Graduate Students Senate

Meet our PRESIDENT –Emily Bonistall

Duties and Responsibilities: The President is the chief executive officer of the senate and presides over all meetings.  This officer serves as an ex-officio member of all committees of the senate and also participates in University committees.  The President meets regularly with administration and serves as the main liaison between the graduate students, the senate, and the Office of Graduate and Professional Education.

About our President: Hi! My name is Emily Bonistall and I’m excited and honored to serve my fellow graduate students this year as the President of the GSS.  I am a proud alumna of the University of Dayton (Go Dayton Flyers!) and am here at my second UD to pursue a PhD in Sociology.  My research, which tends to focus on gender, victimization, and violence against women, is a key example of how I live my life with passionate purpose.  I believe it is my responsibility as a scholar to give voices to those who have been silenced, and to educate society on difficult topics, such as rape, domestic violence, and prostitution. 

Passionate purpose is what led me to the GSS, as I am also very passionate about building community and friendship.  The process of graduate school isn’t always easy, but it is easier when you are surrounded by a strong community of peers and friends.  I vow to lead the organization this year with drive, excitement, friendship, fun, and passion – all while maintaining the necessary professionalism to continue to increase the prevalence and influence of the GSS on campus.  I hope you’ll join us this year by getting involved with our organization as we strive to better the campus community and graduate student life.


Duties and Responsibilities: The Vice-President of Internal Affairs is responsible for overseeing the committees that pertain to the internal organization of the Senate, including the Communications, Events, Organization, and Social committees.  This officer is the main liaison between these committees and the Executive Committee and therefore serves as a facilitator for Senate committee work and collaboration. 

About our VPIA: My name is Kevin Ralston and I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department.  My areas of interest include race, class, gender and victimization.  I received my B.A. in Sociology from Wake Forest University in 2005 and my M.A. in Sociology from University of Delaware in 2010.  I am very excited to be involved in the GSS this year as the Vice President of Internal Affairs and look forward to building on the great work from previous years.


Duties and Responsibilites: The Vice-President of Student Affairs is responsible for overseeing the student advocacy focused committees of the Senate, including the Diversity, Student Life, and Sustainability committees.  This officer is the main liaison between these committees and the Executive Committee and therefore serves as a facilitator for Senate committee work and collaboration.

About our VPSA: My name is Christopher Richard and I'm currently in the 3rd year of my PhD in Energy and Environmental Policy.  I received a B.S. in Anthropology from Kansas State University and later a M.B.A., here at the University of Delaware.  During the 2010-2011 year I had the honor of representing my department in the Graduate Student Senate as senator and as co-chair of the sustainability committee.  For the 2011-2012 academic year I am glad to serve as Vice President of Student Affairs and will advise those committees within GSS that are focused on student advocacy issues.  External to the GSS I am a NSF-IGERT Fellow within the university's solar-hydrogen research and a research associate at the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy.

Meet our MEMBERSHIP OFFICER – Sarah Markland

Duties and Responsibilities: The Membership Officer is responsible for the recruitment of new members and retention of current members on the senate. Members of the GSS can be senators, proxy-senators or volunteers. The Membership Officer is responsible for making sure that senators maintain their active standing by attending GSS monthly meetings and serving on at least one internal or university-wide committee.

About our Membership Officer: My name is Sarah Markland and I am currently a Master's student in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences concentrating in Food Microbiology. I will begin working on my Ph.D. in the fall of 2011. I received my B.S. also from the University of Delaware in Animal and Food Sciences in 2009. I am very excited to be serving as the Membership Officer for the GSS this academic year and hope we are able to get more students involved in the organization than ever before. When not in the lab, I enjoy cooking and traveling.

About our RECORDING SECRETARY – Chris Castillo

Duties and Responsibilities: The Recording Secretary is responsible for the day to day operation of the Senate, such as communicating information to all members and recording all minutes of meetings and official Senate communications.  This officer is responsible for the correspondence and official communication authorized by the Senate.

About our Recording Secretary: My name is Chris Castillo and I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Mathematics.  I earned a B.S. in mathematics with a minor in music performance from Towson University in 2008 and an M.S. in mathematics from the University of Delaware in 2011.  I also remain active with the Boy Scouts of America and currently serve as a Camp Saffran Director at Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation.  My research focuses on the behavior of polynomials over finite fields.