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Election 2021_Vote!

The Graduate Student Senate elections for the academic year 2021-2022 start on Monday, April 19, 2021, and concludes at 5 PM Friday, April 23, 2021.

How to Vote

  • You MUST be logged into your VolMail account in order to vote. You may only vote once.
  • Please click here to vote! (Voting is closed)
  • You can read more about the candidates below. Each candidate has a photograph, their leadership experience, and a statement of intent listed on this page.

Candidates for President

Carley Bowers

Master of Public Policy and Administration Candidate

Leadership Experience and Honors:

  • Intern, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Secretary, Student Association Executive Council
  • Presidential Endowed Scholar MSU
  • Student Association Cabinet Co-Director of Research and Development
  • Shackouls Honors Council Vice-Chair of Finance Vice-Chair of Recruitment
  • Mississippi National Education for Women Leadership Conference

Statement of Intent:

My name is Carley Bowers and I am running to be the next president of the Graduate Student Senate. I am a first-year student in the Master of Public Policy and Administration program and will graduate in May 2022. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Supply Chain Management from Mississippi State University where I was heavily involved with the Student Association as a member of the President’s Council and again as the Secretary on the Executive Council. Through this and other undergraduate involvement, I have built a resume of leadership and scholarship that I believe would allow me to serve the Graduate and Professional students of the University of Tennessee to the best of my ability. As Graduate Student Senate President, there a few key priorities I would work to implement. First, I would work to create a state-wide council with Tennessee’s graduate schools that consists of elected members of graduate and professional student associations to share programming, professional development, and student assistance resources. Second, I would help to create a GSS newsletter to be sent out to graduate and professional students with updates from the Graduate school, funding news, student spotlights, and upcoming events. Finally, with so many students not being able to travel during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I would create a Graduate and Professional student research symposium that would allow students to display their research to the University faculty, administrators, fellow graduate and professional students, and undergraduate students who are considering graduate education. These objectives are just a sampling of what I believe the Graduate Student Senate can accomplish throughout this next year. I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to run for Graduate Student Senate President. The University of Tennessee has allowed me to pursue a graduate education that is equipping me to excel in my future career, wherever it might take me. Even though I have only been at UT for one year, I have experienced first-hand how the University invests in its students by providing them with the opportunities, resources, and faculty/staff to succeed in whatever it is that they choose to do. I would be so honored if the Graduate and Professional student body put their trust in me to be their next GSS President to continue and maintain the relationship we have with our wonderful school. Please consider placing your vote for me, Carley Bowers during the week of April 19-23.

Hunter Hammock

Ph.D. student, Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences

Leadership Experience and Honors:

  • Graduate Student Public Speaker of the Year Award
  • Chapter Advisor The National Society of Leadership and Success at UT
  • GRAD Professional Interest Group Co-Chair
  • Chapter President The National Society of Leadership and Success Chapter at UTK
  • Leadership Knoxville Scholars
  • GSS Senator
  • Warren S. Barham Ph.D. Graduate Student Oral Paper Award: Second Place
  • Graduate TA
  • Peer Mentor Coordinator, First-Year Studies
  • First author on a number of papers, presentations, and research projects
Statement of Intent:

I hope this message finds you well! My name is Hunter Hammock and I am a graduate student in the Department of Plant Sciences. I am very interested in running for GSS President for the upcoming year and would like to be considered for the upcoming election. I have really enjoyed my time as the PS Senator this previous year and I want to get further involved with GSS. I think that GSS has the ability to make a huge impact on the experiences of graduate students. I hope to use the knowledge and connections I’ve gained during my time at UT to further graduate students’ interests and give them the best experience possible during their time on Rocky Top. To say I bleed orange is an understatement — I started my UG here in 2010, graduated with my MS in 2018, and expect to graduate with my Ph.D. in May 2022. I love the University of Tennessee and during my final year on campus, I want to give back to the place that made me who I am today. I have extensive leadership and public speaking experience through my involvement with NSLS UTK, FYS, CLS, and being a TA for graduate-level courses. I am a passionate and driven person that has a strong desire to make lasting change and lifelong connections. As President, one of my primary goals would be advancing the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of our graduate student body. How can we improve each graduate student’s experience at UTK? Improving a student’s overall well-being will directly impact morale and productivity. Pursuing an advanced degree is a difficult endeavor, and the Grad School has done an excellent job at providing a wealth of resources to assist its students. How can we better utilize these resources and make them more available to students? Next, I would like to facilitate the reconnection of the graduate student body now that COVID restrictions are letting up and more students are getting vaccinated. Both as a senator and graduate student, I know firsthand the limitations we faced and how social isolation is disruptive to productivity. Graduate students have craved social interaction and want to network with other professionals inside/outside their fields. GSS is provided with an excellent opportunity now that UTK plans to host full in-person classes in the fall semester, and I want to take full advantage of that. Lastly, identify the current needs of the graduate student body. Are they the same as the last ten years or have they dramatically changed? How are the current needs of grad students being addressed and what can we do to fix them? Many unprecedented challenges arose during the past year and many more will continue to present themselves as we start the reopening process. I would like to implement brief surveys and listening sessions to identify key issues that can be distributed to committees for evaluation and strategic planning. This will determine the priority of initiatives pursued throughout the next academic year. I would love the opportunity to advocate for the graduate student body and help improve the overall experience for each student. UT has given me so much, both personally and professionally — I feel an obligation to do everything in my ability to give back and improve the lives of those around me.

