The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly elected fifth-year Ancient History Ph.D. candidate Greg Callaghan and fourth-year Nursing Ph.D. candidate Matthew Lee as GAPSA's next president and vice president, respectively, on April 24.
The election, which took place at Irvine Auditorium’s Amado Recital Hall, lasted more than four hours. Other candidates for president included Lee, second-year law student BJ Courville and chemistry Ph.D. candidate and 2018-2019 GAPSA Vice President Buyan Pan.
There were about 50 general assembly members present. Penn has 11,355 graduate students, according to fall 2018 statistics from a Penn website.
"One of my top priorities as President will be to restructure and reorganize GAPSA in order to increase efficiency, improve communications and transparency," Callaghan said in an emailed statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian. "Such a restructuring is the best way to guarantee that all of us who wish to better our Penn community are able to do so."
Lee also stressed the importance of increasing collaboration and communication within and beyond GAPSA.
"This year the members of the Executive Board functioned more or less in isolation," Lee said. "We are far stronger when are we are pulling together as opposed to pulling alone."
He added that he would also like to increase GAPSA-initiated communication with the 12 graduate student governments and make community-building events more accessible to reach a wider population of the student body.
As GAPSA Student Life chair, Lee helped to compile graduate mental health survey results and launch the peer support group Penn Franklins.
According to the GAPSA website, Callaghan also held previous positions as the School of Arts and Sciences Government president, GAPSA general assembly representative and GAPSA finance deputy last year, and SASgov Vice President of Financial Operations and GAPSA SASgov general assembly representative in 2016-2017.
Callaghan, Lee, and the GAPSA Research Council helped develop an online feedback form in conjunction with the Office of the Vice Provost for Education in January, where students in graduate groups that are being reviewed can submit their feedback anonymously.