Students Travel to D.C. to Advocate for Grad Student Issues

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Andrew Cox might be the newly elected Graduate Student Government Association (Grad SGA) president. But, thanks to a recent trip to Washington, D.C., he’s already had a chance to dip his toe into the political pond. 

“Participating in the Legislative Advocacy Days event sponsored by the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) gave me an opportunity to give a voice to issues like graduate health insurance, which are often overlooked,” said the first year Ph.D. student in Aerospace Engineering. “The conversations that we had with other graduate students, as well as Georgia’s representatives and senators, provided me with experience that will be invaluable over the next year serving as president.” 

The groundwork for this opportunity was laid last fall when Cox, current Grad SGA Executive Vice President Vineet Tiruvadi, and other students worked with NAGPS to advocate against the bill that would have taxed tuition waivers. Cox and Tiruvadi kept in touch with the organization, and were invited to attend the March event. 

The four-day trip was filled with opportunities to network with other students, and learn about legislation and other advocacy topics. Also, the two visited seven different congressional offices to share their stories and advocate for or against different policies, such as the Higher Education Act Reauthorization (PROSPER Act). 

“Learning about the PROSPER Act was a highlight of the trip for me, even if there is a lot in there that I thoroughly disagree with such as the elimination of loan forgiveness for public service,” said Tiruvadi, a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering who is also pursuing a doctor of medicine at Emory University. “Meeting with staffers who really listened to our concerns and gave us some insight into where PROSPER was in the congressional pipeline was also great. Also, I really enjoyed sitting in the Library of Congress working on my dissertation draft. That was a great experience!” 

For more information about how you can get involved with Grad SGA, visit


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