As the UVM Graduate Student Senate (GSS) jumps back into action for the semester, the leaves are slowly changing, quite like our senate! With the GSS growing over the years, there have been many new faces, including multiple members of our executive board.

Let me introduce myself: I am Michelle DiPinto, the current president of the GSS and an Inorganic Chemistry PhD Candidate in the Landry Lab. I am no newbie to GSS, but I’m excited to be given the opportunity this year to share my perspective through this GSS corner, represent the graduate student population, and continue to take on a variety of student issues that still exist. But enough about me.

The Vice President of GSS is Leslie Sepaniac, a third year in the Cell, Molecular, and Biomedical Science program, working in the Stumpff Lab. Jesse Cases-Villablanca is the Treasurer of GSS and is a part-time student in the Master in Public Administration program who also works full-time for the City of Burlington. Mahafuza Aktar is a second-year Neuroscience graduate student in Dr. Victor May’s lab. And last, but certainly not least, we have our Communications Director, Jessica Bocanegra, a third-year Organic Chemistry PhD candidate working for Dr. Severin Schneebeli.

We also have a variety of senators who represent programs. If you are a graduate student who is in a program that is not represented, please reach out to us at

Graduate Students at the GSS Welcome Back BBQ

The purpose of the Graduate Student Senate is to cultivate both the academic and nonacademic activities of the graduate student body and enhance all aspects of graduate school life at UVM. We do this by: acting as a liaison between the graduate student body and the University’s administration; encouraging educational activities, such as our Professional Development Series; sending out weekly newsletters to graduate students; and hosting events.

By hosting events of the academic, social and service variety, our hope is to create a graduate student community in which issues can be discussed and solved to improve the quality of life for graduate students.

Feel free to check out our webpage and see what events are planned for this semester!


Michelle E DiPinto