Skip to main content

Graduate Student Association

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.


Lihn Trinh, President




Vice President/Secretary: Andrea Wojciechowski

President Emeritus: Natalya Ortolano and Megan Rasmussen

Treasurer: Kai Bracey

Social Committee Chair: Maria Fomicheva

GSC Liaison: Isabella Gaeta and Veronica Farmer

Department Social Committee Chair: Colbie Chinowsky

Outreach Committee Chair: Cayetana Arnaiz

Seminar Refreshments/AV Runners: James Hayes, Gabriella Robertson, and Gillian Fitz


GSA Position Details


  • Invites and hosts GSA invited speakers for Monday Seminar Series
  • Organizes and oversees rotation/town hall and holiday parties with help of social committee
  • Participates in IGP day activities
  • Helps organize CDB retreat with retreat committee
  • Sends out student related announcements and keeps GSA website up to date

Social Committee: Party planning committee

  • Plans all rotation parties and town hall meetings including food, drinks, activities, and decorations
  • Assists in CDB related events (Holiday party, IGP day, retirement parties, etc)

GSA Representative:

  • Attends monthly Graduate Student Council (GSC) general body meetings to represent CDB, currently held the second Thursday of each month
  • Receives information on GSC events and voices opinions and suggestions
  • Can join GSC subcommittees to plan social and volunteering events
  • Relays relevant information to the DGS who in turn shares this information with the department

GSA Events and News

May 13, 2019

Welcome New GSA 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.