Chancellor's Graduate & Professional Student Advisory Board Members

CGPSA Board Members: 2021-2022


  • Anca Barcu is a graduate student in the Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Group and has had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of international professionals in the field of agriculture, international development, ecology and plant sciences. Her research focus is plant physiology in the context of the Costus tropical plant system. Before coming to UC Davis, Anca has worked as President for non-profit educational organizations and as a corporate trainer. Anca holds a BS in Horticulture from USAMV Bucharest, Romania. In her free time, Anca enjoys traveling, crafts, cooking and playing video games.
  • Aaron Benedetti is a PhD candidate in cultural studies with a designated emphasis in feminist theory and research.  His research engages temporality, archives, and queer politics, and he is especially interested in histories of the ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic, its related activisms, and their relationship to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  To fund his graduate study at UC Davis, Aaron has worked for several years as both teaching assistant and associate instructor in the Departments of English, American Studies, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies.  On the CGPSA, he intends to represent the interests of graduate student labor, student debtors, and graduate researchers in the arts and humanities.
  • Charlotte Bergheimer brings to UC Davis a decade of experience working to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities in underserved communities. In her prior work, she developed and managed National Cancer Institute-supported clinical trials for Children’s Oncology Group and taught Nutrition part-time at Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly Pomona. Charlotte serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for Nourish California, and her research focuses on the intersection between food insecurity and cancer prevention. She has a BS in Nutrition Science and MS in Agriculture from Cal Poly Pomona. With a PhD in Public Health Sciences, she hopes to support evidence-based policy and practice transformation to improve equitable food and healthcare access. She is excited for the opportunity to serve the UC Davis Community through the CGPSA Board.
  • Catelyn Bridges is a first-year PhD student in the Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Group. Her research focuses on how the physiological properties of industrial hemp are affected by post-harvest processing. Before attending UC Davis, she gained her B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and M.S. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. Catelyn is from Omaha, Nebraska, and hopes to become a professor at a top agricultural research university. She hopes to continue to advocate for underrepresented minorities in agricultural research and serve those communities throughout her professional pursuits. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and trying new foods.
  • Bozhidar (Bobby) Chakalov is a second year PhD student in the Graduate Group of Public Health Sciences. His research focuses on health disparities, vulnerable population health, policy evaluation, and sociodemographic determinants of health. In addition, he is interested in Big Data and new methodology to use non-traditional data sources. Bobby holds a B.A. Economics from Sonoma State University and an M.A. in Economics from San Francisco State University. He is passionate about student success and student representation in university administration. To that end, he is a member of several Boards and initiatives representing his department and community. When not working, he enjoys hiking, exploring new cuisines, and being with his loved ones.
  • Kevin Fillhouer is a second year Physics Ph.D. student with an emphasis in experimental condensed matter. He recently received his M.S. in Physics here at UC Davis in 2021. He finished his B.S. in Physics from San Francisco State University after returning to school from a seven-year gap while he served in the U.S. Navy as a submarine nuclear reactor mechanic. During his time in the service, he specialized in water chemistry and radiation protection. In his spare time, he enjoys being in nature, hiking, camping and backpacking. Kevin is looking forward to working on the CGPSA and being an advocate for his fellow graduate students. 
  • Ben Ruilin Fong is a first year PhD student in Comparative Literature. His research interests broadly focus on Chinese film, American literature and film, and early modern English theatre. He is currently researching how the transpacific co-production of Chinese films popularized a particular type of mass entertainment and formulae, and how the recent popularity of wangluo xiaoshuo (wangluo: online, network; xiaoshuo: novels) envisions the growth of Chinese mass entertainment and formulae in the global marketplace. Ben grew up in Beijing and has a BA in English and East Asian Studies from Brandeis and a MSt in English Literature (1550-1700) from Oxford. He is excited to listen to and advocate for Davis graduate students. Feel free to contact him at
  • Daisy Hernandez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis, where she studies diseases that affect fruit and nut crops. Prior to her role as Graduate Student Advisor to the Dean of Graduate Studies and Chancellor (GSADC), Daisy served as President of her Plant Pathology graduate student group. Before attending UC Davis, Daisy earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology. Feel free to contact Daisy for any questions, concerns, or suggestions:
