The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Inaugural Graduate Leadership Anchor Awards honor graduate student leaders

With nearly 40 nominations, five winners were selected by a panel of seven faculty members.
gray background with a white anchor graphic and words that say Graduate Leadership Anchor Award
Rachael Perrotta
Screenshot taken of the Graduate Leadership Anchor Award announcement on June 24, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Rachael Perrotta)

The Graduate Leadership Anchor Awards (GLAAs) were created this year by the Graduate Student Council (GSC) as a way to honor the work and leadership of Vanderbilt graduate students. The inaugural winners were announced on June 23, 2021.

According to GSC President Joshua Passantino, the GSC wanted to acknowledge graduate student leaders on a broad scale to supplement other graduate awards, which are either department-specific or research-focused. Per a myVU article, the GLAAs will encompass more award categories in the coming years to acknowledge the diverse work of graduate students.

“This year, the awards were focused on the graduate student leaders that have been our anchors and helped us weather the COVID-19 pandemic,” Passantino said in an email to The Hustler. “With nearly 40 nominations received, five of the nominees stood out as being exceptional leaders and leaving a positive impact on their peers.” 

While any graduate student could have been nominated for the GLAAs, all five of this year’s awardees are women. 

“There was no particular focus on highlighting women’s achievements, but I am happy to see females represented as some of the top leaders in the graduate community,” Passantino said. 

The award winners were chosen by a board of seven Vanderbilt faculty members from various schools. Terrah Akard, director of Ph.D. in Nursing Science Program), Dominique Béhague (associate professor of Medicine, Health and Society), Katherine Friedman (associate professor and vice chair of biological sciences), Carlos Lopez (associate professor of biochemistry), Bianca Manago (assistant professor of sociology), Stacey Satchell (academic life coach) and Irene Wallrich (assistant director of the Graduate Leadership Institute) comprised the panel. 

“The leadership demonstrated by Vanderbilt graduate students is inspiring,” Akard said in an email to The Hustler. “What stood out to me was how this group of awardees went above and beyond and took initiative. Their service helped the Vanderbilt community weather the COVID-19 pandemic and will have lasting benefits to peers, faculty, and staff.”

Most of the judges are females, but Passantino said the original panel showed a more balanced women-to-men ratio.

There were additional judges chosen that included more male panelists, but they were unable to provide their evaluations back by the time the winners were selected due to unexpected conflicts that arose,” Passantino said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the novelty of the awards, Passantino said there will not be an award ceremony for the GLAAs this year. 

“We hope to have ceremonies for future GLAAs,” Passantino said. 

2021 GLAA Winners

Kelsea Best, Earth and Environmental Science 

Francis Cambronero, Neuroscience 

Thao Le, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

Katy Riojas, Mechanical Engineering

Kavya Sharman, Chemical and Physical Biology

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About the Contributors
Ryder Li
Ryder Li, Staff Writer
Ryder Li ('24) is a student in the School of Engineering planning to major in biomedical engineering. He enjoys exploring new food and watching YouTube. You can reach him at [email protected].
Rachael Perrotta
Rachael Perrotta, Former Editor-in-Chief
Rachael Perrotta ('24) is from Cranston, R.I., and majored in cognitive studies, political science and communication of science and technology and minored in gender and sexuality studies in Peabody College. She was also previously Senior Advisor and News Editor. If she's not pressing you for a comment, she's probably trying to convince you that she's over 5 feet tall, cheering on the Red Sox or wishing Nashville had a beach. She can be reached at [email protected].
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