Penn Graduate Student Center

Graduating Student & Alumni Resources

Information for 2015 Graduates

The University's Commencement Ceremony is open to friends and family, as well as the entire Penn community. Get more information about the University's 2015 Commencement Ceremony.

If you graduate in May, your Penn Student Health Insurance plan will expire on July 31. Recent graduates may be eligible for a special enrollment period to get Healthcare.gov Marketplace insurance outside the yearly open enrollment period.

Stay Connected to the Graduate Student Center

Whenever you're on campus, we encourage you to visit the Graduate Student Center (3615 Locust Walk).

Support Us

The Grad Center is currently supported with graduate student fees and additional funds from the University. Your donation can free up University funds to support other initiatives, such as stipends and classroom maintenance. You can make a gift online in any amount through Penn's online giving website; be sure to click on the Graduate Student Center Gift Fund. Or, send a check payable to "Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania" to:

Anita Mastroieni, Director
Graduate Student Center
3615 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6221

Awards for Graduating Students

The President's & Provost's Citation for Exceptional Commitment
to Graduate & Professional Student Life

This citation is presented to graduate or professional students, upon their graduation from Penn, who have been a catalyst for transformative and lasting new developments that have enhanced graduate and professional student life at Penn. The 2015 Citation Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 15 from 4:30-6:00PM in the Graduate Student Center.

To nominate yourself or another student for this citation, please send an email to center@gsc.upenn.edu. The nomination MUST include the following information:

The more detailed the nomination, the better!

Nominations can be made at any time, but please adhere to these deadlines:

Dr. Andy Binns Award for Outstanding Service to Graduate and Professional Student Life

Call for Nominations – Deadline Monday April 6, 2015 at 11:59pm

This award is presented to graduate or professional students, upon their graduation from Penn, who have significantly impacted or extensively contributed to graduate and professional student life at Penn through outstanding service involvement in student life programs, initiatives, or organizations. The award is not just for longstanding members of student life programs, initiatives, or organizations. It is reserved for those who made significant positive contributions or improvements to the operations and functions of these programs, initiatives, or organizations to the benefit of graduate and professional student life.

The award is designed to recognize contributions specifically to graduate and professional student life, not improvements primarily made to academic life. Schools and departments are the appropriate sources to acknowledge academic achievements and improvements.

A committee will review self-nominations and nominations made by others to evaluate the fit between the graduate and professional students' service involvement and the mission of the award. There is no limit to the number of students who can receive the award; however this is a prestigious award and the award winners will be carefully selected. The citation is only given to students upon their graduation from Penn. The May ceremony recognizes those who graduate either in May or August or that year, while December graduates are deferred until December or May of the following year.

To nominate a graduating student for this award, please fill out this form by the April 6th 11:59pm deadline.

Past winners of The President's & Provost's Citation for Exceptional Commitment
to Graduate & Professional Student Life:


2014

Steven Mong, MBA § Emily Joy Rothchild, PhD § Luyao Wang, MSE § Nina Zhao, M.D.

2013

Evan Black, MSE § Colleen Daley, MSE § Susan Mello, PhD § Maria Murray, PhD § Scott Ordway, PhD § Akeesha Washington, MSE § James W. Wiley, III, Esq

2012

Allyson Davis, MPA § Joseph Friedman, Esq § Linda Meiberg, PhD § Maher Zamel, EdD

2011

Michael Baiocchi, PhD § Cassondra Giombetti, PhD § Christa Heyward, PhD § Mahlet N. Mesfin, PhD

December 2010

Andrew Rennekamp, PhD

May 2010

Arie Barendrecht, MBA § Jack Higgins, MGA § Leslie Anne Warden, PhD § Renzo Weber, MBA § Rani Yadav, MBA

2009

Brian Coleman, PhD § Jessica Kim, EdD § Heather Klusaritz, PhD § Nikki Thorpe, MCP

2008

Mete Civelek, PhD § Noah D. Drezner, PhD § Wenny Lin, PhD § Lee Shaker, PhD § Kara Yokley, MBA

2007

Cay Bradley, PhD § Scott Brodsky, MGA § Lela Jacobsohn, PhD § Kevin Jude, PhD § Joung Lee, MGA

2006

Kyle Farley, PhD

Stay Connected to Penn

Penn's Office of Alumni Relations can help you stay connected through QuakerNet, regional alumni clubs, alumni publications, alumni e-mail addresses, education and travel programs, and more. And if you haven't already done so, register for QuakerNet, the online alumni community!

