NC State
Graduate Student Association

Executive board positions are open for nominations. If you, or someone you know, would make a great member of the team, please feel free to submit a nomination to our Vice President of Internal AffairsThis document contains more details if you are interested in learning more about the positions available and nomination process. Please feel free to email the current executive board ( if you have any questions!

Personal Statements of 2017-2018 Nominees


Tyler Allen
Hello, I am Tyler Allen, a PhD candidate in Comparative Biomedical Sciences, and I am the incumbent GSA President. I am very excited to run again for the position of President of the Graduate Student Association (GSA). The past year the GSA has made great leaps in terms of improving graduate student representation at the university level and building relationships with students and administration alike. I hope to capitalize on this momentum and keep our efforts to represent and connect with graduate students strong for years to come.

The relationship the Graduate Student Association (GSA) has built with the university community is as strong as ever, and I am thankful to have such an excellent team making this possible. The work done in the coming year will help to solidify the GSA’s position as the premiere graduate student organization it has been built into over the past few years. A strong executive team is vital to represent the nearly 10,000 graduate students at this great university. With the plethora of brilliant minds at this university, having the GSA here as both an advocate and outlet is essential, and I hope to continue to push the boundaries forward in these aspects.

My current role as GSA President gives me in a unique position where I have the skills needed to lead this organization while knowing the complexities and intricacies that come along with the position. This, coupled with my drive to assist GSA in continuing its success, will allow me to fulfill the responsibilities of the position immediately and with increased force. I am indeed excited for the coming year, and the future of the GSA, and look forward to serve and connect with each and every one of you in some fashion. Please feel free to reach out to me and always remember, “you have all the tool necessary to build whatever future you want, all you have to do is figure out how to use them”. -TAA

Zachary Lentz

Hello again GSA reps, I’m Zachary Lentz, and I’m honored to be a nominee for GSA President. Until recently I was planning on running for the new officer position, VP of SG Relations. I see now that my strengths and experience are more consistent with the role of GSA President, and I firmly believe that the unopposed candidate for VP-SGR, Meredith Spence Beaulieu, will succeed in serving graduate students in that position.

I am a third-year PhD student in Biological & Agricultural Engineering, the very same department where I did my undergrad. I have been a Student Senator and both my department’s GSA President and representative for the past two years. During this time I have worked with GSA’s Political Action and Special Projects (PAC) committee and Ad-hoc Committee for Grad Representation to enhance graduate student involvement and representation. In Senate I have worked on the Academics and Government Relations & Oversight committees, and this year I served as the chair of the Committee for Onboarding and Leadership Development. In my role as chair I revitalized college delegations, planned and hosted SG’s Spring Retreat, and focused on onboarding and transitioning of Senators. My experience has allowed me to become well-versed on how both GSA and SG work, and I’d like to put this perspective to work for you and the rest of the graduate student body.

I’ve been one of the few consistent graduate Senators in my two years, and this year I acted as head of the delegation. To say the least, I’ve been representing graduate students, which is one of the main duties of the GSA President. There are a multitude of opportunities presented to the GSA President to represent graduate students  – Chancellor’s Liaison, Tuition and Fee Review Advisory Committee – which I believe have been underutilized. If elected, I intend to use this role to advocate for graduate students, whether it is working on changes in the fee process to ensure that graduate student concerns aren’t steamrolled by the undergraduates’ lack thereof, or communicating to the Chancellor that graduate students are severely limited by a lack of travel funding.

Speaking of travel funding – no one seems to have an answer for what to do, and frankly, I don’t know how to establish an endowment or raise huge amounts of money either. But, I do think there are some things we can do to really drill home our point with administrators and potential funders. We usually describe our conference award as “highly competitive,” so why not ask for a little more from our awardees? I believe we can use the popularity and growing demand for the award as an opportunity to ask those that receive the award to help us show the benefits of being able to attend a conference – both for their development and for NC State. As someone fortunate enough to be a regular conference attendee, I believe there are others who do not receive the award that would also be willing to contribute to some sort of final product that we could use to show why we need more money invested in our travel.

