Get to know Jovana Milosavljevic-Ardeljan and Jin Lee, the 2017-18 President and Vice President (respectively), of the UNH Graduate Student Senate (GSS)!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jovana Milosavljevic-Ardeljan: My name is Jovana, but many people know me by my nickname: Yoka. I am a second-year PhD student in the Department of Education, and I am also a UNH alumna since I graduated with my master’s in Language and Linguistics in 2016. I’m from Serbia, and I’ve been at UNH for three years. Apart from being the GSS president for this academic year, I am a Graduate Assistant in the Graduate School, and I also serve on number of committees such as Alumni Association Board and Faculty Senate.
Jin Lee: I am a 4th year PhD student in English Literature. I am originally from South Korea and recently from Cambridge, MA. I am teaching English 401 (go freshmen!) as a TA.
What made you want to enroll in the UNH Graduate School?
Jovana: I originally came to UNH because of love. My husband now (but a fiancée at the time) came to UNH for his PhD, and I wanted to be with him. I stayed here for my PhD because of the quality of the academic programs, but even more because of the community and the people. During my time at UNH, I’ve met a lot of graduate faculty and Graduate School leadership and staff who convinced me through their work that I, as a graduate student, matter. To me, personally, it means a lot. I have to add that Dean Cari Moorhead is one of the people who inspire me to want to stay at UNH forever.
Jin: I applied to the English program because of the faculty and their research interests. After being accepted, I had to choose between schools and did a campus visit to the UNH. Then, somehow, I felt I belonged here. Also, it was great to be closer to my home church, which became my family in the U.S.
How did you get involved in the Graduate Student Senate? Why do you think it's so important?
Jovana: I heard about GSS through a student organization I was a part of (Graduate Women Leadership Council), and I signed up to be a College of Liberal Arts senator. I wanted to get involved because I truly believe an organization like this can make a difference in the lives of graduate students. The number of graduate students is small in comparison to the number of undergraduates, and sometimes people forget that our nature and needs are different from those of the undergraduates. GSS is here to collaborate with the Undergraduate Students Senate on matters that relate to all the UNH students, but we are also here to raise awareness of the needs that are specific to graduate students and advocate for them.
Jin: Oh, it was all Jovana’s fault! Just kidding ;) I love her; she is amazing, and I am so honored to work with her! Indeed, Jovana suggested I join the GSS in 2015. Back then, I had some ideas about how to make Babcock a better place, so I joined. As a Housing Senator, I learned our voice matters and better communication can often improve situations. That’s why it’s so important.
Tell us about your role in GSS and what you hope to accomplish this upcoming year.
Jovana: My role is to be the leader of the Graduate Student Senate and to make sure that we as a body represent all graduate students. Thanks to the joint efforts of GSS, the Graduate School and other administrative and academic units, we managed to make progress in many of the action items we had as our priorities last year. I plan to build off the great work of the previous leadership team and to continue working on improving the life of the graduate students. If I had to choose one thing that I would really like to achieve this year, I’d say it’s to get space specifically for graduate students.
Jin: As the Vice President, I support the President and serve as the chair of the Governance Committee, which oversees the annual election process, and reviews and proposes amendments to the GSS Constitutions and Bylaws as necessary. In this upcoming year, I’d like to keep working on GSS’s efforts on student benefits.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Jovana: My advice for everyone is to do your best academically, but also try to be involved outside of your academic communities. There are many ways to enrich your graduate student life and expand your views, and there are many resources to help you navigate graduate school. Find the time to be involved as much as you can. You can do this in many ways: Become a GSS senator or a liaison, attend events, or simply come and talk to us about any ideas, concerns or questions you might have.
Jin: I hope graduate students find good communities and get involved where they can get support from each other! I also hope they let GSS know how we can make UNH a better place together.
When you're not in class or working in the GSS, what can we find you doing?
Jovana: You’ll probably find me working (I’m a workaholic), but other than that you can find me almost any day from 12 to 1pm having lunch at HoCo with my husband. Feel free to come and say hi and join us for lunch!
Jin: You can find me reading in the library, hanging out with friends in the dining hall, the Freedom Café, or other restaurants downtown, or working out in the gym. Biweekly, I sing and play the piano at the Graduate Christian Fellowship. Also, if you happen to take the train to Boston during the weekend, you might find me there, as well.—Author Kristen Melamed, Graduate Assistant for the Graduate School Deans Office.