Graduate Student Advisory Board
2024 Board Members
"I believe in the power of collective voices and the importance of student representation. As a graduate student, I have personally experienced the challenges first-hand and concerns that often go unheard, and I am eager to advocate for the needs and interests of my fellow students. I hope to use this platform to actively contribute to the improvement of our academic institution, fostering an environment where every graduate student’s perspective is valued and considered in decision-making processes."
"FIU’s graduate programs have a unique potential for growth, community, and opportunity. I deeply care about fostering equitable and inclusive practices within a university setting, to aid students who have marginalized identities and backgrounds, and help bring the FIU community closer together. A university like ours should uplift students and provide as much support toward their growth as it can."
Melissa De Jesus
"I think a lot of good could come from some comradery amongst graduate students. In having more social and showcasing events throughout the semester, not only could we help spark potential collaborations to enhance our academics, but we could also open the door for more support and guidance from each other that could improve overall mental well-being of our students."
“I hope to be a bridge between graduate students and UGS. I think we could do a better job of letting students know about services and opportunities on campus. I would like to particularly work to ease joining, assimilating process so FIU can live up to its name and international students can thrive at FIU.”
“I would like to help with activities for improving the experience of graduate students at FIU. I think that graduate students need more opportunities to network, especially new graduate students."
Rafael Camilo Gutierrez Melgarejo
“As a student, I have encountered numerous challenges. I feel that these experiences have made me resilient, and the support I have received has enabled me to share my story, offer support, and motivate my peers. I enjoy advocating for the subjects of democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression.”
“I am excited to join the Graduate Student Advisory Board (GAB) because it provides an opportunity to advocate for fellow graduate students, enhance their experience, and improve communication, resources, and academic success. One significant area I hope to improve is in creating a more personalized onboarding process for new graduate students, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the institution’s internal workings."
“As a doctoral student researching student engagement in Stempel College‘s interest groups, I’ve gained insights into fostering a vibrant graduate community. Leading the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the Stempel Public Health Association reflects my dedication to enhancing the student experience. I aim to bridge the gap between Stempel‘s School of Public Health and the University Graduate School through GAB, ensuring that our college’s unique needs are heard and addressed at the university level.”
Kevin Ortiz Diaz
“During my time in the military, I served in a similar capacity, helping to advocate for lower ranked sailors, and helped to give them a voice when they felt they had none. It is my sincere hope that I can work in a similar capacity in this institution. In particular, I hope to ensure that the voices of graduate students who belong to underrepresented and often underserved groups are heard, that their concerns are properly considered, and that they feel that they are accepted among their peers.”
“Creating a thriving community in the graduate department is a very difficult thing to achieve. There is a spectrum of students that fall across a variety of different life stages and ages. This makes it difficult to develop events and socials that encourage all to attend. I would want to develop this more so that there are events and socials that all majors and life stages of people would want to attend.”
“Current graduate student needs encompass a balance of personal, professional, and academic dimensions. Many students grapple with mental health challenges, financial pressures, and the complexities of virtual learning. I am confident that my proactive attitude, coupled with my firsthand experience as an international student, would be invaluable in shaping policies and initiatives that cater to the diverse needs of the student community."