I could go on forever about how excited I am to have this chance, and about what I hope to do with it. A few more things that I intend to work on: exploring at-large and Special Interest Group membership to better reach more of the graduate body, establishing regular office hours (GSA has an office in Talley, did you know?) to interface with grads and suggesting that the rest of the executive board does the same, enhancing our relationship with other GSA’s in the state, and working with other universities and the UNC system’s Association of Student Governments (ASG) to represent graduate students to the Board of Governors and General Assembly.

Thank you for all that you do to represent your chapters and for taking the time to read about me . If there’s one thing I’d like you to take away from this, it’s that I’m passionate about advocating for the graduate students of NC State University. I do not take this opportunity lightly, and I hope you’ll consider voting for me.

Vice President of External Affairs

Nathan Corder
Hello, my name is Nathan Corder. I am a third-year PhD student in the Department of Statistics. For the last two years, I have served as my department’s representative to the GSA and chaired the GSA’s Political Action and Special Projects committee (PAC). Also during that time, I served on the University’s Intercollegiate Athletics Council as the student representative and just this year was selected to represent the graduate students of NC State on Capitol Hill through the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS). While there are other activities and affiliations (both here and at my previous institution) I could mention that speak to a capacity for leadership and service, it is these here that are most relevant to the role of Vice President of External Affairs.

Through serving as a representative to the GSA, I have grown an appreciation for the diverse community at NC State as well as been exposed to the breadth of passions and disciplines among our graduate students. In heading the PAC I’ve had the pleasure of working with a sample of this community pursuing change for the graduate student body. It is with these peers we were able to successfully complete the recent survey on graduate advisor management capabilities, the findings of which I am proud to say were elevated even to the Chancellor of the UNC System. I am also dedicated to our ongoing efforts to elicit additional sources of funding for graduate student research travel. If elected as Vice President of External Affairs, I would be bringing with me the many relationships built with University stakeholders through efforts of the PAC. I would also hope to be an asset for the continuity of knowledge, the lack of which often hampers student organization success.

In addition to the role of interfacing with University stakeholders, the Vice President of External Affairs is also responsible for filling the many student and graduate student openings on University Standing Committees. Having served on a University Standing Committee for the past two years, I have an understanding of the time and effort asked of any graduate student willing to take on the role.  It is this first-hand experience that gives me a high level of respect for those serving on standing committees, a trait I believe is necessary as Vice President of External Affairs.

Finally, with respect to the Vice President of External Affairs’ most recently added duty, maintaining the GSA’s relationship with the NAGPS, I believe my experiences make me expressly qualified to fulfill this role. By the time the GSA elections are held, I will have twice represented university on Capitol Hill, lobbying Congress on a range of topics from student health insurance to federal spending on research to renewal requirements for student visas. Also during this year, I have participated in the monthly legislative affairs calls and am familiar with the other projects NAGPS has working outside of their bi-annual lobbying days. Whereas my experiences in the PAC provide relationships and continuity of knowledge that are beneficial to the role of Vice President of External Affairs, my time with the NAGPS brings with it ones critical. The graduate students of our University deserve an officer who can be effective the whole year in this office’s most impactful role. Having cut my teeth in this arena for the past year, I pledge to take forward that knowledge and networking to give us the strongest voice possible among our state and federal representatives starting day one.

Thank you for taking the time to read my personal statement. I appreciate your dedication to representing your constituents needs in these elections. In return for your vote, I promise to represent those same needs and champion them to the best of my ability to leaders both here on campus and external to these walls.

Vice President of Internal Affairs

Doug Czajka

My name is Doug Czajka and I serve as the current Vice President of Internal Affairs. I am a 3 rd year PhD student in the Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences Department, where I also completed my Master’s degree in May of 2014. I am running for the position of Vice President of Internal Affairs, a position I have help for the past two years. Prior to serving as VP of Internal Affairs, I was the GSA rep for the MEAS department and served on the Departmental Outreach and Leadership Committee (DOLC) during the 2014-2015 academic year.

