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The Graduate English Association

The Graduate English Association (GEA) is the organization of English graduate students. The officers are elected annually.

GEA CABINET 2017-2018

President: Davy Knittle

Vice President: Jess Shollenberger 

Secretary: Alicia Meyer

Treasurer: Kiana Murphy

Prospectives Visit Coordinators: Stephanie Scherer, Melanie Abeygunawardana

Funding Librarian: Vikrant Dadawala

OddsUp Coordinator: Knar Gavin

Grad Lounge Coordinator: Meghan Hall

Grad Lab Liaison: Devin Daniels

GEA Reps to SASGov: Alvin Kim, Kerry McAuliffe

ABD Reps: Alex Eisenthal, Mariah Min

First-Year Reps: Dixon Li, Lianda Elise Sy


The GEA meets each month to discuss issues facing current graduate students and foster community support and socializing. The GEA convenes workshops for graduate students approaching program milestones and runs the William Patrick Day Essay Contest for graduate students. In conjunction with the English Department, the GEA organizes the yearly Collation and Prospectives Visit Colloquium in which faculty and students present talks. Most of these events take place in the Grad Lounge, 330 Fisher-Bennett Hall (calendar available here). The GEA has also compiled the GEA Housing Guide and the GEA Guide for Reading Group Coordinators and Event Planners

The roles of individual GEA officers are as follows:

President and Vice-President/Academic Representative: The GEA President and VP convene regular meetings of the GEA, sit in on select meetings of the department's Graduate Executive Committee meetings, supervise projects undertaken by GEA cabinet officers, and organize GEA workshops. The President also delivers an address to graduate students at Collation. Together, the President and VP also coordinate academic programming, social events, and advocacy on behalf of the graduate community. They meet regularly with the Graduate Chair to ensure open communication between graduate students, faculty, and administration about opportunities, issues, and changes affecting graduate students.

Secretary: The Secretary attends all monthly GEA meetings at which he/she takes detailed notes. He/she then types up the notes shortly thereafter in an organized and logical format, sends them to the President and Vice-President for review, and then disseminates them to the Grads listserv. The minutes are usually sent out no more than a week after each GEA meeting. 

Treasurer: The Treasurer keeps track of GEA spending in its current state and, in coordination with the President and Vice-President, in relation to the long-term goals of the GEA. This primarily requires reconciling the GEA accounts maintained by the English Business Coordinator with the spending reported by agents of the GEA. The treasurer also acts as the point person for information about the reimbursement process.

Prospectives Visit Coordinators: The Prospectives Visit Coordinators work with Ann Marie to help organize the visits of students admitted to our doctoral program each spring. This primarily entails setting up coffee dates between prospective students and current graduate students, organizing the annual colloquium, and making arrangements for the catered dinner in the grad lounge after said colloquium.

Funding Librarian: The GEA Funding Librarian is responsible for keeping the graduate community updated about various forms of predoctoral funding. This primarily entails adding entries to the GEA Predoctoral Funding Blog (which can be found on Penn English's homepage), but may also involve leading a workshop and/or sending out periodic emails about different funding sources.

OddsUp Coordinator: The OddsUp Coordinator compiles information sent by event coordinators or otherwise announced and sends a weekly email with information about the events of the upcoming week. The Coordinator is also maintains a Google document listing upcoming events, which allows reading group leaders to update event information directly.

Grad Lounge Coordinator: The Grad Lounge Coordinator plans social activities (in particular: 50 Book party, Collation, and first-year welcome potluck), keeps the schedule for grad lounge use, and cleans the grad lounge fridge/kitchen periodically.

Grad Lab Liaison: The Grad Lab Liaison is the contact person between the graduate students and Brian Kirk and Rich King concerning the functioning of the third-floor grad lab. He or she communicates any problems that arise with the computers, chairs, or lockers to Brian and Rich--as well as the GEA President and Vice President where necessary--and reports back to grads on when they will be resolved. The Grad Lab Liaison also assists with the third-floor printer by changing the toner when needed. He or she also occasionally replenishes the grad lab with supplies like paper and staples.

GEA Representatives to SASGov: SASGov representatives attend and participate in biweekly SASGov meetings, in which they represent the needs and aims of the English Department’s graduate student body within the School of Arts and Sciences. They keep the department abreast of SASGov news through email communication as well as attendance at the monthly GEA meetings. They are also responsible for submitting paperwork to receive Departmental Merit Funding (granted through SASGov) that the department typically uses to fund its annual Collation event.

First-Year Representatives: The First-Year Representatives address the GEA about matters specific to the new cohort. They are attentive to the concerns of the other first-years and speak to these concerns at GEA meetings.