2015-2016 Officers

The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) Executive Committee consists of the elected officials including the President and Vice President as well as the various directors, who are approved by 2/3 vote of the Assembly, to manage the essential functions of the organization. The President may also invite other “Members, Participants, and graduate students to participate in the Executive Committee meetings,” who shall not  (Article IV, §4)

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Human Development and Family Sciences Department,

College of Natural Science

Brian Wilkey is a Ph.D candidate in Human Development and Family Sciences where he studies human mating strategies.  This is his second term in GSA leadership having served as both Vice-President under David Villarreal and assuming the Presidency when David Villarreal stepped down.  He is passionate about improving graduate and professional education here at UT-Austin and throughout the country; he also serves as the Chairman of the Student Advocates for Graduate Education (SAGE), an advocacy group that speaks on behalf of the graduate and professional students of tier-one research universities.  President Wilkey hopes to increase university-wide participation in the GSA this year as well as draw attention to the incredible pool of talent that UT-Austin cultivates in its graduate students.  His Value Proposition asks people to consider how they define the importance of graduate education and what the knowledge creators and innovators currently pursuing their degrees can bring to the world at-large.  President Wilkey wants to hear from you at any time of the year and encourages you to reach out either via email or stopping by his listening hours in the GSA suite.  He truly believes that what you start here will change the world!

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Vice President

Master of Public Affairs (MPAff),

LBJ School of Public Affairs

Vance Roper is a third year dual degree student in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the School of Architecture. He currently serves as the Vice-President of the Graduate Student Assembly. Vice President Roper followed a family tradition when he entered the military at 17, where he served on multiple continents. After his departure from the military, he started his post-secondary education where he achieved his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Saint Edwards University. Vice President Roper has a wealth of experience in public affairs and with advocating/lobbying. This experience spans federal, state, and local governments, as well as for profit and non-profit organizations. He has dedicated his life to public service including his service in the United States Army, his work advocating for disabled veterans, and his pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs and in Community and Regional Planning.

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Administrative Director

Human Development and Family Sciences Department,

College of Natural Science

Eden is a doctoral student in the Human Development and Family Sciences department where she studies romantic relationship development and maintenance throughout adulthood. This is her second term as the administrative director of the GSA. Last year, the Rules and Administration committee finished a huge project by revising and approving the new GSA Constitution, By-Laws, and Internal Rules of Procedure. This year, Eden hopes to keep the GSA running smoothly under the newly approved governing documents and she hopes to create and codify a procedure to aid future GSA leaders through the transition between executive board administrations. Please feel free to contact Eden with any questions or concerns regarding administrative procedures or GSA rules. Hook ’em horns!

Rachel Truair MBA
Communications Director

Master of Business Administration (MBA),

McCombs School of Business

Rachel Truair, an Austin native, has a bachelor’s in communication from St. Edwards University and specializes in digital marketing and demand generation strategies for startups and small businesses. After building two startups, including PetRelocation, an $8M worldwide pet transportation company which grew 30% in sales year over year for eight consecutive years, in 2015 she started her own marketing and communications consultancy. In her spare time, Truair is an avid fly fisherwoman and also serves on the City of Austin’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission tasked with drawing and maintaining the district lines for Austin’s ten city council seats.

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Entrepreneurship & Industry Agency Dir.

Master of Business Administration (MBA),

McCombs School of Business

Erik graduated from Union College in Schenectady, NY with his B.A. in Political Science. He relocated to Austin, Texas in 2007 where he worked for a marketing agency for seven years and now works as a Demand Generation Manager at Lifesize, a division of Logitech. Outside of work and class, Erik is the President of the Chapter Advisor’s Board of the Alpha Nu Chapter of Sigma Chi. He is also the “owner” of two Brussels Griffons.

Finance Director
Academic Affairs Director
Legislative Affairs Director
Programs & Events Director
Student Affairs Director

Fatma Tarlaci is a Pd.D. candidate in the program in Comparative Literature. Her primary research is in comparative and world literature, digital humanities, and Turkish literature. She served as a graduate student board member at American Comparative Literature Association in 2011-2013. She is currently a member of Modern Language Association Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Profession. She will graduate in 2016.

Graduate Student Health Agency Chair
Graduate Student Housing Cmte. Chair