Graduate Student Service Scholarships

The Graduate Student Service Scholarship recognizes and honors the graduate students who volunteer to take on service roles in addition to their research, work, and family obligations. While service can come in many different forms and all service to the university is appreciated, priority for this scholarship is given to students who conduct multiple service activities and/or whose service activity is notably impactful.

The Graduate School recognizes that graduate students belonging to underrepresented groups disproportionately engage in unpaid service to the academy. While a scholarship alone does not rectify historic and current disparate expectations and obligations, this award is designed to reward and value graduate students’ service roles that shape the university’s future.

Awardees

Ruby Bafu

PhD Candidate in Sociology

Ruby BafuDuring her short time in Madison, Ruby has made a lasting impact in her department, campus, and broader community. As a critical scholar, her research on race, gender, and education has shaped her ability to offer suggestions to her department which, like other departments, is committing itself to improving the experiences of historically marginalized students. Ruby is also the current president and previous social chair of the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGPSA) at UW–Madison. Through her role as president Ruby worked with BGPSA’s executive board to organize general body meetings and several social and academic events. Ruby’s involvement in the BGPSA is instrumental for building community amongst and improving the retention of Black students. Although she does not consider it a service to speak out against racism or emotionally support a friend, Ruby’s unpaid service is particularly notable. Ruby is a Black woman whose emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health has been harmed by racism and sexism and yet, she has continued to support her community during a pandemic. Her service as an advocate for racial justice within and outside of her department has made a lasting impact.

Talia Cohen

PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology

Talia CohenTalia (she/her) is passionate about increasing accessibility in higher education. She co-founded and directs the Chronic Health Allies Mentorship Program (CHAMP). CHAMP pairs undergraduate student mentees with chronic pain, chronic illness, and/or disability with graduate student mentors who experience similar challenges. CHAMP establishes a community for its members through one-on-one mentorship support, resources with regards to disclosure and attaining accommodations, optional opportunities for advocacy work on disability inclusion in academia, and group events. In just its first year, CHAMP has paired more than 20 undergraduates with mentors. Talia is also a graduate student member of the psychology department’s Climate & Diversity Committee through which she has contributed to a variety of initiatives including: creating a buddy system for incoming PhD students during the pandemic, forming a social committee to decrease isolation, updating the diversity statement and resources on the psych department website, and administering and analyzing a graduate student climate survey aimed at providing an opportunity for students to anonymously express their concerns about their experiences in the department. Separately, she spearheaded an anti-racism town hall for the clinical psychology area group and took part in the diversity panel for the department’s recruitment day.

Becca Honeyball

PhD Candidate in Horticulture

Becca HoneyballBecca Honeyball (she/her) is working on fungal research in cranberries. As the 2021 Journal Club Chair, Becca fosters an environment of collegiality for new students, engaging graduate students in scientific, professional, and personal development topics, as well as incorporating this spring’s College of Agricultural & Life Sciences Lunch & Learn series, “Our Shared Future.” Becca is a founding administrator of the Mentorship Opportunities in Science & Agriculture for Individuals of Color (MOSAIC) mentorship network alongside Korede Olugbenle and Jenyne Loarca, working to bring together mentors of color to create a network for BIPOC students in CALS. She serves on the Advising & Mentoring branch of the Horticulture Anti-Racism Working Groups, attending workshops on behalf of the group and bringing back ideas and strategies to use going forward. Becca is currently working with WISCIENCE and the Horticulture Equity & Diversity Committee to develop specialized mentorship training for both her department and MOSAIC. With Korede, Becca is also current co-facilitator of the Plant Science Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC), a weekly sounding board and problem-solving team, where students can bring for discussion any hurdles or issues of bias that they might be facing.