As VP of Internal Affairs I have a few goals I would like to accomplish in the upcoming year. The first is to finish the restructuring of our internal committees, and create a new internal committee to serve under our new VP of Student Government Relations. After serving on the university fee review committee this year, I came to realize how valued the voice of student government is with the university administration. This made me realize that the GSA needs to work hard to strengthen our own leverage within the university. One way we can accomplish this, is to take a more active role in our communication and relationship with student government, who also represents graduate students. Our new VP of Student Government Relations and eventual internal committee assigned to this role will help address this goal. I also hope to expand outreach to departments and students who are not currently involved with GSA. This is something that the Departmental Outreach and Leadership committee has only been able to devote minimal time to due to the demands of organizing leadership and professional development events. I hope that by restructuring some of the roles of these committees, we can free up time and people to work on departmental outreach. All graduate students pay into the fee system that supports GSA, and they receive some benefits of that contribution.

My past three years of service with the GSA and on the have me well equipped to continue serving in the role of VP of internal affairs. I am hopeful that I can continue to work on and improve many of the programs and changes that I’ve been involved with over the last few years through GSA and the DOLC. Serving on the GSA has allowed me to play a role in making sure that the best interests of graduate students are represented and respected, and I hope to continue serving in this role.

Vice President of Academic Affairs

Desireé Unselt
My name is Desireé Unselt, and I am a 3rd year PhD candidate in the Genetics Program. Prior to my admittance in the Genetics Program, I completed a B.S. in Biology (Genetics and Biotechnology) and a B.S. in Education (Secondary, 9th – Adult) in May 2014. My passion for science and for education is what has motivated me to run for the GSA VP of Academic Affairs for 2017-2018. I want to be an advocate for research communication and peer relationships, and the best way for me to do this is to ensure that NCSU provides as much travel funding as possible. I have been involved with the GSA for two years, and during these two years, I have been the Vice President of my program’s GSA as well as our representative to the GSA, and the chair of the Research Recognition Committee.

The focus of the GSA’s Research Recognition Committee is awarding the GSA Award for Conferences. As the chair for the past two years, I aimed to make the evaluation process more effective and efficient, especially since we had a large increase in applicants. My first semester as chair (Fall 2015), we received approximately 25 applications. This past semester (Fall 2016), we have received over 70, and the number of applications is expected to continue to increase. This is particularly true if we plan (and we do) to continue marketing this rare opportunity. Currently, the GSA Award for Conferences is the only university-wide funding source NCSU graduate students have for travel. Additionally, while the number of applications are increasing, the number of members on the Research Recognition Committee has been consistent at approximately 10 members. Because of this, I found it important to establish a rubric that was not only quick and easy for the evaluators, but also embodied what we wanted to see in the recipients of the travel award. This rubric made it easy to implement data analysis techniques I have learned to use in R, which has provided some simple statistics for determining awardees. It has minimized the amount of time spent assessing rubric scores as well as minimized the amount of time spent reviewing possible awardees. I will be the first to acknowledge that our evaluation process is not perfect, but we are constantly modifying the application and evaluation processes to properly represent our graduate student community. Not only do I plan to continue to modify the application and evaluation processes, but I plan to modify and revise the new submission system that our current VP of Academic Affairs, Jessica Nash, has implemented. The way that she has streamlined the application process has made the evaluation process smoother, but there are still adjustments that could be made to make the process even better, and I look forward to implementing these changes.

As VP of Academic Affairs, I will be involved as the executive board liaison for the Research Recognition Committee through fostering growth and progress. The GSA Award for Conferences is a merit-based award that any NCSU graduate student should be proud of receiving. I want the committee to advertise this opportunity, which will lead to more application submissions. Because of this further increase in applications, I will need to be a diligent advocate for more travel funding. I recognize how invaluable traveling and networking is to research, and I want our graduate students to be able to take advantage of these opportunities without being hindered by cost. I believe my collaborations this past year with the Treasurer, Federico (Freddy) Scholcover, and the Special Projects and Political Action Committee, specifically Nathan Corder and Will Kohlway, will lead to more funding and awards.

