Since its creation in January, the Graduate Math and Science Students Society (GRAMSS) has been bringing students together to weigh in on interesting topics online.
The group, which was founded to foster academic and social growth between graduate students, faculty and undergraduate peers, hosts weekly events to encourage discussion and build a sense of community among attendees.
“The society welcomes students in a comfortable, relaxed setting and offers a chance to mingle and converse with each other over a wide range of topics,” said GRAMSS Co-President Melanie Denommé, who heads the group alongside fellow PhD student Noah Xiao.
GRAMSS meets every Thursday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Microsoft Teams.
Previous talks have covered a wide range of topics from herpetology (the study of amphibians and reptiles) in Niagara to photography.
Most recently, Farzana Crocco, Executive Director of Brock LINC, and Bradley Mclean, Associate Director, Innovation and Commercialization, joined GRAMSS to speak about their roles at the University and explain how their teams provide support and resources.
In addition to welcoming guest speakers, members of the students society often discuss their own thesis and research interests at the events, which are open to students with all levels of experience.
“We want to ensure GRAMSS is the least intimidating space possible for anyone to join,” said Denommé. “You never know when a simple conversation or question can spark a new area of interest or advance your own research.”
Graduate studies can feel daunting for some students until they feel connected to the broader community, said Denommé, who started her PhD in Biology in January and was relieved when GRAMSS was created.
“Starting in the winter during the pandemic meant that I felt very disconnected from Brock and all my potential peers,” she said. “GRAMSS offered me the opportunity to chill out in a Teams meeting and chat with like-minded students and faculty about topics from all over the Faculty.”
The society was created with support from the Faculty of Mathematics and Science Dean’s Office and spearheaded by Graduate Administrative Co-ordinator Elena Genkin, Associate Professor Kiyoko Gotanda, Adjunct Professor Katharine Yagi and GRAMSS Co-Presidents Denommé and Xiao.
Speaking to the virtual audience at the group’s Sept. 23 gathering, Ejaz Ahmed said it is his “pleasure as Faculty of Mathematics and Science Dean to support GRAMSS’ efforts and ensure our graduate students, and in fact, all our students, have the tools to navigate their academic path with success.”
Co-President Xiao, who recently began his PhD in Biotechnology, said he’s “eager to connect with new members of the GRAMSS community.”
“Learning about their interests is one of the best parts of the society,” he said.
GRAMSS hopes the meet and greets, along with regular meetings, seminars and hangouts will attract all students looking for an academic home. The group is currently recruiting for a Communications and Seminar Organizer position, and three Vice-President leadership roles.
Students looking to get involved with GRAMSS or to stay up to date on events can register here.