Join The Penn Club of New York

Connect with real movers and Quakers—follow the Penn tradition of becoming a member of the Penn Club. The Penn Club offers Penn alumni continued connection to fellow alumni and the vast Ivy League network, especially in the New York metro area and in your travels around the world.

Career Services

Penn’s Career Services offers alumni several ways in which they can connect with each other and current students. QuakerNet offers alumni the opportunity to share their experiences with other alumni and undergraduate, graduate, and professional students interested in similar careers. There are also several Penn alumni groups on LinkedIn representing a variety of industries and career fields.

Regional Networking Groups on Facebook: Those of you who are moving to a new location after graduation or for the summer may want to join Penn Career Services' Regional Network Groups on Facebook. These groups are dedicated to sharing housing resources (or simply networking) for the major metropolitan areas in the U.S. (as well as international groups) among Penn students and alumni. If you currently live or want to move to one of these areas, we encourage you to join and help your fellow Quakers.

Survey of Graduating Students

Career Services emails Career Plans Surveys to new degree recipients a few weeks after graduation. The survey will take just a few minutes to fill it out and helps provide critical information about salary and job market trends that is useful to current students. Don't worry—your personal details will not be shared with others. If you already know what you're doing after graduation, please consider completing the survey now online. If you don’t have a job lined up yet, please wait to fill out the survey until we contact you in July. Career Services offers appointments to alumni – if you are still seeking employment after graduation, contact us.

While serving as GAPSA's Vice Chair for Finance in 2013-14, Steven Mong greatly improved the efficiency, transparency, and fairness of the finance committee's work. He instituted a new system that created a more effective and equitable evaluation of funding applications. Steven also reworked the process through which GAPSA's General Assembly provides grants, helping meetings run more smoothly and efficiently. The systems that Steven created have eliminated inefficiencies and other obstacles, allowing current and future GAPSA volunteers to focus their time and energy on meeting the mission of the organization.

As GAPSA's Vice Chair for Student Life from 2009-11, Emily Joy Rothchild spearheaded a successful campaign to increase lactation support on campus. She worked with campus partners that included Human Resources, the Penn Women's Center, the Family Resource Center, and Grad Parents at Penn to advocate for this issue, and succeeded in more than doubling the number of campus lactation rooms. By partnering with University offices, Emily Joy ensured that the issue would remain a priority and, indeed, the number of lactation rooms has continued to increase on campus. Emily Joy also arranged for GAPSA to donate several hospital-grade pumps and nursing kits to outfit the new spaces, an initiative that continues today.

Luyao Wang redefined the role of GAPSA's Vice Chair for Communications by creatively using interactive social media to better engage GAPSA constituents. Luyao focused not only on communicating to students, but also on helping graduate students communicate with one another. Through multiple online platforms, Luyao encouraged students to share their stories and photos; designed creative uses of interactive social media to better engage GAPSA constituents; and encouraged helpful interactions that included resource and information sharing. These online activities contribute to a more vibrant Penn graduate community.

As the 2011-12 GAPSA Vice Chair, Nina Zhao was responsible for organizing the annual fall GradFest Celebration for 11,000 grad students. Recognizing that our large student body had greatly varied interests and availabilities, Nina decided to diversify the GradFest events, adding an intellectual component to the roster of social and community-building events. She also introduced a student activities fair and multicultural festival to GradFest. All of these new activities were extremely well-received by students. Her creativity and vision of what GradFest could be resulted in a successful new format that will serve as a model for years to come.

