January 2012 Issue • Volume 40 • Issue 1

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The ASA Student Forum Advisory Board

Patrick O’Brien, Chair, Student Forum Advisory Board

The ASA Student Forum was created to enhance student representation and involvement within the American Sociological Association. Established by the ASA Council in 1998, the Student Forum provides a valuable resource to represent student members’ ideas, opinions, and scholarship. The Student Forum is managed by the Student Forum Advisory Board (SFAB), a student-elected board of directors whose main purpose is the coordination of Student Forum sessions and workshops at the ASA Annual Meeting and the facilitation of student involvement in the Association.

Each year at the Annual Meeting, the SFAB creates and moderates ASA workshops oriented toward student interests and lifestyles. For example, during the 2011 meeting in Las Vegas, the SFAB held workshops focusing on navigating parenthood in academe and the various types of publication opportunities that are available for students. Furthermore, the SFAB creates ASA paper sessions with the explicit goal to foster student participation. Last year, the SFAB held two paper sessions and a roundtable session dealing with topics such as citizenship rights and public opinion, education, labor, family, and inequality. These sessions only included student presenters, presiders, and organizers in order to provide a comfortable environment for new ASA presenters and provide experience for student members as session organizers and presiders.

A central goal of the SFAB is to facilitate student service and professional development in the ASA. In 2011, the SFAB created an ASA Professional Development Certificate for student members who attend particular sessions, events, or workshops. Through the ideas and hard work of past-Chair, Hephzibah Strmic-Pawl, the Professional Development Certificate rewards student members for attending ASA paper sessions, teaching and professional workshops, and sessions sponsored by the Section on Teaching and Learning.

To help defray the costs of conference travel, the ASA and SFAB make funds available every year to support student members traveling to the ASA annual meetings. Each year the SFAB awards approximately 25 travel awards to student members on a competitive basis www.asanet.org/funding/sfta.cfm. These travel awards are in the amount of $225 each and are awarded at the annual Student Forum Reception, during which student members can network and enjoy light refreshments. In addition, each year the SFAB seeks nominations for Graduate Student Board members and Undergraduate Student Board members. A position as an elected board member to the SFAB is an excellent service position. The eight board members (six graduate officers and two undergraduate officers) work behind the scenes to create ASA paper sessions, workshops, and panels. SFAB elections follow a discipline-wide open nomination process in which any student member of the ASA can be nominated and elected through ASA annual elections to the Student Forum Board of Directors. For more information on elections, contact Brandy Simula at bsimula@emory.edu.

The Student Forum is an invaluable resource for student members of ASA. Simply by becoming a member of the American Sociological Association, any student is automatically a member of the Student Forum with no additional fees associated with membership. For more information about the Student Forum or the Student Forum Advisory Board, please contact Patrick O’Brien or Beth Floyd at studentforum@asanet.org or see the ASA Student Forum page at www.asanet.org/students/forum.cfm.

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