  • Dorothy Hoang is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Group in Epidemiology (GGE). She researches prenatal risk factors of autism spectrum disorder. She is particularly interested in studying these associations by race to uncover how social determinants affect risk in certain populations. Dorothy holds a B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior and a B.A. in Sociology from UC Davis. In addition to serving as Vice Chair of CGPSA this year, she is a member of the GGE executive committee and serves as co-President of the GGE student board. Alongside her current studies, Dorothy works as a clinical research coordinator at the MIND Institute where she follows environmental exposures of pregnant women and performs behavioral testing to assess the neurodevelopment of their children. She has been involved in various committees targeting recruitment and retention in higher education for students in underserved communities. She has also held workshops with aims of continuing 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 the campus climate.
  • Ryan Hodge graduated from University of California, Davis in 2016 with a B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. He then obtained an M.S. in Child Development here at UC Davis, and is excited to continue on in the HDGG doctoral program. Ryan’s research aims to apply positive youth development approaches to understanding adolescent socio-emotional and neurobiological development. Overall, his research aims to assess individual difference characteristics that may contribute to adaptive functioning and positive developmental trajectories. On the CGPSA board, Ryan hopes to improve communication between administration and the student body about the existing resources and services, in addition to addressing any of his peers’ needs that he encounters. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys hiking, cooking, and traveling.
  • Jill Huynh is a Ph.D. student in School Organization & Educational Policy. Building on a decade of professional experience at colleges and universities, Jill's research questions revolve around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education. She obtained a BA in Sociology and BS in Psychology at the University of Washington and earned her EdM in Higher Education at Harvard University.
  • Doreen Joseph is a third year Ph.D. student in Computer Science at UC Davis. She earned a B.S. in Cyber Security Engineering with a minor in Mathematics from George Mason University. Broadly defined, her research interests include network security, applications of machine learning in cyber security, securing the Internet of Things (IoT), and the design of cyber-resilient systems. Currently, she is pursuing research in firmware reverse engineering for IoT security. Doreen is committed to public service and is eager to empower students who are underrepresented and marginalized in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). She aims to be a global advocate for accessible, inclusive, and equitable high-quality education for all. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, exploring nature, and exercising.
  • Ada Kanapskyte is a first year PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group. She received her BS in Biomedical Engineering from the Ohio State University. Her research interests have centered at the intersection of biomedicine, space biology, and global health. Outside of research and academics, Ada has been very active in STEM outreach and education and hopes to continue her efforts to make access to STEM more equal and equitable in the local community. As part of CGPSA, Ada hopes to find meaningful avenues to advocate for the graduate student body. In her free time, you can find Ada at the local animal shelter or exploring hiking and running trails.
  • Robin Kay studies epidemiology as a graduate student. While serving on the CGPSA Board, she intends to work with administrators to facilitate the delivery of quality educational experiences, and she hopes to collaborate with colleagues to allow the board to serve as a channel of communication between the Chancellor and the student body.
  • Alex Kermani is a first-year Ph.D. student in Materials Sci & Eng. His goals for this term are to apply his organizational knowledge, scientific acumen, and empathy to get mental health resources to students. He's charismatic, approachable, and grateful for the chance to be an advocate for his colleagues. He holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (2015) and an M.S. in Materials Science (2016) from UC Santa Barbara. In the last five years, he's been at Gilead Sciences developing oral formulations of HIV and anti-inflammatory medication. Now at UC Davis, he's excited to help move projects forward in the CGPSA! Talk to him about coffee, food science, data visualization, cats, homebrewing anything, your favorite TV shows, or—of course—your needs as a professional/graduate student!
  • Gwyneth Manser is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Geography Graduate Group (GGG). Her research interests include food studies, cultural geography, and health, and she is currently working on projects related to farmers market regulations, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional food systems. She holds a B.A. in anthropology and environmental studies from Emory University, and an M.S. in geography from Portland State University. In addition to her work with CGPSA, she serves as the vice-chair of the Graduate Student Affinity Group for the American Association of Geographers (AAG), and as a student representative on the GGG Executive Committee.
  • Adilene (Ady) Bernal Sánchez is a 3rd year Ph.D. candidate in the Chemistry. Her researches focuses on the development of synthetic methodology for the production of stereogenic-at-silicon compounds. Ady holds a B.A. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Mathematics from Sonoma State University. Ady is passionate about STEM mentoring and works closely with many on-campus and off-campus groups to improve educational opportunities for first-generation and underrepresented minorities. Outside of her research, Ady enjoys hiking, reading and spending time with her two German Shepherds. 

