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Meet The 2015-2016 Ole Miss Graduate Student Council

Courtesy of Ole Miss Graduate School
Courtesy of Ole Miss Graduate School

Alexandros Vasios-Sivvopoulos –President

I’m from Thessaloniki, Greece – long way from home!
I’m a PhD student in Economics, currently beginning my 3rd year into the program.
I got my undergraduate degreefrom Ole Miss in Economics.
I joined the Council last year as a GSC senator, after being nominated by my classmates. I worked on resolutions concerning student housing and parking. I ended up enjoying it a lot, and it led to me applying for the President’s position for this year.
I’m looking forward to serving the graduate student population. Last year we had a number of social events that were a major success, I hope we can expand on that!
Interesting Fact: Every summer for the last 5 years I have worked for the Summer College for High School Students program at the Division of Outreach. I have seen students come here as high school students, then kept in touch with them as they enroll as undergraduates, and now some are thinking about staying for graduate school. It’s very rewarding guiding young people through their Ole Miss experience from start to finish. Another fact: When I become a professional economist, I would like to focus on researching the telecommunications sector, high tech industries, or airlines.

Brandon Riches – Vice-President

I am a third year law student.
I went to BYU in Provo, UT for my Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy. I also completed a minor in Logic and Political Science.
I joined the GSC during my first year of Law School as a way to learn more about Ole Miss and to contribute.
I am excited to see the new senators and to see what each can bring to the table. I hope to establish greater accountability for senators and encourage greater participation.
Interesting Fact: I lived in South Africa for 2 years and learned to speak Xhosa while there. This is one of the few languages in the world that uses clicks.

Paul Pohto – Secretary

My degree is a M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
I am from Poquoson, VA and got a B.S. in psychology & human resource development from James Madison University.
I joined the Graduate Student Council to provide more opportunity and a better experience for all graduate students, regardless of their field of study.
This year I am looking forward to working with and learning from other Council members. Learning about program specific concerns or skill sets will allow us to provide a better experience for all graduate students.
Interesting Fact: Last year as a summer job I helped fabricate parts for aircraft carriers and submarines.

Bjad Almutairy – Treasurer

I earnde a bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and am currently seeking a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences with emphasis (Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery) under the supervision of Dr. Michael A. Repka.
I’m from Saudi Arabia from the Capital city (Riyadh city). And I earned my undergraduate degree from King Saud University, College of Pharmacy at Riyadh City.
Graduate Student Council is great environment to gain professional skills starting from involvement and engagement with professional community, practicing advanced communication skills to finally the acquisition of leadership proficiency.
I am most looking forward to advancing our productivity to meet the optimal satisfaction and complacence.
Interesting Fact: I am a calligrapher.

Sumudo Tennakoon – Director of Academic and Professional Development

I am currently a candidate for PhD in physics. I also received my masters (M.A. Physics) from the University of Mississippi in Fall 2013.
I am an international student from Sri Lanka. I got my BS Physics from University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
I joined the Graduate Student Council because I am very passionate about organizational work in order to serve the community and I have recognized GSC as an important organization at the university serving our graduate student community that I can be actively involved with. I also served as a senator in the previous academic year.
I am looking forward to making significant progress on my research project and to reach the graduation goal at the end of this academic year.
Interesting Fact: I am very interested in the sport of badminton. I was a badminton team player in my high school and undergraduate university and am currently playing with the Ole Miss Badminton Club. I also lead the Ole Miss Badminton club as the club president in last two years.

Brian Adams – Director of Student Affairs/Life

I am working on my M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
I am from Memphis, Tennessee and received a B.A. in Economics from Hendrix College in Arkansas.
I joined the Graduate Student Council because I currently work with a multitude of community members, government officials, and University administration on different boards and committees. I saw the opportunity to parlay my experience and current relationships into creating new and comprehensive resources for graduate students.
I am excited for the opportunity to form productive new relationships across the different departments of our Graduate School as well as developing a resource guide for future incoming graduate students with my co-director, Lyda Phillips.
Interesting Fact: You would never guess it by my personality, but I won 5th place at a national chess championship in 8th grade. I was almost a grandmaster in terms of chess ratings. It was a trophy that I attempted to hide behind athletic trophies, but my parents would always show it off to their friends.

Adam Brady – Director of Communications

I am attending graduate school to get the M.A. in Journalism with an emphasis in Integrated Marketing Communications
I am from Clarksdale, Mississippi, and I received a B.A. in Journalism with an emphasis in Print Media from Ole Miss in 2011.
I joined the GSC because I really want to be more involved on campus than I was during my undergrad years. Now that I work at Ole Miss, I see what great opportunities there are for students out there, and I plan to take advantage of them. I feel like my past education and work experience will be an asset to the GSC.
I’m most looking forward to performing my duties as Director of Communications and getting to know my audience as well as other members of the GSC. Again, I’m looking forward to the involvement and friendships I will make during my graduate education.
Interesting Fact: I’ve worked at Square Books since 2007 and would love to continue in the book industry after my education. I love books and think that it is a perfect invention that is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Brianna Beesly – Director of Social and Philanthropic Affairs

I grew up in Port Gibson, MS.
I am a chemical engineer and I did my undergraduate at Ole Miss.
I joined the GSC because I wanted to be a part of the MBA program in a way where I could do more and meet people and really just get involved with everyone in the grad school program.
I am most looking forward to meeting everyone and making new friends!
Interesting Fact: When I was thirteen my brother and I were struck by lightning.

Yelda McCoy – Director of International Student Affairs/Life

I am pursuing my M.A. degree in the Higher Education/Student Personnel program and working at Student Disability Services on campus.
I am from Denizli, Turkey. I have a B.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. I worked as a postdoctoral research scientist for several years before I decided to move into the Higher Education Administration field.
I joined the Graduate Student Council to especially serve the international graduate student community at the university, since I was in their shoes once and I can relate to their experience. I also see this as an invaluable opportunity to gain hands-on work experience and to learn from my colleagues within and outside the council.
I’m most looking forward to meeting new people at Ole Miss. Everyone here on campus has a unique life story to tell and I’d like to hear it.
Interesting Fact: I completed half-marathons in the wheelchair athlete category.

Jonathan Howard – Co-Director of Social and Philanthropic Affairs

I’m working on a Master’s in Higher Education/Student Personnel in the Department of Leadership and Counselor Education.
I am from Round Rock, Texas and graduated from Hendrix College in May 2013 (located in Conway, Arkansas).
I joined the GSC to engage more deeply with the University of Mississippi and create opportunities for my peers to feel more connected with their graduate student community of peers. The position I pursued will allow me to utilize my strengths and network here at the University to engage graduate students in social and philanthropic programs.
I’m of course excited about getting to May and graduating! But I can’t wait to see all of the opportunities the GSC can make for philanthropic events and programs this year.
Interesting Fact: I got in touch with my feminine side my senior year of college at Hendrix by participating in Miss Hendrix, an annual drag show beauty pageant. Miss Hendrix was the culminating event in Campus Kitty Week, which is responsible for students’ major philanthropic work. The year that I participated in Miss Hendrix, Hendrix students raised just over $50,000 in a week to support local Arkansas not-for-profit organizations.

Lyda Phillips – Co-Director of Student Affairs

Unavailable for comment

Courtesy of Ole Miss Graduate School

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