Graduate Student Committee

Mental Health Task Force

The Graduate Student Committee is an elected group of 7 graduate students who work with the Physics Department to improve the graduate student experience.  


What We've Done

Advisor Award

The advisor award was established to recognize outstanding advisors. After soliciting nominations, we organized a selection committee comprised of faculty, alumni, and researchers. The 2015 advisor award was presented to Professor Adil Hassam.

Peer Mentoring Program

The mentoring program pairs first year graduate students with returning graduate students to foster guidance and supportive friendships through one-on-one mentorship, community networking, and social media. We have reached over 50 graduate students!

Prospective Student Activities

We plan activities for prospective students during the Admitted Student Open House, including lab tours, evening activities, and a day trip around Washington, DC.

TA Mutual Expectations Agreement

We developed a mutual expectations agreement based on TA and instructor feedback to facilitate productive discussions between TAs and instructors.

2024 Members

Get Involved

Anna Fitzmaurice 

Yonatan Gazit

Yanda Geng

Yan Li

Connor Powers

We invite you to attend our open forums and send us your ideas and concerns via email. 

Run for the Graduate Student Committee! Elections will take place in December 2024.

contact us: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mental Health Task Force

The Physics Department’s Mental Health Task Force is a group of graduate students within the physics department who aim to build a departmental culture that encourages communication about mental health and de-stigmatizes mental health issues. To do this, we collect data on physics graduate student mental health, communicate the results to the community, and form recommendations for the department.

UMD Physics Grad Student Guide

What We Do 

Each year near the end of the spring semester, the task force administers a survey to physics graduate students that aims to qualitatively and quantitatively assess various aspects of mental health by including clinical inventories, free response questions, and more. This work is encouraged by the physics department and approved by UMD’s Internal Review Board. We will be giving the fifth annual survey in spring 2020. Our work includes collaboration with various stakeholders within the physics department, including faculty, administrators, and GradComm. In addition, we have recently expanded to give the survey to the astronomy department, requiring collaboration with that department’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee as well as the astronomy faculty.

2023 Members      

Get Involved      

Patrick Banner

Adam Ehrenberg

Zach Steffen

Elizabeth Bennewitz

Kellen O'Brien

Dr. Chandra Turpen, Assistant Research Professor in Physics                                                                                                                                                                                       

We are always looking for new ideas for surveys. We are seeking research questions for short and tightly-focused future surveys, and we also carefully consider suggestions and comments to improve future surveys and data collection.

In addition, we are always looking for new members to assist in data analysis as well as written and oral communication of our results.

With any and all inquiries, please get in touch with us by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. !