Bridging GAPS Awards

Emily Squires, "Show me the promise of freedom," Des Lee Gallery, April 2011.

MFA student receives Diversity Individual Award

Posted by Susan Killenberg McGinn, The Record April 24, 2012

Graduate student groups and individual leaders at Washington University in St. Louis who help "bridge the gaps" between graduate and professional students from diverse areas of study throughout WUSTL's seven schools were recognized during a recent awards ceremony and reception.

The Graduate Professional Council's (GPC) Bridging GAPS (Graduate and Professional Students) Awards Ceremony was held April 9 in the Danforth University Center's Goldberg Formal Lounge.

The GPC holds the annual ceremony to recognize the important role that graduate student leadership plays in enhancing interdisciplinary endeavors and strengthening the graduate student community on campus.

The awards also recognize exceptional work in bringing people together not only from across the university, but also throughout the St. Louis community.

The awards include the Community Service Award for outstanding commitment through service events or projects; the Diversity Award for furthering the diversity initiative at the university; the Professional Development Award for promotion through research, professionalism, or career development; and the Sustainability Award for development of programs or projects that promote sustainability.

Leadership Awards also are given to a faculty or staff leader for promoting the ideals of Bridging GAPS through interschool communication and collaboration and to a graduate student leader for outstanding commitment to leadership in the graduate student community.

"It is difficult enough for graduate students to keep up with their classes and conduct their research thoroughly, so when students go outside of their classrooms or labs to participate in community service activities or professional development organizations, they deserve to be commended," says Peggy P. Ni, GPC treasurer and a member of the Bridging GAPS Committee.

"Furthermore, the graduate students and student groups that are honored in the Bridging GAPS Awards Ceremony have even gone above and beyond that, actively engaging in cross-campus collaboration with individuals and groups in schools other than their own to make this campus a more interactive and better place," says Ni, who is a PhD candidate in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

The 2011-12 Bridging GAPS award winners are:

Community Service Individual Award: Brooke B. James, an MBA student in Olin Business School.

Community Service Group Award: Olin Cares, a graduate organization in the Olin Business School.

Diversity Individual Award: Emily J. Squires, a master's student in the Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. >>Learn more about Squires

Diversity Group Award: I-CAN (International Graduate Student Association for Career Development and Networking), a University-wide graduate student group.

Professional Development Individual Award: Maggie S. Majors, a PhD candidate in Germanic languages and literatures in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and Jennifer C. Greenfield, a PhD student in the Brown School.

Professional Development Group Award: Association for Women in Science, St. Louis chapter, WUSTL PhD Student Leadership.

Sustainability Invidividual Award: Dan K. Conner, an MBA student in Olin Business School.

Sustainability Group Award: Office of Sustainability Graduate Student Intern Group.

Faculty/Staff Award: J. Aaron Hipp, PhD, assistant professor in the Brown School.

Graduate Student Leader Award: Teresa L. Ai, a PhD student in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Richard J. Smith, PhD, dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and the Ralph E. Morrow Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology, spoke during the awards ceremony.

Nick E. Miller, GPC president and a PhD candidate in English in Arts & Sciences, and Nina M. Parikh, Bridging GAPS chairperson and a master's student in public health in the Brown School, also spoke during the event.

Nominations for Bridging GAPS awards are accepted from across the graduate community.

For more information about the Graduate Professional Council or the Bridging GAPS awards, visit