Evan Black recognized a need for more cross-cultural connections at the Graduate School of Education. In response, she created the student organization GlobalEd, which provides programs and workshops for international and domestic students to enhance understanding of academic norms in the U.S., cultural awareness, and intercultural dialogue. Evan also helped to establish the Peer Advising Program for Intercultural Communication students, and worked with a team to develop the Experiential Learning Design course, which connects intercultural communication theory to practice. For her dedication to improving intercultural life and support for international students, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Evan Black on the occasion of her graduation.

Colleen Daley has been committed to improving the experiences and opportunities for students in the Graduate School of Education. She helped to establish the Peer Advising Program for Intercultural Communication students, and worked with a team to develop the Experiential Learning Design course, which connects intercultural communication theory to practice. For her dedication to improving student life, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Colleen Daley on the occasion of her graduation.

Susan Mello has a passion for effective communication. She applied that passion as a leader of the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly, where she redesigned a dynamic website, the weekly email newsletter, and various social media, and established more interactive features and tools. By instituting these innovations, Susan created a highly effective conduit through which students will continue to learn about GAPSA's many activities and initiatives. For enhancing graduate student communications, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Susan Mello on the occasion of her graduation.

Maria Murray held a variety of leadership roles in the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly, but throughout her service she had a primary focus on student wellness and well-being. She gathered critical data as part of the successful effort to reduce recreation fees for graduate students, and she expanded GAPSA programming to include students with children. For her determined advocacy, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Maria Murray on the occasion of her graduation.

As president of the graduate student government of the School of Arts and Sciences, Scott Ordway enhanced the organization by recruiting more involved leaders, strengthening its infrastructure, and refining its sense of mission. He also initiated the SASgov/Dean's Grant for Research and New Media, which supports Penn graduate students who are engaged in innovative and vibrant research projects. For his leadership and vision, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Scott Ordway on the occasion of his graduation.

Akeesha Washington builds bridges. She saw that graduate cultural affinity student groups, international student groups, and cultural resource centers were not strongly connected in their common pursuits. She forged relationships among these entities, thus ensuring strong partnerships for years to come. For her dedication to collaboration and cooperation, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Akeesha Washington on the occasion of her graduation.

James Wiley has an eye on the future. He ensured that the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly documents and institutionalizes procedures so that future generations of leaders can more efficiently build upon the work of their predecessors. James also created incentives that will empower other graduate student groups to reach new levels of organizational effectiveness. For his leadership and vision, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes James W. Wiley, III on the occasion of his graduation.

As a leader in the Fels Student Association, Allyson Davis was tireless in her efforts to further improve the student experience within the Fels Institute of Government, implementing structures that encouraged students in different cohorts to meet and network. For her dedication to improving student life, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Allyson Davis on the occasion of her graduation.

While serving as the Finance Chair for the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly, Joseph Friedman implemented tools to allow students to apply for funding for new and innovative projects, and created an emergency fund. Joe went on to become Chair of GAPSA to ensure continuity of these and other commendable initiatives. For his commitment to enhancing graduate student life, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Joseph Friedman on the occasion of his graduation.

As a leader with the Graduate Student Associations Council, Linda Meiberg worked to expand and improve mentoring and academic support programs for doctoral students. For her tireless advocacy, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Linda Meiberg on the occasion of her graduation.

As Chair of the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly, Maher Zamel successfully advocated to reduce recreation fees for graduate students. For his dedication to improving graduate student life and wellness, University of Pennsylvania recognizes Maher Zamel on the occasion of his graduation.

For five years, Michael Baiocchi served as an extraordinarily dedicated member of Penn's Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee, providing a level of expertise that greatly benefited the Committee's work. SHIAC's role is to review the University's Student Health Insurance Plan and to provide advice on complex implementation issues. Michael applied his exceptional academic and professional experience to the needs of the Committee. His knowledge, insight, and analysis ultimately provided the University with the information necessary to offer a high quality health plan. His work will benefit all Penn students for years to come. For his commitment to improving the health and well-being of graduate students, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Michael Baiocchi on the occasion of his graduation.

