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Graduate Student Association


Diversity and Inclusion Committee Student Members: Christin Anthony, Kai Bracey, Mary Chalkley, Christian de Caestecker, Alex Pfannenstein, Gabriella Robertson, Alejandra Romero-Morales

The Cell & Developmental Biology Graduate Student Association (CDB GSA) focuses on strengthening student interactions, and student scientific and professional discussion. A major activity of the group is to identify and invite two speakers per year for the CDB seminar series and arrange all aspects of their visits. The GSA also meets once during each IGP rotation to introduce rotating IGP students to CDB Graduate Students in an informal environment. All meetings are relaxed, often with pizza and beer; many take place at a local restaurant within walking distance to Vanderbilt. A Town Hall Meeting occurs each fall, when the GSA meets with the Director of Graduate Studies and Graduate Program Manager. Issues related to student training are discussed and the GSA-invited speakers are selected. Elections are held for the leadership of the GSA at the yearly Spring Meeting. The GSA has one president, one president emeritus, and an events committee. A new president is elected each spring and is expected to stay on for a second year as president emeritus. A GSA representative to the graduate school is also selected. The GSA President is responsible for inviting and scheduling the student-chosen seminar speaker and coordinating with the event committee in charge of all social events. Students are eligible to become a GSA president only after passing the Qualifying Exam.

GSA Events and News

July 3, 2023

  • President: Maggie Fye
  • President Emeritus: Megan Stanchfiled
  • Vice President: Stephanie Medina
  • Treasurer: Alexandra Mulligan
  • Social Committee Chair: Leah Caplan
  • Community Development Chair: Amelia Cephas
  • Social Committee: Diego Torres Martinez, Amanda Ruelas, Jen Peek, Simone Nevills, Ryan Finnel, Kianna Robinson
  • GSA Liaison: Zachary Sanchez
  • Online Coordinator: Monica Brown
  • Seminar Refreshment / AV Runner: Elizabeth Ruark, Casey Gailey

May 24, 2023

We welcome five new students!

  • David Aslaner – Julie Bastarache Lab
  • Monica E. Brown – Ken Lau Lab
  • Emma Koory – Dylan Burnette Lab
  • Zachary J. Lehmann – Matt Tyska Lab
  • Anthony S. Wokasch – Maureen Gannon Lab

June 20, 2022

  • President: Megan Stanchfield
  • President Emeritus / Community Development Chair: James White
  • Vice President: Zachary Sanchez
  • Treasurer: Alexandra Mulligan
  • Social Committee Chair: Aubrie Stricker, Stephanie Medina, Margret (Maggie) Fye
  • GSA Liaison: Ela Contreras Panta
  • Online Coordinator: Anna C. Cassidy
  • Seminar Refreshment / AV Runner: Elizabeth Ruark, Casey Gailey

June 1, 2022

We welcome nineteen new students!

Caroline Bodnya – Vivian Gama Lab
Anna Cassidy – Marija Zanic Lab
Amelia Cephas – Kathleen DelGiorno Lab
Oliver Chalkley – Qjangjun Zhou Lab
Adam Ebert – Jason MacGurn Lab
Ryan Finnel – Mark Magnuson Lab
Sarah Harmych – Bhuminder Singh Lab
Caleb Hayes – Vivian Gama Lab
Junmin Hua – Andrea Page-McCaw Lab
Simone Nevills – Guoqiang Gu Lab
Piilani Noguchi – Irina Kaverina Lab
Sudiksha Rathan Kumar – Kevin Ess Lab
Kianna Robinson – Matthew Tyska Lab
Elizabeth Ruark – Kristopher Burkewitz Lab
Amanda Ruelas – Kathleen DelGiorno Lab
Anna Schwarzkopf – Ethan Lee Lab
Claire Scott – Irina Kaverina Lab
Halee Scott – Eunyoung Choi Lab
Diego Torres Martinez – Alissa Weaver Lab

August 17, 2021

Please join us in congratulating the newly elected 2021-22 CDB GSA executive committee!

  • President: James White
  • President Emeritus: Sara Ramirez, Mary Chalkley
  • Vice President/Secretary: Gill Fitz
  • Treasurer: Deronisha Arceneaux
  • Social Committee Chair & Department social committee chair: Aubrie Stricker, Xinyu Dong
  • GSC Liaison: Ela Contreras Panta
  • Seminar Refreshments/AV runner: Andreanna Burman, Olivia Feehan-Nelson

June 1, 2021

We welcome fourteen new students!

Alexandra Mulligan – Kristopher Burkewitz Lab
Zachary C. Sanchez – Dylan Burnette Lab
Alexis Guenther – Eunyoung Choi Lab
Leah Caplan – Kathleen DelGiorno Lab
Andreanna Burman – James Goldenring Lab
Stephanie Medina – Jonathan Irish Lab
Margret Fye – Irina Kaverina Lab
Casey Gailey – David Miller Lab
Julissa Burgos – Matthew Tyska Lab
Olivia Feehan-Nelson – Matthew Tyska Lab
Jennifer Silverman – Brooke Matthew Tyska Lab
Andrew Dixson – Alissa Weaver Lab
Jennifer Peek – Matt Wilson & Lauren Woodard Lab
Malek Jacobs – Irina Kaverina Lab

April 12, 2021

In March, CDB GSA in partnership with the GSAs of Pharmacology (organizer), Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, and Pathology Microbiology and Immunology hosted a food drive benefitting Second Harvest Food Bank that supports families and people in the Nashville area dealing with hunger. We are proud and thankful for the generosity of the Vanderbilt Basic Science research community. Together, we were able to donate 719 pounds of food to Second Harvest! We look forward to continuing to support our neighbors in the Nashville community.

