Guarini students and alumni

Academic Chair Ashley Wells is master’s student in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program. As Academic Chair, her primary goal is to “create opportunities for students of all disciplines to come together” through enhanced academic programming. She intends to develop a research and networking event that fosters new collaborations between students from STEM and humanities backgrounds.

Student Life Chair Eva Childers is a doctoral student in PEMM. As Student Life Chair in the 2018-2019 academic year, Eva implemented numerous activities to improve graduate student mental health awareness, including a monthly mental health newsletter and the development of a power dynamics training to foster healthy mentor-mentee relationships. In the upcoming year, she looks to “increase awareness about graduate student mental health and connect students to resources on and off campus” through the development of a mental health seminar series, town halls where students can express their concerns, and improved advertisement so that student life events can reach as many graduate students as possible.

Service Chair Joshua Levy is a doctoral student in the QBS program. Joshua aims to use his prior experiences as a Special Olympics coach, crisis counselor, and mental health advocate to build new relationships with local organizations in order to develop new community service programs for Guarini students to take part in. Joshua aims to develop these events as a “fun way for graduate students to be involved with the community and destress from our scholarly lives.” 

Social Co-Chairs Sid Jandhyala is a doctoral candidate at the Thayer School of Engineering and Gretel Torres is a doctoral student in the department of microbiology and immunology. As Social Chair, Sid hopes to “provide graduate students with fun activities to unwind and relax while also fostering a strong graduate student community.” Similarly, Gretel hopes to improve the advertising of GSC events while organizing events “to which students that have children can jointo network and meet peers from all departments.”

Together, the nine incoming officers, along with GRAD Housing Activities Coordinator Rachel Brog and GRAD Student Activities Coordinator Ellie Nan O. Storck, look forward to combining their unique experiences in order to foster community, diversity, and scholarship among the Dartmouth graduate student body. 

To learn more about the Graduate Student Council and ways to get involved, visit our website at