First ESPM Distinguished Service Award given to PhD Candidate Brad Balukjian

May 14, 2013
Brad Balukjian

Brad Balukjian received the Inaugural ESPM Distinguished Service Award during GradFest 2013, Photo courtesy of Katy Seto

The ESPM Graduate Student Association honored graduating PhD student Brad Balukjian with the newly created ESPM Distinguished Service Award. This award officially recognizes a member of the ESPM community who has worked hard to improve the department.

Brad was nominated for the award with the full support of the ESPM graduate student body and the ESPM Graduate Student Association.

"Brad epitomizes what we hope this award represents: the current ESPM graduate student experience would be drastically worse without Brad's tireless work and fight for funding, resources, and great ideas to improve the department and graduate services and graduate life", wrote fellow graduate student in an email to the department chair.

Following is a list of Brad's accomplishments to improve life in ESPM:

2007-08: First ever ESPM Grad Student Coordinator

  • Pioneered Web site for all ESPM grad students
  • Pioneered ESPM coffee and happy hours, still ongoing
  • Pioneered professional development workshop series (Straight Talk) for ESPM grad students
  • Organized first-ever Visit Day for prospective students
  • Served on Graduate Programs Committee, attended all ESPM faculty meetings

2009-2010: Grad student rep to O&E faculty

  • Pioneered Essig Brunch seminar series, ongoing
  • Conducted first ever department-wide grad student satisfaction survey

2010-11: Grad Student Symposium Coordinator

  • Expanded symposium to include a career panel and networking mixer
  • Conducted first-ever grad student career survey

2011-12: Graduate Programs Committee Rep

  • Headed initiative to improve teaching in ESPM
  • Co-led pedagogy seminar and led development of a new teaching evaluation form for GSIs
  • Served on ESPM admissions committee, read applications for O&E students
  • Participated in CNR Vision Committee retreat with Swirl marketing firm for repositioning and rebranding of the college.


  • Developed the Graduate Student Support Fund