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GSA selects new officers for 1998-99

By Susan Trulove

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 29 - April 23, 1998

Next year's leaders of the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) come from across the country and from disciplines that span the campus. But they are united on their aim to represent student interests and needs and increase student participation.
The officers are President Paul F. Wagner, Ph.D. student in biology, from Dallas; Vice President Amy N. Wright, master's student in horticulture, from Blacksburg; Secretary Janie Miller, master of fine arts student in arts administration, from Liberty, Mo.; Treasurer Angela D. DiDomenico, a Ph.D. student in industrial systems engineering focusing on human factors, who is from Hamden, Conn.
"We want to address issues before they become divisive and keep graduate students informed about the issues that affect them," Wagner said of the officers' goals.
He became active in the GSA as a delegate from the biology department. He is also on Virginia Tech's Commission on Research. Outside the university, he is on the executive committee of the North American Benthological Society (NABS) and organized the Graduate resources committee for NABS. At the University of North Texas, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees, he served on the Biology Graduate Student Association.
His academic activity focuses on the study disturbance in stream ecosystems and he manages the stream ecology lab. He also studies reptiles and amphibians.
Wagner's goal is a university career that would allow him to do research and teach.
Wright would like to increase department participation at meetings, including by people who are not delegates. She said the organization has a great deal to offer.
"I would like to see more graduate students taking advantage of the GSA Travel Fund Program and the Graduate Research Development Program," she said. These programs help students travel to professional meetings and provides resources for student research.
Wright received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Virginia Tech. She plans to continue her studies to earn a doctoral degree and would like to do horticulture research and teach at the college or university level. She is a member of the American Society for Horticultural Science and the Southern Region ASHS.
Miller says her goals as a GSA officer are to promote and implement the needs of the graduate student body.
This is her first year at Virginia Tech. She became a delegate from the School of the Arts "because the GSA gives me the opportunity for involvement in my own community."
Miller is a graduate assistant working in the management office for the School of the Arts, and will be the treasurer of the Graduate Art Council next year.
She said she became an MFA student to gain practical experience in managing and promoting theater, "to research what it will take for the arts to survive today. "And I wanted the chance for personal growth."
DiDomenico, in her fifth year as a graduate student, said the GSA gives her a chance to meet people outside of her discipline. "I decided if I'm going to be here this long, I want to be involved with the university, rather than just with my department." She also volunteered with the Graduate Honor System, and works in the Tour de Cure bicycle event to raise money for diabetes.
Within her discipline, DiDomenico is vice president of the American Society of Safety Engineers and a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
She has a fellowship from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Her plans upon graduation are to teach and to do research related to industrial ergonomics.
DiDomenico received her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut. She has a master's degree from Virginia Tech.