About the GSA

GSA VP Labour

GSA Vice-President Labour 2018-2019: Beth Richardson 

"The Vice-President Labour is responsible for labour-related matters concerning academically-employed graduate students (including collective bargaining) and other issues as assigned." (GSA Bylaw and Policy, Section D: GSA Officers, GSA Bylaw, Section D.BYL.2.2.d).

E-Mail: gsa.vplabour@ualberta.ca

Biography: GSA VP LAbour Beth Richardson

I obtained my bacheloand master degree in AnimaI grew up in a small town in Oxfordshire, in the south of England. I got interested in science from visiting the museums in Oxford, and I worked at the Oxford University Natural History Museum when I was in high school (my job involved cleaning the tarantula cages). After leaving school, I went to the University of Cambridge to study Natural Sciences and focused my love of all things small and wiggly on microbiology. I moved to Edmonton in the summer of 2014 to research microbes that live in the Alberta oil sands, and have since diversified my PhD into the overall evolutionary weirdness of various single-celled eukaryotes. My attempts to integrate into Canadian society include playing hockey extremely badly, eating maple syrup extremely well, and wearing a lot of plaid. I also love science outreach and communication; I work a lot with various outreach organisations on campus, and post pictures of cool-looking cells on Twitter. In my spare time I try to convince people I actually went to Hogwarts.


I am a 4th year PhD candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences studying the evolution of single-celled eukaryotes. My research is primarily computational, and involves comparing genes across the diversity of eukaryotic life in order to identify adaptive trends associated with various environmental and evolutionary selection pressures. I have worked as a teaching assistant several classes within the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, and have given lectures within the MMI371 Bacterial Pathogenesis course. I also held an RA position in the Department of Political Sciences in 2016, focused on overcoming barriers to individual action on climate change within communities.

Outside of academic study, my time at the U of A has focused mainly on science outreach. I have been a site co-ordinator for Let’s Talk Science for three years, specialising in volunteer engagement and biomedical education. I have run the Let’s Talk Science UAlberta social media and organise training and social activities for current volunteers.

I was also Graduate Student Co-ordinator at the Centre For Global Education, which connects students from around the world to political action on issues affecting youth, such as climate change. I believe passionately in equal access to graduate education and academia. During my Master’s degree I was Disabilities Officer at my college, Murray Edwards, and ensured that people with both physical and mental health issues were able to fully access the teaching and resources available at the University of Cambridge. I joined the Cell Biology Student Association as GSA representative to advocate for my peers at the university level.