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GradPack Talks: GSA Offers Social and Academic Opportunities

Tyler Allen, GSA president


Natalie Hampton: Hi, this is Natalie Hampton with “GradPack Talks,” a podcast that focuses on resources available to graduate students at NC State University. Today, I’m talking with Tyler Allen, a Ph.D. candidate and president of NC State’s Graduate Student Association.

Natalie: Tyler, what is GSA and how can new graduate students get involved with the organization and its chapters?

Tyler Allen: Well, all graduate students are members of the Graduate Student Association just by virtue of being students. GSA is made up of representatives from graduate student program or departmental groups across campus. So there are many opportunities for involvement in GSA, but really the best way for students to connect is through a graduate student group associated with their program.

Six students dressed in formal wear
GSA held its spring formal at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in 2017. (Courtesy GSA)

Natalie: What types of social activities does GSA offer to graduate students?

Tyler: For the past two years, GSA has sponsored a spring graduate student formal at a downtown location, which
has been really fun. We’ve also held Trivia Nights, a brewery crawl and more. So GSA provides many opportunities to get out of the lab, or classroom, and socialize with other graduate students.

Natalie: How does GSA support the academic side of graduate student life?

Tyler: One way we support graduate students is through our travel grants, which we award twice yearly – in the fall and in the spring. You can find details on our website. The grants of up to $1,500 actually help pay for students to travel to conferences where they present their work.

We also recognize our outstanding graduate teachers and mentors through our spring teaching awards. And for 12 years now, GSA has sponsored the Graduate Student Research Symposium with the Graduate School. In March, we have more than 200 students present their research posters in the symposium at McKimmon Center.
And to help you keep track of all we have going on, the GSA has a monthly newsletter during the spring and fall semesters. So look for that in your email.

Natalie: Some students say that GSA is a great place to develop leadership skills. Would you agree?

GSA officers
2016 officers of the Graduate Student Association, with Ms. Wuf. (Becky Kirkland photo)

Tyler: GSA has many opportunities for leadership. All of our graduate departmental organizations send a representative to the GSA council, so that’s one way to participate. Also, we have committees that support our activities like social events, political activities and service.

And we need students to take on leadership roles as GSA officers. Our executive team nominates officers at the February meeting, and we elect new officers (in March?) The new leadership team takes over in April each year and serves for a year. So GSA is a good way to develop yourself, to become a well-rounded individual.

Natalie: Thanks Tyler for the information on GSA. I have one final question for you – what is your favorite thing to do in the Raleigh area that new graduate students should know about?

Tyler: Well, I really enjoy going out to try new restaurants in the Raleigh area. There are many great restaurants and opportunities to try the local flavor.

Natalie: That’s great advice, Tyler. And you can learn more about GSA at

Note: GradPack Talks is a periodic podcast series designed to introduce graduate students to campus resources.

Graduate Student Association

Graduate Student Research Symposium

Graduate Teaching Awards

GSA Conference Awards

Officers at orientation
Officers of the GSA greet students at New Graduate Student Orientation. (Becky Kirkland photo)

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