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.


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

The Graduate Student Caucus provides a number of travel awards to graduate students. The awards are open to any graduate student (including international students) who has been accepted to present or chair a session at the Annual Convention.

Evaluation is based on the quality of the student’s abstract, the quality of the accompanying statement, and the relevance of their topic in their respective fields. The argument should be well-articulated and understandable to someone outside the field.

GSC Travel Awardees may only receive one travel award, and may not be the recipient of any other travel award for the same conference.

Applicants must submit, in the body of an email to, the following:

  • the accepted abstract and its title (if the accepted abstract is in a non-English language, submit BOTH the original abstract and an English translation)
  • a statement of no more than 250 words describing the presentation's relevance, contribution, or intervention to the research field to their field

Applications not following the guidelines will not be considered. Decisions by the Travel Awards Committee are final.

Please send abstracts and statements to between October 15 and November 4. Students can expect to hear from the Graduate Caucus by early December. Awards range from $110 to $400 depending on the number and strength of applications.

Checks will only be available in paper format and released directly to Travel Awardees at the NeMLA conference. Travel Awardees are responsible for confirming that their bank will accept a paper check from NeMLA (i.e., awards cannot be sent as a wire transfer, bank fees are the responsibility of the award recipient).

Travel Awardees must pick up their award checks at the NeMLA convention for the year they receive it at the GSC Business Meeting (typically held on Thursday evening). If Travel Awardees cannot be in attendance at the Business Meeting, GSC officers will share the window of time when awards may be claimed at the GSC table in the Exhibit Hall during the conference. Please note that the GSC is unable to mail out unclaimed travel awards to their recipients.

Graduate Student Caucus Essay Award (Deadline January 15)

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.

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.

Criteria for Graduate Student Caucus Essay Awards

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


Dana Gavin, Old Dominion University

Vice President

Christian Ylagan, University of Western Ontario

Communications Director

Samadrita Kuiti, University of Connecticut