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Board Members 2018-19

CGPSA Board Member Biographies: 2018-19

Juliya Abbasi is a fourth-year graduate student form department of Plant Sciences and is a recipient of Agriculture Innovation Program (AIP) scholarship. Her research focuses on study of perennial growth habit in wheat with main emphasis on dissecting the genetics of this trait by using the wheat-wheatgrass genetic stocks. Before coming to UC Davis, she had her Masters from Pakistan in Plant Breeding and Genetics. At UC Davis, she has been actively involved in different committees. She has served on Internal GSA advisory committee for Chancellor Search Advisory Committee, on academic senate committees for; International Education and on Graduate Council Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Committee (GCGSPSW). She was also a GSA representative for Horticulture and Agronomy graduate group for last three years. Besides being active member of these committees, she likes sketching, painting, travelling and book reading. 

Nazanin Akrami is a Ph.D. student in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry graduate group and a Leaders for the Future Fellow at UC Davis. She is currently focused on exploring microbial and chemical processes of Nitrogen and Carbon cycling in soils with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural ecosystems. Nazanin has served as a Graduate Student Representative in UCD-GSA (2016-2017) and as a CGPSA board member (2017-2018) where her experiences empowered her to initiate an effective engagement with UC Davis campus community. Being a STEM researcher, she is especially interested in the scientists’ role and responsibility in public policy formulation and implementation through effective science communication. She is very passionate about actively contributing to her campus culture and designing new policies that could benefit the community on a broader scale. Nazanin is an avid gardener, an enthusiastic writer and enjoys swimming in sunny California!

Ginger Alonso is a first-year Ph.D. student in Political Science with an emphasis in American Politics. She recently completed a master’s degree at California State University, Chico, where she wrote a thesis on the impact of medical school distribution on physician access in the United States. As political scientist, she is interested in institutions, social policy, and regional disparities in access to healthcare and education. Ginger is a 2018 CSU Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program Scholar and a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. In her spare time, Ginger likes to be in nature, stroll through farmers markets, and enjoy coffee with a good book.

Eric Ernst is a first year graduate student in Nursing Science and Healthcare Leadership. He has worked as a Registered Nurse at UC Davis Medical Center (UCDMC) in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU) since 2008. He has been part of a number of quality improvement initiatives that have focused on patient and staff safety, process improvement and redesign and resource utilization. He is an active member of UCDMC Clinical Practice Council, Caring for the Caregiver Committee and the CTICU Unit Based Practice Council. His current research involves the development of a clinician peer support program and the application of complementary and alternative therapies in the acute care setting.

Allison (Ally) Fulton is a first-year Ph.D. student in English with an emphasis in Science and Technology Studies. Her research interests include 19th/20th-century American environmental literature and natural history narratives, ecocriticism, history of biology, visual culture, book and print history, and digital humanities. Alongside her studies and the CGPSA board, Ally is involved in the Data Science Initiative through the Digital Humanities Cluster. Before coming to UC Davis, Ally earned a B.A. in English and Biology from Oberlin College. Outside of her graduate studies, Ally enjoys experimenting with book arts, playing ultimate Frisbee, cooking and hiking.

Dorothy Hoang is a first-year Ph.D. student in Epidemiology. Her research interests include looking at social determinants of health and how they modify associations between other risk factors, neurodevelopment, and mechanistic pathways. Dorothy completed her B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior and her B.A. in Sociology--Organizational Studies at UC Davis. She has since been involved in autism research looking at prenatal and postpartum exposures and risk factors that may contribute to the development of autism. Aside from her work in STEM, Dorothy has also been involved in various committees targeting retention in middle school, high school, and college students in underserved communities. She has held workshops with aims of starting dialogue about issues involving unpacking privilege, mental health and ability, and equity among many other social justice topics. She hopes to bring these experiences into her work with CGPSA to advocate for her peers and improve campus climate.

Rebecca Hogue is a 5th year Ph.D. Candidate in the English Department with a Designated Emphasis in Native American Studies. In addition to her role as Vice Chair of the CGPSA, she serves as a Professors for the Future fellow, the Mentorship Coordinator for the English Graduate Student Association, and as a member of the Designated Emphasis in Native American Studies Executive Committee. Originally from Hawai’i, Rebecca's dissertation examines the rhetoric and literary circulation of environmental justice movements in the Pacific Islands from the 1970s to the present. Prior to arriving at UC Davis, Rebecca earned a Master’s degree from Georgetown University and a bachelor's degree from Columbia University. When she is not participating in community events in Davis, she enjoys traveling, drinking good coffee, and spending time with her partner and cat.