Natalie Ward

Master of Science in Communication Studies Candidate

Leadership Experience and Honors:

  • UTK College of Social Work Communications Specialist
  • Just Mercy Cohort, Member
  • National Association for Media Literacy, Member
  • 2019 Recipient, James Wolkfiel Scholarship
  • Nashville Women of Color in Communications
  • Vice-President, Diversity Student Leader’s Society
  • Student Chair, UTK Diversity & Inclusion Week

Statement of Intent:

Nice to meet you! My name is Natalie Ward and I’m a first year graduate student majoring in Communication Studies and I intend to run for President of the Graduate Student Senate, here at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. I can offer you 4+ years of experience managing communications for scholars, athletes, an office space, and various experiential marketing gigs for fortune 500 companies. I believe that these skills meshed with my history of leadership with the Diversity Student Leaders Society within the College of Communications give me skills that can help create a proactive Graduate and Professional Student environment. I have goals of creating a more welcoming campus community for people of color, teaching, exceptional tech skills, and a great eye for analytics. I have a love for research and education that has lead me to study and intern in the Czech Republic for an international news publication, and most recently brought me back to my undergraduate alma mater, Tennessee. I’m proud to call Rocky Top home and look forward to organizing more community building events and spaces as the campus begins to go back to normal next semester.


Candidates for Vice President

Mohamed Al Sager

Ph.D. Energy Science Engineering Candidate Fall 2021

Leadership Experience and Honors:

  • ABB Medium Voltage Electrification Products Marketing Engineer
  • Secretary, MBA Student Association
  • Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineering IEEE
  • SSI SCHAEFER SYSTEMS Controls and Customer Support Engineer
  • Bridgestone America’s Warren Plant, Co-op Electrical Engineer

Statement of Intent:

The University of Tennessee is home to a diverse community of graduate students who aspire to earn degrees in various fields of study. The Graduate School Senate plays a crucial role in facilitating the working relationship between the graduate student body and offices across campus. My name is Mohamed Al Sager and I intend to run for the role of Vice President for the GSS. I am currently enrolled in the Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering program and will be pursuing a PhD in Energy Science Engineering in the Fall of 2021. The Energy Science program is an interdisciplinary program that ties engineering to policy making and entrepreneurship. I am running for the role of Vice President because I believe I have the skills and passion necessary to guide GSS to achieve their numerous goals such as: helping coordinate collaborative efforts with organizations across campus, reaching out to graduate students to encourage participation in GSS, bring issues or concerns to light and work with the GSS council to resolve accordingly, and assist in coordinating GSS/GPSA logistics. As a graduate student I have held positions that required me to engage with students and administrations. I held a position as a graduate assistant at Tennessee Technological University in the Office of International Affairs. My role included the following duties: guidance, mentorship, organizing activities inclusive of students from a spectrum of nationalities, and overseeing the status of their documents and updating as needed. In my current role as a GTA and GRA I have the pleasure of working with numerous faculty members and students in a multitude of tasks. Specifically, in my GRA with Fiber and Composites Manufacturing facility, I have worked with several teams composed of undergraduate and graduate students to accomplish several shared objectives. I have had to take lead on some of the projects and delegate roles to ensure project completion in a timely manner. I take great pride in working in a team setting, and I really enjoy collaborative work. I believe that people are unique and everyone has a different set of skills. Consequently, it is very rewarding learning from one another and working together toward a common goal.

Jaice Caver

Masters of Communications Journalism and Electronic Media

Leadership Experience and Honors:

  • Capstone Association of Black Journalist – Secretary
  • University of Tennessee- SPJ Advisor
  • Executive Content Producer
  • Video Production Assistant
  • Marketing and Communications (YMCA)
  • Boldsquare Intern- Social Media, Marketing, Organizing & Managing
  • Dateline Alabama – Journalist/Reporter
  • WVUA 90.7 – Radio Host, Softball Podcast, Social Media Coordinator (Twitter Page).
  • York Productions – Production Assistant for ESPN promotional videos.

Statement of Intent:

It has been a great pleasure to be a part of the University of Tennessee College of Communications Master’s Program. Being at the university has allowed me to acquire many skill sets and accomplished numerous goals, which has amplified my resume. Today, I am inspiring to be a candidate for the Vice President position for the 2021-2022 academic school year. My experiences in many organizations, have taught me how to be a leader and team member. I have learned to promote and achieve beyond what is required and hold myself self-accountable for my actions. I can see how impactful these skills are to the people around me and myself. That feeling is something that makes me want to make a difference in the community and at the university. The focus on bringing people together and helping one another is an accomplishment for more than one person. If I were accepted into this position, I would use this opportunity to encourage and acknowledge diversification, promote high scholastics, and above all leading the student body in an exemplary way to success.