Hi! My name is Mica Hope, and I am a Behavioral and Community Health Sciences MPH candidate at the Graduate School of Public Health. I attended undergrad at Pitt, where I pursued a BA in English Writing while juggling two part-time jobs. While this was difficult, it led me to value my time and education that much more.
My most recent leadership experience comes from the past presidential election, where I worked as a Relational Organizer for a PA Democratic State Representative’s campaign. This position put me in direct contact with constituents and volunteers, and often I had to make sure our volunteers were reaching a certain amount of calls per day while keeping morale high throughout the campaign run. During that campaign, I held an internship with the City of Pittsburgh that required me to work independently and allowed me to pursue individual research on the economic health of the Department of Public Works employees.
Having attended Pitt for my undergraduate career, I already had a group of friends who either remained in the Pittsburgh area or are still attending school at Pitt. But not everyone is so fortunate. When speaking to fellow GSPH students, one of the things we have in common is the inability to make friends due to the nature of online classes. I have been trying to combat this for awhile now, working with my department to create and soon implement online social hours for students to hang out without being in the structured setting of a class. This mindset is the driving force behind my campaign: creating a stable community for new graduate and professional students who attended Pitt during the 2020-2021 school year and beyond.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the importance for both a stable community and plenty of student input on Pitt’s affairs. Having served on the University Council of Graduate Studies (UCGS), I was able to offer my suggestions to topics relevant to graduate student affairs while learning about the decision-making processes that make up university affairs. One of my goals is to increase the diversity of voices that serve on the different councils while increasing the promotion of the avaliable council and committee opportunities.
Lastly, throughout my undergraduate career, I joined several sustainability clubs on Pitt’s campus. These clubs inspired me to change my thought process surrounding what constitutes ‘sustainability’ and ultimately changed the way I approach community health within my major. Through communication with the current GPSG members and my time as a graduate student at Pitt, I have noticed a lack of sustainability-related agenda for graduate and professional schools and their students. I want to collaborate with Pitt’s undergraduate clubs to not only build a sense of community between undergraduate and graduate and professional students, but also learn from what these clubs have to offer and have achieved so that we may do the same. Sustainability initiatives should be school-wide, and we have taken too long to step up and bring it to the forefront of GPSG affairs.
Jorden King is a first-year Master’s student in the Higher Education Management program in the School of Education. Prior to attending the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education, he attended the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Science. In his undergraduate career, he served as an Admissions Counselor and Pitt Pathfinder for the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, a Community Assistant through the Office of Pitt Serves, and Peer Health Educator through Student Health Services. In those roles, Jorden presented to over 700 prospective students and families during on-campus programs, tutored and mentored students from the Pittsburgh Public School District, provided three different campus tours, and presented health promotion information to the Pitt campus community at large
In the present, Jorden serves as the Graduate Student Assistant in the Office of New Student Programs in the Division of Student Affairs. In this position, he collaborates with the interim Director to produce programming, mentorship, and logistics for over 100 first-generation and Pell-eligible students. Additionally, Jorden holds a leadership position on the Executive Board of the Pan-African Graduate and Professional Student Association (PANAF). As the Vice President of Communications, Jorden spent the first semester in his role helping revive the organization and co-constructing the newly approved constitution. Jorden serves PANAF in matters of communicating with internal and external constituents about the business of PANAF and other relevant information that reflects the interests and desires of Black graduate and professional students at the University of Pittsburgh.
My interest in the Vice President of Committees is rooted in my passion for engagement, representation, and advocacy through the use of student voices. As such, in this role, I hope to prioritize the aforementioned areas by working with and for committees while supporting the President in interacting with University administration. To support this, I plan to prioritize:
- Increasing representation on each of the committees. The priority is to increase representation in quantity but also representation across social identities, graduate programs, and year at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Increase outreach and accessibility for discussing the importance of GPSG committees to allow for students to be more aware of the existence and utility of these committees.
- Purposefully coordinating GPSG’s attendance at Graduate Student Orientations and Graduate Student Appreciation events that are representative of the diversity that reflects that of the University of Pittsburgh.
- Supporting GPSG’s President in interactions with University administration that align with the goals of GPSG and all graduate and professional students while also assisting in facilitating meetings in order to create an inclusive, equitable, and co-constructed environment.
My goal as the Vice President of Committees for the Graduate and Professional Student Government is to help increase student engagement and participation with and for GPSG committees. By doing this, I hope to further amplify graduate and professional student voices that are typically marginalized or underrepresented in graduate and professional student government planning, policy, and programming.
My name is Sharon Toth and I am currently a PhD student (ABD status) in the Department of Anthropology. I received my Bachelor of Science from Rutgers University in Evolutionary Anthropology and minor in Criminology in 2015. I have been involved with Pitt committees since I started attending in 2016. I have sat on several department committees, been the GSO representative for my department, and been a social sciences representative for the School of Arts and Sciences Graduate Council. During my time on the Graduate Council, I defended the proposal to rid departments of required GRE scores. I supported this stance in my own department when sitting on our Graduate Studies Committee – I gathered graduate student GRE opinions and statements, which was then assessed by faculty and resulted with no longer necessitating GRE scores in our department. On the national level, I was recently elected as the Student Liaison to the Executive Committee for the American Association of Physical Anthropology. Outside of academia, I work with military children around the country delivering STEM and life skills curriculum to kids faced with a family member deployment. I have also been continuously involved with my home county 4-H Youth Development Program for 17 years, holding various positions, such as being the youngest dog division chair and elected to its governing board. When not working to support student and children voices, I can be found in Frick Park playing and hiking with my German Shorthaired Pointer, Trinity.
As the Vice President of Committees for the Graduate and Professional Student Government, I will continue to serve as a voice for students and make sure students are represented on all appropriate committees. Graduate and professional students make up a large portion of the university and aid in its overall success, and as such students should have representation on all levels. I will also work closely with fellow GPSG members to ensure transparent and open practices. As someone who has sat on several Pitt committees, I am well versed in their organization and functioning and will help guide fellow students in their roles. I welcome further questions or comments on how to better serve us graduate and professional students.