Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue
GSS Awards Samual Affar

Affar Wins at GSS Awards

Samuel Affar, an industrial and systems engineering PhD student, was awarded “Outstanding Graduate Student Senator” and “Excellence in Service” at the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) Awards Brunch 2024 Program.

“When I embarked on my graduate journey at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, I aspired to not only excel academically but also make a meaningful impact on our student community,” Affar said. “Receiving this recognition affirms that I’ve made strides toward those goals, and it encourages me to continue striving to be a valuable and influential member of our community.”

The “Outstanding Graduate Student Senator” award recognizes graduate senators who have shown outstanding commitment to the organization, its vision, and the graduate and professional student experience.

The “Excellence in Service” award is presented to graduate and professional students who exemplify extraordinary leadership, participates in service learning or other community initiatives, and/or provides service leadership to their academic discipline through service in professional organizations.

GSS group photo

During the 2022-2023 academic year, Affar joined GSS and served on the Institutional Advocacy Committee. He is now the senate chair in the Executive Committee of GSS as well as one of the senators representing the graduate students of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

“As the senate chair of GSS, I serve as the presiding officer of all the senate sessions, collaborate with the executive committee to set the agenda, manage the roster of senators, and actively recruit new senators to fill vacant seats,” said Affar. “I also enthusiastically participate in GSS events and extend support to fellow senate members whenever my schedule permits.”

Affar was part of a group that helped establish the Nigerian Student Association (NSA) at UT by convincing initial members to join, drafting the constitution, organizing an inaugural meeting, and building an electoral committee. He was also elected as the organization’s first-ever president during the 2023-2024 academic year.

With NSA, Affar aims to support other Nigerians and teach the UT community more about Nigeria. As the fourth largest international student group on campus, NSA is committed to showcasing the uniqueness of Nigeria and help both current and incoming students succeed academically while fostering cultural diversity and unity.

“As the first president of the Nigerian Student Association at UT, I work closely with the executives to create structures and organize events that would cater for social and professional needs of Nigerian students and everyone willing to be part of the society,” Affar said. “We work hand in hand with other student associations on campus and the international house to create a healthy environment for the members of the society and ensure that they have an all-round experience during their stay here at UT.”


Lilly Tran (