Jessica and I worked with Freddy to establish a special type of rollover funding specific to when awardees do not use the allotted $1500. The maximum number of awards we can give out a semester is 5. Sometimes students do not need $1500, and every year, the committee is faced with a decision of awarding a partial award. Every year, we decide that it is not in the best interest of the award or the students. With this rollover fund, we will have the opportunity to award 1-2 extra awards a year, which is better than losing the money at the end of the fiscal year. Additionally, I have been working with Nathan and Will to establish an endowment, which will provide more funding for travel awards. This is still in the early stages, but I hope as VP of Academic Affairs we can come up with an agreement with the Graduate School that will lead to more funding to meet the demands of the graduate students.

Beyond our focus on obtaining more funding, the Research Recognition Committee and I have been proactive in our involvement with the Graduate Research Symposium, specifically through increasing the number of judges outside of academia. Previous participants of the symposium have expressed an interest in having judges from industry. So, this year we made it a priority to reach out for potential judges. We have been successful in recruiting various judges in many disciplines, and next year, I hope to acquire many more.

My previous involvement with the GSA and the Research Recognition Committee has more than prepared me to serve as VP of Academic Affairs. I am eager to be the next VP of Academic Affairs for 2017-2018 and look forward to working with the GSA, the Graduate School, and the Research Recognition Committee to strengthen our graduate students’ presence around the world! 

James Reynolds

For the past several years I have served my fellows in various capacities such as leading a student chapter for the largest professional organization in the world and serving as an officer in the Electrical and Computer Engineering GSA. I would like to move forward and take this opportunity to influence even more people by not only contributing my past experience but also my unique perspective. The GSA’s efforts to identify and promote the talent within our ranks has been admirable. However, the two main programs (the conference travel awards and the Graduate Student Research Symposium) involve less than 10% of the total number of graduate students annually. Expanding these opportunities is difficult from both an administrative and financial perspective. The symposium can only have a certain number of entries, and the travel award budget will probably never be large enough to even cover the expenses of just 1% of the graduate student population each year.  NCSU, however, has a wide range of academic resources that could be utilized to assist in improving graduate students’ competence. I want to work with various GSA chapters to coordinate events that develop their members’ skills for academic presentations. The VP of Academic Affairs is an excellent position for making connections between people and groups for their benefit. I also want to assist in the organization of departmental research symposiums that allow more participants to experience the process and also provide a better means of deciding whom to send to the university-level symposium. By supplying active assistance to those at the grassroots level, the GSA can better influence a larger portion of the university and also nurture the vast talent that our school has.

The strides previously made in enhancing the awards and symposium have been great. While I will do my utmost to secure additional funding and recruit judges, I also want to promote a higher level of transparency. The purpose of the two main programs should not be just recognizing the best talent but also nurturing those that weren’t acknowledged. By having clear feedback, symposium participants can learn and improve their skills. This also dispels any rumors or myths about the factors contributing towards success at the symposium. Not only do I want to continue improving upon the work of previous years, but I desire to provide new ideas and different approaches for the betterment of our university.

The VP of Academic Affairs involves a large degree of collaboration, a task that I am well prepared for. For 14 years I lived overseas in South-East Asia, where I learned to communicate and interact with a wide variety of groups. In forming an IEEE student branch, I had to make arrangements with multiple administrators on various levels. My doctoral research involves cooperating with investigators at both UNC and Duke. While working for a water purification company, one of my tasks was to be a liaison between departments. Whether it is representing the GSA to the Administrative Board or assisting the Research Recognition Committee, I have the background and the experience to support the goals of the GSA Council and serve my fellow graduate students.

