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.
Representatives and officers
Graduate Student Government officers
Officer BiographiesAccordion Closed
Jonathon Donager 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.
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 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauren Savoie is a graduate student studying to receive a 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.
Uzma Tahir completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Biology form Georgia State University under the direction of Dr. Donald Edwards. For both degrees, Uzma emphasized in neuroscience and behavior. For her masters project, she studied how a local postural reflex is modulated during a centrally commanded movement. Uzma is currently a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Kiisa Nishikawa, studying how different inputs from the nervous system change intrinsic muscle properties. She perform experiments in isolated soleus muscles and test them under varying levels of activation and length changes to determine mechanisms underlying basic muscle physiology. She then takes what is learned from these experiments to modify a neuro-muscular based control algorithm for a robotic prosthesis based on intrinsic muscle properties.
Graduate Student Government representatives
Representative BiographiesAccordion Closed
Ellinoa Brodsky Blake is the GSG representative for the College of Education. She passionate about making education accessible, inclusive and utilizing it as a means to promote dialogue and respect. She received her B.A. in Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Humboldt State, and is currently pursuing an M.E.d. in Student Affairs Counseling at NAU. She serves as a GA for the Academic Success Centers, an intern for Louie’s Cupboard, as well as Vice President of the Student Affairs and Higher Education (SAHE) club. She looks forward to working with graduate students and supporting professional and academic endeavors of future educators and practitioners.
After working as an engineer and science writer for a few decades, Richard Gaughan decided to return to graduate school. Coming back to coursework after several years presents its own set of challenges, so Richard chose to serve as a GSG representative to ensure NAU hears the needs of the population of mid- and late-career returning students. But the flip side of that equation is equally important: the unique pool of highly experienced nontraditional graduate students should also make certain they are bringing maximum value to the university. Richard seeks to support both essential processes.
Carissa Miyano, College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences (CEFNS) Representative, is a master’s student at Northern Arizona University working under Dr. Kiisa Nishikawa. She is investigating thermoregulation issues faced by mice with a gene deletion in the muscle protein titin. Carissa completed her B.S. in Biomedical Science at Northern Arizona University and currently serves as Secretary for the Biology Graduate Student Association and the Graduate Student Councilor for the Arizona Physiological Society. Carissa’s goals for GSG are to continue the growth of the travel award program to increase CEFNS student attendance at national and international conferences, increase CEFNS student involvement with GSG, and to encourage collaboration and more involvement between colleges within CEFNS. She will be finishing her master’s this Fall.
Laura Rodriguez is a third-year doctoral student in the Combined Counseling/School Psychology program at Northern Arizona University. She is a first-generation student whose family is of Colombian descent. Laura is passionate about promoting awareness and education regarding various issues related to diversity and global learning. Her research interests include systemic inequities and minority issues in professional training and psychology. Through education, training, and research, Laura hopes to use her skills to enhance NAU’s cultural competency and foster a more inclusive campus community.
Claire Seel is pursuing a Master’s degree in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies. She teaches English 105 and spend 6 hours weekly in the University Writing Commons as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with the Department of English. Claire is passionate about the need for graduate students to have access to professional development opportunities, seeing as these as crucial to students’ ability to gain employment once they achieve our degrees.
Bo Stevens is a Ph.D. student in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability at NAU. He is interested in data science, ecology, remote sensing, microbiology, and the public perception of complex and novel scientific issues. I work with the Nancy Johnson Lab of Soil Ecology to elicit patterns of bacterial and fungal communities within the Serengeti grasslands. Bo also co-organizes Flagstaff Science on Tap and is a founding member of the Committee for Evidence-Based Action (CEBA, email@example.com) which is an NAU graduate student organization founded and organized by early career scientists. Their mission is to advance society with decisions based on a strong foundation of evidence. As a GSG Research Programs Representative, he advocates for graduate students and the Flagstaff community within university administration and local, state, and national governing bodies.
Molly Thrash is in her third year of the PhD program in Politics and International Affairs. Her research interests center on public policy and Federal decision-making for agriculture in light of climate change, especially in the very arid southwest.Â Mollyâs BA is in Anthropology from the University of Colorado, and she has more than fifteen years of professional experience initially as an archaeologist which quickly transition to environmental protection and compliance specialist with the Bureau of Reclamation and other federal agencies. As the representative from the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Molly represents a diverse student population and looks forward to bringing their concerns and interests forward for discussion.
Sneha Vissa is a PhD. Student in the School of Forestry and a Teaching Assistant in Biological Sciences. She received her Masters of Science in Forestry working in the Hofstetter Lab here at NAU. Her research focus is bark beetles and their ecological interactions with mite and fungal microbes. As an elected member of GSG, she serves as one of the two representative for the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences (CEFNS). As the CEFNS Rep, her goal is to promote collaboration between the various departments under CEFNS and ensure that CEFNS graduate students have a voice at the administrative level. She is a founding member of Northern Arizona Association of Women in STEM (NAAWiSTEM), and also serves on the committee board for implementing the Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology Program (a concentration/focus available for MS and PhD students in Biology, Forestry and SESES).