GSA Minutes 2006-11-16

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Minutes for GSA meeting 16 Nov 2006

Called to order 5:15pm

Attendance: about 25

Officers' Reports

Jessica Budke (President).

  • Paul Lewis has set up an accessory EEB website for grads to upload personal photos. The photos will be tied to your personal profile that includes your email, etc. Everyone should upload a mugshot to go with your profile. Adding a photo is optional, but encouraged. Virge Kask (our scientific illustrator) may have mugshots of grad students to offer, but they are a little on the plain side. Stay tuned for details of how to upload and size specifications. Paul is also interested in taking a group grad student photo, probably early next semester. Those who don’t/can’t attend the group photo run the risk of being Photoshopped in.
  • In other website news, the updated list of GSA officers has been sent to Kathy Tebo, and she will get it posted. Check it out and verify your information if you are an officer. Navigation: EEB website -> Grads -> GSA -> Officer List.
  • Everyone agrees the new grad student reading room (TLS 315) rocks. Nanci Ross sent an email with suggested improvements, e.g. bulletin board, framed art. We can afford to buy a bulletin board with GSA funds if necessary. Tsitsi McPherson reported that the Colwell lab is donating a dartboard and darts. Em Getz asked if the grad lounge was open only during business hours. Keys are available to grads for after-hours access; see Ken Bernier to get one. The couch is sooo comfy. Lounge is also a good hiding place from students. Note that the room is also a lounge for staff, so be courteous. Tsitsi McPherson suggested a map of where EEB grads have gone, with pushpins. There is also a tree in a growth chamber, which Clint Morse (greenhouse) provided. Maxi Polihronakis offered some trivia about the tree: It produces “miracle fruit”: after eating it, you can’t taste anything sour. In China they have events where they eat miracle fruit and then eat all sorts of bland items that end up tasting sweet. Nic Tippery suggested a grad lounge coffee hour, maybe several times a week. Krissa Skogen can provide the coffee maker. Snacks before seminar is now in the grad lounge. Can we get a microwave? There is one in the copier room.
  • The locked box on third floor with grad pictures in it is getting outdated. Jessica Budke will look into it. It was pointed out that it is also easy to post pictures, etc. to the grad student bulletin board, which is located just to the right when you get to third floor up the middle stairs in TLS.
  • The English department sent an email to our former GSA co-presidents a while back, asking if we would like to have cooperative social events. The letter was just rediscovered. How many grads would be interested? There was considerable interest. Most people agreed we should not have it at someone’s house.
  • Do we need more grad events? Bowling was suggested.

Kat Shaw (Treasurer).

  • We still have money. Approximate balance: $540.76. Some of that money is owed, though.

GSS senator.

  • We lost a senate seat, now have only one. Kathryn Theiss currently occupies the seat, and Jason Hill will take over next semester when Kathryn leaves the country. Rachel Prunier is the GSS attendance taker. What goes on at GSS meetings? Apparently nothing of consequence.

Nanci Ross (Faculty Representative).

  • The search is on for our next department head (Kent Holsinger is interim acting head). Grad feedback will be considered. Kathy Tebo has requested student schedules so she can set up a time the most people can meet. Is there a time everyone can meet? A lunch meeting was proposed.

Jadranka Rota (Invertebrate Collections Representative).

  • Janine Caira (faculty invertebrate committee) is on sabbatical, so no new business since last semester.

Maxi Polihronakis (Seminar Committee).

  • In March, one of the departmental seminars will feature a speaker chosen by the grads. The speaker will be Arne Mooers, who works on character mapping, character evolution, speciation, selection on characters, computer programs to do the above. He has solicited a ride to Boston the day after his seminar to catch his departing plane. Get excited! Sign up to meet with him! He will be here Wednesday thru Friday morning. Jadranka Rota pointed out that the grad students voted to have Dr. Mooers come give his seminar, so we should show the proper enthusiasm and be especially informed about this speaker.

Molly Letsch (Grad Symposium Committee).

  • Maria Pickering and Karolina Fucikova are also on the committee. They will have their first meeting before the end of the semester. Will have to pick a date in January for the grad symposium.

Jessica Budke (Tuesday Evening Seminar, covering for reps).

  • Adam Wilson gave a great presentation this past time. Good grad turnout, poor from faculty. Jadranka Rota mentioned that it has been proposed by some faculty to have TES on campus and earlier in the evening. Maxi Polihronakis also said the faculty objected that talks were more pretty pictures than science. Several grads said that they enjoy the not-so-sciencey atmosphere, and that a good grad turnout is good enough. Next presentation on December 5 is by Rachel Prunier, tentatively titled “Pictures of South Africa, Some Research, Some Cows”. Jessica Budke will get Kathy Tebo to change mention on the EEB website from MES to TES.

Tsitsi McPherson (Welcome Committee).

  • Are any new grads coming in the spring semester?

Krissa Skogen (CCB – Center for Conservation and Biodiversity).

  • Krissa was not here for the September meeting (Tsitsi was). CCB is in the process of revising their brochure. They have been going over fundraising rules imposed by the government and the university, and ways to make money for CCB. Proposed ideas include a fundraising event with David Sibley when he comes in the spring for the Teale lecture. Trina Schneider asked who/where is CCB? CCB is more of a conceptual center than a physical place. The center also does outreach, provides some funding to grads. Faculty members are Dave Wagner, Robin Chazdon, Rob Colwell, John Silander, Margaret Rubega, Kent Holsinger, Les Mehrhoff, Jane O’Donnell, Chris Elphick. Events have included a bee diversity workshop and bird walks. Jadranka Rota reported that the workshops are popular and often full. The CCB exists because of a $25,000 endowment from an anonymous donor. Tsitsi McPherson pointed out that because of the endowment they had to remain a center and adhere to certain rules The CCB is 11 years old as a conceptual center. There is a CCB website.

Tsitsi McPherson (Curriculum Committee).

  • Robert Thorson (EEB faculty, formerly of Geology) is planning to teach a course. He has written “On Stone Walls” about the geology of New England walls.

Cory Merow and Amanda Wendt (T-shirt Committee).

  • Nothing has been done yet. The goal is to have a shirt design ready for the spring symposium. Two years ago Nicola Plowes designed the shirt, last year Carrie Fyler. Committee can solicit designs or just design their own. Jessica Budke has the info about where we get the shirts made. Treasury also has up-front money. Tsitsi McPherson mentioned she preferred the fit and style of last year’s shirts.

Carrie Fyler (Barn Dance Committee).

  • Attendance this year was over 100 people. The money has been settled, has everyone been repaid? Krissa Skogen said we need fresh blood on the barn dance committee, i.e. new directors. She suggested duties be divided between setup and cleanup. Nic Tippery recommended a better theme next year, because there were fewer people in costume than usual.


Trina Schneider asked if anyone is going to the grad student conference in Nova Scotia? The deadline is December 1 for abstracts; the meeting is in February. She will send a reminder.

Meeting adjourned 5:50pm.

Humbly recorded – Nic Tippery (Secretary)