As President of the Graduate Student Associations Council, Cassondra Giombetti was a passionate and energetic leader during a time of great transition. Many students over the years had explored the possibility of merging Penn's two main graduate student governments, but Cassondra and her peers actually tackled the issue. Building on the knowledge and experience gained from past efforts, Cassondra and a collaborative team of student leaders thoughtfully presented a vision, process, and guiding principles for this transition. They consulted with students, administrators and trustees to develop the final model that was ultimately agreed to by a very diverse constituency. It is a testament to Cassondra's quality of leadership that this process was both consultative and efficient. The new graduate student government was in place by the end of the academic year, and continues to serve graduate and professional students today. For her fervent leadership and vision, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Cassondra Giombetti on the occasion of her graduation.

Christa Heyward held a variety of leadership roles on campus, and is widely recognized for her ability to develop pragmatic solutions for issues facing graduate and professional student organizations. While serving as a leader in the Black Graduate & Professional Student Assembly, Christa and her peers successfully advocated for the creation of a pluralism position in the restructured Graduate & Professional Student Assembly. Christa went on to serve as GAPSA's first Vice Chair of Pluralism. She established the position's wide-ranging portfolio, which included open expression, women and under-represented students, and graduate student representation on University committees. She was particularly determined to appreciate the needs of the graduate student cultural organizations that were previously underrepresented on GAPSA. When she became GAPSA's Vice Chair of Finance, Christa immediately addressed those concerns. She reorganized the distribution of the GAPSA budget, giving student groups more flexibility and sufficient funding to foster connections. In addition, the new funding paradigm ensured that each school government received funding proportional to the size of its membership. These initiatives continue to support all of our student organizations today. For her dedication to fairness, equity, and practical solutions, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Christa Heyward on the occasion of her graduation.

Mahlet Mesfin's dedication to improving life for under-represented students at Penn has been wide-ranging. Her unassuming leadership style belies her role as a strong force for positive change on campus. As a co-founder of Penn Graduate Women in Science & Engineering, Mahlet is credited with ensuring the continuity of this important new organization. Mahlet helped to establish PGWISE, then continued to recruit, mentor, and inspire new student leaders, guaranteeing that the organization will grow and flourish. Mahlet also served as Chair of the Black Graduate & Professional Student Assembly, a role in which she greatly increased the opportunities for students interested in the African Diaspora to interact both socially and academically. While serving as BGAPSA Chair, Mahlet and her peers successfully advocated for the creation of a pluralism position in the restructured University-wide graduate student government. These efforts ensured that graduate affinity groups have campus-wide representation. For her quiet conviction and determined advocacy, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Mahlet Mesfin on the occasion of her graduation.

A true Penn Quaker, Andrew Rennekamp earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees at Penn and along the way served in many leadership roles that supported student life. He has been a reasoned yet forceful advocate for graduate and professional students, and Penn is a better place for his efforts. Andrew served as Treasurer of GSAC and then transitioned to Vice Chair for Research Students within GAPSA. In both roles, he carefully stewarded funding for research students and worked to increase stipends. When he became Chair of GAPSA in 2008, Andrew set his sights on eliminating the disparity between funding for graduate and undergraduate students. He researched the complex funding mechanisms and presented compelling arguments to University administration for closing the funding gap. Under Andrew's leadership, GAPSA partnered with the University administration to significantly increase student activities support for graduate and professional students. However, Andrew was never content to focus on just one initiative. He also successfully advocated for family-friendly policies, student housing, and better relations with graduate alumni. For being a dynamic catalyst for change, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Andrew Rennekamp on the occasion of his graduation.