  • Hawanya Smith is a third-year PhD student in the Graduate School of Education, with an emphasis in Learning and Mind Sciences. Her academic passions are found between the intersections of individual differences, technology, coding and STEM. Her current research with the REED Institute under PI Dr. Carlas McCauley, along with an appointment with Dr. Peter Mundey of the MIND Institute and PI, Dr. Nicole Sparapani,  focuses on aspects of student learning, teacher impact and individual differences. She is also the Director of DISC, a student coalition that connects graduate and undergraduate students together in STEM by hosting various professional development-inspired events. DISCs current project is hosting a podcast that interviews industry leaders as well as professors to tackle hot topics for graduate and undergraduate students in STEM. In her spare time, she enjoys journaling, trips to the spa, re-learning conversational Spanish, and outdoor activities. 
  • Daniel Speer is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Chemistry Graduate Group studying lipid molecules. They received their B.S. in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Their research investigates the physical responses of biomimetic soft matter systems (including vesicles and myelin figures) to chemical stressors and molecular machinery. They are constantly inspired to improve education and mentorship, and do so throughout multiple organizations on and off-campus. Outside of their studies, they enjoy surfing, skating, playing ultimate frisbee, and mildly excessive amounts of coffee.
  • Himali Thakur is a second year English PhD student with a Designated Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies. Her work uses American and Japanese science fiction to think through the history of science and ethical dimensions underpinning our contemporary networked technics. She holds a BA in English from Ashoka University, India. As a member of the CGPSA, she intends to advocate for more and better access to mental and sexual health resources for graduate students, and she is especially concerned with the inclusion of international students in this consideration. 
  • Huimin (Mia) Zhong is a 1st year Ph.D. Epidemiology student with IGN focus. Mia’s academic interests include genetic epidemiology and global nutrition in both domestic and global levels. She comes from Chengdu, China, and graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.S in Human Physiology, Chemistry, and Biology in 2017. Then Mia continued her master’s program in Global Epidemiology with a certificate in Gene and Molecular Epidemiology. After graduated in 2019, she accepted the WIC program data manager’s position in Public Health Solutions in NYC. Before she comes to UC Davis, Mia has numerous abroad experiences include work as an HIV/AIDs family counselor for Child Family Health International (CFHI) organization at Cape Town and Durban in South Africa; graduate researcher for Global Food Data Exchange (GFDx) program with Dr. Pachón at Emory; assessed the prevalence of positive gonorrhea and/or chlamydia in high-risk groups at the RZHRG Project San Francisco site in Kigali, Rwanda; published TB-related genetic variance study with Dr. Yan Sun. After years of studying and working globally, Mia decided to pursue her Ph.D. degree in Epidemiology with IGN at the University of California, Davis.


