August 2018

Graduate Student Association

Friday, August 10th, 2018
Biomed II B542
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

William MacCain, GSA President
Leah Horn, Vice President
Samantha Huckuntod, Secretary
Laura Ewing, Treasurer

Welcome Week update/ GSA Meet and Greet Events

Thank you to everyone that helped with orientation.  It went well.  Bowling was successful.  We had 6-7 new students participate.  We were under budget for bowling.

  • JJ’s Grill tonight at 6:00 p.m.
    • We will cover food, we are not paying any drinks. People can just show up, we have a table reservation.
  • August 13th
    • 8:30 a.m.- Coffee and doughnuts before class. William is going to Krispy Kreme to get coffee and donuts.  Anyone is welcome to come get some.  Shana suggests getting near 4 dozen to accommodate everyone.

GSA symposium: October 26th, 2018.

  • Collecting abstracts until August 31st
    • We know we won’t get any submissions until the last minute. We are going to send an email out today/Monday to get judges for abstracts/posters/presentations.  We need to try to get better participation from all departments.  Shana has letter to solicit judges.
  • We need to get judges and gifts for judges
    • We’re getting mugs that say UAMS Graduate School. Adrian is offering some Rock Town Distillery free tour coupons.  Shana has list of judges from last year.  Adrian suggests asking businesses for donations for gifts.  Aru suggests soliciting senior students if we need more judges.
  • Laura will confirm our invited speaker from NCTR
    • She works at NCTR and sent a mass email to gather interest for presenting at the symposium. His name is Vikrant Vijay.  Laura will ask for his presentation title.
  • We need volunteers to help set up and organize event. We will need people to set up boards, set up food, and hand out judging sheets/packets.  Devin and Amal volunteered to help.

Summer activity (LR Zoo)

  • Update on Zoo picnic
    • We had 52 people come to the LR Zoo. This included faculty, students, and their families.  It was warm, but fun!  It was a good opportunity for a mixer.  We didn’t buy the tickets in advance so we saved money.

T-shirt and Bake sales

  • Start preorders on T-shirts
    • Shirts will cost $10; dark heather grey with UAMS Graduate School logo. We are looking to see what sizes we need to order.  We are going to order only one color right now.  These can be used for raffles and giveaways.  The mugs will be plain white with UAMS Graduate School logo.  We’ll sell these for $5.
  • We need to confirm dates for Halloween and Christmas bake sales
    • Devin, Shana, Sam are volunteering to bake. It was suggested that individually packaged foods are easier to sell.  We have a card reader for transactions.  We’ll confirm dates later.  We’ll also need volunteers to man the table.

Open floor discussion

  • Professional development/ Student wellness seminars
    • We’re planning to focus on mental health for this semester. William talked to Dr. Thapa for a seminar on depression in September and Dr. Messias for a seminar on burnout in October. We are in contact with counselors Angie/Jim for a mindfulness seminar in November.
  • Mentor program
    • We need volunteers to help run and set up program.
  • Discuss meeting with Dr. Gardner
    • Gardner was receptive to their discussion on the graduate school. William and Leah talked about getting a survey to students on outlook on UAMS, job, morale.  We want to ask general questions without any identifying information on general morale concerns.  It would be nice for PIs and students to have some kind of training to know how to interact professionally.
    • We were able to get $1000 annual stipend increase. The insurance plan is hopefully getting revamped in the future to pool with graduate students in all of Arkansas.  Graduate students are shopping around for other plans outside of the school plan.
      • McGehee said Steve Wood is looking to get a larger pool for Arkansas grad student insurance. He believes that UAMS does not have the capability at this moment to provide insurance for students.  He says that the fee coverage and stipend increase is likely a larger contribution than just insurance covered.  A lot of students are still on parental insurance or insurance through their spouse.  He says that the stipend increase helps more students than the insurance being covered.
        • Tuition, fees are paid by a pool of institutional money.
    • Leah asked Dr. McGehee if the Graduate School is involved in getting new PIs recruited here. He says they do, and that more PIs are being added at UAMS and ACRI.  McGehee is wanting to get a speaker for Career Day that has experience with basic science work and teaching.  He is also hoping to make additional education available for people that would like to teach after their PhD.
    • Shana says that the GSTCA seminar on mentoring was really helpful.
    • Aaron Kemp from BMI looking for people interested in joining an interest group in mobile health. They are looking to organize a competition, conference for promoting and designing mobile health things.  For example, one competition could be giving an elevator/sales pitch on mobile health applications/wearables/biomonitoring.  His interest group has weekly meetings that are currently changing the time.
      • Aaron can be reached at
      • The GSA suggested providing lunch as is a good motivator for getting people to go to meetings
    • William wants to bring up student survey with Graduate Counsel.

Dr. McGehee wants to follow up on abusive PIs conversation with Dr. Gardner.

Next GSA meeting is scheduled for Friday, September 14th Biomed II B542