Week-long event series celebrates UTSA graduate student community

April 9, 2024
UTSA Graduate School


The first week of April marks the annual Graduate Student Appreciation Week (GSAW) nationally. The Graduate School at UTSA recently concluded its own GSAW celebration in partnership with academic colleges in a week-long series of exclusive events designed to nurture scholarship and student well-being among the UTSA graduate community.

GSAW kicked off with a Team Trivia event in which graduate students made new connections and formed teams with these new friends to compete for prizes.

The following day, the Graduate School hosted the annual Graduate Research Symposium consisting of a poster presentation competition, a keynote and scholarship exhibition and awards ceremony. More than 65 graduate students participated in the poster competition with the winners earning cash prizes up to $750. The winners are as follows and included ties in each place:

  • 1st place: Robin Johnson, English
  • 1st place: Michael Preston, Physics and Astronomy
  • 2nd place: Carah Porter, Psychology
  • 2nd place: Siva Shanmugam Mariappan, Marketing
  • 3rd place: Vahideh Hashempour, Computer Engineering
  • 3rd place: Luis Montero, Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching
  • People’s Choice: Juan Sebastian Rincon Tabares, Mechanical Engineering

In the spirit of celebrating graduate students, the keynote speaker was a UTSA doctoral student from the College of Science’s Environmental Science doctoral program, Andre Felton. Andre encouraged graduate students to disseminate their research through storytelling and multiple mediums to expand their reach. Following the keynote, UTSA’s 2023 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Research Competition winner, Zacharie Maloney, shared his winning presentation at the scholarship exhibition. Maloney was recently named a finalist at the 3MT regional conference of graduate schools. The musical talents of our master’s students were showcased by performances by Department of Music students including Brandon Ichavez, Isaiah Valdez and Carlos Gonzales in a fitting conclusion to the exhibition of student scholarship across disciplines.

 “I am so proud of the accomplishments of our graduate students at UTSA! GSAW gives us the perfect opportunity to showcase the brilliant scholarship of our graduate students from  a variety of disciplines ranging from the life sciences, hard sciences, social sciences, to the arts and humanities.” Ambika Mathur, senior vice provost for graduate and postdoctoral studies and graduate dean said.

The award ceremony and reception honorees included winners of The Graduate School’s Excellence Awards and poster presentation competition. Graduate School awards recognized excellence in graduate education and support that included 38 graduate students, faculty and staff each receiving $2,000 awards. To conclude the day’s events, graduate students and their friends and family enjoyed a fun-filled game night. 


“GSAW is also a time to celebrate the excellence of the support provided by students’ friends and families and our staff and faculty to mentor and ensure that our students succeed in their chosen paths,” Mathur said.

The 15th annual UTSA Graduate Student Appreciation Week also boasted a painting demonstration led by Master of Fine Arts Students, a community-building event at the Downtown Campus and a wellbeing event to help students relieve stress with therapy dogs.

Click here to view the 2024 Graduate School Excellence Award winners.