Welcoming Messages from Chair & Chair Elect
Welcoming Messages from Chair & Chair Elect

Welcome to the GSC: A Message from the Chair!

Dre Abeita headshot  

Dre Abeita  | Chair


Yearly Theme - #AERAGSCFamilyasLifelinesofHopeDuringCovid: The Plan for Rallying our Global AERA GSC Family into a Powerhouse of Graduate Student Advocacy and Voice

Happy June #OurGlobalAERAGSCFamily,

On behalf of the AERA GSC, as Chair, I, Dre Abeita, #CoyoteWalking in this World (Abeita, 2021), #RealLifeIsletaPuebloSuperHero and #ModernDayRevolutionary would like to extend a warm welcome to my sisters, brothers, and non-binary siblings, aka. our wonderful international graduate student community-turned-family. As an Indigenous (Isleta), Two-Spirited, bisexual, multiple-trauma survivor, PTSD-diagnosed, second-generation college graduate, medical marijuana researcher/advocate and critical race theory, whiteness, intersectional activist/scholar, I represent the hopes, sacrifices and dreams of my ancestors.

As a Native American, my community continues to survive and thrive despite the dehumanizing realties of colonialization. I stand testimony to the resiliency of all our peoples from around the world, who in the face of impossible odds, rise and overcome.

My history of community and professional experiences includes over 15 years of community organizing, 12 years teachings (four years in K-12, eight in higher education), four years of experience leading graduate student organizations, multiple experiences with conference planning, a total of 26 leadership/institutional service roles and an additional 31 conference and/or invited presentations. As a rising 9th year doctoral candidate at the University of New Mexico, I pledge to use my skills, networks and experiences to lead AERA GSC, the largest, most influential, and powerful graduate student organization in the world, towards becoming a powerhouse of student advocacy, agency, and voice.  

Together, we are going to defy the stereotype that student government is just for resume building. With your help, AERA GSC is going to become a global community that centers the needs, experiences, and academic contributions of its graduate student members, turned family.

We seek to honor and respect all of our varying cultural heritages, languages, perspectives, identities, and communities by starting a movement. Together with your support, AERA GSC is deliberately starting a culture shift from American ethnocentrism to a more humanizing global perspective based on inclusivity, with a mindfulness regarding space and voice.

This critical perspective starts with realizing the privilege of having access to COVID vaccines if you are within the boundaries of the United States. Many of our sisters, brothers, and non-binary siblings from around the world are not as privileged. Our thoughts, prayers, and best wishes go out to you and your loved ones during this continuing global crisis. Together, as a community of human beings, we all mourn the devastating losses of our loved ones.

Although, we are named the American Education Research Association (AERA), there is nothing more international than AERA. The whole world sends their future leaders to be educated here in the United States, while likewise, Americans are educated throughout the globe. Together, we can create hybrid spaces that support and rehumanize us all while under the duress of Covid and its devastating ramifications on our communities and families.

Since rising to chair in May, we have hosted our June AERA GSC Council meeting, the orientation for our AERA GSC Campus Representatives, interviewed and appointed a Junior Programing Chair, planned for two upcoming academic panels for July, our first AERA GSC Chair Monthly Fireside Chat and raised five vital AERA GSC Ad Hoc Committees. Over the last three weeks, I also had the pleasure of meeting one-on-one with over 34 of our amazing officers, division representatives, campus representatives, and AERA GSC general members, who were seeking to volunteer for our organization. We are rallying our family and we need your help.

During the one-on-one meetings, students came to me with troubling issues including, distrust of AERA regarding academic research due to misuse based on prior experience, the AERA conference as not being a space for them, recovering from a bad experience, issues with ageism, biases, racism, and not having equitable access to resources. 

My plan to help address these weighty issues and the constant influx of ever-changing graduate student needs starts with raising five key AERA GSC Ad Hoc Committees. The first Ad Hoc Committee will focus on academics, professional development, and related topics. The second Ad Hoc Committee will work on community building and wellness. The third Ad Hoc Committee will focus on issues of advocacy and social justice. The fourth Ad hoc committee is Communications and finally, the fifth Ad Hoc Committee will work on Project Unity. 

My vision is for these five committees to work together as the leadership teams in partnership with our greater global graduate student community to provide regular events that our students can participate in and become part of.

The goals for the Ad Hoc Committees would be to 1) create a mission statement and plan of action for long term stability for each group, 2) create and host monthly events for our students, and 3) serve as hubs of information for our community that allow for information and events to be more easily organized.

The benefits of these committees include, 1) providing our greater AERA graduate student family with opportunities to get more involved by volunteering in our events, 2) allow ourselves opportunities to practice our professional and leadership skills, 3) allows for the creation of online resources on subjects like publications to add to our AERA GSC online resource library for our webpage, and 4) allows for us to engage in workshops and presentations to add to our CV as experts in the field of education.

Additionally, as your chair, I represent your voice. In my capacity as the leader of a full third of the total AERA membership, I will be asking for the following for our AERA GSC global family,

·      overall accountability to graduate students,

·      respected voice and an equal partnership,

·      funding 150 conference fees waived (50 to fireside chats for all invites should be covered-additional will be used as scholarships for conference fees,

·      150 membership fees (for the above),

·      $5000 for honorariums (50 at $100 for AERA GSC speakers), and

·      2-4 ASL support for key AERA GSC events throughout the year

Together, united through our common struggle as human beings, we will create an AERA graduate student family that spans the globe. If you would like to volunteer as a co-chair or general AERA GSC AD Hoc Committee member or as an AERA GSC Campus Representative, please email Gradstudentsaera@gmail.com and cc andrea.abeita@gmail.com for more information.

Thank you to #myglobalAERAfamily, and my many sisters, brothers, non-binary siblings, and cousins from around the world. We will support, love, hope, dream, learn, and educate the world together. I look forward to our many future adventures.

Dre Abeita, #CoyoteWalking, #RealLifeIsletaPuebloSuperhero

Chair 2021-2022, AERA GSC


A Message from the Chair-elect

Andii Layton

Andrea 'Andii' Layton | Chair-elect

Dear AERA and GSC Family,

On behalf of the America Education Research Association (AERA) Graduate Student Council (GSC,) I would like to thank you for this fantastic opportunity to serve as your Chair-Elect. I want to send everyone a warm welcome to the 2021-2022 year. This past year has been challenging for all of us. COVID-19 and race relations in society have been traumatizing. We have lost so many people, but with love, hope, and lots of prayers, we have come together to make things better. Although I remain steadfast, I am reminded that we still have a long way to go. I lead and believe in the African proverb that it takes a village.

This year I would like to take the time to get to know you and your needs to make our GSC community stronger. I have many plans in store to make this an impactful year, but I want to hear from you. Please be on the lookout for an invitation to connect and schedule events for the upcoming year in the upcoming weeks. This process will begin with scheduling ongoing check-
ins, workshops, planning sessions, and fun! I believe that all hard work needs to be rewarded with fun, and I plan to bring that energy to this role.

Equally as important, I am looking for an opportunity to provide resources for our community as graduate students to meet with researchers and practitioners for mentorship, guidance and support. As junior scholars we have the power to inform, engage, and inspire to make transformational change in education. I believe this is a time for us to restructure norms that have
held us back for too long. Together let’s take advantage of this moment to reimagine education for all students. As your 2021-2022 Chair-Elect, I plan to bring vision, energy, and action to this role. GSC is an essential component of the AERA family, and together AERA and GSC can
make this a special year.

With gratitude,
Andii Layton


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