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2015-16 Graduate & Professional Student Government goals

BY DI STAFF | 2015 EDITION

The University of Iowa is truly an incredible place to be a student. The student-centered focus of UI administrators, faculty, and staff provides the opportunity for each and every student of the more-than 31,000 students to obtain not only a world-class education but also amazing experiences outside the classroom. 

More than 10,000 of these students are graduate and professional students pursuing careers as physicians, dentists, lawyers, pharmacists, researchers, teachers, and business executives. These programs are integral to the university and its future as a major academic research institution.

Indeed, 25 of Iowa’s graduate and professional programs are ranked among the “Top 25” in the nation. 

Although I have only been in Iowa for four years, the state and the UI have had a large effect on my life. I was born and raised in Westfield, New Jersey, and obtained a B.S. in biology from the College of New Jersey (’08). Subsequently, I worked as a laboratory technician at the University of Calfornia-Berkeley for three years before matriculating into the M.D./Ph.D. program at the UI. I am beginning my fifth year in the program and am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in the Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program. I am thankful for the education I have received at UI, and the opportunities and resources at my disposal continue to impress me. 

The availability of these resources is large reason I chose to serve as the president of the Graduate & Professional Student Government. I want to give back to the school that has provided me with so much opportunity. I’d like to ensure these opportunities (and more) continue to be available to future graduate and professional students. I strongly believe in the value and ethos of graduate education and the impact that it can have on our society as a whole.  Each and every day, current and former students of UI graduate and professional programs positively affect communities in the state of Iowa and across the nation in a variety of ways.

Over the next year, with the help of my vice president, Brandon Gerleman, a third-year student in the College of Pharmacy, I will advocate for graduate and professional education at UI and across the state to UI administrators, the Board of Regents, and the Legislature to ensure we will work hard to enhance future financial and institutional support. To accomplish this, we hope to establish regular meetings between graduate and professional students and the regents and legislators during campus visits as well as regularly showcase the accomplishments of students in monthly newsletters.

We will rely on graduate and professional students across the campus to actively and effectively communicate their accomplishments and goals in order to demonstrate the effect UI graduate and professional programs have across Iowa and throughout the nation.

Affordability of both undergraduate and graduate education will continue to be a priority to both the GPSG and UISG. We will collaborate with UISG to promote affordability for students across the campus. Affordable undergraduate education removes fiscal barriers to post-baccalaureate education.  Additionally, the vast majority of undergraduates at UI directly interact with graduate students throughout their education (i.e., teaching assistants, undergraduate research, etc.). As such, ensuring affordability of both undergraduate and graduate education will be paramount to both UI student governments, and we will work tirelessly to advocate these ideas to the regents and state officials.

Finally, we will continue to promote diversity, inclusiveness, and safety across the UI campus. Last year, the UISG and GPSG established the International Student Advisory Board, and we will continue to expand this program to ensure increased representation of international students across campus. We strive to promote a campus environment in which all, no matter their race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, feel equally at home and safe.  We will continue to promote the “It’s On Us” campaign in order to help shift the conversation surrounding domestic violence to one of shared responsibility. Additionally, we are working with UISG to expand the Nite Ride program to better ensure the safety of all students on campus at night.

We are all in store for an interesting year — one of transition and change, challenges, and opportunities. We will have three UI presidents over the next year and various intradepartmental searches and reorganizations. We will see implementation of many of the cases from regents’ Transparent Inclusive Efficiency Review project. We will also see the reopening of many amazing campus buildings, marking the final progression of the university from the flood of 2008. By continuing to work together, we can continue to make this university an incredible place to be a student.

Joshua Schoenfeld
GPSG president


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