July 21, 2020

Welcome to our incoming CDB students from IGP/QCB!

Deronisha Arceneaux, Tierney Baum, Deanna Bowman, Ela Contreras Panta, Sarah Glass, Kyle Riedmann, Nabil Saleh, Aubrie Stricker

May 13, 2019

Welcome New CDB Students!

Mary Chalkley
Gillian Fitz
James Hayes
Sara Kassel
Gabriella Robertson
Andrew Siladi
James White

May 31, 2018
Meet the new 2018-2019 CDB GSA executive members.
Congratulations to these students who were elected and will serve the CDB Graduate Student Program this year!

Co-Presidents: Natalya Ortolano + Megan Merolla-Rasmussen
Social Chairs: Isabella Gaeta + Alejandra Romero Morales
GSC Liaison: Karrie Dudek
Seminar Refreshments Runner: Alexander Pfannenstein + Trevor Hann
A/V Runner: Linh Trinh
Outreach Coordinators: Veronica Farmer + Meagan Postema

May 31, 2018

New 2018 CDB Students

Cayetana Arnaiz                    Marija Zanic
Caroline Cencer                     Matthew Tyska
Christian de Caestecker        Ian Macara
Eric Donahue
Trevor Hann                           Ethan Lee
Alexander Pfannenstein        Ian Macara
Sara Ramirez                         Sabine Fuhrmann
Dylan  Ritter                           Ela Knapik
Anthony Rossi                       Kathy Gould
Paige Spencer                       Ken Lau
Linh Trinh                               Mark Magnuson
Andrea Wojciechowski          Bill Tansey


May 31, 2017   Meet the new 2017-2018 CDB GSA executive members

Congratulations to these students who were elected and will serve the CDB Graduate Student Program this year

  • Co-presidents: Erica Tross and Meagan Postema
  •  Social chairs: Megan Dumas, Karrie Dudek and Cherie Scurrah
  •  GSA liaison: Allie Fuller
  •  Seminar refreshments: Bella Gaeta and Colbie Chinowsky
  •  A/V runner: Bryan Cawthorn
  •  Movie night coordinator: Tessa Popay

Thank you to the 2016-2017 CDB GSA executive members


May 31, 2017   Welcome New CDB Students!

Kai BraceyIrina – Kaverina Lab
Colbie Chinowsky – Tyska Lab
Isabella (Bella) Gaeta – Tyska Lab
Nicole Kendrick – R. Ohi Lab
Alejandra Romero Morales – Gama Lab
Abbigail (Abby) Neininger – Burnette Lab

Edwin Morales Obregon – Tyska Lab
James OConnor  – Page-McCaw Lab
Yoojin Sohn – Goldenring Lab

June 20, 2016

Casey Nielsen (MacGurn) received “The Ubiquigent Young Scientist Award” at the recent FASEB Ubiquitin meeting. The award was given for the “best student poster” out of 82 total posters across two sessions.
May 25, 2016 Welcome new CDB students!

Cassandra Awgulewitsch – Hatzopoulos Lab
Veronica Farmer – Zanic Lab
Megan Merolla – Gama Lab
Anne Meyer – Goldenring Lab
Natalya Ortolano – Gama Lab
Claire Strothman – Zanic Lab
Michael Yarboro – Reese  Lab
Bryan Cawthon –  will begin in August as a direct admit student in the Page-McCaw Lab

May 24, 2016

The CDB GSA held our annual business meeting today. The new officers for 2016-2017 are :
President – Angela Howard
Vice President – Karrie Dudek
Social Committee – Meagan Postema
Social Committee – Cherie Scurrah
GSC Rep – Amrita Banerjee
Movie Night Coordinator – Karrie Dudek
Monday Seminar Refreshment makers – Erica Tross, Meagan Postema
Monday Seminar A/V caretaker (picks up pointer and microphone) – Nilay Taneja

Congratulations to the new officers! We appreciate the officers and the volunteers for your willingness to serve this year.

June 4, 2015

Welcome new CDB students! And congratulations to our new 2015-2016 GSA representatives.

President: Erica Shannon

Social Committee: Meredith Weck, Heather McCartney, Chuck Williams

GSA rep: Alex Andrews


July 15, 2015

New from Andrea Page-McCaw: My student, Erica Shannon, won an award for “Emerging Scientist Best Short Talk” at the 19th International Symposium on Calcium Binding Proteins and Calcium Function in Health and Disease.”  Erica’s talk was titled, “Calcium Dynamics as a Potential Readout of Mechanotransduction at Epithelial Wounds”.  Her award included a $100 prize as well as a certificate.