Graduate Student Caucus

With the generous support of NeMLA, the Graduate Student Caucus is able to provide the below privileges for graduate students. Please visit our website for further information about events and opportunities.

Nominations for President and Communications Director (Deadline November 28, 2019)

The Graduate Student Caucus seeks nominations (self-nominations encouraged) for two open positions: President (three-year position) and Communications Director (two-year position).

Nominations are due via email by November 28, 2019, to Christian Ylagan, at Nominations should include the nominee’s name, email address, and institutional affiliation, as well as a brief narrative that outlines the nominee’s experience and involvement with NeMLA, other relevant experience, current graduate status and degree pursued, and details on what the nominee would contribute to the position and the GSC committee. Nominees must be current graduate students.

The election will be held via an online survey shortly after the nomination deadline. All graduate student members of NeMLA will be eligible to vote.

For more information, please email

Graduate Student Caucus Essay Award (Deadline January 15, 2020)

NeMLA awards an annual prize to the best graduate student paper presented at any of the previous three convention’s sessions. The Essay Award is open to any participant who was a graduate student when they presented.

Each caucus prize offers a $100 cash award. Prize-winning essays will automatically be considered for publication by Modern Language Studies; all essays are subject to MLS’s double-blind review. The prize includes mentorship to further improve this essay before submission to MLS

Applications must be sent to with two PDF attachments:

1. Cover sheet with applicant’s name, address, and academic affiliation

2. Revised essay with no identifying information included, which meets the submission criteria below.

Criteria for Graduate Student Caucus Essay Awards

Submitted essays should be between 7,000 and 9,000 words (MLS has a 10,000-word limit, notes and works cited included) and prepared anonymously. Unrevised paper presentations are not eligible. The author’s name, address, and academic affiliation should appear only on a separate cover sheet; DO NOT include author’s name anywhere on the paper itself. Submissions should use MLA citation style.

Submissions not meeting these criteria will not be reviewed.

A list of prior winners is available here.

Annual Convention Events and Opportunities

The Graduate Student Caucus organizes the following events and activities at NeMLA's annual convention.

Details about these events and opportunities, including specific descriptions and scheduling information, are published on the convention pages as they become available.

Travel Awards (Deadline November 4, 2020)

The Graduate Student Caucus provides a number of travel awards to graduate students. The awards are open to any graduate student who has been accepted to present or chair a session at the 52nd Annual Convention in Philadelphia. 

Evaluation is based on the quality of the student’s abstract and the relevance of the topic to the student's respective field. Applications are subject to double-blind review.

Applications must be sent to between October 15 and November 4, 2020, with the following information in the body of the email:

  1. The applicant’s name and email address
  2. The title of the accepted abstract
  3. The accepted abstract
  4. A statement, which must be 250 words or less and must describe the relevance of the presentation to the graduate student’s field of study. If the presentation is part of a larger project, the statement must explain the larger project’s intervention into the field.

Applications not following these guidelines will not be considered.

The deadline for applications has passed. Students can expect to hear from the Graduate Caucus by early December. Awards range from $110 to $500 depending on the number and strength of applications.

Officer Descriptions

Officers include the following:


The President oversees the caucus and is elected triennially. The President serves on the NeMLA board, and as such is the liaison between the graduate student constituency and NeMLA. The President attends both fall and spring board meetings (the fall board meeting is a virtual meeting using conferencing software). Other responsibilities include chairing the Travel Award and Essay Award committee, organizing the Meet and Greet and chairing the business meeting at the NeMLA convention, and assisting other committee members in GSC operations. The President might also propose and chair a GSC session at the yearly convention.

Vice President

This is a two-year position. The Vice President assists the President with caucus affairs. The Vice President is responsible for administrating the Travel Awards and Essay Award, holding GSC elections, and conducting the GSC post-convention survey. The Vice President will also propose and chair a GSC session at the yearly convention.

Communications Director

This is a two-year position involving both internal communications and external communications. The Communications Director manages the GSC web presence and facilitates collaboration with graduate students at host-city institutions. In addition, the Communication Director compiles a list of “Grad-Friendly Food” options near the convention and assists in Travel Award evaluations and Essay Award evaluations. The Communications Director might also propose and chair a GSC session at the yearly convention.

Current Officers

Vice President and Graduate Caucus Board Representative

Christian Ylagan, University of Western Ontario

Communications Director

Dana Gavin, Old Dominion University