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Graduate Student of the Year Award, May 2014

James L. Ricci, PhD student in Mathematics received the Graduate Student of the Year Award on April 22, 2014.  Sponsored by the Student Activities and Leadership Development office, the Graduate Student of the Year Award recognizes a graduate student who has proven to be a vital and dynamic member of the Wesleyan community through taking on an active leadership role in campus life. Criteria for the award include:

  • Consistent and sustained dedication to community building.   
  • Measurable impact of efforts (i.e. initiating and/or leading a campus event or program).
  • Engagement of other members of the Wesleyan community in his/her/hir efforts
  • Serving as a model of, as well as inspiring, energy and enthusiasm in others.

James Ricci will receive a PhD in Mathematics in May 2014.  He arrived at Wesleyan in the fall of 2009.  During his five years in the graduate program, James consistently took leadership positions and provided sustained efforts to build and support the graduate community.  James served as President of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) for two years, vice-President of the GSA for one year, and graduate student liaison to the Graduate Council for three years.  He was selected as one of two graduate representatives on the student panel for the re-accreditation board.  He was the student member of the core planning committee for the first Graduate Career Symposium in 2012, a member of the stipend budget committee of the graduate council, and a primary organizer of GSA events. He moderated the first graduate student panel discussion with President Roth.  He was the representative of the graduate community to the administration and attended lunch meetings with the President and the Board of Trustees. It was through James’ work as President of the GSA that many graduate students joined the GSA.  When he left office in the spring of 2013, he recruited a large number of volunteers for GSA officers. In his final year of study, while completing his dissertation and searching for an academic position, James continued to be involved with the GSA and served as advisor to the GSA officers and as graduate student representative to the Graduate Council. 

In addition to serving the larger graduate community, James served the graduate community within the Mathematics department by helping to start the Wesleyan Graduate Student Chapter for the American Mathematical Society, helping to organize the Math Graduate Student Seminar, and helping to host, organize, and run the Math department social events.