Jill Huynh is a Ph.D. student in School Organization & Educational Policy. Building on a decade of professional experience in higher education, Jill's research questions center around colleges and universities as organizations. Specifically, she is interested in studying how institutional structure and culture are impacted by non-tenure-track faculty and examining student success broadly as a function of faculty stability. Jill obtained a BA in Sociology and BS in Psychology at the University of Washington and earned her EdM in Higher Education at Harvard University.

Saba Keramati is a first-year graduate student in the English Department studying Creative Writing (Poetry). Before coming to UC Davis, she earned a B.A. in English Literature and Global Media Studies from the University of Michigan. She worked at the University of Michigan’s Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, where she developed a passion for higher education and diversity programming. When she’s not working on her book of poetry, Saba she spends her time hiking, baking, or practicing her photography skills.

Rashana Lydner is a second-year Ph.D. student in the French and Italian department. She received her BA in French and Spanish from the College of Brockport in western New York. Her research interests include language identity, transnationalism, Pan-Caribbeanism and music in relation to Antillean French and Antillean French Creole. This is her second year on the CGPSA board. She will continue to be a committee member on the Retention team working on tracking the efficacy of Grad Programming on graduate student retention.

Natalie Rojas is a second-year Ph.D. student in Political Science studying American Politics and Quantitative Research Methods. She received her B.A. in Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research interests include race and ethnicity politics, gender politics, political psychology, voter behavior, and elections. She is currently working with Dr. Brad Jones examining the effects of discriminatory policies, political rhetoric, and political media on Latinos in America. Prior to her graduate work, Natalie worked as a Legislative Analyst for the State of California where she evaluated and proposed positions on policy to the Brown Administration. Natalie has also staffed several electoral campaigns and Democratic Party organizations, including Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee. Natalie is committed to promoting diversity in political careers and mentors undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Elizabeth Pierotti is a first-year Ph.D. student in Psychology with a specialization in Perception, Cognition, and Cognitive Neuroscience. Her research investigates the neural bases of language, specifically differences between signed and spoken languages. Before coming to Davis, she studied Psychology and French Language Studies at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys hiking, baking, traveling, and scuba diving.

Samuel Pizelo is a second-year PhD student in English with an emphasis in Science and Technology Studies. His research focuses on the material histories of games, play, and strategy, with a particular focus on the postcolonial history of games in South Korea. Samuel completed his B.A. in English at the University of Washington, during which time he worked to promote interdisciplinary and humanities research at the Undergraduate Research Program. He continues this project at UC Davis with the CGPSA and as a GSR at the Data Science Initiative. In his free time, he enjoys running (both to and from things) and playing the piano.

Jason Sadowski is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in Ecology with an emphasis on Marine Ecology.  He studies how invasive species and environmental variation change predator-prey interactions in intertidal systems in Tomales and Bodega Bay.  Jason received his B.S in Ecology and Natural Resources, and Biological Oceanography from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  Jason is passionate about improving equity among all students and reducing barriers to full participation in campus life.  When he is not doing research, Jason enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, and hanging out with his 13-year old puppy.

Samantha Sime is a first-year Ph.D. student within the Sociology program. She recently completed an MPH degree at UC Davis, and presented her research in 2017 on the associations between smoking and food insecurity across California. In addition, she has a Masters in gender studies from the University of London, and a bachelor’s degree in Japanese and political science. Samantha has over ten years’ experience of working for non-profit organizations and public health departments in California and beyond. Her research focuses on the intersection between race, gender and health, with an emphasis upon maternal, fetal, and perinatal health outcomes. Samantha emigrated to the U.S. from the U.K. in 2007 and has lived in the Woodland/Davis area for nine years. She has 7-year old twin girls, two rambunctious dogs, and enjoys spending time in the Sacramento and Davis area.

​Breanne Weber is a second-year Ph.D. student in English with a DE in Science and Technology Studies. Her research interests include 16th and 17th century English literature, book history, ecocriticism, and digital humanities, with a focus on the materiality of scientific and alchemical metaphors in early modern women’s writing. Prior to beginning her Ph.D., Breanne obtained an MA in English Literature and a BA in English Literature and History from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Alongside her work with CGPSA, Breanne is involved with the English Graduate Student Association (EGSA), the Data Science Initiative’s Digital Humanities Cluster, and the Oecologies Research Cluster. In her free time, Breanne enjoys traveling, reading YA novels, experimenting with early modern recipes, and making books.