Graduate Committees

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The page lists the graduate committees, what they do, and who is on them. Grad committee sign up occurs on the Grad Student orientation day which takes place at the beginning of September every year.


Liason Committee

The graduate student liaison committee acts as the main body through which the department/faculty members and graduate students communicate with each other. The main responsibility of the liaison committee is running the "Gripe Session" every year in October. During the Gripe Session issues concerning the following are discussed amongst the graduate students:

  • Offices & Physical Environment
  • Research Support & Scholarships
  • Courses & Teaching Assistantships
  • Committee Meetings & Comprehensive Exams
  • New Students
  • Computing
  • Grad Student Committees
  • Academic Interactions
  • LGBTQ+
  • Anything else students are concerned about

The liaison committee is responsible for summarizing the main points of the discussion and submitting them to the Graduate Chair in a report. The department does their best to address the concerns of the students in the following year.

The liaison committee also helps the department to recruit new students. Members help to organize lunches for prospective students with a small group of current graduate students. Members of the liaison committee also act as representatives of the department at graduate program fairs such as the one held during the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference (CUPC) held in October every year.

The chairs of the liaison committee are responsible for organizing and running the Gripe Session. The gripe session was born from the concern that graduate students did not have a resource for help with problems that came up throughout the year. In particular, the chairs are responsible for addressing graduate student issues that require urgent attention and cannot wait to be dealt with at the next year's Gripe Session. The chairs are also responsible for keeping a log of gripes that come up throughout the year.

Members (2016-17):

  • Ben Davis-Purcell (co-chair)
  • Ben Pearce (co-chair)
  • James Lambert
  • Wyatt Kirkby
  • Ryan Plestid
  • Sean Takahashi
  • James Beare
  • Melanie Demers
  • Gandhali Joshi
  • Ashley Bemis
  • Samantha Benincasa
  • Nathan Brunetti
  • Matt Alessi
  • Ian Roberts
  • Jasper Grond
  • Tara Power
  • Lazlo Zalavari
  • Angus Mok


Computing Committee

Members (2016-2017):

  • James Lambert
  • Corey Howard
  • Alex Cridland
  • Jasper Grond
  • Tara Power

Safety Committee

Members (2016-2017)

  • Rafael Schulman
  • Angus Mok

Entertainment Committee

The Entertainment Committee is responsible for helping graduate students to maintain a healthy balance between work and play. The main responsibility of the Entertainment Committee is to organize the Departmental BBQ which takes place at the end of September every year. All members of the department: faculty, students and staff are encouraged to attend with their families. The Entertainment Committee also helps the office staff organize the department's Holiday Party in December.

It was suggested at last year's Gripe Session that the Entertainment Committee should take a more active role in grad student life and organize more events throughout the year. In particular, more events at the beginning of the year are needed to help integrate new students into the department.

Members (2016-2017):

  • Wyatt Kirkby
  • Ryan Plestid
  • James Beare
  • Ashley Bemis
  • Ian Roberts
  • Joey Rucska
  • Johnson Liang


Department Representatives

Members (2016-2017):

  • Connor Buhariwalla
  • Gwendolyn Eadie

Recruiting and Outreach Committee

The Recruiting and Outreach Committee is a new committee founded in the 2014/15 year. The committee was formed so that the department's Outreach Coordinator would have a readily available stock of volunteers for outreach events. Members of the committee help with a variety of activities including the following:

  • Demos for visiting students
  • Program fairs
  • Engineering and Science Olympics
  • Girls in Science

Members (2015-2016):

  • Matthew Alessi
  • Sam Benincasa
  • Alex Cridland
  • Gandhali Joshi
  • Dalini Maharaj
  • Tara Power
  • Ian Roberts
  • Ben Davis-Purcell
  • Tara Power
  • Ashley Bemis

Union Stewards

All graduate students who hold Teaching Assistantships are a part of CUPE 3906. Every department has at least one Union Steward that acts as a liaison between the members of the union and the executive of the union. The department steward is responsible for relaying important information to members about the union including upcoming meetings, major changes that effect the members, etc. The department steward is also responsible for voicing the concerns of members to the executive.

Current Union Stewards (2016-2017):

  • Dalini Maharaj
  • Alannah Hallas

Scientist Association at Mac (SAM)

Physics and Astronomy Representitive (2016-2017): Tara Power