University of Vermont

The First Year of the RGSA

Com-PIE-tition winners (from left): Deane Wang, Ellen Rovelstad, Becca Pincus, Eliese Dykstra, and Monika Derrien
RGSA Com-PIE-tition winners (from left): Deane Wang, Ellen Rovelstad, Becca Pincus, Eliese Dykstra, and Monika Derrien

The Rubenstein Graduate Student Association (RGSA) wrapped up a very successful first year. Many thanks to this year’s officers and to all the RSENR graduate students who have shown support for this new and exciting organization!

To remind you, the RGSA was born out of the former RSENR Graduate Student Advisory Board (GSAB). In order to have a stronger voice in the community and a more inclusive and organized structure, the RGSA was organized with tremendous leadership from Ph.D. student Rebecca Gorney and many others and was voted into existence by Rubenstein graduate students in the spring of 2012 and formally recognized by the UVM Graduate Student Senate thereafter.

Faculty and staff have recently mentioned to us how great it is to see the graduate students organized into a new structure, and we see this as another crucial step towards a stronger shared governance system within RSENR. All RSENR graduate students are members of the association – so when you say “RGSA,” you are always referring to the hundred-odd (or should we say the one-hundred, odd) master’s and Ph.D students.

The organization’s officers, known as the RGSA Executive Committee, were recently elected for next year, and we are pleased to announce the following positions: Sarah Pears as President; Christine Peterson as Aiken Chair (Vice-President); Sam Parker as Treasurer; Jeff O’Donnell as Communications Chair; and Clare Crosby as Social Chair.

Many thanks to Nathan Reigner, Becca Pincus, Kate Ostroot, Ryan Morra, and Ellen Rovelstad for serving in these roles during RGSA’s first year.

Particular accomplishments of the RGSA in 2012-2013 must be highlighted. These include a very successfully undergraduate mentoring program headed by Becca Pincus, a Fall Seminar Speaker series organized by Monika Derrien and Chenin Limback, mini-grants awarded to graduate students for their research and travel to conferences, a well-attended open forum with Interim Dean Jon Erickson, and a slew of social events throughout the year.

Thank you to all the students, staff and faculty who came to those RGSA-sponsored community events like the Chili Cook-Off, Com-PIE-tition, and the monthly socials at various Burlington establishments. The final event of the year was the RGSA Graduation Picnic at Oakledge Park on Friday, May 10.

Rubenstein graduate students: keep your voices heard through the RGSA! This organization of graduate students and for graduate students is your chance to be involved in what is happening at RSENR. Don’t take it for granted – your thoughts, ideas, and opinions matter and we want to hear from you!

If you’d like to lend a hand with helping out for the new graduate student orientation, contact Christine ( If you would like to help organize the Fall Speaker Series, contact Monika ( As always, if you want to weigh in about the future of your graduate student experience, RGSA Executive Committee meetings are always open to all members – drop in next year or send an e-mail to Thanks for a great year!