GPC presents annual awards

The Graduate Professional Council (GPC) hosted its Bridging GAPS (Graduate and Professional Students) Leadership and Awards Ceremony April 6 in the Graduate Center in the Danforth University Center.

GPC, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this academic year, is the graduate student association that represents WUSTL’s approximately 6,000 graduate and professional students.

GPC created its Bridging GAPS Awards in 2001 to recognize and honor graduate student groups and individual leaders for outstanding contributions in promoting interdisciplinary programs and for promoting communication, cooperation and collaboration between graduate students across schools.

Other major graduate student groups on campus also are celebrating their founding 15 years ago and were recognized at the event. They are the Graduate Student Senate, the governing body that represents some 2,000 students in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; the Association of Graduate Engineering Students, the organization that represents and coordinates activities for engineering graduate students; and the graduate student representation to the Board of Trustees.

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Richard J. Smith, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and the Ralph E. Morrow Distinguished University Professor of physical anthropology, spoke during the event, recognizing the contributions of the graduate student leaders and groups and congratulating the groups celebrating their 15th anniversaries.

“From its beginning as a networking session and awards dinner, Bridging GAPS has evolved into developing a series of programs and resources designed to promote communication and collaboration among graduate and professional students across the Washington University campuses,” said GPC President Brooke Curtiss, a dual-degree student in law and social work.

The programs and resources have included leadership seminars, a resource guide for student groups, Web workshops and an online directory of graduate student groups.

Curtiss said that Bridging GAPS launched a new activities match program this year that will promote networking across different departments by helping students find other graduate students who share similar recreational interests.

“It’s exciting to see the impressive sharing of ideas and information among students of varying fields and disciplines,” Curtiss said.

“The graduate student experience is enhanced because of the many opportunities for professional development and leadership experience as well as social activities and professional networking,” she said.

Curtiss and GPC Committee Chair Pia Banerjee, a doctoral student in psychology in Arts & Sciences, presented the Bridging GAPS awards to the following groups and individuals:

Web Award: Association of Graduate Engineering Students, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Community Service Award: Society of Black Student Social Workers, School of Social Work

Scientific & Professional Outreach Award: BioEntrepreneurship Core, University-wide Graduate Student Group

Diversity Award: Student Bar Association, School of Law

Green Award: Environmental Social Work Initiative, School of Social Work

Interschool Award: Graduate Student Visual Arts Exhibit Committee, University-wide Graduate Student Group

Faculty/Staff Leader of the Year Award: Elaine Berland, Ph.D., associate dean in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and director of the Graduate Center and Graduate Affairs

Graduate Student Leader of the Year Award: Cole Johnson, doctoral student in engineering