Past CGPSA Board Members

  • 2020-2021
  • Chidera (Dera) Alim: Ph.D., Molecular Cellular and Integrative Physiology
    Adilene (Ady) Bernal Sánchez: Ph.D., Chemistry
    Tara Caso: Master’s, Plant Biology
    Katti Crakes: DVM/PhD, School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Medicine
    Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu: Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering 
    Katti Crakes (Horng): DVM/Ph.D., School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Medicine. |
    Ben Ruilin Fong: PhD, Comparative Literature
    Allison (Ally) Fulton: Ph.D, English
    Dorothy Hoang: Ph.D., Epidemiology
    Ryan Hodge: Ph.D., Human Development
    Jill Huynh: Ph.D., Education
    Doreen Joseph: Ph.D., Computer Science
    Hawa Kaba: Master's, Health Informatics
    Robin Kay: Ph.D., Epidemiology
    Andrew David King: Master's, Philosophy
    Gwyneth Manser: Ph.D. , Geography 
    Joanna Mathias: Ph.D., Education
    Gillian Moise: Ph.D., Sociology
    Samantha Pereira: Ph.D., Political Science.
    Daniel Speer: Ph.D., Chemistry
    Whitney Vangrin: Master’s, Art Studio 
    Breanne Weber: Ph.D., English
  • 2019-2020
  • Chidera (Dera) Alim: Ph.D., Molecular Cellular and Integrative Physiology
    Ginger Alonso: Ph.D., Political Science 
    Kristen Bush: Master’s, Energy
    Tory Brykalski: Ph.D., Anthropology
    Tara Caso: Ph.D., Plant Biology
    Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu: Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering 
    Katti Crakes (Horng): DVM/Ph.D., School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Medicine. |
    Allison (Ally) Fulton: Ph.D, English
    Dorothy Hoang: Ph.D., Epidemiology
    Ryan Hodge: Ph.D., Human Development
    Jill Huynh: Ph.D., Education
    Doreen Joseph: Ph.D., Computer Science
    Amanda Lawrence: Ph.D., Human Development
    Gwyneth Manser: Ph.D. , Geography 
    Samantha Pereira: Ph.D., Political Science 
    Samuel Pizelo: Ph.D. , English 
    Natalie Rojas: Ph.D., Political Science 
    Angelica Sauceda: Master’s, Horticulture and Agronomy 
    ​Breanne Weber: Ph.D, English
  • 2018-2019
  • Juliya Abbasi: Plant Sciences 
    Nazanin Akrami: Ph.D., Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry Graduate Group
    Ginger Alonso: Ph.D., Political Science
    Eric Ernst: Nursing Science and Healthcare Leadership
    Allison (Ally) Fulton: Ph.D., English
    Dorothy Hoang: Ph.D., Epidemiology
    Rebecca Hogue: Ph.D., English
    Jill Huynh: Ph.D., School Organization and Educational Policy
    Saba Keramati: Ph.D., English
    Rashana Lydner: Ph.D., French and Italian 
    Natalie Rojas: Ph.D., Political Science
    Elizabeth Pierotti: Ph.D., Psychology
    Samuel Pizelo: Ph.D., English
    Jason Sadowski: Ph.D., Ecology
    Samantha Sime: Ph.D., Sociology
    ​Breanne Weber: Ph.D., English

  • 2017-2018
  • Breanne Weber: Ph.D., English   
    Laila Fayyaz: Ph.D., Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Group
    Nazanin Akrami: Ph.D., Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry Graduate Group
    Jared Joseph: Ph.D., Sociology
    Rashana Lydner: Ph.D., French
    Jasmine Wade: Ph.D., Cultural Studies Graduate Group 
    Marwa Zafarullah: Ph.D., Integrative Genetics and Genomics
    Mary Chessey: Ph.D., Physics 
    Shannon Harris: Master's, Political Science 

  • 2016-2017
  • Laura Emberson: Master's, Soils and Biogeochemistry
    Grace Guo: MBA, School of Management
    Dayna Isaacs: Master's, School of Medicine
    Jared Joseph: Ph.D., Sociology
    Richie Kaur: Ph.D., Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry
    Scarlett Kingsley: Master's, Community and Regional Development 
    Sarah Messbauer: Ph.D., Ethnomusicology
    Michelle Rodriguez: Master's, School of Medicine
    Heidi Schweizer: Ph.D., Agricultural and Resource Economics
    Marwa Zafarullah: Master's, Integrative Genetics and Genomics

  • 2015-2016
  • Hilary Beckmann: MBA, School of Management
    Alejandro Castañeda: Ph.D., Immunology Graduate Group
    Arik Davidyan: Ph.D., Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology
    Laura Emberson: Master's, Soils and Biogeochemistry
    Melissa Ibarra: Master's, School of Medicine
    Karl Larson: Ph.D., Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology
    Yoonjung Lee: Doctoral, Political Science
    Angela Monterrubio: Ph.D., Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
    Gabrielle Names: Ph.D., Animal Behavior Graduate Group
    Marwa Zafarullah: Master's, Integrative Genetics and Genomics

