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PSGSC officers, standing left to right, are Lexie Baker, Carl Branch, Kevser Ozel, Korede Olugbenle, Erin Lalor, Steven Augustine, and Jenyne Loarca. Seated left to right are Austin Hall, Chandler Meyer, and Lily Hislop.

The following letter is intended for all CALS graduate students from Plant Science Graduate Student Council (PSGSC) president Lily Hislop:

Dear CALS Graduate Students,

In these difficult and tumultuous times, one need that has been expressed to us at the Plant Science Graduate Student Council (PSGSC) is to identify and build connections among peers with shared life experiences. PSGSC would like to announce new points of connection for graduate students within CALS: Student Identity Liaisons. These Liaisons will serve as a bridge to connect students with shared identities. Students can connect with their liaisons and/or group members for support, resources, or advocacy. Liaisons will also collect contact info of students and create whatever community space is desired, whether it’s group chats or Slack channels, regular meetings, or just a list of emails. These groups were originally for graduate students who are pursuing degrees in plant sciences, and we also felt that opening these networks to the greater CALS community could be of service to folks who would enjoy these outlets and some cross-disciplinary connections:

Here are all of our identity groups, their graduate student liaisons, and their contact information:

International student group: Korede Olugbenle (Agroecology/Agronomy, olugbenle@wisc.edu).

Neurodivergent student group: Austin Hall (Plant Pathology, uw.nd.plant.scientists@gmail.com)

Student of color group: UW.BIPOC.plant.scientists@gmail.com (interim liaison: Korede Olugbenle, olugbenle@wisc.edu)

Student with children group: Kathryn Michel (Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics, kathryn.michel@wisc.edu)

Student with disabilities group: Erin Lalor (Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics, elalor@wisc.edu)

Queer, LGBTQIA+, or non-cis student group: Lily Hislop (Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics, UW.queer.plant.scientists@gmail.com)

If you would like to join any of the above groups, either contact the appropriate email address or fill out this survey: https://forms.gle/YqRRRjLnv8drenrE9

Your involvement with any of these identity groups will not be shared outside of the group, and the groups will be held to safe space standards.

Additionally, we are looking for a graduate student in CALS to fill the role of Student of Color Liaison. Our ideal candidate has direct involvement with the represented student community within CALS at UW, and can serve as their liaison, communicating their needs at monthly PSGSC meetings, working to improve their interests, and helping us to enact solutions that feel appropriate and improve their stature, representation, and interests at UW. If you would like to take on the role of Student of Color Liaison, please contact Lily Hislop (PSGSC President) at lmhislop@wisc.edu

If you do not see your identity represented above and would like to be a liaison, please, let us know! If you have any comments, questions, or concerns about this new program, please also contact Lily Hislop. We hope this can be a productive, connecting, and comforting resource.