July 2018

Graduate Student Association

Friday, July 13th, 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

Attendees:  William MacCain, Leah Horn, Samantha Huckuntod, Laura Ewing, Shana Owens, Dina Zita, Nicole Turnage, Johnasha Stuart, Kathryn Woods, Tracy Nolan, Chris Bolden, Claire Morehead, Rose Cooper, Tiffany Miles


Budget was approved by Dr. McGehee.  He graciously gave us more money than we asked for.


Tours on August 8th will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. GSA will email tour givers a couple days prior to event.  Tour givers are Devin Guillory, Eugene Nuamugenda, Dina Zita, Rose Cooper, and Tracy Nolan.  Leah and William will make name tags for the incoming students.  Tours should focus on getting students to Creative Services for ID badge photos.  Other suggested locations include cafeteria, library, coffee places on campus, buildings where students might spend time (GPIBS students would likely see Biomed I if time allows).

A panel discussion during orientation will take place between 10:40-10:50 a.m.  GSA officers are planning to be on the panel, however, if anybody else wants to participate they are welcome to.

Lunch will be served at 11:00 a.m.   The GSA is buying pizza.

Welcome Week update/ GSA Meet and Greet Events

Dates for welcome week activities are all confirmed.  Tiffany Miles made a beautiful poster so we can advertise in the elevators and TVs.  The activities and times are as follows:

  • August 9th
    • 10-12 p.m.– Ice cream social with GPIBS poster session
    • 6 p.m.- Professor Bowl; GSA will only pay for bowling games and shoe rental.
  • August 10th
    • 12 p.m.-GSA meeting
    • 6 p.m.- JJ’s Grill; GSA will buy food.
  • August 13th
    • 8:30 a.m.- Coffee and doughnuts before class at Rayford Auditorium; Anyone is welcome to come to this

GSA symposium

The GSA Research Symposium will probably be in October on a Friday.  We will talk to Dr. McGehee about cancelling classes for the symposium to encourage student participation.

We will start collecting abstracts ASAP.  There will not be a seminar exchange between UT Southwestern and UAMS this year.  Samantha will maintain contact to hopefully establish this for next year.  In lieu of this exchange, we are looking to invite a guest speaker from UAMS faculty, NCTR, or any biotech companies in the area that students might be interested in hearing more about.  Please contact the GSA if you know someone that would be interested.  The talk could be focused on professional development, research, or a mixture of the two.  Laura said she will talk to NCTR contacts about people that could be interested.

We will be purchasing mugs for judge gifts.  Mugs with a logo are $1.12 per mug (including set-up fee).  We will consider buying Koozies for general merchandise.  Shana suggests using Totally Promotional for this purchase.

Summer activity

The GSA is sponsoring a trip to the Little Rock Zoo as a mixing opportunity between graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty and their families.  Tickets for the trip cost $14.50 per ticket.  This includes lunch and parking.  LR Zoo was picked as it seems like a more inclusive activity.  Those attending will need to be at the zoo at 10:00 am.  William will be in charge of paying at the gate.  We will all need to go in together to we can pay at the same time.  Late arrivals will not be paid for.  There will be an animal exhibition event at 11:30am.  Attendees will all have lunch together.  Lunch options include a hamburger, a hot dog, or veggie wrap.

Open floor discussion

We discussed potential topics for Professional Development events (the GSA sponsors these).  Topics included:

  • Thapa/Student Wellness Program, preferably different topic than what is given at orientation
  • Wakefield. She gives relationship enrichment seminars.
  • How to present your work
  • Building a Professional Twitter: Gardener in Pathology
  • Collaboration with GSTCA/Office of Education and Development, making lesson plans, etc.
  • Networking

DBMI poster session today at 2:00 p.m. in the Reynold’s Institute on Aging in Rooms 1180 and 1190. Light snacks and drinks will be provided.

Tracy Nolan explained the Women’s Caucus.  It is primarily focused on faculty development with some student development seminars.  The events are not restricted to women and people from all over campus go to meetings.  Some topics the caucus discusses are resilience, building networks, and building committees.

William discussed fostering a student mentor program in which a first-year student would be partnered with and older graduate student (post-candidacy) to increase student success and retention.  We would need to ask for volunteers.  This program would benefit the older student by giving them an opportunity to build leadership and mentoring skills.

Leah is would to meet with Dr. Gardner to discuss general graduate student concerns.  She was very receptive at a previous ASG meeting.  Potential topics to discuss with her were as follows:

  • How can we boost graduate student morale?
    • Are we categorized as students or employees?
    • Shana presented data relating to UAMS Graduate Research Assistant stipends compared to other health science centers near Arkansas.
      • The stipend Is not covering enough for student budgets.
      • Insurance price is increasing without increased service or increase in stipend
      • Stipend and insurance could be affecting student mental health and new student recruitment
      • The GSA should propose percentage off health insurance cost to offset higher insurance costs without stipend increase

GSA should consider getting access to support animals near Biomedical Research buildings.  These have been offered mostly toward other UAMS students with easier access to the Student Center.

McGehee wants to meet with GSA officers.  The meeting times are to be determined.

Next GSA meeting is scheduled for Friday, August 10th Biomed II B542