Graduate Student Organization (GSO)

GSO cabin

The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) serves as a forum for all graduate students in Department of Biological Sciences, including those in the MCDB and EE graduate programs. Several meetings are held throughout the year in which any concerns of graduate students can be addressed and planning of social functions occurs. The GSO works to maintain intra-departmental relations between graduate students and faculty. The GSO’s major events include:

  • An annual BBQ, which welcomes the incoming graduate class to the department!  This event provides the incoming class with a chance to meet and talk to graduate students in all of the labs before the school year begins!
  • A departmental happy hour which provides food and drinks to the department as well as games including Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution, and Wii Sports!   This event is attended by both faculty and students and allows leads to some friendly video game competition!
  • The annual graduate retreat!  This winter retreat is held at a log cabin in Powdermill Nature Reserve!  This is the perfect opportunity to get away for the weekend, walk in the woods, and hang out with the rest of the graduate students!  And if you are interested in skiing, the biggest ski resort in the area is just down the road!


GSO2The GSO recently established Social Workshops, which run throughout the year.  These workshops are organized and designed by graduate students and provide a relaxed atmosphere where students can discuss topics comfortably.  Current workshops include an introductory workshop for first year graduate students, “How to get to and survive writing your dissertation”, “An overview of career options”, and “Garnering fellowships and awards”.


The very successful invited speaker program was implemented by the GSO and allows graduate students the opportunity to nominate, select, and host distinguished speakers to the department. Because eminent scientists find it difficult to refuse an invitation from graduate students, the GSO has been successful in recruiting top-notch scientists from around the world; previous speakers have included Drs. Susan Linquist, Paul Rainey, John Roth, W. Ford Doolittle, Jeff Kelly, Forest Rowher, Rick Young, and Charlie Boone.  
The GSO functions largely on money budgeted by the University of Pittsburgh Student Government Board, in addition to money and time donated by the graduate students.


Questions regarding GSO can be directed to the current president, Grace Colletti.