Meet the Graduate Student Government Executive Officers

President: Anthony Hessel

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Anthony Hessel is a Biology PhD candidate at Northern Arizona University. His main area of focus is skeletal muscle physiology and is currently an Achievement Award for College Scientists (ARCS) Scholar. Over the last three years, he has served as a director on several higher education lobby, non-for-profit board of directors. These include: The Arizona Students' Association, The Foundation of Arizona Students, the United States Students' Association and the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students. He is also the current Vice President of the NAU Graduate Student Government and the graduate student representative to the NAU Biology department's graduate student selection committee. He is committed to keeping NAU graduate students in tune with the political landscape at the local, state and national level. If you ever want to learn more about a particular legislative bill, the relationship between the State and school, or anything else, please do not hesitate to get in touch (

Vice President of Academic Affairs: Uzma Tahir


I completed my undergraduate and master’s degrees in Biology form Georgia State University under the direction of Dr. Donald Edwards. For both degrees, I emphasized in neuroscience and behavior.  For my masters project I studied how a local postural reflex is modulated during a centrally commanded movement. I am currently a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Kiisa Nishikawa, studying how different inputs from the nervous system  change intrinsic muscle properties. I perform experiments in isolated  soleus muscles and test them under varying levels of activation and length changes to determine mechanisms underlying basic muscle physiology. I then take what I learn from these experiments to modify a neuro-muscular based control algorithm for a robotic prosthesis based on intrinsic muscle properties.

Vice President of Legislative Affairs: Lauren Savoie

Lauren is a graduate student studying to receive her master of fine arts degree in creative writing, with a concentration in fiction. She works as a graduate teaching assistant, teaching English and tutoring in the Writing Commons. Her focus is on environmental writing, horror, queer and gender writing. Her plan is to keep the graduate student community at NAU informed regarding issues ranging from national to local that may affect us as graduate students, and to do her best to promote diversity, safety, and unity on campus. 

Chief of Staff: Jonathon Donager (neé Donald)

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Jonathon came to Flagstaff after completing his master's degree in Reno, NV examining pinon-juniper range expansion in the Great Basin. He wandered for several years after obtaining a degree in Linguistics before deciding to go back to school and get a graduate degree. He stumbled into geography, ecology, and large data-sets, which allowed him to discover his natural talents in spatial thinking and analysis, and is now on track to become the first PhD in his family. Currently, he is examining how forest management influences snowpack and watershed health. He arrived at NAU in 2014 and almost immediately began working in Graduate Student Government, this being his third year with GSG. His work with the organization has fueled a desire for service and management and fulfills a need outside academic research.