NAU Graduate Student Government
Advocating for all graduate students at NAU
The NAU Graduate Student Government (GSG) represents and advocates for the graduate student body within university administration and local, state, and national governing bodies. If you are interested in one of the vacant positions, please email GSG@nau.edu.
Graduate Student Government Officers
Graduate Student Government representatives
Officer Biographies Accordion Closed
REBECCA SEEGER (President, Fall 2022 term)
Following a 30-year career in the U.S. Air Force, Rebecca N. Seeger is a third-year doctoral candidate in the Curriculum and Instruction program at Northern Arizona University. Her research interests revolve around the benefits of higher education within the correctional education system. Rebecca began her higher education journey at NAU in 1976. She was a member of the D1 Basketball Team for three years and the D1 Softball Team for one year. After graduating in 1980, she joined the Air Force and continued a lifelong love of learning, earning a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering and MA in Strategic Studies before retiring as a Colonel in 2011. Taking advantage of the GI Bill, Rebecca returned to NAU to pursue a BS in Digital Photography, graduating in 2013. Rebecca serves as a volunteer within the community having served on the Governor’s Military Affairs Commission, on the Vice President of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Camp Navajo Foundation Board Member, and on the Lance Davison Memorial Stand Down leadership team. She has also volunteered with Sedona Wolf Week, NAU Athletics Wine and Dine, NAU Athletics mentoring program, Women and Girls in Sports Day, and serves as a Coconino County poll worker. Finally, she established two NAU endowments – Women’s Basketball and Soccer. Rebecca’s goal is to bring her extensive leadership experience and values of integrity, service, and excellence to the Graduate Student Government to serve her fellow graduate students at NAU.
TAYLOR LYSTER (Chief of Staff)
Taylor Lyster is a third-year School Psychology educational specialist student at NAU’s North Valley Campus. Previously, Taylor received an Associate’s degree at Imperial Valley College and then a Bachelor’s at San Diego State University – Imperial Valley. She started her journey in leadership in 6th grade where she found her passion in advocating for others’ visions for their school site and its environment. Most recently, she served as Community Campus Representative in NAU’s Graduate Student Government for the academic year 2020-2021 and as Chief of Staff for the academic year 2021-2022. She is eager to jump back into this role of advocating for the best interests of all graduate students. She hopes to continue pushing for positive change at the university, local, state, and national levels. Her prior experiences, coupled with her leadership skills and eagerness to learn, make her more determined to step into the executive team of the Graduate Student Government. Her goal is to address the questions and concerns of graduate students in all programs and accommodate their needs to ensure the best experiences at Northern Arizona University.
MARIA (MASHA) KOSTROMITINA (President, Spring 2023 term)
Maria (Masha) Kostromitina is a third-year PhD student in Applied Linguistics. Before starting her doctoral studies, Masha obtained an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language degree from NAU. Having fallen in love with Flagstaff and its community as well as with the program, she decided to stay in northern Arizona and continue her education. Her research interests include second language psycholinguistics and pragmatics; she has also been involved in corpus linguistics research projects. Currently, as a graduate teaching assistant in the English Department, she is teaching ENG 105 and ENG 205 to both ESL and domestic students. Extracurricularly, Masha serves as the President of the Graduate Student Association of Applied Linguistics (GSAAL) of NAU. In her free time, she enjoys playing the violin in a local band, exploring beautiful northern Arizona, and spending time with her fiancé and two cats. Masha is thrilled to serve as the Vice President of University Affairs for this year. In this role, Masha hopes to build an environment that empowers and supports all graduate students at NAU and promotes students’ access to opportunities for academic and personal growth. She can be reached at email@example.com.
