March 25, 2021
Arizona State University has been diligently working toward creating a community of care for all students: both graduate and undergraduate. And students are leading the way.
The Graduate and Professional Student Association at ASU, also known as GPSA, is a student government organization that works toward giving graduate students access to opportunities and resources that will help them be successful.
“We advocate for students here at the institutional level but also we advocate at a policy [level],” said Vice President of External Affairs for the Graduate and Professional Student Association Nicole K. Mayberry. “So we are constantly in contact with the administration, the student body, different clubs and organizations and also the congressional delegation of Arizona to see how we can better serve and advocate for the needs of our graduate students.”
GPSA understands that this past year has been difficult for the student body in terms of health, finances, stress and so many other things. No matter what the challenges may be, COVID-19 related or not, GPSA wants to help students make the most out of their time at ASU. That’s why GPSA leaders are encouraging students to take advantage of their scholarships, grants, COVID-19 resources and more.
“For all graduate students, I just want to make sure that you do not hesitate to contact us whenever you feel the need to reach out, may it be from the little things or the big things,” said GPSA President John Oyas who is a J.D. candidate at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. “Whenever it comes to the pandemic I always say tackle it like a Sun Devil would. We need to wash our hands and give it hell, Devils!”
Check out the following resources that GPSA offers Sun Devils, including some new offerings. If you’d like to access them, visit the GPSA website or the Graduate College website and keep an eye out for the Graduate College newsletter.
Child Care Grant
This grant is for students who take care of one or more dependents. The grant is available to those enrolled in at least one credit hour as a graduate or professional student. GPSA is aware of the difficulties that come with juggling life as a parenting student.
“Basically if you have any dependents in your household, this grant will help you secure child care while you’re in school,” said Mayberry, who is earning her PhD in Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology at the School for the Future Innovation in Society. “You can also use it for daycare services or other specialty services that your child or dependent might need.”
GPSA is proud to support students and their families in their graduate and professional education. If you feel like you or a friend may qualify, GPSA encourages you to apply for the Child Care Grant.
After listening to responses and feedback from students at ASU, GPSA is proud to announce the Caregiver Assistance Grant.
“There is a list of things you can be eligible to apply for, but this is a brand-new grant that we released in 2021, based off of your feedback as students to let us know that there is a lot more complexity in your lives than just being a student,” Mayberry said.
The grant, up to $2,500, is an initiative targeted toward graduate and professional students who are taking on a caregiver role, even if they’re not parents, while in ASU’s Graduate College. If you are, alongside studies, taking care of someone in your household who is in need of additional medical assistance, you may qualify for the grant.
JumpStart Research Grant
GPSA is expanding its JumpStart Research Grant Program to ensure students are capable of “jump-starting” their professional research endeavors. With up to $750 on the line, graduate students must be principal investigators in good academic standing and enrolled in at least one credit hour for the entire semester to which that grant applies.
“You can win that as many times as you want, essentially, over the course of your degree,” said GPSA Assembly President and Representative for The College of Life Sciences Brandon Favre.
GPSA has also created a Summer JumpStart Research Grant for those conducting their professional research throughout summer break. You must be the principal investigator and in good standing at the Graduate College. Since this grant applies toward the summer semester, students interested in this program must be enrolled in at least one credit at ASU during the following fall semester.
Crisis Innovation Grant
The Crisis Innovation Grant released through the Innovation Fellowship Program was launched to encourage and assist students wanting to make a difference at ASU. Last semester nine students were awarded the grant for their hard work, which guided ASU through this unprecedented time.
“We realize that a lot of graduate students are going far and beyond to serve the community during this time of crisis,” said GPSA Vice President of Professional Development and PhD Candidate in Astrophysics at the School of Earth and Space Exploration Nivedita Mahesh. “Some of them volunteer, some of them make those packets and vials available for testing, some of them do access research on COVID-19. So it only made sense to recognize their efforts.”
This grant is awarded to students who are completing projects that further GPSA’s COVID-19 initiatives. However, GPSA hopes that awards and programs like this would not only benefit the Graduate College but all Sun Devils.
GPSA understands that graduate students are experiencing a new form of education and research. The adjustment period has not been easy on people across the globe. However, ASU Health Services are here to help. Appointments with the health clinic and ASU Counseling Services are held through a telehealth platform for all ASU students. Simply log onto your MyASU health portal and schedule a meeting with an ASU health or counseling professional.
“Obviously the pandemic is incredibly stressful,” said Favre, a PhD student in molecular and cellular biology at the School of Life Sciences. “Graduate and professional students are already around six times more likely to suffer anxiety, depression and several other mental health disorders, and the pandemic certainly hasn’t helped with that.”
The GPSA encourages students to take advantage of ASU resources for mental health and COVID-19 testing and for vaccinations, when those are available. While the timeline is not certain, GPSA leaders want to remind all students to keep an eye on the ASU COVID-19 website for updates regarding the next steps in the vaccination process.
Visit the GPSA website for more information.