As graduate students, our departments are our homes and our institutions are our identities. Since many of us will be members of our departments for at least five years, it behooves us to not only be active members of the departmental community, but to improve it in any way that we can. In this paper I will recount my experiences and lessons learned while working to strengthen the graduate community and positively affect the departmental culture at the University of Colorado Boulder.
I first, briefly, discuss how my sense of duty to the community evolved through advanced degrees at three different institutions, from being a master’s student focused on coursework and exams, to a PhD student trying out a field that I wasn’t sure was the right fit, and finally to a PhD candidate focused on community building and professional development.
In the second, longer, part of the paper I share my experiences founding and running a school-sponsored organization for Classics graduate students at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Classics Graduate Colloquium (CGC). This group organized a series of events within our department that sought to improve graduate students’ sense of community with each other, with the faculty, and with the larger community. As the President of the CGC, I also organized a (now annual) graduate conference.
Finally, I reflect on how my departmental service furthered my own career. In addition to winning a scholarship for leadership, I was able to leverage the experience that I had with the CGC and the graduate conference into other opportunities. I hope that my journey, from uninvolved master’s student to very (and maybe overly) involved PhD candidate will spark ideas in other about the roles that leadership and service can play in graduate school.
Graduate Student Leadership in Classics