Jenyne Loarca

PhD Candidate in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics

Jenyne LoarcaJenyne Loarca is passionate about creating spaces that prioritize honesty, safety, and connection. In 2020, she served as the Journal Club Chair for the Plant Sciences Graduate Student Council (PSGSC). She broadened the club’s scope to include discussions on professional development. After the highly public murder of George Floyd (and others), she broadened the space further to serve the changing needs of the community – to provide antiracism education for allies by amplifying the voices of BIPOC antiracism educators. Fellow graduate student and council member, Korede Olugbenle, brought to light the absence of Black faculty in their community, the lack of support in the face of national racial trauma, and the wish for more visibility of BIPOC mentors. Along with Becca Honeyball, the three cofounded the organization MOSAIC (Mentorship Opportunities in Science & Agriculture for Individuals of Color) – a mentorship network in the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences (CALS) for BIPOC researchers, graduate students, and postdocs. It is her hope that readers feel empowered to create safe, honest, antiracist spaces in their own departments, and that any CALS affiliates reading this will join the MOSAIC listserv and attend their community-building Lunch & Discuss events. Jenyne also serves on the Horticulture Equity Diversity Committee and will finish her PhD in Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics in 2021.

David Menendez

PhD Candidate in Psychology

David MenendezDavid has served in multiple committees in the psychology department including being a member of the departmental colloquium committee for five years, being the graduate student representative in the climate and diversity committee for two years and being the graduate student representative to the faculty for one year. David is also part of the Department of Psychology workgroup on improving the department’s public messaging around diversity and inclusion. Through these committees, David has facilitated several departmental events such as a Title IX information session tailored for graduate students. David has helped draft several letters from graduate student to the psychology faculty around issues of diversity and inclusion in the department. David has also spoken to several student groups on how to get involved with research at UW–Madison and how to apply to graduate school, including UW–Madison’s Psychology Club, and students at Hispanic serving institution such as Northeastern Illinois University and University of Texas, San Antonio. David has also served as a mentor to many undergraduate students, including those in the PREP, IRES, and PASOS programs (programs designed to mentor students from different groups traditionally underrepresented in academia).

Joshua Mitchell

PhD Candidate in the Integrated Program in Biochemistry

Josh MitchellJosh has been a long-standing member of the Graduate Leadership and Development Committee in the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), first as an outreach chair and then serving as the chair of the committee. As one of the outreach chairs, Josh designed and hosted biochemical science experiments to demonstrate the incredible science around us, from biofuels to cryoprotectants. As chair, Josh worked to build a strong and resilient community to help support graduate student mental and emotional health. During the pandemic, Josh facilitated and hosted the StoryPiB seminar series, which was designed to foster deep, rich relations amongst the faculty, staff, and students by inviting members of the IPiB community to talk about their life. He also served on the IPiB admissions committee, helping recruit a diverse and talented group of new graduate students to the program. Josh has served as a graduate student representative on the Council on Academic Advising for the past three years. He wants to thank the incredible IPiB graduate students who have supported all this work, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Korede Olugbenle

Korede Olugbenle

MS Candidate in Agroecology

Korede is one of the administrative members of Mentorship Opportunities in Science & Agriculture for Individuals of Color (MOSAIC). Korede along with the other administrative members bring together mentors of color to create a mentoring network for BIPOC students in the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences. Korede assists with the formation of beneficial relationships, increasing a sense of community and belonging, and hosting lunch and discussion events.

 

 

Molli Pauliot

PhD Candidate in Anthropology

Molli PauliotMolli Pauliot is an L&S Advanced Opportunity fellow for the past four years and actively participated as a graduate student facilitator with interviews for the AOF Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with AOF students in February 2021. Pauliot assisted in meeting with potential Native American graduate student recruits for the Department of Anthropology and the Design Studies department through School of Human Ecology in spring 2020. Pauliot is currently working as a part-time project assistant on the Humanities Education for Anti-racism Literacy in Sciences and Medicine (HEAL-STEMM) project, curating teaching and materials on the history of Indigenous communities and federal land grant policies at UW and Midwestern schools in general. In addition to working in spring 2021 on oral interviews through the Madison Public Library Living History Project-Stories from a Distance by interviewing and sharing the Madison Ho-Chunk community members’ experiences on the Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, Pauliot enjoys collaborating with teams at the university and in the Madison community to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion to improve relationships and cultural understandings.

