A Voice for Graduate Students

Swetha Thiyagarajan is the new president of GSC.

Doctoral candidate Swetha Thiyagarajan is giving back to the campus community this year by leading the Graduate Student Council (GSC) and researching a protein related to cancer.

Thiyagarajan was elected president of GSC after serving as the organization’s treasurer last year. As an international student from Chennai, India, Thiyagarajan is eager to support the Graduate Student Community at North Dakota State. According to the Graduate School’s website, nearly 30 percent of graduate students at NDSU are international students.

GSC serves as a voice for students pursuing their master’s or doctoral degrees at NDSU. According to Thiyagarajan, the GSC has a “future focus on helping (graduate) students live better and learn better at NDSU.”

“We act like a mediator between the graduate school and students,” Thiyagarajan said.

During her time in office, Thiyagarajan wants to help GSC focus on helping students build interpersonal and job skills. One GSC event that’s in the works for this year will teach students how to network better. Expanding one’s professional network can be intimidating, Thiyagarajan explained, especially for new international students experiencing a completely new culture.

“Even I found myself lacking confidence when I came (to the United States),” Thiyagarajan said.

Another GSC event will focus on helping students navigate the job market. Thiyagarajan said many graduate students do not know where or how to look for jobs after they graduate.

In addition to serving as president of GSC, Thiyagarajan is conducting research under Stefan Vetter in NDSU’s School of Pharmacy. She is studying the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) protein and its relation to cancer. After she earns her degree, Thiyagarajan wants to continue working in a field where she can help benefit the public. She’s keeping her options open to include hospitals, research and academia.

Thiyagarajan began her studies at NDSU in the spring semester of 2016. Her favorite memory so far at NDSU was last year’s GSC Annual Research Symposium. The symposium allows graduate students the opportunity to showcase their research and earn a cash prize.

As treasurer, Thiyagarajan was in charge of fundraising for the event. Afterward, the winner told her how grateful she was for the prize because it would cover a conference that she needed to attend. Moments like these are what make Thiyagarajan’s work in GSC rewarding.

During her free time, Thiyagarajan also enjoys singing, gardening and meeting new people.

If you have questions about GSC or concerns you would like addressed, contact Thiyagarajan at swetha.thiyagarajan@ndsu.edu.

Students are also welcome to stop by executive meetings every Wednesday 5-6 p.m. in the Graduate Learning Center at the Main Library.

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