At the Wharton School, there were limited opportunities for the first year and second year MBA classes to interact and form connections. Arie Barendrecht, along with two other colleagues, recognized this was a missed opportunity, since Wharton's network of students and alumni is one of its greatest assets. To remedy this situation, Arie and his colleagues conceived of the Wharton Cohort Cup, which provides a forum for first and second year students to interact through competitions in athletic, academic, community and social events. By offering a variety of programming, the Cohort Cup attracted different segments of the Wharton population. Over 1,500 students participated in the first year. This new tradition will continue to strengthen the Wharton community in future years. For creating connections, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Arie Barendrecht on the occasion of his graduation.

As a student at the Fels Institute of Government, Jack Higgins was instrumental in organizing his fellow students to re-form the long-defunct Fels Student Association (FSA), to represent student interests to the Fels administration and plan activities and initiatives of interest to Fels students. Working with other students, Jack helped to orchestrate a town hall meeting, election of a Steering Committee, and creation of the organization's subcommittee structure. In addition, Jack served as a core leader of the Steering Committee and multiple FSA sub-committees throughout the year. Jack also spearheaded the development of FSA election bylaws to ensure that current FSA representatives would be succeeded by new participants in future years. Jack served as the founding Executive Director of the Public Policy Challenge (PCC), a campus-wide student competition in which student teams developed policy proposals, campaign strategies and implementation plans for initiatives to improve the Greater Philadelphia region. In its first year the PCC attracted 100 students and, with the support of the Fels Institute, seems likely to continue for years to come. Jack has directed his boundless energy, outstanding organizational abilities, and talents for cultivating consensus to serving his fellow students. For his commitment to improving the experience of Fels students, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Jack Higgins on the occasion of his graduation.

When Penn's two main graduate organizations -- GAPSA and GSAC -- combined in 2007, the merger created a void: graduate students in the School of Arts & Sciences would no longer have a representative organization. Early on, Leslie Anne Warden stood out as a leader who could correct this situation. Leslie and a group of peers were instrumental in forming SASgov -- the graduate student government of the School of Arts and Sciences -- and Leslie served as its first President. Working with fellow students, Leslie co-wrote the constitution for this new organization, all the while encouraging and empowering other students to lay a strong foundation for a successful student government. Today, SASgov is a model organization. A student in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Leslie also served as a link between the Penn Museum and the graduate student community, and took the lead in forming the Penn Museum Multidisciplinary Graduate Advisory Board to formalize this relationship. This organization seeks to involve graduate students in the planning and conceptualization of new exhibitions and the organization of social events. She also supported outreach to the Philadelphia community by leading tours in the museum for children's groups and other organizations. Leslie has demonstrated a rare combination of passion and logic, and her tireless commitment to the School of Arts & Sciences has been unwavering. For her ability to envision and create solutions, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Leslie Anne Warden on the occasion of her graduation.

At the Wharton School, there were limited opportunities for the first year and second year MBA classes to interact and form connections. Renzo Weber, along with two other colleagues, recognized this was a missed opportunity since Wharton's network of students and alumni is one of its greatest assets. To remedy this situation, Renzo and his colleagues conceived of the Wharton Cohort Cup, which provides a forum for first and second year students to interact through competitions in athletic, academic, community and social events. By offering a variety of programming, the Cohort Cup attracted different segments of the Wharton population. Over 1,000 students participated in the first year. This new tradition will continue to strengthen the Wharton community in future years. For creating connections, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Renzo Weber on the occasion of his graduation.

At the Wharton School, there were limited opportunities for the first year and second year MBA classes to interact and form connections. Rani Yadav, along with two other colleagues, recognized this was a missed opportunity since Wharton's network of students and alumni is one of its greatest assets. To remedy this situation, Rani and her colleagues conceived of the Wharton Cohort Cup, which provides a forum for first and second year students to interact through competitions in athletic, academic, community and social events. By offering a variety of programming, the Cohort Cup attracted different segments of the Wharton population. Over 1,000 students participated in the first year. This new tradition will continue to strengthen the Wharton community in future years. For creating connections, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Rani Yadav on the occasion of her graduation.

