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Graduate Student Affairs Council (GSAC)

Mission Statement

The purpose of this organization is to provide professional development and offer a support structure for graduate students studying or working in the student affairs field. GSAC provides social, professional, and academic opportunities to enhance the holistic development of the future of student affairs professionals.

What We Do

  • Site visits to other universities
  • Professional development workshops
  • Conferences
  • Socials
  • Service Learning
  • Fundraisers

Member Benefits

  • Scholarships for professional development (up to three $100 scholarships awarded per semester)
  • Graduation stole
  • Member T-shirt
  • Networking

2018 GSAC Executive Board Members

Zoe McSwain Jackson | Executive Director

Zoe McSwain Jackson Executive Director

Hometown: Houston, TX

Undergraduate Degree: Psychology

Graduate Degree: SAHE

Why Student Affairs: After completing an internship in the Student Involvement Office during my senior year of college, I realized that I had a genuine passion for connecting with students and helping to make their undergrad experience just as meaningful as mine was.

Area(s) of interest after graduation: Admissions or Advising

Hobbies/Interests: Running, baking, reading, music (making it and listening to it), and hanging out with my husband and cat


Carlie Caruthers | Director of Administration

Carlie Caruthers director of administration

Hometown: North Richland Hills, TX

Undergraduate degree: BA in Communication, BS in Hospitality Administration from Arkansas Tech University

Graduate Degree: Student Affairs in Higher Education

Why student affairs: The Student Affairs professionals I got to know in undergrad changed my life. They helped me develop as a person and shape my college experience into something great. I want to be able to be that person that can act as a guide for students and to be able to help them as they develop and work through the transitions in their lives.

What I like most about GSAC: I like the different events we get to have. Whether it is a campus visit to another university or a game night social we have fun while promoting learning about our field, ourselves, and our members.

Areas of interest after graduation: I am interested in student life, alumni relations, and academic advising; however, I am always looking to learn more about other functional areas in the field.

Hobbies/interests: spending time with family, reading, watching movies, painting, baking, and collecting pineapples.

Samantha Thornton | Director of Professional Development

Sam Thornton of Professional Development

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Undergraduate Degree: B.S. in Psychology & B.S. in Child Development from UT Dallas

Graduate Degree: M. Ed. in Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE)

Why Student Affairs: I found my passion as an orientation leader at UTD, and I had so many helpful advisors throughout my college career. I want to build similarly inclusive and engaging community programs for future students because the college experience has so much to offer.

What you like most about GSAC: I love the opportunities to learn more at our meetings and events. I also really enjoy connecting with other students and professionals through these activities.

Area of interest after graduation: Residential Life, Orientation, and Health & Wellness Programming

Hobbie/Interests: Listening to music, staying active, and trying new foods


Adam K. Mitchell | Director of Finance

Adam Mitchell director of finance

Hometown: Albert, NM

Undergraduate Degree: B.S. Agriculture Business/Agriculture Economics

Graduate Degree: M.Ed. Student Affairs in Higher Education

Why Student Affairs: While at New Mexico State University the area that had the most significant impact on my life was not my time in a classroom, but my extracurricular activities. I was active in my fraternity, my college, and in the student body. These activities helped grow the passion I have to help develop leadership skills in the people and students I encounter.

Area(s) of interest after graduation: Fraternity/Sorority Life or Student Leadership Programs

Hobbies/Interests: Being outside, binge-watching TV shows, watching movies (What We Do in the Shadows), or hanging out with friends, and making new memories

Lanita Legan | GSAC Advisor andAssociate Director of the LBJ Student Center

Lanita Legan advisor

Hometown:  Walden, Colorado

Undergraduate Degree:  B.A.  Communication, University of Northern Colorado

Graduate Degree:  M.Ed.  College Student Personnel Administration, Colorado State University

Why Student Affairs:  As a collegian, I found my out of classroom experiences to be excellent opportunities to practice leadership and organizational development.  When I discovered that I could have a career in doing just that, I was hooked!  Making a difference in students’ lives since then has been my mission and my passion!

What I like about GSAC:  This is an amazing group of students with whom to work.  They are passionate about their chosen career field and about bringing exceptional experiences to their cohort to enhance their academic work.  It is with great pleasure and pride that I serve as their advisor.

Hobbies/Interests: Golf, camping, reading, travel, my two dogs, family, photography, home improvement projects (of late).

GSAC Professional Development Scholarship

This scholarship will financially support members of the Graduate Student Affairs Council who choose to expand their student experience through various professional development opportunities.  This scholarship covers up to $100 of a given registration fee for a professional development conference or webinar; reimbursement of registration or travel fees for a professional development conference or webinar; or a professional development non-textbook resource. Each academic year, the Graduate Student Affairs Council will award up to three $100 scholarships in the fall and spring semesters or a total of six scholarships for the year.