Graduate Student Partners

Graduate students are at the heart of our mission, and they play a key role in the development of our programming, events, and strategic planning. One example of this is our newly-developed Professional Development Associates Program. Four Associates--one from each academic division--work closely with our team to co-create bespoke initiatives for their division. Students also serve on our Professional Development Working Group, and we often partner with the Graduate Student Government and other graduate student organizations.  

We are looking to work with 8 associates- 2 from each division- in 2022-2023. Please apply or nominate someone. 

Overview of Professional Development Associate Program

The Graduate Student Professional Development Associates (Associate) program is an opportunity for graduate students to engage with the GradFUTURES professional development team of the Graduate School to assist with the expansion of professional development initiatives at the department and divisional level. Each Associate liaises with the departments within their division to assist with promoting and supporting the GradFUTURES professional development initiative. 

Responsibilities include:

  • Identifying the unique professional development needs of graduate students within their division and by department
  • Co-creating and promoting customized programs in-person and virtually by division/department that align with the GradFUTURES eight professional competencies
  • Providing peer mentoring for fellow graduate students and referring students to resources across campus as appropriate
  • Serving as graduate student liaison to the campus-wide Professional Development Working Group comprised of more than 40+ campus partners, faculty, and industry partners
  • Participating in and promoting the GradFUTURES Forum (held annually in the spring semester)
  • Meeting with DGSs and department faculty to gather feedback, share data, and support new professional development initiatives within the departments

Professional Development Associates

Yuzhou Bai, GS, EAS
Professional Development Associate

"I'm excited to support my fellow Ph.D.s in at least two ways: to highlight recent job market trends and consult on new career options for graduate students and to use career outcome data to illuminate the diverse career paths of our graduate alumni. Feel free to reach out through e-mail or LinkedIn!"

Bianca Dyer, GS, CBE
Professional Development Associate

"The GradFUTURES Learning Cohorts help me connect with people outside of my department, learn about campus resources, and learn information and vocabulary that are vital to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion."

Yangyou Fang, GS, SPO
Professional Development Associate

Yangyou is a  Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Her dissertation focuses on the Chinese literary, documentary, and artistic subjectivity that rose from the Spanish ambitions in Asia (1521–1815).  She works with unknown and underexposed multilingual documents that shed light on voices from diverse communities…

Rose Guingrich, GS, PSY
Professional Development Associate

Rose Guingrich is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology. She studies human-AI interaction through the lens of social psychology and social policy. Specifically, she is conncerned with the ethical implications of conversational AI on human relationships. 

"I've always had a variety of interests and wondered how I…

Shannon Hoffman, GS, CBE
Professional Development Associate

Shannon is a graduate student in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Her research lies at the intersection of sustainability and biology, with a key focus on producing proteins that we typically source from animals using engineered yeast instead. She's originally from Ohio and earned her Bachelors of Chemical Engineering from…

Sophie Jiang, GS, ARC
Professional Development Associate
The "UAF experience has deepened my understanding of multidisciplinary and multicultural communication."
Seraya Jones, GS, MOL
Professional Development Associate

Seraya Jones is a PhD Student in Dr. John Jimah’s laboratory in the department of Molecular Biology.  She uses structural and biophysical techniques, including cryo-electron microscopy and tomography, to study protein dynamics. Seraya is passionate about demystifying the graduate school application process, by providing individuals from…

Shelby Lohr, GS, HIS
Professional Development Associate

I'm a storyteller and media enthusiast pursuing a PhD in American History. Outside of doctoral work, I've studied comedy writing and creative writing. I'm interested in harnessing the narrative tools often reserved for fiction and film to craft compelling public-facing content inspired by research.

James C. Loy, GS, PHY
Professional Development Associate

James C. Loy is a Ph.D. student in Physics, and a Professional Development Associate charged with working primarily on initiatives for graduate students in the Natural Sciences.

James is a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Physics. Raised on a family dairy farm in northern Maryland, James graduated summa cum laude…

Vy Luu, GS, PHY
Professional Development Associate

I’m an experimental cosmology PhD candidate in the Physics Department and a Professional Development Associate with the GradFUTURES team. My science research focuses on the consistency of the cosmological Lambda-CDM model. Currently, I’m working on two telescope projects -- Spider and SuperBIT; the former attempts to isolate the fingerprint of…

Sarah Wilterson, GS, PSY
Professional Development Associate

Sarah Wilterson is a Professional Development Associate supporting graduate students in the Social Sciences..

Sarah came to the Professional Development team after holding a University Administrative Fellowship with the Center for Career Development. There, she led a project to develop a job shadowing program for graduate students…

Ke (Kevin) Xu, GS, CBE
Professional Development Associate

Originally from Beijing China, Kevin is a PhD student in chemical and biological engineering and his work focuses on engineering multi-phase synthetic organelle systems. As a Professional Development Associate serving in the engineering division, Kevin is passionate about supporting graduate students to explore career options and build core…