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GEA Board works to bring back community during an online academic year

The Graduate Education Association (GEA) helps connect students in the School of Education to the faculty, community, and each other. The organization’s board members represent the graduate student body by helping to make the School of Education more inclusive and accessible to all students, connecting students to the surrounding area through service projects and representing the School of Education within the broader William & Mary community. 

While this year’s board members have had the challenging task of connecting students together during a pandemic that has made people feel more detached than ever before, their goals are to work together to increase student engagement and create a sense of community, even from home. 

Meet the 2020-2021 GEA Board

Chris Ellis M.A.Ed. ’21


Chris is pursuing an M.A.Ed. in the Secondary Social Studies program. He has a passion for teaching and ensuring students have a safe and engaging learning environment. Prior to coming to William & Mary, Chris earned his undergraduate degree in Secondary Education from Purdue University. He retired from the United States Army after 26 years of service and served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, and Saudi Arabia. Chris loves scuba diving and is a certified dive instructor. He looks forward to leading the GEA board and advocating for all students.

“I have always advocated in the best interests for my classmates with the faculty. I hope to get the organization restarted before several of us graduate in May. We look to hold new elections next month, and have at least two events prior to the spring semester ending.”

Tori LeFevre M.Ed.
Vice President

Tori is a second-year master’s student in the Higher Education program. She graduated from Longwood University in 2019 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Communication Studies and Criminal Justice. She is also the Leadership Programs Graduate Assistant for the Office of Student Leadership Development.

“During my time on the board, I hope to help create bonds between different programs of the School of Education. Being a part of the Higher Education master’s program, I would love to create bonds outside of my program and have others be able to do the same.”

Kristal Cherry M.Ed.
Projects Representative

Kristal is a student in the School Counseling program at William & Mary. She wants to be a school counselor in a secondary school and advocate for the youth in her community to have reliable resources and opportunities to better their futures. She graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and human services counseling. 

“During my time on the board, I hope to establish positive connections with my peers, as well as provide opportunities and events that would be helpful and engage students in the School of Education.”

David Harger
’11, Ph.D. ’24
Graduate Council Representative

David Harger is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Higher Education program. He is also a graduate assistant and has research interests in LGBTQ+ and international topics. 

“I hope to continue to make the GEA a place all students feel welcome in approaching and who feel represented by the work being done on campus.”

Stephanie McGuire
’12, M.A.Ed. ’13, Ph.D. ’24
Graduate Council Representative

Stephanie is a first-year Ph.D. student in the K-12 Administration program. She also has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an M.A.Ed. in elementary education from William & Mary. She loves all things Tribe Pride and W&M, especially the traditions! She is a former kindergarten teacher and is passionate about children and growing their love of learning. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys running, baking, crafting, relaxing to a predictable Hallmark movie, and hunting for the best donut shop in town. 

“I hope to connect departments, cohorts, and programs into a united SOE community. We can all learn from each other, have unique practicum and research experiences, and when we bring ideas and stories together, I think that is where the magic happens. So I hope to facilitate conversations and events that will bring everyone under the SOE together and see where that magic can take us!”

Geri Beamer M.Ed.
Student Assembly Representative

Geri is a student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. She is hoping to foster a great relationship between the GEA and student assembly and is excited to help create a more accessible space for online students. 

Timothy Hughes M.A.Ed. ’21
Honor Council Chair

Chris is pursuing an M.A.Ed. in the Secondary Social Studies program. He also has a master’s in International Relations from East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. His goal is to teach history at an International Baccalaureate program in the US or abroad. He enjoys sports, learning new languages, reading The New York Times, swing dancing, and eating spicy food. He looks forward to serving the community and William & Mary on the GEA Board.

“During my time on the Board, I would like to standardize the processes involved in overseeing and adjudicating violations of the Honor Code. I decided my background would be a good fit for this position because I have experience adjudicating violations similar to the ones the Honor Council oversees.”