The "Meet Your Student Leaders" series provides graduate students and postdoctoral fellows an opportunity to get to know the students who run the various graduate student organizations at UAB.

Asmi Chakraborty headshot.

Q: What is your name, age and program of study?

A: “Asmi Chakraborty, 27, doctoral student in Graduate Biomedical Sciences, cancer biology theme.”

Q: What is your role within the organization?

A: “I am the Student Support Liaison in GBSO.”

Q: What responsibilities does that role entail?

A: “As the Student Support Liaison, I organize the annual Student Support Forum where all the organizations on campus dedicated to student support, particularly wellness and mental health, are invited to talk to the students. Each year this is mainly targeted toward the new students, but students from every year are always welcome. Being the Student Support Liaison I represent GBSO in the Student Advisory Board, where I help with the setting up of the annual Mental Health Town Hall. Being a part of this board allows me to be updated on new workshops and programs available for students dealing with stress.”

Q: How much time do you dedicate to the organization?

A: “GBSO and the Student Advisory Board has a meeting every month. Apart from this, subcommittees for various events meet as and when required. I think over all this serves as a good break from lab and coursework and allows me to learn other skills.”

Q: How are you benefitting from this leadership position? How will it help you achieve your future career goals? What are you learning from this role?

A: “Mental health is very important to me and being in this leadership position has allowed me to gain experience in raising awareness about a stigmatized topic. I have been able to meet many likeminded individuals who are working hard to raise awareness and help students. Additionally, being part of this organization and overseeing events, I have been able to see what goes into making a successful event. I plan to continue working in mental health awareness in the future and this has been a great learning experience.”

Q: Why should graduate students get involved in student organizations?

A: “I think every student would benefit from being involved in a student organization. It makes you juggle work with other responsibilities, which is a much-needed skill. It also allows for a break from lab and course work. You get to network and meet other students who you would not meet otherwise.”

Q: Why should graduate students get involved in leadership positions within those student organizations?

A: “Being in a leadership position allows you to be more responsible. Things depend on you and you make the final call that can either make an event successful or not. Sometimes it doesn’t turn out the way you want and learning to deal with that is beneficial, too. Additionally, it feels good when you take an initiative and it really does end up being successful as well as helpful to students.”

Q: How do you balance being a graduate student with the responsibilities that come from this leadership position?

A: “I set aside time at the end of the day to catch up with GBSO work. I place everything on my calendar so that I don’t miss out on an important meeting or event. One benefit of student organizations is that since it is run by graduate students, they understand if things come up at work.”

Q: What else do you do (member of other organizations, volunteer work, family, etc.)?

A: “I am a member of Graduate Women-USA, a mentor in Women in Stem, a GBSO international mentor, and I volunteer twice a week with Arts in Medicine at the Acute Psychiatric Ward. I enjoy painting, which is why Arts in Medicine has been a perfect volunteering experience for me. I do not have immediate family here but have a great group of friends who share my craze form travel, movies, theatre and food!”