  • 2014-2015
  • Erin Arms: Ph.D., Genetics Graduate Group
    Alejandro Castañeda: Ph.D., Immunology Graduate Group
    Joshua Claypool: Ph.D., Biological Systems Engineering / Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
    Chris Fortenbach: MD/Ph.D., Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Graduate Group and School of Medicine
    Katja Herges: Ph.D., German 
    Angel Hinzo: Ph.D., Native American Studies
    Melissa Ibarra: Master's, School of Medicine
    Peter Narby: Master's, Soils and Biogeochemistry Graduate Group
    Jerry Nutor: Master's, Nursing Science and Health Care Leadership
    Vanessa Segundo: Ph.D., Education
    Venita Sivanami: MBA, School of Management
    Kristina Victor: Doctoral, Political Science
    Michele Zugnoni: Ph.D., Education

  • 2013-2014
  • Erin Arms: Ph.D., Genetics Graduate Group
    BernNadette Best-Green: Ph.D., Education Graduate Group
    Kathryn Bilder: School of Law
    Brandon Brown: Ph.D., Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Group
    Joshua Claypool: Ph.D., Biological Systems Engineering / Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
    Chris Fortenbach: MD/Ph.D., Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Graduate Group and School of Medicine
    Manouchehr (Manny) Hakhamaneshi: Ph.D., Civil Engineering
    Katja Herges: Ph.D., German 
    Amandeep Kaur: Ph.D., Physics
    Ralph McNeilage: Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    Susan Perez: Ph.D., Nursing and Health Care Leadership Graduate Group
    Destanie Rose: Doctoral, Immunology Graduate Group
    Evan Sarina: Ph.D., Chemistry
    Kristina Victor: Doctoral, Political Science 

  • 2012-2013
  • Brandon Brown: Ph.D., Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Group
    Heather Cantua: School of Law
    Destanie Cummings: Immunology Graduate Group
    Rosalyn "Roz" Earl: Ph.D., Education
    Katja Herges: Ph.D., German 
    Amandeep Kaur: Ph.D., Physics
    Robert Knight: Ph.D., Physics
    Katarzyna "Kasia" Koscielska: Ph.D., Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Graduate Group
    Alex Malokin: Master's, Transportation Technology and Policy Graduate Group
    Susan Perez: Ph.D., Nursing and Health Care Leadership Graduate Group
    Kristina Victor: Doctoral, Political Science 
    Jared Voskuhl: School of Law
    Gordon Walker: Ph.D., Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Graduate Group
    Kaveh Zamani: Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • 2011-2012
  • Carolyn Anderson: Master's, Soils and Biogeochemistry (SBG) Graduate Group
    Cutcha Risling Baldy: Ph.D., Native American Studies
    Lisceth Cruz: Doctoral, School of Education
    Marjannie Eloi: Doctoral, Immunology Graduate Group
    Jesson Joy: MBA, School of Management
    Daniël Melters: Ph.D., Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Graduate Group
    Kim Padilla: School of Veterinary Medicine 
    Jenna Winer: School of Veterinary Medicine

  • 2010-2011
  • Lucas Arzola: Ph.D., Chemical Engineering
    Miranda Goodman: Ph.D., Psychology
    Kelley Gove: Ph.D., Cultural Studies
    Cassandra Paul: Ph.D., Physics
    Brandon Zipp: Biochemistry Graduate Group (BMCDB)
    Milo Careaga: Doctoral, Immunology Graduate Group
    Colleen Hiner: Ph.D., Geography
    Karinna Hurley​​​​​​​: Ph.D., Human Development
    Fiona Scott​​​​​​​: Master's, Public Health
    Heather Throckmorton​​​​​​​: Ph.D., Land, Air and Water Resources (LAWR)

  • 2009-2010
  • Abigail Boggs​​​​​​​​​​​​​​: Doctoral, Cultural Studies
    William "Tre" Borden: M.B.A., School of Management
    Stephanie Chan​​​​​​​: Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering
    Angela Haeusleris​​​​​​​: Linguistics
    Andrew Hallis​​​​​​​: Doctoral, Nutritional Biology
    Jihan Kahssay​​​​​​​: School of Law
    Jorge Luis Morejón​​​​​​​​​​​​​​: Ph.D., Performance Studies