Graduate Student Council: strong advocate for students

Vidyani Suryadevara, president of the Graduate Student Council.

Vidyani Suryadevara, president of the Graduate Student Council. (Photo: Jenny Fontaine)

By Vidyani Suryadevara — vsurya2@uic.edu

As president of the Graduate Student Council (GSC), I warmly welcome all the new and returning graduate students at UIC. I’m ready for my last year at UIC, as I plan to finish my Ph.D. in the bioengineering department by the end of the academic year, then continue my career in academia.

Having joined UIC in 2013 to pursue a master’s, I now have an extended family at UIC and have made Chicago my home. I am currently doing my research in medicine and engineering. Being an international student, I found UIC very welcoming and was awestruck by its diversity. While teaching undergraduate students, I saw the tremendous value that this diversity offers students, and how it fosters learning inside and outside the classroom.

Apart from my research and teaching, I have spent the last four years at UIC serving in various leadership capacities on campus and eagerly look forward for my second term as the GSC president, serving as the liaison between graduate students and university administration. GSC has been a strong voice, advocating on behalf of the graduate students on the student fee advisory committee, at the engineering tuition differential meeting, and during the Higher Learning Commission accreditation process, among other times.

My agenda this year is to ensure that all students get the right kind of coursework in their desired specialization, despite the existing challenges of space and number of faculty in certain departments. In addition, I strongly believe that mentorship is a critical attribute for student success and plan to improve and facilitate not only student-faculty interactions and mentorship, but also student-student mentorship. I believe that every person has something to learn and teach others, and these connections will go a long way in their personal and career paths. GSC will host various academic and social events throughout this academic year to foster these kinds of interactions.

GSC has been spending a significant amount of time interacting with students across different disciplines to hear concerns and address them.

I encourage all graduate students to become involved on campus, find their niche and carve their unique paths at UIC, in addition to excelling in their academics and research. I wish them success and good luck, and we at GSC look forward to help them however we can.

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