Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate Student Service Award Nomination Process

Carnegie Mellon’s Graduate Student Service Award is given annually to a graduate student who has advanced the interests of fellow graduate students, improved their quality of life on campus and/or contributed to the larger academic community.

Examples of service commitment can include but are not limited to:

  • evidence of leadership on university, department or graduate student committees
  • leadership in student organizations or activities supporting current graduate student interests on campus or in the community
  • support of current graduate student interests on campus or in the community
  • development and/or activity with service programs
  • service with local or national organizations representing Carnegie Mellon graduate students
  • service with local or national organizations advancing graduate student interests
  • activities advancing an inclusive climate and culture

Current graduate students at the university who have demonstrated outstanding service in their department, college or the broader academic community are eligible to be nominated for the award. Students who have been nominated in the past or received honorable mention may be nominated again. However, previous winners of the award are ineligible for nomination.  Graduate students who are currently in Executive Committee roles for the Graduate Student Assembly are also ineligible for nomination.

The award selection committee consists of:

  • faculty
  • staff
  • graduate students
  • undergraduate students
  • the chairperson of the committee (the assistant vice provost for graduate education, a non-voting member)

The selection committee adopts its own rules of procedure.

Nomination packages may be submitted by any member of the university community and should describe the qualities and activities of the nominee that make him or her an excellent candidate for the award. Students who excel in their service related to teaching should be nominated for the Graduate Student Teaching Award. Students who participate in service learning courses and educational outreach that positively impacts the community can also be nominated for the Gelfand Student Service Award.

Packages must include:

  • a nomination letter (not to exceed three pages) addressed to the selection committee summarizing the individual’s accomplishments and impact in the community
  • up to five additional letters of recommendation (hard copies or emails) from faculty, staff, current and former students or other colleagues who have substantive knowledge of the nominee’s service activities. A supporting letter compiling comments from various sources (such as five to 10 faculty or students in a department) will also be accepted and counted as a single letter of recommendation.
  • additional supporting materials that should represent the quality of the nominee’s service accomplishments and information about the direct service. This might include executive summaries, program/service information of activities initiated by the nominee, promotional materials, brochures and/or other materials that represent the services identified in the nomination or supporting letters

It is recommended that the nominator discuss the nomination with the student so they can get a robust picture of all the areas the student engages in service and the motivation behind their activities. This information can greatly enhance a nomination letter. If the student has a list of service activities in their resume/C.V., this can be submitted as part of the additional supporting materials.

A single PDF file of the complete nomination package must be submitted by midnight on the second Sunday in February to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs.  The file name and subject line of the email should be: SERVICE AWARD NOMINATION Nominee First Name, Nominee Last Name.  Questions should be directed to

Both the Graduate Student Teaching and Service Awards will be be recognized at the Celebration of Education event in the spring. The recipients will receive a monetary award and have their names displayed on a placque in the Cohon University Center.