Agricultural Economics GSO Officers 2019-2020

pictured (left to right): Alison, Ashraf, Natalie, Dave, Mati, Song, Megan, Francisco, Laura, Edie 

not pictured: Mrunal and Alecia

Agricultural Economics Graduate Student Organization (GSO)

Below are common questions about the Agricultural Economics Graduate Student Organization (GSO) including its purpose, events, membership, officer positions, and the value that it brings to it's members, officers, and the AgEcon department. 

1. What is the purpose of the GSO:

The purpose of the Ag Econ Graduate Student Organization (Ag Econ GSO) is to bring the Ag Econ student body together; to promote academic and social communication among all Ag Econ students; to provide a forum in which Ag Econ students can voice their concerns and expectations; and to act as a liaison between the Ag Econ student body, administration, and faculty members. 

The Graduate Social Officers (Officers) are nominated graduate students who form the leadership team of the Ag Econ GSO. They are comprised currently of the President, Vice President, Social Chairs (4), Intramural Chairs (2), Senator, Treasurer, Academic Chair and Orientation Chair.

2020-21 GSO Officers

  • President: Zachary (Zack) Neuhofer
  • Vice President: Debadrita (Rimi) Kundu
  • Treasurer: Chloe Henson
  • Academic chair: Carlos Zurita
  • Senator: Nhu (Claire) Nguyen
  • Intramural Chair: David Williams
  • Development Chair: Fei Qin
  • Social chairs: Xavier Miranda, Yusun Kim, Wyatt Pracht, Eugene Nuworsu
  • Advisor: Dr. Mindy Mallory

2. What events does the GSO hold throughout the year? 

Considering Covid, the GSO will hold the following socially distant gatherings while abiding by Purdue Protect guidelines:
  • Tuesday Coffee Hours (every other week will include a seminars or guest speakers)
  • Intramural sports (Bowling, Cornhole)
  • Mentor and Mentee program for first-year MS and PhD students
  • Micro help Desk for the first year PhD students
  • GSO Prelim meeting for the first year PhD students in our department (May 2021) 
  • GSO Prospectus meeting for the second year PhD students (next semester)
Non-COVID year activities and gatherings (most of these have been postponed or modified due to COVID):
  • Welcome BBQ, Fall & Spring BBQ
  • Intramural sports (like volleyball and soccer)
  • Thursday Coffee hours
  • Seminar coffee hours
  • Final Fridays (informal graduate student gathering during the evening at an off campus location)

2018 GSO Intramural Indoor Soccer Team

top row left to right: Roberto Flores, Sarah Sellars, Mrunal Shah, Cicero Lima, Chinonso Etumnu, Pedro Diaz

Bottom row: Alison Grant, Travis Atkinson, Assemgul Bissenbina, Stefano Leiva

Team members not pictured: Kayenat Kabir, Sofia Vielma, Emiliano Lopez

3. How can non-members (students, staff, faculty, alums) help in the GSO's efforts?
  • Students are already members of the Organization. The best way to help the officers is to actively participate in organized events. We also happily invite them to participate in planning and executing a range of activities throughout the year.
  • Staff, faculty and alums are always invited to participate in activities such as our weekly coffee hours, Final Friday and our fundraisers.  The GSO has historically received strong support from faculty and staff and we encourage their continued support by reaching out to students in social spaces, sharing research interests and generally furthering the department’s strong, communal spirit.
  • The funds raised from fund raising activities cover the costs of the events the Officers organize. Non-students can particularly contribute in this area.

4. How people can join the GSO or become members?
  • All graduate students of the Ag. Econ department are automatically members of the Ag Econ GSO.
  • We especially invite and welcome members who are non-officers to participate in the planning and execution of any number of portfolio responsibilities including
    • Social committee
    • Sports/Intramural committee
    • Academic and orientation activities
    • Other committees on external student government bodies such as the Post Graduate Student Government (PGSG)

5. How can AgEcon graduate students become GSO officers?
  • Members of the GSO can offer themselves for service during elections held in the Spring semester each year. They can communicate directly to the serving Officers about their interest or they could be nominated by the Officers or non-officer students.
  • Assisting with any of the GSO committees and activities is excellent practice for a future position you may hold.

6. What makes a good GSO officer? 
  • A good officer is first and foremost committed to serving the Ag Econ graduate student body and their interest. 
  • A good officer also fulfills the following:
  • Faithfully carries out the  duties of one’s office
  • Assures each member of the student body, through words, actions and deportment, feel like a valued member of the GSO.
  • Continues the Ag. Econ culture of cooperation, teamwork and community.
  • Last but not least, think innovatively and propose new ideas.

