The Graduate Student Senate held its final meeting for the 2018-2019 school year May 3, which ended with the new executive board transitioning into power.

The previous executive board members were Executive Chair Mark Rhodes, Executive Vice Chair Timothy Rose, Finance Chair Xin Hong, Advocacy Chair Mitch Powers, Symposium Chair Danielle French, Information Services Chair Morgan Chaney and Administrative Assistant Chair Jennifer Mani.

The newly elected executive board consists of five new Graduate Student Senate members, almost all of whom are female: Executive Chair Anna Solberg, Executive Vice Chair Victoria Reynolds, Advocacy Chair Antonio Giorgi and Information Services Chair Grace Murray.

Xin Hong and Jennifer Mani will maintain their positions as Finance Chair and Administrative Assistant Chair, respectively.

Solberg, a first-year Ph.D. student in Kent State’s geography program, has held a number of student leadership positions since high school. After pursuing a bachelor’s degree in at Northern Michigan University, Solberg came to Kent State to complete her master’s in geography.

“During my master’s, I wasn’t really involved in that much student leadership here, but I knew that I wanted to be,” she said. As she continued her graduate studies, she joined the Geography Graduate Student Association and eventually joined the senate.

“I think the main thing about being a good leader is not being at the forefront, but being able to listen and communicate to make sure that everyone is understanding each other," Solberg said. "With graduate students especially, I feel like we get kind of lost in the university. There are so many more undergraduates, and there’s a reason for that -- but we need to make sure that we’re coming forward, staying strong and showing what problems we’re having and our place at the university.”

Solberg said that along with improving communication between the university and its graduate students, her goal for the future is to improve the relationship between graduates and undergraduates.

“We are really distanced from the undergraduates when we look at the university as a whole," Solberg said. "I’d like to do a bit more engagement with them, maybe have some kind of mentorship program.”

Additionally, Solberg wants graduate students to turn to the senate if they find themselves with problems.

“We’re here to listen to our constituents,” Solberg said. “We’re here not as the board representing ourselves, but all of the graduate students. We want to make sure that they can come to us with anything.”

Alex Johnson is the safety reporter. Contact him at ajohn252@kent.edu

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