LAUREN DIDESCH (Vice-President of External Affairs)
Lauren Didesch is a second year student at the Northern Arizona University North Valley Campus in Phoenix. She is working towards her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the College of Educational Psychology. She aims to work as a therapist for couples and families, and in Equestrian Assisted Psychotherapy. Lauren previously worked in research in neurobehavioral sciences with a contract research lab testing medical treatments for their efficacy and safety. During her undergraduate studies, she worked as a Water Safety Instructor with the United States Marine Corps. She has a Master of Science degree in Forensic Psychology, and a background in linguistics. Lauren is bilingual in English and French, and has lived in France, England, and Japan. Her hobbies include throwing pottery, photography, and swimming. In her free time, she blogs about body positivity, fashion, and inclusivity. She has volunteered with Meals on Wheels, Feeding America, and the Easter Seals foundation. Lauren is a part of the LGBTQ+ community and aims to represent love and equality in student government. Lauren’s goal is to serve her community by bringing each of our unique and diverse voices to the table.
YAZHMIN DOZAL (Vice-President of Internal Affairs)
Having served as the Director of Climate Action for GSG in 2021-2022, Yazhmin Dozal is excited to see what she is able to accomplish as VP of internal affairs. Yazhmin is a second year master’s candidate in the Environmental Science and Policy program. Her research focuses on the aquatic habitat preferences of Culex mosquitoes in Northern Arizona. She is currently co-president for her program’s student government. Yazhmin hopes to be an available resource for graduate students and promote students’ voices and academic growth.
Representative Biographies Accordion Closed
KATIE SCHOLLER (Representative for the College of Arts and Letters)
Katie Scholler is a first-year MA student in the History program, following a ten-year career in public education. She graduated from the University of North Texas in 2012 with a BA in History. She began her teaching career in Texas before moving to Flagstaff in 2016. She has lived and taught in Flagstaff for six years, teaching U.S. History, U.S. Government & Politics, and Microeconomics at Coconino High School. She also founded the CHS Mock Trial Team and has served as coach since 2017. Katie is passionate about utilizing the study of history to advance equity and inclusion. Her program focus includes the impact of race, class, and gender on the legal and political history in the United States. She is proud to be involved in local programs such as the Martin-Springer Institute at NAU, where she has participated in the In the Footsteps of Survivors program. Katie is excited to be an advocate for graduate students, and her goals as the College of Arts and Letters Representative are to foster communication between NAU faculty, staff, and students, work to address student wishes and concerns, and provide access to information and resources to graduate students.
DIAMOND BRACEY (Representative for College of Education)
Diamond Bracey, MA, LGPC (MD), NCC is a third year PhD student in the Combined Counseling and School Psychology program in the Educational Psychology Department of the College of Education. Her research interests include telepsychology, depression and anxiety symptom presentation in diverse cultures, culturally responsive, evidence-based treatment for underserved populations, mental health disparities, academic access disparities, and psychology and mental health public policies. She currently serves as a research assistant in the College of Education Research Center (COERC) and as an instructor for AHB 390 – Diverse Work Environments. As well, Diamond is the president of the Doctoral Student Organization in the Educational Psychology Department. Born in Washington, DC and raised in Maryland, Diamond comes to NAU by way of Bowie State University, where she earned a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Diamond is excited to serve the graduate students, especially those in the College of Education, and NAU with this dynamic group of GSG leaders for the 2022-2023 academic year.
JENNIFER LEE (Representative for College of Education)
Jennifer Lee is a second-year Clinical Psychology doctoral student at the NAU North Valley campus. She graduated from ASU with her Bachelor’s in Health Sciences with a minor in Educational Studies and her Master’s in Biomedical Diagnostics before joining the Lumberjack family. At NAU, she is a Culturally Centered Addictions Research Training (C-CART) scholar and is working towards outreach for substance use/addiction in underserved communities. Her study interests also include cultural influences on mental health stigma, childhood development, and health psychology. Born and raised in AZ, Jennifer tries to avoid the heat by building Legos, reading during her downtime, and learning chess. As a first-generation Asian-American graduate student in her family, she hopes to build personal connections in her role as a GSG COE representative while supporting other graduate students’ thrive at NAU.
