Previous GSA Officers

The Graduate Students’ Association has had hundreds of officers over its 50+ year history. We have caught up with a few of these officers to see what they are up to now and how their time at the GSA has helped them get to where they are today.

Daniel Carr - Former GSA President 2008/09

"Much of what makes my career so rewarding can be traced back to the skills, experiences and passion I gained whilst representing students at the GSA"

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My time as a GSA officer started my love affair with Students’ Unions. I hadn’t been involved in my union as an undergrad and I didn’t really see the appeal. I was drawn in by the GSA’s sports teams and their friendly, inclusive ethos. Eventually I became Sports Officer and I was later elected GSA President.


It gave me all sorts of opportunities – to lead, to grow and to make a difference for students. I worked with a fantastic officer team, met interesting people right across the University and city, and I gained senior leadership experience at a very early stage in my career. Most importantly, I had the chance to press the University to deliver the best environment and support for our students. I was proud of the team I led and I gained so much from my time as an officer. I also met Katherine, who was one of our officer team; we’re now married with two wonderful kids.


My time at the GSA really sold me on Students’ Unions and I’ve been set on an SU career ever since. I’m now Advice and Policy Manager at Northumbria Students’ Union and whilst it isn’t the best paid job, it’s enormously varied and rewarding work. My every day allows me to support and help students, using the skills and leadership attributes I really started to develop during my time at the GSA, and I’m one of those very lucky people who loves the work I do. Much of what makes my career so rewarding can be traced back to the skills, experiences and passion I gained whilst representing students at the GSA.

Kate Stephenson - Former VP: Wellbeing and Community 2016/17

"As Vice President no two days were the same"

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I got involved in the GSA in the first year of my PhD as an Events Officer and I later set up and ran the PhD Network, so standing for a sabbatical role the year I finished my studies was a natural progression.

As Vice President no two days were the same – I might spend my morning in meetings discussing anything from buses to mental health provision, the afternoon working on specific projects and the evening helping to coordinate an event for hundreds of students. I also got to act as a representative of the GSA at graduations, conferences and ceremonies, which was a great deal of fun.

Over the course of the year I learnt a lot about a wide range of things, particularly large-scale event planning and the structure and processes of administration in a large organisation, skills and knowledge that I still use in my current role in the heritage sector (where I’m also putting my history PhD to good use).

Nicola Cooper-Harvey - Former GSA President 2001/02

"I would passionately advocate for the importance of working with the GSA"

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I am currently Head of Student Fees and Funding at the University of Oxford, with responsibility for student fees, scholarships (particularly graduate) and US Loans. This is an interesting and evolving area of work, and links directly back to my interests from my work with the GSA, on financial barriers to postgraduate study and on supporting graduate students.

During my time as President of GSA, I discovered an unexpected passion for higher education administration, while learning how to work in a team and rapidly develop new skills, working at both policy and operational level. The GSA role gave me amazing access to the workings of the University, through sitting on committees from Court, Council and Senate down to local liaison committees. I was able to engage with both academics and administrators at all levels of the university in York, which taught me how to turn an idea into real change to support students – something I continue to strive for today. I would passionately advocate for the importance of working with the GSA. These GSA roles provide unique access to all levels of the University, and carry huge potential to create positive change in a short period, while developing skills that will enhance any career within or beyond universities.