Faces of GSA Volunteers

Each year, hundreds of graduate students volunteer with the GSA to run our committees, subcommittees, and working groups. Volunteering with GSA helps graduate students connect with like-minded peers, build connections within or outside of the University, and gain new skills, knowledge and experience. Our volunteers have the chance to work on exciting new initiatives and ideas that benefit the graduate student experience.

Every volunteer can make a difference! This year, we have more than 200 graduate student volunteers working on events, initiatives, evaluation, and governance work in various areas of student life to improve graduate student experience at the University of Calgary.

In this blog, we highlight a few of the 200+ current graduate student volunteers who share their experience involving in GSA committees and subcommittees. Thank you to all volunteers for your time and amazing dedication. We look forward to working with you and continuing to make a difference together this year and in the upcoming years.

To learn more about the GSA Volunteer Recruitment Program, visit here: gsa.ucalgary.ca/volunteer

Thilina Jayawardana
Department of Chemistry
Member of the GSA Awards Committee
“Volunteering with GSA was always exciting to me. Looking forward to volunteer with GSA in future!”

Kirsten Neprily
PhD Student School and Applied Child Psychology 
GSA Speaker, Chair of the GSA Judicial Board, and President of Graduate Programs in Education Student Association
“The GSA has really helped me become a part of the graduate student community and let me share my voice on the graduate student needs.”

Daniela Arciniegas
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
Member of the GSA Student Experience and Events Committee and Mental Health and Wellness Subcommittee
“Volunteering with the GSA has been an enriching opportunity to meet new friends, collaborate with other UCalgary graduate students and give back to the community. Every volunteering experience has been a chance to learn new things about causes I support and practice new skills.”

Prasoon Kumar Shandilya
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Member of the GSA Academic Support Committee
“Volunteering with GSA has been a rewarding experience in terms of improving my interpersonal communication and time management skills. I also had a first-hand experience in understanding how GSA works and strives to provide a better grad school experience.”

Tina Sarkar
Cumming School of Medicine
Member of the GSA Awards Committee 
“Volunteering with the GSA has allowed me to contribute to my graduate school community while learning more about my peer’s talents!”

Hossein Karimi
PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Member of the GSA Awards Committee and Events Subcommittee
“I like photography, hiking and watching movies. I am involved in two of GSA voluntary works through which I can find new friends, build soft skills and enhance my experience as a student.”

Motahhareh Moravvej Hamedani
Phd Student in the Department of Finance 
Member of the GSA Awards Committee
“As a solution provider, I always welcome challenges in order to enhance understanding, leadership and problem-solving skills. I am confident my knowledge and experiences have prepared me well to participate in the GSA team as a volunteer. I do believe that this valuable opportunity can get the best out of me and broaden my volunteer experiences during my academic life.”

Basil Jose
Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
Member of the GSA Sustainability Committee
“The GSA Sustainability Committee allows me to connect with like-minded individuals, eager to share ideas about sustainability and an equitable future.  I am having so much fun with our meetings and activities.”

Dasha Guliak
Department of History
Member of the GSA Academic Support Committee
“I volunteer with the GSA to help fellow students but also to become more connected with other graduate students and the programs offered to us! It helps me feel part of the community here at the University of Calgary.”

Suzie Lee
Cumming School of Medicine 
Member of the GSA Academic Support Committee
“Here are some reasons why I like to volunteer with the GSA. First, you get to meet a lot of motivated, loving, friendly people on campus. Secondly, you get to devise your own initiatives and actually make them come true. It’s a lot of fun!”

Toranj Telmadarreie
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
Member of the GSA Sustainability Committee
“GSA will provide me the chance to be more involved in the student community. It gives me a great opportunity to improve my communication and teamwork skills along with my academic life.”

Jacob Lamb
Department of Civil Engineering
Member of the GSA Labour Relations Committee and Awards Committee
“I have benefitted from GSA volunteering as it has widened my friendship base and broadened my understanding of this province. The review skills I have developed in the awards and governance committees have improved my journal reviewing abilities, and opportunities to work with various levels of the university’s organizational structure has helped me understand future career paths better.”

Brittany Lindsay
Doctoral Student in Experimental Social Psychology
Member of the GSA Labour Relations Committee 
“As the Arts representative on the GSA’s Labour Relations Committee, I have the privilege to represent and support my fellow academically employed graduate students. I personally love being a graduate teaching assistant, and I am very excited to be a new member of the team that advocates for us and our rights! “

Shrushti Shah
Faculty of Kinesiology
Member of the GSA Awards Committee and the Newcomers and International Students Subcommittee
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill. 
I have been volunteering throughout my academics – on-campus and off-campus, in different cities and different countries, and would say that being able to give back to the community is a privilege. For someone who is either doing experiments in lab most of the time or sitting in front of their computer trying to make sense of the data obtained, volunteering with GSA has been a great opportunity to be able to network with fellow grad students who are more or less in the same boat as myself.”

Mohak Maniar
Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing
Member of the GSA Governance Committee, Sustainability Committee and Events Subcommittee
“My experience has been fascinating till now, with each one of them. Volunteering is a great way to connect with other grad students and learn time management, teamwork and leadership skills. Also, the feeling of involvement in the community is definitely worth a try.”

Mohsen Hassani
Department of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering
Member of the GSA Events Subcommittee
“Volunteering with GSA provided me with a golden opportunity to make new friends, get involved in community as an international student, expand my network, develop leadership and management skills, and have enjoyable time during past year.”

Sanaz Daneshmandjahromi
Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
Member of the GSA Awards Committee
“Volunteering with GSA is a great opportunity to make my community a better place. It helps me to improve my communication and teamwork skills.”