Vacant (Representative for the College of Engineering, Informatics, & Applied Sciences)
PHILIP ASARE (Representative for the College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences)
Philip Asare has a master’s in Materials Science and Engineering from Arizona State University (ASU). He is a doctoral student in Applied Physics and Materials Science at NAU. He has served as the membership chair for the National Society of Black Engineers at ASU. He enjoys reading and hanging out with friends. Philip can be reached at Philip.Asare@nau.edu. Looking forward to all the great things we will achieve together as graduate students at NAU!
SHANNON SKWOBO (Representative for the College of Health and Human Services)
Shannon Skowbo is a second-year doctoral candidate in the Occupational Therapy program at Northern Arizona University. Her research interests revolve around medical fatphobia/weight stigma as well as trauma-informed care within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Shannon began her higher education journey at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where she received her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. There, she served as the President of Colleges Against Cancer and organized San Luis Obispo’s first Relay for Life raising nearly $30,000 for cancer research. After graduating in 2020, she took a year off to obtain clinical observation hours to apply to occupational therapy programs and landed at NAU. Shannon’s interest to pursue a career in occupational therapy is directly connected to her experience of growing as a caretaker for her mother who lives with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. As a caretaker, she learned firsthand the direct influence one life can have on another which fueled her interest in understanding how studying OT will help others in similar situations. In her doctoral program, she is the Vice President of the Student Occupational Therapy Association, an Anatomy Graduate Teaching Assistant, and member of Pi Theta Epsilon, an occupational therapy honor society. Shannon’s goal is to foster inclusivity, empower minority voices, and promote cultural values in the Graduate Student Government to serve her fellow graduate students at NAU.
MEHWISH MARIA HAMEED (Representative for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences)
SAMANTHA BRECHNER → W.A. Franke College of Business (Representative for W.A. Franke College of Business)
CANDI RUNNING BEAR (Diversity Representative)
Candi Running Bear’s research explores culturally-relevant interventions for Native American preschool children with disabilities. Candi is a third-year doctoral student in the Curriculum and Instruction program with a focus on early childhood special education for culturally and linguistically diverse students. She received a B.S. degree from Brigham Young University in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. Since graduating from the University of Arizona with an M.A. degree in Special Education, she has worked as an early childhood special educator for nearly thirteen years. She has lived in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Washington D.C., the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica, but she and her daughter call the Navajo Nation home. Candi is a proponent of equity and excited to serve her peers as the Diversity Representative in NAU’s Graduate Student Government.
BERT CONTRERAS (Community Campus Representative)
Bert is a California native now living in Maricopa County since 1996. He is a first-year nontraditional graduate student in the field of Organizational Leadership. After overcoming difficult barriers in the Spring of 2020, Bert decided to reinvent himself by continuing his journey in higher education. The higher education path began at Maricopa Community College, yielding a certificate of completion and an associate degree in applied science in Risk Management and Insurance with Phi Theta Kappa distinction. He then continued with completion of his NAU undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies for Strategic Leadership in December of 2021. Today, Bert’s purpose is to continue growing, leading with confidence, moving forward with progressive optimism, passion, and charisma, to obtain his next life improvement degree. Utilizing this increased knowledge to positively influence the world and/or surroundings of diverse productive working environments; to empower as many individuals as the eye can see. Nonetheless, leaving a significant mark, not only on the world, nor his grown children, but for anyone to see that anything is possible in this universe, especially at NAU.
JACOB BORSTING (Director of Special Events)
Jacob Borsting is a second-year MA student in the Strategic Communication program. Prior to attending NAU, Jacob earned his BA in Political Science from San Francisco State University where he worked on several political campaigns and helped host on-campus events. Since moving to Flagstaff, Jacob has taken on the role of a graduate teaching assistant, instructing two courses of CST-111 Fundamentals of Public Speaking per semester. As director of special events, Jacob aims to bring the graduate student body closer together with engaging and meaningful events throughout the academic year.