Bryan Rubio Perez

PhD Candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Bryan Rubio PerezOutside of his scientific research in optical engineering and photonics, Bryan is interested in making education accessible to everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. Bryan did not know what a PhD student was until he started his undergraduate education. For this reason, he spends his free time involved with STEM outreach and mentoring. As a McNair Scholars Program alumnus, he continues to support the McNair Scholars Program at UW–Madison by participating in graduate school application workshops and in graduate student panels designed to answer questions undergraduate students have about graduate school. Outside of UW–Madison he is a mentor for the Juventud Program, a program started by the Centro Hispano of Dane County, and through this he provides bilingual academic support and mentorship to Latinx and Spanish-speaking youth. Bryan is also an officer for several student organizations including the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Student Association, the Society for Photonics and Instrumentation Engineering (SPIE)/Optical Society of America (OSA) Student Chapter at UW–Madison, and the Graduate Engineering Research Scholars’ Outreach Committee. Through these organization he has been able to engage with students at all levels by planning seminars, professional development events, community-building events, and STEM educational outreach events for elementary school school-aged students.

Taylor Tai

PhD Candidate in Integrative Biology and Entomology

Taylor TaiTaylor Tai is a graduate researcher studying bumble bee ecology in the Integrative Biology and Entomology programs at UW–Madison. Upon experiencing the exclusion and marginalization of non-white voices in her programs here, she co-founded a campus organization dedicated to providing community and social support for underrepresented graduate students in STEM fields. In addition to providing programming through this interdepartmental group, she designed and led a graduate course on coping with white supremacist culture in the academic work environment. Taylor finds joy in creating support networks among graduate students, as she believes there is incredible power in collective action and mutual aid. This philosophy has also led her to organize with the Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA) for more just and equitable policies at the university level, such as the remission of segregated fees and fair compensation for graduate labor. Other services she has given to UW include coordinating the graduate mentorship program in Integrative Biology and serving on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee in Entomology in order to make these programs more welcoming and supportive of diverse members. She believes work like this is urgent and essential and hopes that in the future it is done by administration and faculty rather than falling on unpaid BIPOC graduate students.

Patricia Tran

PhD Candidate in Freshwater and Marine Sciences

Patricia TranPatricia Tran studies aquatic microbial ecology in lakes. During her time at the UW–Madison, she has been involved in service around the themes of diversity, equity and inclusion, community-building, and mentoring. In the past year, Patricia has co-chaired the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee at the Center for Limnology, implementing initiatives such as consistent and transparent progress reporting of DEI initiatives. She also served as a graduate representative for the Center for Ecology and the Environment, where she connected students in the field of ecology across campus by organizing student-centered events. Patricia initiated and organized a cross-departmental research group to facilitate collaboration of Lake Mendota research. She participated as a panelist in the Department of Integrative Biology’s events for undergraduate and prospective graduate students, sharing honest personal experiences that will enable students to make informed decisions. Patricia also co-led a weekly yoga session at the Microbial Sciences Building, which promotes community-building and a break from work for folks in the department. Finally, Patricia has provided meaningful mentoring and research opportunities to undergraduate students of various majors. Patricia hopes that her service can make the campus a more welcoming, inclusive, and safe environment for all.

Claudia Triana

PhD Candidate in Educational Policy Studies

Claudia TrianaClaudia M. Triana is a scholar of comparative and international education, her research focuses on the inequities of im/migration and education policies, displacement, and resistance. Claudia has supported graduate and undergraduate students in the Educational Policy Studies (EPS) department as a teaching assistant and a graduate student representative. In addition to her academic and research roles, she advocates for minoritized students through her participation in the School of Education’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, and the Dean’s Student Council. She has also served in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) DEI Change Team and currently for the Center’s Strategic Planning Initiatives. Outside of the university, she challenges the legal and social exclusion of immigrant youth and families, working with community organizations and advocates.