7. We also asked some of the officers (current and former) the value that they receive from participating in the GSO.

Alison Grant

​I was an Intramural Chair with the GSO in charge of organizing departmental teams for university intramural sports (examples are basketball and soccer). We make a list of all sports offered each semester and get people to sign up based on which sports they prefer, which gives all the students, old and new, some choice in what they’d like to participate in. What I get out of this role is life balance, not only through playing on these teams, but through organizing and bringing a team together, which I think is really important when going through grad school. In addition, being involved with these teams brings benefits such as athletic activity (without pressure), a fun social atmosphere, and a break from work and studying. It is a pleasure to facilitate this type of activity to my fellow students, and that is a large part of why I enjoy the role of Intramural Chair.
Travis Atkinson

​Being an officer of the GSO helped to balance me out a bit. I had always been involved in student government & extra-curricular activities at each of my previous schools. However, the PhD demanded complete focus on academics and research – a stark contrast to the entirety of my academic life up to this point. Third year offers just a bit more flexibility so it’s a good chance to return to my roots, work with the most epic team on a range of non-academic activities, and of course, meeting students outside of the department is sure to be an added bonus.
Kayenat Kabir
During my time as president of the Ag Econ GSO, I presided over general activities of the GSO and get the opportunity to push forward new initiatives. Personally being part of a very diverse and active Ag Econ GSO has been really nice. It gives me a break from my studies and research and serving for the GSO fulfils me with the satisfaction of giving back something to the department. I encourage students to be part of future Ag Econ GSOs and be involved in department activities in general, which is a great learning experience in teamwork and also a good platform to bridge gaps.

Sofi Vielma
​Being a part of the GSO, social chair in particular, was very rewarding. As one of the positions that has more interactions with students and faculty, it has provided an excellent opportunity to interact with all members in the department. I have learned throughout my time in grad school that networking is key in our field. Being a social chair has provided socializing skills that I have been able to put in practice in other academic settings. Personally, the GSO has helped me keep a better work-life balance by constantly reminding me that it is important to keep human interactions alive and that they are a great source to relieve stress.

Will McClain

​In the GSO, you get an opportunity to work with and for your fellow graduate students and (in the meantime) gain some experience in the ‘service’ side of being in an academic department. Opportunities for committee work, event planning, and being an ambassador for the graduate students to faculty and visitors are all worthwhile reasons to get involved with the GSO.

8. What are the officer positions and what is expected of each position?

  • President: consult with organization advisor about activity planning; oversee coordination of all activities of the AgEcon Graduate Student Organization; preside over meetings; attend meetings that require representation of the AgEcon GSO; work with the Treasurer to apply for and request funding for AgEcon GSO operations. 
  • Vice-President: assume the President’s responsibilities when he/she is unavailable; meet with the whole AgEcon student body at least once per semester; attend AgEcon GSO meetings; take photo documentations of all AgEcon GSO events and maintain AgEcon GSO social media accounts as well as help with the funding request.
  • Treasurer/Secretary: keep accounts, deposit the organization’s funds, and make expenditures in a manner approved by the Business Office for Student Organizations; provide a biannual report on budget and spending to the leadership team of the AgEcon GSO, the organization advisor, and all members upon requests; attend AgEcon GSO meetings, maintain official meeting minutes.
  • Social chair(s): organize an annual AgEcon picnic once each fall; organize monthly social; work with members of the leadership team to facilitate other activities throughout the year; arrange food, refreshments, and site reservations for each event; submit event planning forms to Business Office for Student Organizations (BOSO); attend AgEcon GSO meetings.
  • Intramural chair(s): organize monthly sports activities; work with members of the leadership team to facilitate other activities throughout the year; arrange the submission of forms to apply for the different sports leagues; submit event planning forms to Business Office for Student Organizations (BOSO); attend AgEcon GSO meetings.
  • AgEcon PGSG Senator: represent AgEcon graduate students on the Purdue Graduate Student Government; responsible for voicing the opinions and concerns of AgEcon graduate students to PGSG; serve as liaison between AgEcon and the PGSG; attend all PGSG meetings and join appropriate subcommittees; keep AgEcon student body updated on PGSG events and business that is of importance to AgEcon graduate students; report to the AgEcon GSO on the relevant matters in the PGSG and consult the AgEcon GSO in matters regarding AgEcon’s position on various issues; attend all AgEcon GSO meetings. Any matter in PGSG which may require AgEcon to take a position must be relayed to the AgEcon GSO and AgEcon graduate students by the senator.
  • Academic Chair: represent AgEcon graduate students in the monthly faculty/staff meetings as well as serve as a liaison between faculty and AgEcon graduate students in matters related with academics, curricula, etc. 
  • Orientation Chair: organize and facilitate the First-Year Mentoring program. The duties of this chair are: 1) to conduct a call-out to find interested mentors, 2) to conduct surveys matching mentors and mentees into common interest groups, 3) to continuously contact mentors with reminders to encouraging mentoring throughout the school year, and 4) to search for and identify opportunities that will improve the mentoring program. S/he will report directly to the President and Vice President. 

Agricultural Economics, 403 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4191

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