Computer and Information Technology forms first grad student association with faculty, alumnus advisor

The first meeting of the CIT Graduate Student Association (CGSA), with the organization's first president, Devang Patel, speaking at front. (Photo provided)

Purdue Polytechnic’s graduate students in the Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT) can now join the department’s first official graduate student association, launched in October 2023.

Out of more than 80 CIT graduate students, 30 attended the first meeting of the CIT Graduate Student Association (CGSA), with more anticipated in upcoming gatherings.

Paul Thomas, a clinical assistant professor in CIT and the association’s advisor, is a CIT graduate program alumnus who says he wishes he had access to the “support and camaraderie” of a student organization while he was enrolled.

“The CIT Graduate Student Association was formed partly in response to our ever-growing student body,” Thomas said. “It gives students a common experience and the opportunity to connect academically, professionally and socially with other students.”

Paul Thomas

Unlike most academic departments on campus, CIT’s graduate programs hasn’t had a formal graduate student association for many years. Students often meet for a required course such as research methods (CNIT 62300) and have synergy with each other, Thomas stated. But historically, they often wish they had met sooner to socialize or collaborate on their respective work.

CGSA puts the department on par with other campus departments by offering similar benefits and advantages to graduate students, such as funding and networking opportunities. In the future, the association plans to coordinate professional headshot sessions for students, offer mock interviews and host speakers working in leading technology industries. These activities are designed to bridge the gap between students and their plans for industry or academia. The association can also provide some funding to students traveling for conferences.

CGSA President Devang Patel is the first student leader of the association. Along with other officers, Patel is taking the lead on planning student-organized mixers and networking opportunities.

“I hope CGSA becomes a source of mentorship and support for our graduate students, new and existing, and a place where they can feel welcome amongst peers, fostering new friendships and collaboration while we are struggling and striving towards similar goals,” Patel said.

Students interested in joining the CGSA must be enrolled in the minimum number of credits to be considered a CIT graduate student in order to participate and attend meetings.


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