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Board Members 2017-18

CGPSA Board Member Biographies: 2017-2018

Breanne Weber is a first-year Ph.D. student in English studying early modern English literature. Her research interests include early modern drama and women’s writing, manuscript and print cultures, ecocriticism and ecobibliography, and digital humanities. Prior to beginning her Ph.D. studies, Breanne obtained an M.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in English Literature and History from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Much of her work centers around the publication of late sixteenth-century dramatic texts and the circulation and usage of seventeenth-century women’s manuscript medicinal and recipe books. Breanne was awarded the 2017-2018 Provost’s Fellowship in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and, alongside her work with CGPSA, currently serves on the English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) Events Team and as editorial assistant for the Marlowe Society of America newsletter. In her free time, Breanne enjoys traveling, reading YA novels, transcribing and experimenting with early modern recipes, and spend time with her partner, friends, and family.                                

Laila Fayyaz is a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Group of Horticulture and Agronomy. She works in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis. She is working with Dr. Andrew Walker in his grapevine breeding research program. She completed her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics at the University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan. Although she is currently working with grapevines, she has experience with other crops as well. Her undergraduate research focused on phenotyping wild accessions of rice and her master's project focused on oliferous species of Brassica. She is currently doing her research on grapes. Her project focuses on map-based cloning of genes for powdery mildew resistance from the Chinese grape species, Vitis piasezkii. She is also interested in screening wild accession of Vitis species for resistance to grapevine powdery mildew. Her research objective is to understand the genetic relationship between the host plant, grapevines and the pathogen, E. necator, and to ultimately understand the mechanism of grapevine defense against the powdery mildew. Her academic goals are to attain an in-depth knowledge in her field of study. In the near future, she wants to envision herself serving in academia as a professor. Moreover, she has a faculty job at the University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan. 

Nazanin Akrami is a Ph.D. student in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry graduate group at UC Davis. She is currently focused on exploring microbial and chemical processes of Nitrogen and Carbon cycle in soils to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural ecosystems. Nazanin has served as a Graduate Student Representative in UCD-GSA (2016-2017) where her experience empowered her to initiate an effective engagement with UC Davis campus community. Being a STEM researcher, Nazanin is specially interested in the scientists’ role and responsibility in public policy formulation and implementation through effective science communication methods. 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 and kayaking in sunny California!

Jared Joseph is a second year Ph.D. student in sociology at UC Davis. He received his B.A. in Psychology and Individualized Japanese from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. At UC Davis, Jared is involved in CGPSA, the Data Science Initiative, and the sociology social control research cluster. His research focuses political corruption and organized crime networks, specifically focusing on the Chicago Crime Syndicate of the early 1900s.

Rashana Lydner is a first year Ph.D. student in French. She received her BA in French and Spanish from the College of Brockport in western New York. Her research interests include French and English Creole language from the Caribbean and efforts in maintaining culture through their linguistic identity when they migrate to a metropole. This year, she is a committee member on the Retention team and hopes to create a system for tracking the efficacy of Grad Programming on graduate student retention as one of our goals to better serve our graduate community.

Jasmine Wade is a Ph.D. student in the Cultural Studies graduate group. Her research interests include contemporary social movements in the Americas, antiracist and queer writing pedagogy, narrative theory, and African-American history and literature. She has presented her work at several conferences, including the Crossings Conference, the Northern California Writing Center Conference, and the Afrosurrealism Conference. She also writes fiction, and her short stories have appeared in Drunken Boat, TAYO Literary Magazine, Lunch Ticket, The Copperfield Review and others.

Marwa Zafarullah is a third year Ph.D. student in Integrative Genetics and Genomics at the University of California, Davis. Her research project is focused on the the development of the Biomarker for the Early Diagnosis and progression of Neurological Disorder called FXTAS (Fragile-X Ataxia and Tremor syndrome). Miss Zafarullah is an international student from Pakistan who earned her bachelor’s in Agriculture Sciences from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad in Pakistan and graduated first in her class. After passing a competitive examination, she received a scholarship from the Agriculture Innovation Program of USAID to pursue her master’s at UC Davis and graduated with Thesis titled “An Investigation of Functional Dependency of CENP-C and CENH3 in Arabidopsis thaliana”.

Mary Chessey is a 5th year physics Ph.D. student planning to graduate in June 2018. Mary has been involved in community-building efforts among physics grads and undergrads for the past few years, especially focusing on issues of diversity and inclusion. She received the UC Davis Women's Resources and Research Center Graduate Student of the Year Award in 2016 for this work. After graduation, Mary looks forward to pursuing a career in physics that will enable her to continue research, teaching, and finding new ways of making physics more accessible to a wider range of students.

Shannon Harris is a political science grad student who will receive her masters this June. Her research is focused on American politics, in particular voter behavior and factors driving turnout. Her master's thesis evaluates the differences between voters who choose to vote on Election Day and those who choose to vote early, in states where early voting is an option. Before coming to Davis she did her undergrad at the University of Washington, majoring in history and political science. When she is not researching American politics, she teaches cycle classes at the ARC.