Vice President of Communication

Ben Dictus
Greetings Representatives, my name is Ben Dictus and I have been serving you as the VP of Public Relations this past half-plus year. Hopefully you have appreciated my work and humor. If not, please vote me out and get someone in that will do better!
 If you want to keep me, go with a yea vote and confidently know you are supporting someone who believes in the following:
 I still believe that GSA has a noble mission and that enhancing graduate student life at NCSU is extremely important. Knowing how things work from the executive officer side of the table has been a learning process, but my ability to be effective and efficient has only grown with each new experience. Learning the ins-and-outs of any officer position takes time and effort. I have put in that time and continue to put in the effort. I would love to do it for you for one more year!
Pawprints is back. This is actually the work of the PR committee, but I helped however I could! FB is active, we started an Instagram account, Chelsea does twitter (but I can figure this out if needed…), and I am very open to new ideas – please share them with me.
I will ensure that the social media game will keep growing/improving and that Pawprints will continue to evolve. For example, I am working with Red-i to create a organizational chart with clickable email links (to officers and committees), specialized Pawprints email template, and visually appealing “Welcome to Raleigh” guide.
Finally, I am excited and passionate about continuing to foster the many relationships I have developed – both with you and those I have come to meet in my GSA efforts. A major part of these officer positions is knowing who can help you and then asking for help. I hope to build upon my relationships and build upon the good work that is already happening – rather than starting from square one.
If you need or want more information on me, feel free to check out LinkedIn or FB.

Vice President of Student Government Relations

Meredith R. Spence Beaulieu
My name is Meredith Spence Beaulieu and I am excited to continue to serve graduate student interests by running for Vice President of Student Government Relations (VP of SGR) within both the Graduate Student Association (GSA) and Student Government (SG). I graduated from NCSU with a BS in Zoology and a minor in Mathematics in 2011 and am currently a third year PhD student in Entomology and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. During my time as a graduate student, I have been immersed in the unique experiences and challenges that graduate students face, and have become passionate about advocating for graduate student needs in order to approach concrete solutions to these challenges. Because of my experience as an undergraduate here at NCSU, I feel that I also have insight into the culture and experience of undergraduates at this institution, putting me in an excellent position to serve as an effective liaison between these two bodies that I have been a member of: the undergraduate and the graduate Wolfpack.

I have various leadership experiences, most recently within the Entomology GSA (EGSA), where I have served as Outreach Coordinator for the past two years and Vice President for the past year. Beyond leadership, this newly created VP of SGR role also requires effective communication skills, which I have honed both as Outreach Coordinator for EGSA and as a veterinary technician for the past six years. As Outreach Coordinator, I have been responsible for being a point of contact with teachers and other educators for scheduling events and making sure they run smoothly, and, when attending these outreach events, condensing and effectively communicating scientific and entomological concepts to the general public. As a veterinary technician, one of my most vital roles was communicating often complex medical diagnoses and treatment plans to pet owners. These experiences in public communication will serve me well in the VP of SGR role, as I will be able to translate ideas in a meaningful way, effectively advocating for graduate students to those that are outside of the graduate experience.

The VP of SGR role also calls for the ability to collaborate with Student Government Directors on issues concerning graduate students. I have experience working on collaborative committees such as the American Mosquito Control Association’s (AMCA) Young Professionals committee, which plans and organizes an interactive and educational workshop at the AMCA annual meeting. More directly relevant to graduate student needs, during my time with EGSA, I have been on an ad hoc committee that successfully petitioned the Entomology faculty to agree to raise wages for RAs/TAs within the program, and collaboratively worked with the faculty to implement a planned schedule of incremental raises to meet our accepted target salary.

Perhaps most importantly, I have direct experience with the responsibilities of this new VP of SGR role through participation in ad hoc committees this past year in GSA. I participated in the ad hoc Fee Review Committee, which inadvertently spawned discussion on the need for better graduate student representation when our voice was ignored when giving our fee recommendations. When the ad hoc Graduate Student Representation Committee was formed, I became an active participant and a chair for the committee. Our committee has since filled all of our graduate seats in Student Senate for the current term, increased the number of seats reserved for graduate students in the next term, and recruited graduate students to fill all of these additional seats in the coming election. We have also met with the SG Director of Government Affairs to brainstorm ways to address issues relevant to graduate students, such as on-campus child care services and lack of resources to fund travel for academic and professional conferences.