Brian Coleman has been a vocal advocate for University-wide graduate student organizations that serve under-represented populations on campus. As Chair of the Black Graduate & Professional Student Assembly, Brian rallied his counterparts from other organizations to advocate for more support so these organizations could continue to provide resources and networks for their student populations. Brian and his partners successfully convinced the University administrators that increased financial support was vital to the viability of these student groups. In addition, Brian played an instrumental role in the planning of a broad range of activities for BGAPSA, including significantly increasing the group's community outreach. Lead by Brian, BGAPSA members shared their experiences with local elementary and high school students and with participants in the Veteran's Upward Bound Program, encouraging these individuals to reach their highest potential. In addition, Brian also helped plan events that connected the members of BGAPSA with the Philadelphia community through events such as a trip to the city's Underground Railroad Museum. His dedication to the support of under-represented students and the members of the African Diaspora on Penn's campus has been unwavering. For his rational and generous spirit, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Brian Coleman on the occasion of his graduation.

As GAPSA's Vice Chair for Social Activities from 2007-2009, Jessica Kim, with the help of her committee, organized more than 70 university-wide events that helped foster student interactions among graduate students from all twelve schools. In addition to maintaining successful past events, Jessica created what will hopefully be a new tradition: the GAPSA Fall Ball. Cognizant of the wide-ranging interests of the graduate constituency, Jessica consciously organized a broad range of activities, from baseball outings to wine-tastings, from experimental theater to Atlantic City trips. Jessica has also worked very hard on improving the experiences of Asian American and minority students both at the Graduate School of Education and Penn at large. In addition to her work with GAPSA, Jessica co-founded the university-wide Asian American Graduate Student Association to serve this important population. Within the Graduate School of Education, Jessica founded the Asian Americans in Education group and the Educators as Writers group. She has also participated in the Student Organizations Council and was instrumental in starting the student government at Grad Ed. For her creative and boundless energy, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Jessica Kim on the occasion of her graduation.

Heather Klusaritz proved to be a vital member of the Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee (SHIAC) from the moment she joined the committee in 2003. During her six-year tenure on the committee, Heather made impassioned pleas on behalf of her fellow students, argued with concrete facts based on study and experience, and became a beacon of knowledge, wisdom, and constancy. Heather fought for and against changes to the Student Insurance Plan and has always been aware of what is best for the student body. In particular, she was instrumental in getting the HPV vaccine on the agenda for the committee. Her reasoned arguments won the trust of the other members and ultimately led to the inclusion of the vaccine in the plan. Heather was also influential in implementing the annual graduate and professional student insurance survey, which help to demonstrate student satisfaction with the plan. Heather's commitment to SHIAC has been unwavering. As one committee member says, "She represents the best of what Penn has to offer and she will be sorely missed upon her graduation." For her powerful and reasoned voice, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Heather Klusaritz on the occasion of her graduation.

As GAPSA's Vice Chair of Student Life, Nikki Thorpe has judiciously advocated for students in the areas of housing, transportation, safety, health, and family issues. She has overseen several projects, including the GAPSA Resolution on Resources for Students with Children and University Green initiatives. Nikki has had significant impact in housing issues, working with the Office of Off-Campus Services to move and revitalize the Landlord Survey. Under Nikki's direction the survey had a record number of responses making the data available to the Penn community better than ever. At the School of Design, Nikki was a founding member of the Penn Urban Transportation Systems Group, and has been instrumental in furthering the transportation concentration in the City and Regional Planning Program. Nikki's work on behalf of graduate students is a reflection of the notion of "paying it forward." The results of her advocacy will have lasting impacts on Penn's graduate community. For her steadfast work improving graduate student life, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Nikki Thorpe on the occasion of her graduation.

