As President of the University of Memphis Graduate Student Association, the CCFA’s own Kiersten Brockman is responsible for supporting all 2,000 members of the registered student organization, as well as the recruitment of almost 3,000 potential members.
What is your official title?
I am the President of the Graduate Student Association and PhD candidate with the Department of Communication and Film.
What is your UofM background?
I came here from California in fall of 2017 and have been a devoted student of the Department of Communication and Film ever since. I started our Communication Graduate Student Association, so I’ve been really involved in the department and with UofM grad students, which was a really cool way for me to observe some of their needs, wants and desires across campus. I look forward to being able to represent grad students at large and help them in any way I can.
What are some of your duties as President of the Graduate Student Association?
There are three primary functions of the GSA:
- Education, which we achieve through our professional development seminars. These cover a wide range of rotating topics that range from things like the job market search to imposter syndrome and how to conquer it. We try to instill a wide array of both soft skills and hard skills to make our graduate students more well-rounded.
- Research, which allows us to help out those who are studying abroad with travel funding and reimbursements. It’s a lot of fun to see all the cool places people from UofM are going and what kinds of neat research they are presenting. The travel funds are not just for studying abroad, they can be local students and local conferences too! Anyone going anywhere for a conference or professional event can apply.
- Service, which involves different opportunities on our executive board and assembly positions. We are currently running the application process and looking to fill our executive board of six members and assembly board of 22 positions that include representations from each college across campus.
What makes you uniquely qualified for this position?
I definitely think that founding the CGSA was one of my biggest accomplishments since I founded it from the ground up. From these foundations, we were able to grow the organization and started doing necessary trainings, organizing colloquiums and research forums, and more. While on a much smaller scale than what I do now, that and my background in marketing have really helped tailor communication methods with our students. Grad school is hard enough already, and I want to do anything I can to make the process a little bit easier for everyone.
What do you hope to accomplish in your time as president?
I would like to create a graduate student newsletter with job opportunities and other things to help graduate students along. In addition, I would like to work to build partnerships with other student organizations. It will be a little difficult since the GSA is considered an RSO, but also an official representative of the graduate school, which means it comes with a few extra rules compared to other RSOs. But I think those partnerships, either on campus or in the community, could go a long way when it comes to advancing our students and bringing in resources. We have a really cool partnership being formed with health and counseling services to provide free weekly graduate student support group, which is something we are very eager to promote.
How can someone get involved with the Graduate Student Association?
If you’re a graduate student on campus, you should already be a member on TigerZone. If you see that you’re not a member automatically on Tiger Zone, you can also search the organization and request membership!