PHOENIX ESKRIDGE-ALDAMA (Director of Climate Action)
Phoenix Eskridge-Aldama is a first year PhD student in the Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability program at Northern Arizona University. Her main research interest is environmental political science, particularly climate change and political mechanisms of obstruction to climate action. She attended the University of Arizona for her B.A. in Environmental Studies, with minors in Spanish, Government and Public Policy, and Geoscience. At UA, she was involved in various student-led sustainability programs where she led and participated in on-campus green initiatives such as a vegetation-based carbon offset project and building energy audits. She is also passionate about social justice and is a member of the School of Earth and Sustainability Diversity and Inclusion Committee, where she developed a project which helps undergraduate students access resources and mentoring for the graduate school application process. Phoenix plans to use her passion for helping people and the environment to serve NAU graduate students and help implement the green changes they want to see as Director of Climate Action!
KAYLA LONG (Director of Elections)
Kayla Long is a second year master’s student studying environmental biology and ecology at NAU’s main campus in the College of the Environment, Forestry and Natural Sciences. Her research interests are freshwater ecosystems and climate change effects. She received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, where she played Division 1 volleyball for four years. She studied the restoration of streams and wetlands using fish and bats as indicator species in her undergraduate program. Kayla is looking to continue to work hard in a positive atmosphere and use her position as Director of Elections to encourage participation and collaboration from students within all graduate programs.
STANLEY NJIKHO (International Student Representative)
Stanley Njikho is a third year Interdisciplinary Health Ph.D. student with extensive work experience in community development research. Stanley comes from Malawi in Africa. His research interest is in the spatial epidemiology of infectious diseases. Among other things, Stanley is interested in studying how geographic locations affect adolescents’ health and access to sexual and reproductive health care services within the context of infectious diseases . He is also interested in studying health equity, maternal and child health, and gender inequities. His ongoing predoctoral research is focused on spatial analyses of how location affects adolescents’ utilization of sexual and reproductive health services.
In his master’s program, Stanley received an award from the Center for International Education, Women and Gender Studies and the Dean of the College Social and Behavioral Sciences at Northern Arizona University to study the interconnections of climate change-related events and gender-based violence in Malawi – topics that have not been much addressed in the public health, climate, or sociological literature. In this research, Stanley was looking at the impact of environmental changes on family structures and gender relations to identify any possible correlations with the rise in gendered violence in Malawi. He contended that climatic shifts are impacting not just distant patterns of human interaction but are working to reshape intimate domestic spaces and relationships, with negative impacts for women and girls.
Apart from holding a bachelor’s degree, Stanley holds a master’s degree in sustainable communities from NAU. He also has three graduate certificates in Geographic Information Systems, Women and Gender Studies, and Public Health. Stanley has held different leadership positions in different organizations and he is pleased to join the GSG to serve the graduate students body.
DEYA DEWALT (Involvement Representative)
Deya was born and raised in South Phoenix, Arizona. She started her career as a medical assistant and worked in various fields including pediatrics, urology, family practice, and radiology. She later went on to obtain her Bachelors in Health Science from ASU. She is proud to be the first college graduate in her family. She is currently in the Physician Assistant program at NAU and enjoys being a very active member in her class student government. She keeps a focus on diversity and inclusion within her class and hopes to promote the same goals within Graduate Student Government. Outside of the classroom, she commits her time to community service through hospice volunteering, working with the local health department through various COVID relief efforts, assisting with homeless encampments, and youth mentoring. She prides herself on being a product of an underserved community and thrives at the opportunity to serve those same communities. She enjoys a good movie, anything superhero, gaming, and spending time with her husband and children.
MACKENZIE MATTILA (Poster Symposium Chair)
Having just graduated with her undergraduate degree at Northern Arizona University, Mackenzie Mattila is a first year Masters student in the Communication program. She spent her time as an undergraduate participating in Mock Trial, interning with Coconino Community College, and finishing her program with a BS degree in Communication Studies and a certificate in Human Resources Management. She now works as a graduate assistant coach for NAU’s Speech and Debate team. Mackenzie’s goal is to offer a professional and welcoming poster symposium to promote academic success among her peers.
MARK BEVERLY (Director of Travel)