As GAPSA's Vice Chair, Mete Civelek had a hand in many projects. From lofty goals such as building student community to more mundane concerns such as funding and housing, Mete was dedicated to improving the graduate and professional student experience at Penn. Mete organized a town hall meeting of international graduate students, giving this constituency a forum to articulate concerns and issues. Mete's dedication to the international community resulted in increasing the profile of this important constituency. He also instituted regular meetings of all 12 school governments and University-wide graduate student organizations, fostering more communication among these peer groups. In addition, Mete helped to develop the GAPSA-Provost Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation, a program that provides crucial funding to students while advancing the University's goal of encouraging interdisciplinary study. For his commitment to improving graduate student life, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Mete Civelek on the occasion of his graduation.

A leader in both GSAC and GAPSA, Noah Drezner was always focused on improving the academic experience and quality of life of graduate students at Penn. His persistence led to the creation of the Center for Teaching and Learning Teaching Certificate which provides doctoral students with support to hone their teaching skills, and with recognition of their commitment to developing as professors. This initiative perhaps best reflects Noah's passion for improving the academic experience of graduate students. However, Noah also contributed substantively to myriad other initiatives, from international student town hall meetings, to the GAPSA-Provost Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation, to programs supporting students with dependents. Realizing that graduate student leaders should receive recognition for their hard work, Noah originated the idea to create this President's and Provost's Citation, which we now proudly give back to him. For his commitment to supporting graduate and professional students, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Noah Drezner on the occasion of his graduation.

Wenny Lin held several positions with GAPSA during her career at Penn, and she is consistently known as a dependable leader who steps up and gets the job done. As Vice Chair for Student Programs, Wenny successfully led the first effort to solicit wide-ranging corporate sponsorship for GradFest08, ensuring this festive graduate student tradition would be financially viable for this and future years. As Vice Chair for Internal Affairs, Wenny provided steady support during the year when the graduate student governments were merged. She made sure business continued as usual while the merger was worked out. Wenny also provided the only overlap on GAPSA's Executive Board during their critical transition years. Beyond GAPSA, Wenny also helped to found Penn Graduate Women in Science & Engineering, an important new student group dedicated to enhancing the graduate experience of women in science and engineering.

As Chair of GAPSA, Lee Shaker was a bastion of strength and steadfast resolve leading the charge during a time of great transition. Many student leaders over the years had explored the possibility of merging Penn's two main graduate student governments, but Lee and his peers actually tackled the issue. Building on the knowledge and experience gained from past efforts, Lee and a collaborative team of student leaders thoughtfully laid out a vision, process, and guiding principles for this transition. They consulted with students, administrators and trustees to develop the final model that was ultimately agreed to by a very diverse constituency. It is a testament to Lee's quality of leadership that this process was both consultative and efficient; the new graduate student government was in place by the end of the academic year, and continues to serve graduate and professional students today. For his leadership and vision, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Lee Shaker on the occasion of his graduation.

As the first person to hold GAPSA's Vice Chair of Student Life position, Kara Yokley was responsible for addressing a vast number of issues facing graduate and professional students. She set the bar high for how to accomplish many things with a considerable portfolio. Kara was the driving force behind the push for increased transit services to better serve graduate and professional students. Her efforts succeeded in securing more late night transportation that benefits all students. She advocated successfully for improvements in student health coverage and graduate student housing, and other quality of life initiatives. For her undaunted willingness to take on issues, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Kara Yokley on the occasion of her graduation.

Cay Bradley had her hands in so many aspects of graduate student life, it's difficult to enumerate them all. For much of her time at Penn, it seemed there wasn't a University committee that didn't boast Cay's membership. Nearly from its beginning, Cay served on the Graduate Student Center's Advisory Board, helping to define the "role and function" of the board and to set the Center's vision statement, which continues to serve the Center today. As GSAC's Vice President for PhD Affairs, she advocated for academic programming that was accessible to all disciplines, and served on the Graduate Teaching Task Force. As GAPSA's Academic Policy Group Director, Cay was instrumental in creating the GAPSA-Provost's Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation. She also served on the Student Health Advisory Board, serving as a liaison between Student Health Service and graduate students. For her hard work behind the scenes and her wide-ranging contributions toward graduate and professional student life, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Cay Bradley on the occasion of her graduation.

