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We are the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) Graduate Student Association, also known as “The GSA”. The GSA is an advocacy group for the graduate students in the Department of Marine Science, working to improve the life of our students through activities, community outreach, and communication with the administration.  The University of Texas at Austin Graduate Student Assembly represents the interests of all UT Austin graduate students at the University level, while we work primarily on concerns specific to Marine Science graduate students with our department's faculty and administration.  For instance, we bring concerns about degree programs and student services to the attention of the administration and have regular meetings to communicate the state-of-the-students to our Director.

New graduate students typically spend their first academic semester or two taking classes at the main campus in Austin. Typically there are 15-20 graduate students working at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas with an additional 5-10 first year graduate students studying in Austin.

Graduate students and faculty engage in diverse areas of research, from seal behavior in Antarctica to seagrass reproduction in subtropical waters. Other areas of interest include fish migration, Arctic carbon cycling, food web studies, nitrogen cycling in sediments, phytoplankton ecology and many other topics.

Port Aransas is a small town, separate from Austin and the main UT campus, with its own unique culture. Many students walk or bike to work, and you can take a lunch break on the beach. We have a close knit department, with many collaborations between faculty, staff and students. Faculty have an open-door policy, and are more than happy to answer questions about their research or science more generally. The GSA encourages senior students to be available for anyone who might have questions about navigating graduate school, and our administrative staff is an excellent source of information as well. Given our isolation, the department as a whole works hard to be as cohesive and welcoming as possible. 

There is, of course, more to life in Port Aransas than just school and research. In addition to the GSA's scholastic advocacy we also have an equally large social component. We try to keep things fun and entertaining for graduate students during their respites from academics by helping to organize social outings, as well as athletic and recreational events. We also provide access to surfboards, kayaks, and beach gear to help our grads unwind during their free time. We now have a gym that is available for all MSI students and staff,  and we continue to work on improving this facility. 

We hope that you use the resources here to learn more about the GSA, what it is like to be a graduate student at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, and what it is like to live in Port Aransas and Austin.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

-Victoria Congdon-
GSA President
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