Soad Elziny (SHE/HER/HERS), President
Bio: Soad is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Peter Crino's lab in the Program in Neuroscience, where she studies genetic variants in epilepsy and neurodevelopment. Soad has worked as a caregiver for children with Autism as well as adults with TBIs (traumatic brain injuries), two clinical populations that commonly overlap with epilepsy. This ignited her passion for studying molecular mechanisms and treatments for epilepsy patients. Soad has a university and student leadership involvement history from her time as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech and is excited for her first year on the GSA executive board. Outside of the lab, Soad enjoys hikes with her dog, going to the beach, and trying out new culinary recipes.
Fun Fact: I'm trilingual! I speak Arabic, English, and Spanish.
Jonathan Lawton (HE/HIM/HIS), Secretary
Bio: 4th-year PhD candidate in the Microbiology and Immunology Program. I am currently a member of Dr. Sharon Tennant's lab, where my research focuses on the development of a Klebsiella pneumoniae neonatal sepsis model. I am interested in developing this model to aid in vaccine development efforts to prevent neonatal sepsis in developing countries, which account for 81% of under 5 deaths worldwide. I served as a GSA representative for two years, and this is my first year on the E-board. Outside of lab I enjoy going to the beach, spending time with family and friends, vacationing with my fiance, and watching obscene hours of TV.
Fun fact: I have two screws in my right calf!
Nikita Aggarwal (A.K.A. Nikki, SHE/HER/HERS), Graduate Council Rep.
Bio: Nikita is a 4th-year Ph.D. candidate in the School of Social Work. Her research interest is in the area of gender and labor migration. She is interested in exploring the migration journeys of migrant women working in the informal service sector. Nikita is a student representative in the Graduate school Diversity, Equity and Commission meeting and Graduate School Strategic Planning Committee. Outside of grad school, Nikita enjoys attending dance workshops, yoga, exploring new places, and staying on long-distance calls with her dog. She irrevocably loves dogs and cats and can often be seen around the area snuggling other people's pets.
Fun fact: Since Nikki moved to the United States, she has taken up pet-sitting for her peers. (Have a pet, you know who to contact #notanAd) :)
Jennifer Kirk (A.K.A. Jenn, SHE/HER/HERS), GSA Public Relations Officer
Bio: Jenn is a 6th-year Ph.D. candidate in the gerontology doctoral program epidemiology track. Her research is focused on helping older adults identify ways to live meaningful lives with a behavioral activation intervention. Jenn enjoys playing video games, teaching yoga, working on mental health awareness, and disability advocacy in her free time.
Fun fact: Jenn spent several years dancing with Oklahoma City Ballet before college.