Economics Graduate Student Committee Prepares for 2018-19 School Year

Monday, August 13, 2018
Students walking down steps on Duke's campus

The start of the academic year is approaching, and the heads of the Economics Graduate Student Committee (EGSC) are gearing up for another year of networking opportunities, peer mentoring, and, of course, happy hours. For the 2018-19 school year, Luke Fesko, Erica Liu, and Gabor Palinko, all third-year Ph.D. students, will be in charge of improving the Ph.D. student experience within the department and serving as an elected voice for the student body. While Liu and Palinko are new to the leadership role, Fesko served as a representative last year. He got involved because he enjoys working in leadership positions to better the department. While they Fesko, Liu, and Palinko come from different backgrounds and have different fields of study, they are all committed to helping economics graduate students connect with each other.  

So, what does the ESGC do? Liu explains, “The EGSC supports the life of all graduate students in our department via organizing social activities – airport pick-up and buddy program for the first-years, monthly happy hours for everyone, and an end-of-year party for people on the market. We also run a lottery to help allocate the office spots among graduate students.” All three of the representatives were actively involved with the ESGC activities prior to becoming leadership, and are eager to help give back to their fellow graduate students.  

Of course, there are challenges the team faces this year. Fesko and Liu mentioned a big challenge for the upcoming year will be implementing changes as a response to an external review that was done last year. They believe that open communication is key as they address these issues with students.  

One thing they are all looking forward to? Graduate student happy hours, particularly the first one of the year. The usual Ph.D. happy hour will take place Homecoming Weekend, so that alumni can stop by and chat with faculty, staff, and students. They’re excited about this new occasion for current graduate students to interact with alumni. Palinko also mentioned that a faculty vs. Ph.D. student soccer game may be in the works. While all three of these students have a lot on their plates between their studies and their service to the EGSC, they are all grateful for the opportunity to contribute to their community and to enhance Ph.D. student experiences.