Although I have only been involved in GSA for one year, I hope that my passion for and . willingness to advance the needs of graduate students is evident through the actions that I have taken during my time as a GSA representative. I believe that my leadership skills, effective communication and collaboration, and experiences as chair of the ad hoc committee leading to the creation of this position make me an ideal candidate for VP of SGR. I understand the time commitment associated with this role, as it is a dual position within the GSA executive board and the SG Cabinet as Director of Graduate Student Affairs, and have the time and flexibility in my schedule needed to attend all of the monthly meetings and fulfill the duties of this position. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to continuing to serve you and further graduate student interests as the Vice President of Student Government Relations.

Zachary Lentz


Rachel Atkins
Hello graduate students,

My name is Rachel Atkins and it has been my pleasure to serve as the Secretary of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) during the 2016-2017 academic year. I am excited to run for this position again for the 2017-2018 academic year and continue to work alongside other graduate students who share my passion for graduate student representation.

I am a PhD student in the Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (MEAS) Department, with a research focus in Geoscience Education. Prior to my term as Secretary of the GSA, I was involved with my departmental graduate student association (MEAS GSA) first as Secretary then as President for consecutive years. In addition to holding these positions, I am also actively engaged with graduate students in a diverse department, making me uniquely positioned to understand the issues that many graduate students face.

Communication of information is important to the advancement of ideas and initiatives. My efforts for this academic year have been focused on the accurate record keeping for our organization and the distribution of this information to graduate students. This took the form of posting our All-Council meeting minutes on our website in addition to distributing the minutes from meetings along other important documents to graduate representatives from each department. This transparency ensures that graduate students are aware of events taking place and action items that the GSA and its constituents are undertaking. It also helps open dialogues that may help resolve issues that would have persisted in the past.

I am excited to build upon my experiences with the GSA from this year and continue to foster communication among graduate students. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to working with you!

Rachel Atkins


Federico Scholcover
Hello friends!

My name is Freddy, I am your current treasurer and a candidate to be your treasurer again next year! I am a third year (feels like tenth year) student in the Psychology Department’s Human Factors and Applied Cognition PhD program. My goal in writing this is to let you guys know about some of the things I have helped accomplish within the GSA and for the NC State community at large.

I believe being a good treasurer is like being a good sports guy in your chosen sport: the job is about high-level consistency. Records have to be kept, and financial transactions have to be processed consistently to ensure that the GSA continues to chug along. I would like to think that the GSA has continued to chug along without a hiccup in my tenure! A great treasurer, does more, however. They volunteer their time wherever they can, and I have tried to get my hands into as many projects as possible. Before I began my tenure as your treasurer, I joined the Management Subcommittee which developed a survey looking into the relationship between graduate students, their advisors, and how that dynamic affected their quality of life. I have also volunteered my time as the exec liaison to the ad hoc committee. The same committee that has successfully recruited enough graduate students to fill all of our seats in student senate! That said, the great majority of credit really belongs to the reps who did most of the legwork: Meredith Spence and Zac Lentz. Finally, I worked with the VP of Academic Affairs, Jessica, the Research Recognition Chair, Desiree, and the rest of the Research Recognition Committee to try and divert funds towards the prestigious travel award.

Away from the GSA, I am involved in two student groups. I am the Vice President of the Graduate Association for Students in Psychology, where I have had a hand in organizing every single event we have hosted this year. I was also, for the Fall semester, the President of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Student Chapter. During my time there, I was able to raise over $3000  in funds from various sources, part of which were used as seed money for a regional conference. I have continued working with the HFES chapter as the conference chair and have recruited speakers from NASA, Google, Microsoft, John Deere, and the Navy along with over 50 poster submissions from schools in the region. This conference has allowed us to raise an additional $1500 (and counting) for the chapter from corporate donations and ticket sales.

My goals for next year are not much different than my goals for this year: Fulfill the role treasurer to the best of my ability, divert funds towards high value projects such as the travel award, and generally to lend a hand wherever I can. Hopefully, my history has illustrated my ability to accomplish that.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope to serve you all well in the coming year.

Federico Scholcover