Scott Brodsky served as GAPSA's Vice Chair of Policy during the critical year when a new student government was being created. In that role, Scott was responsible for crafting the new constitution that will serve graduate and professional students for years to come. Not content to write one document of that scope for GAPSA, Scott also wrote the constitution for the new SAS graduate student government. When he wasn't busy advocating for Robert's Rules of Order, Scott also oversaw GAPSA's four policy groups: Academic and Related Affairs, Campus and Community Life, Facilities Transit, and Safety and Pluralism and Social Responsibility, which make recommendations for improving all facets of graduate student life. For his commitment to upholding the rules and his role in creating a new student government, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Scott Brodsky on the occasion of his graduation.

A true Quaker, Lela Jacobsohn received her bachelor's, master's, and doctorate at Penn, and has used her long connections with the University to improve almost every aspect of graduate student life. As a GAPSA Vice Chair, First Vice Chair, and then Chair, Lela has worked on countless committees, task forces, and advisory boards, and accomplishing so much along the way. Under her leadership, GAPSA initiated the idea for fellowships supporting collaborative projects, which led to the creation of the GAPSA-Provost Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation. She also guided GAPSA to institute the policy group structure, better connecting grad students on serving on committees with common issues and concerns among the entire constituency. Lela was instrumental in the development of family-friendly policies ranging from dependent-care leave to increased baby-changing stations around campus, for which she won the Alice Paul Award in 2005. Her input was sought for the campus development plan, fundraising priorities, graduate student housing, and graduate alumni relations: all initiatives which will serve students for generations. For being a cheerful, forceful, and resourceful catalyst for change, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Lela Jacobsohn on the occasion of her graduation.

As GSAC's Vice President for SAS Affairs and GAPSA's Vice Chair for Policy, Kevin Jude represented the interests of graduate and professional students on a myriad of issues. Kevin spearheaded an initiative to provide services for students with families, laying the groundwork for Penn's expressed commitment to students with dependents. He also demonstrated great leadership during the impending transportation crisis, organizing and advocating strongly for students and the whole University. Serving on the Student Health Insurance Advisory Committee, Kevin worked tirelessly to balance affordable and comprehensive healthcare for all students. He also helped to produce the GAPSA policy group model, better connecting grad students on serving on committees with common issues and concerns among the entire constituency. For his commitment to and passion for improving the quality of life of his fellow students, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Kevin Jude on the occasion of his graduation.

When he first took the position of GAPSA's Vice Chair, Joung Lee immediately saw the need for a "defining experience" that would become a tradition for all graduate and professional students at Penn. Committed to this visionary idea, Joung set about to create an unprecedented celebration of graduate and professional student life. And GradFest was conceived. Joung rallied the student planning committee to organize activities and a showcase of graduate student accomplishments. Then he identified University partners and corporate sponsors to make it all a reality. All the while, Joung also continued GAPSA's outreach efforts to coordinate individual school governments and student organizations. He also served as Vice President of the Fels Student Advisory Board, successfully advocating for policies and issues of concern for Fels students. For his vision and dedication to creating a new University tradition for all graduate and professional students, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Joung Lee on the occasion of his graduation.

At the close of the millennium, the University of Pennsylvania articulated a vision to provide greater opportunities for student interaction across school boundaries, and to enrich campus life for graduate and professional students. Kyle Farley, a doctoral student in History, helped to make that vision into a reality. As Chair, and later Chair Emeritus, of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, Kyle worked tirelessly on issues ranging from student activities to student centers. His vision and leadership in helping to establish the Graduate Student Center in 2001 has benefited students and the greater University community, and will continue to do so for generations to come. For his sustained contributions and exemplary efforts toward the advancement of graduate and professional student life, the University of Pennsylvania recognizes Kyle Farley on the occasion of his graduation.

Common Room Hours

May 19 - TBD: CLOSED for Renovations

Graduate Student Center

3615 Locust Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104-6221
215-746-6868
center@gsc.upenn.edu