Student Representation in the WLA

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Posts Tagged ‘WLA graduate student representation’

Student Representation in the WLA

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Graduate Student Representative
Over the years, more and more graduate students have started attending the annual Western Literature Association Conference. Now every fifth member of the Western Literature Association is a graduate student. Therefore, since 2001, the association’s Executive Council has included a Graduate Student Representative who is elected by the membership at large. Beginning in 2011, two grad student representatives serve on the council. Each graduate student representative serves a two-year term, and a new representative is elected each year.

Each Grad Rep’s responsibilities include:

  • being a voting member of the association’s governing body, the Executive Council, which makes decisions about the conferences and the running of the association’s scholarly journal
  • attending the pre-conference Executive Council meeting to act on behalf of the graduate student membership
  • being an active participant in the yearly conferences and most of their related events
  • organizing and moderating a panel at the yearly conference on some aspect of career and professionalization issues (he or she is usually assisted in this by a regular member of the association).
  • During the second year, the grad rep will be a committee member for selection of the Owens Awards.

If you are interested in submitting your name for nomination as Grad Student Representative, please contact the current WLA president. Note: The Graduate Student Reps are appointed for two years, and the Western Literature Association expects that appointment to be carried out. So please don’t nominate yourself or accept a nomination for Graduate Student Rep if you expect to finish your degree before the end of spring semester of your second year.

Know your current graduate student representatives:

Surabhi Balachander (rep. 2019-2022)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Surabhi Balachander grew up in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, and graduated from Stanford University with a BA in English and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Surabhi is currently a PhD student in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. She also works part-time at the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. Her research focuses on rurality, race, and environment in American literature from 1920 to the present.
Surabhi Balachander

Surabhi Balachander


Sarah Jane Kerwin (rep. 2021-2023)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Sarah Jane Kerwin is a PhD candidate in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. She studies early- to mid-twentieth-century American literature, focusing in particular on the US West, settler colonialism, and the environment. Her dissertation explores mobile and temporary relationships with place in western literature, in order to ask how a serious consideration of transience might invite alternative forms of ecological attention. For the time being, she lives in a small town in Colorado. 

Student representative Sarah Jane Kerwin standing in the woods by a babbling brook in Estes Park at the 2019 WLA Conference

Sarah Jane Kerwin in Estes Park at the 2019 WLA Conference

Past Graduate Student Reps:

Jillian Moore Bennion, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, 2018-2021
Jes Lopez, Michigan State University, 2017-2019
Rachel Heise Bolten, Stanford University, 2016-2018
Landon Lutrick, University of Nevada, Reno, 2015-2017
Sylvan Goldberg, Stanford University, 2014-2016
Jaquelin Pelzer, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2013-2015
William V. Lombardi, University of Nevada, Reno, 2012-2014
Ashley Reis, University of North Texas, 2011-2013
Matt Lavin, University of Iowa, 2010-2012
Kerry Fine, Texas Tech University, 2008-2011
Angela Waldie, University of Calgary, 2006-2008
Drucilla Wall, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2005-2006
Matthew R. Burkhart, University of Arizona, 2003-2005
Anne L. Kaufman, University of Maryland, 2001-2003


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