Bridging GAPS committee presents annual awards

The goal of the Graduate-Professional Council’s Bridging GAPS Committee is to recognize and promote communication and collaboration among graduate students and the eight schools at the University.

Toward that end, the Graduate-Professional Council (GPC) recently hosted the Second Annual Bridging GAPS Forum and Awards Ceremony. Nearly 140 graduate student leaders from across the University attended, along with deans and administrators.

The forum focused on the issue of interdisciplinary interactions among the graduate schools. Panelists discussed the importance of interdisciplinary connections, the barriers they have encountered, successes they have achieved, and recommendations to promote interdisciplinary interactions.

Four students received Campus Leader Bridges Awards. These recognize graduate students who have stepped beyond the boundaries of their graduate school to make significant contributions to the entire graduate student population of the University.

• Jason Kley is earning a master of business administration and is on course to graduate in May. Through his roles as vice president of the GPC this year and member of the ProGradS committee last year, Kley has been instrumental in getting other students involved in University organizations, as well as opening lines of communication among different graduate schools.

Jason has also been the president of Net Impact, president of the Technology Management Club, and the chairperson for the International Business Outlook Conference.

• Stephanie Riggins is earning a joint master of business administration and law degree and is on course to graduate in May. Riggins served as GPC secretary and community service coordinator for two years and communicated with students from across the University.

She identified a common need for students to have information about opportunities to pursue joint degrees and founded the Joint Degree Society. The society provides information about joint degrees and support to those who are pursuing them.

• Paul Flicek is earning a doctorate in biomedical engineering. He served as a Board of Trustees representative in 2001-02, and his report to the board on interdisciplinary barriers led to an increased focus on that topic.

In addition, Flicek has served on the ProGradS committee and the executive board of the Association of Graduate Engineering Students.

• Joyce Divine is earning a doctorate in biochemistry and is on course to graduate this summer. Divine has served in multiple roles during her time at the University, including chair of the Student Advisory Committee, member of ProGradS and president of the GPC.

Under her leadership, the campus-wide programs of Bridging GAPS and the Frequent Fitness Program were initiated.

Intraschool Bridges Awards were presented to groups that fill a need and build a community within one of the eight schools:

• Student Advisory Committee: SAC is the student government group for the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences. It provides seminars on thesis labs, rotations, tax information, investing and stress/time management, and improves communication through town hall meetings, the Sacademic guide and the Division Quotient newsletter. (

• Association of Graduate Engineering Students: AGES is the official student organization that represents and coordinates activities for graduate students from the different departments and programs in the School of Engineering. Events this year include an orientation for incoming graduate students, picnic and happy hours, a seminar on time and stress management, and a faculty and staff appreciation breakfast. (

• Olin Strategy & Consulting Association: Housed in the Olin School of Business, OSCA has organized key training events and has offered numerous panels with external management representatives from such companies as McKinsey & Co., A.T. Kearney, and Bain. These training and networking opportunities with potential employers were open to not only Olin School students, but to students from across the University. (

• Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic: A large percentage of first-year School of Medicine students participate, helping to build a community among the medical students. In addition, the clinic provides valuable assistance to those in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. (

• Gerontology Students Association: The association has been actively addressing the current issues facing older adults by developing programs on the topics of elder abuse, health care, the impact of state and international politics and legislation, and career opportunities in gerontology for students in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work. The association has also coordinated several community service projects that have given social work students a chance to work directly with older adults in the St. Louis area.

Interschool Bridges Awards were presented to groups that promote interaction and build a community across graduate schools.

• Net Impact: Net Impact has made great strides this year in bringing awareness to corporate social responsibility issues. Its events have enjoyed the participation of graduate students from across the University, and included a microfinance seminar, roundtable discussions, a corporate panel and, most recently, a discussion with Mark Sauer, president of the St. Louis Blues, who spoke about the value of businesses reinvesting in their communities. (

• Joint Degree Society: The society is a University-wide student group that focuses on educating students about joint degree programs and supporting students in their achievement of such degrees. In addition, JDS has been instrumental in establishing a graduate-professional alumni database and helping to strengthen the career services that the schools offer their graduate and professional students. (artsci

• Olin Toastmasters Club: In the past year, under the leadership of Markus Bolke, OTC has gone out of its way to invite graduate students from across the University to participate in Toastmasters and improve their public speaking skills. As a result, Toastmasters enjoys the participation of graduate students from across the University, as well as undergraduates and faculty. (

Community Bridges Awards were presented to groups that reach outside their schools and work with the community.

• The Smoking Cessation Project: The project organizes training in smoking cessation for medical students by partnering with the American Lung Association. The students then counsel and support people attempting to quit.

• Business Minority Council: BMC is involved with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Black MBA Association. Its members help support minority businesses and volunteer at local schools. Within the Olin School community, the council enhances the consciousness of issues and concerns acute or unique to the minority community and works with the administration to recruit and retain talented minority candidates. (

• Korean Graduate School Association: KGSA has helped the St. Louis community understand Korean culture by sharing traditional Korean music, called samulnori. Last year, association members performed at the Saint Louis Zoo at the opening of the new hippo exhibit, at the St. Louis International Folkfest in Queeny Park, and at the Dillon International Fall Picnic, in addition to their performances at the University. (artsci.wustl .edu/~kgsa)

Web site Bridges Awards were presented for groups’ outstanding Web sites.

Chinese Students and Scholars Association: The site is easily navigable and includes details of events, photos, the association’s constitution and more. CSSA helps form a community among the Chinese students across the campus. (artsci.wustl .edu/~cssa)

• American Indian Student Association: The association’s site is both visually appealing and highly useful, and it conveys a sense of community. The site provides details about the group’s upcoming powwow March 22 at the Field House, as well as contact information and pictures from past events. (gwbweb.wustl .edu/users/buder/aisa.html)