SPOKANE, Wash. – The Graduate Research Student Association has been started on the Washington State University health sciences campus in Spokane.
“We need a simple organization to advocate for research students and make graduate research more cohesive and collaborative,” said graduate student and co-founder Emily Cox. “I was working right down the hall from a group of students who know how to do a technique that I don’t, and I would have gone to the WSU Pullman campus to learn how; but now I don’t have to because I met them through the organization.”
Cox and graduate student Heidi Medford started the GRSA as a registered student organization this year. It meets once a month and has received some funding from the Spokane campus services and activities budget, which is partially supported by student fees.
The group presented a spring workshop about writing curricula vitae – the equivalent of resumes but for higher education jobs. A mentoring program will give new grad students someone in addition to faculty advisors to help them.
Cox and Medford – both Ph.D.-seeking students in the exercise physiology lab of assistant professor Susan A. Marsh – started talking in December after noticing student organizations in medicine, pharmacy, nursing and speech and hearing but nothing for research students.
“We didn’t even know all these research students were on campus,” Cox said.
The group has selected officers for the year but has no office space.
“We don’t really have any resources for that,” Cox said. “We would love a space somewhere with a computer and filing cabinet.”
Cox is the GRSA’s first president and Medford is vice president. Both are in the College of Pharmacy as is Kara Vogel, the group’s vice president of programs. Nico Patel, vice president of finances, is in the College of Education and Amy Bender, vice president of records, is from the Sleep and Performance Research Center. Faculty advisor is Mike Gibson, professor in the College of Pharmacy.