The Virginia Tech Graduate Student Assembly elected a new slate of officers for 2015-16 at its last meeting of the semester. 

Matt Chan of Hong Kong, China, is the new president; Tara Reel of Virginia Beach Virginia, is vice president; Richard Rodrigues of Kolhapur, India, is director of finance; Chelsea Corkins of Hutchinson Kansas, is director of programs; and Emma Potter of Elkton Virginia, is director of communications.

Chan is a civil and environmental engineering doctoral student. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his master's degree at Virginia Tech. He has been involved in university governance, including participation on the University Council, Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies, and Commission on Student Affairs. He also is active in university and local performing arts and in interdisciplinary research.

Reel is an urban affairs master’s degree student in the School of Public and International Affairs. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia. She is a research assistant at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and has participated in lobbying efforts on behalf of Virginia Tech with the Virginia General Assembly and the U.S. Congress. She worked on the Graduate Student Assembly committees on parking and transportation and travel fund and on the Commission of Research. She also has been working on Graduate School InclusiveVT initiatives.

Rodrigues is a doctoral student in the interdisciplinary Genetics, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Kolhapur Institute of Technology and his master’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was treasurer this year and has served on several Graduate Student Assembly committees, including budget and campus development.

Corkins is a biological systems engineering doctoral student. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Kansas State University. She has been involved in several university organizations, including the Interdisciplinary Research Honor Society.

Potter is a doctoral student in the Department of Human Development. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and her master’s degree at Virginia Tech. She has served as a Graduate Student Assembly representative on the Task Force for a Healthier Virginia Tech and is a graduate research assistant at the Center for Gerontology. She also is a member of the Queer Grads and Allies.

Outgoing Graduate Student Assembly President Greg Purdy of Portland, Oregon, a doctoral student in industrial and systems engineering, and Virginia Tech Board of Visitors Graduate Student Representative Ashley Francis of Blacksburg, Virginia, a master’s degree student in public health in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, recapped the assembly’s 2015 accomplishments. 

Francis noted the group worked with university officials to develop a pilot program providing better parking for graduate assistants. 

“It’s a small victory,” she said regarding the 100 spaces that will be part of the initial effort. Purdy and Francis also noted the Graduate School’s child care initiative, which includes a cooperative play group and a parents support group, an effort to improve transparency regarding comprehensive fees on the registrar’s website, and more support for students’ research.

Chan, who was Graduate Student Assembly vice president this year, said the organization will “continue to increase visibility of the GSA throughout the campus, such that we can obtain more resources to provide even better programs and events that would benefit graduate student lives.” He also noted the assembly’s commitment to the InclusiveVT initiatives and its continued push for “adequate and affordable health and dental care for students.”

For more information about the Graduate Student Assembly, visit the website.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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