Grad students, are you looking to be more involved?!

Alyssa Wendel, Membership Coordinator

May 31, 2019

The NASPA Graduate Associate Program (GAP) is an opportunity for graduate students to expand leadership skills while learning about and supporting higher ed’s premiere student affairs member association.  NASPA GAPs serve as representatives of the Association within their institution, empowered by training and facilitation from the NASPA staff.  GAPs benefit from the chance to develop collectively as a cohort, working to execute onsite and in-person events for new and prospective NASPA members at institutions across the country. 

Each GAP cohort supports each other through degree completion and career development by serving as a peer group to share ideas to navigate the challenges of being a graduate student.  GAPs also have the opportunity to serve as a NASPA Annual Conference intern, enjoying an expense-paid trip to be an integral part of the behind-the-scenes operations of SA’s largest gathering.

Hear what current Region IV-West GAP students had to share about their experience:

 “The Graduate Associate Program helped truly build strong connections within NASPA and helped build professional development opportunities for all types of students. Through this program it has helped me find so many ways to get not only involved with NASPA as a whole but the Region IV-West family.” –Patrick Bussiere, University of Northern Colorado.

“One highlight for me was getting to know so many people and reconnecting with others from across the country. One of my strengths is WOO and so knowing that I have so many people that I can bounce ideas off and learn from is one of the best parts of being involved as a NASPA GAP!”—Jessica Conklin, Fort Hays State University.

“I decided to participate in the GAP program because I wanted to continue my involvement with NASPA after my board position ended. Luckily, being enrolled in a graduate program allowed me to be eligible to participate in this student program. The GAP program is an excellent way for a student to become more involved with NASPA. You can quickly become acquainted with other graduate students from across the country and make connections. Through a Facebook group and the GroupMe app, our cohort quickly found it easy to connect with each other. These were places to ask for advice, vent about grad school stress, and make plans to meet up at conferences. GAP also allows students to connect with full-time NASPA staff. Monthly conference calls were held, each one going more in-depth into particular areas of interest within NASPA and various other topics. The biggest benefit, in my opinion, is this is the group of students eligible to apply to be NASPA Annual Conference interns. I was fortunate enough to be selected and loved the experience. The time commitment to the program is relatively small and the benefit is great, I would recommend it to any student interested in becoming more involved in NASPA.”—Jessica Langston, Northeastern State University.

“I wanted to get involved in the GAP program because I was looking for ways to get more involved on campus. GAP encourages students to create programming to recruit students, in particular, into NASPA student programs. I wanted to get involved with our student government organizations and learn more about the registered student organizations we had on campus to show them how to get more involved. My favorite part of being an ambassador has been the camaraderie that all the GAPs have exhibited. Everyone is really helpful and wants everyone else to be successful, so they're always sharing how to make programs better, job openings that are available in the field, and information about applying to doctoral level programs. It's also been really great to see what all the other GAPs love about their campus with the #NASPAGAP and #askagap takeover that the GAPs did on the @naspagrads instagram for the 100 year anniversary of NASPA. It was a quick and easy opportunity to see how different campuses around the country looked and functioned distinctly from my own. I have enjoyed the fact that NASPA has shown through the creation of this program that they care about the fact that graduate students are the next generation of Student Affairs professionals, and I encourage anyone to take the opportunity to apply to be a GAP next year.”—Shirlyn Davenport, University of Arkansas.

Applications are now open for the 2019-2020 cohort until July 1, 2019.  Apply at

If you have any questions, please contact Alyssa Wendel, [email protected].

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