ECGPS selects new officers

BY IAN MURPHY | APRIL 09, 2014 5:00 AM

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Two new graduate and professional students will take their seats as heads of the table.

The Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students elected new officers for the 2014-15 academic year on Tuesday.

The new president, Alyssa Billmeyer, is a second-year student in the College of Pharmacy, and the new vice president, Jon Scholte, is a graduate student in engineering.

The Executive Council’s name will change to the Graduate and Professional Student Government on June 1.

Billmeyer said she hopes to continue the work of outgoing President Ben Gillig.

She said Gillig did a “great job” on legislative outreach, and she would also like to bring awareness to the governing body of graduate and professional students, which represents one-third of the students at the UI. 

“Getting the Graduate and Professional Student Government name out there, that’s something we can work on,” Billmeyer said.

She said the council’s effort on securing funding for the new pharmacy building was a deciding factor in running for the presidency.

She also credited Gillig for fostering cooperation among members of the council, which includes student delegates in the medicine, business, law, and pharmacy professional programs, as well as graduate studies.

“I want to make sure that stays there and that we work together,” Billmeyer said.

Gillig will stay on as an executive, serving as the new governmental relations head for the group. He said he hopes to help mentor the new council and UI Student Government members when it comes to these relations.

He said legislative advocacy was one of the biggest successes of the council this year and said he hopes to mentor the new executives when it comes to communication with legislators.

One area Gillig said he hopes the new executives will continue to push forward is making sure that funding is used in a way that it can make the most good, rather than going toward food or other areas.

The president and vice president must alternate between graduate and professional students each year. Gillig is a Ph.D. student in Education.

Graduate College Dean John Keller said in addition to continued outreach, he would like to see the council continue other work started this year, especially when it comes to career services for graduate students.

Keller said he would like to see the new executives continue to work on preparing students for the job market. The Executive Council and the Graduate Student Senate hosted a half-day symposium on careers that Keller said was overbooked. 

He said students will take a wide array of jobs outside of being a professor and researcher and said graduate and professional programs need to adjust accordingly.

“We need very highly prepared, trained, educated individuals to work in our society; we need to reorient our thinking about how we prepare people to do that,” Keller said.

Overall, Billmeyer and Gillig both hope the group will continue to get its name out there, especially with the Legislature.

“We are one-third of the student body,” Billmeyer said. “We play an important role in the state of Iowa.”

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