CWRU Graduate Student Senate Calendar

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GSS School Execs and Senators

GSS Organizational Chart 2009-2010School Executives are the primary liaisons between the graduate student body and the GSS Executive Committee. With their school's senators, they are responsible for representing the interests and needs of hundreds of graduate students at the University and are expected to maintain a regular dialogue with their school's administration on issues facing those graduate students. They span all departments granting graduate degrees within the School of Graduate Studies, and include the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Engineering, School of Medicine, and a number of Professional Schools at the University which also have graduate degrees conferred by the School of Graduate Studies. School Executives ensure that every graduate department in their school is represented by at least one senator and School Executives are in regular contact with their senators to gauge the well-being of graduate students within their school. School Executives sit on the GSS Executive Committee and are voting members of the Graduate Student Senate (GSS).

Every department granting a graduate degree conferred by the School of Graduate Studies is afforded one Senator. Being a senator is a very important responsibility. While some senators can represent as few as 5-10 graduate students, others may represent as many as 50 or 100. Senators represent the interests of one department alone and are the primary liaison between their department and the Graduate Student Senate (GSS). The process by which Senators are appointed is variable and at the sole discretion of the department being represented. Departments can have alternate Senators who serve in the absence of their primary Senator. Primary Senators are also voting members of the Graduate Student Senate (GSS).

School Executive, College of Arts & Sciences, Tirth Bhatta


Biosketch:I am a fourth year doctoral student in the department of Sociology. I have earned two Masters degrees, one in Statistics and one in Gerontology. My research interests revolve around health disparities in later life. Employing cumulative dis/advantage theory, my current research projects examine the contribution of educational and spiritual resources to differential health status in later life. I became involved in GSS as a graduate student senator in 2012 and also joined the professional development committee in the same year. I have been serving as the school executive for the College of Arts and Sciences since spring 2013. In addition to my involvement in GSS, I have also been serving as a student associate at the University Center on Aging and Health and Palliative Care Education and Research Leadership (PEARL) group for the past 2 years.

Statement of Purpose: As a member of professional development committee, I have assisted in the planning and organization of events. I have collaborated with the College of Art and Sciences to organize the breakfast with the deans. Through my association with GSS and the interactions with my senators, I have become aware of several issues facing graduate students. I would like to work on some of those issues in the next year. With the help of GSS, I would advocate for and work on the following issues:

  1. Encourage UCITE to expand their services to mentoring of new graduate student instructors.
  2. Promote social/academic interactions among graduate students from different disciplines.
  3. Recruit and encourage participation of graduate senators.
  4. Work with the graduate school to make travel (matching) funds accessible graduate students.
  5. Improve bus/shuttle services.

Senators Representing Arts & Sciences:

DepartmentSenatorAlternate Senator
Arts & Humanities
Art History & Art Samantha Reveley
Matthew Bocchi
English Monica Orlando
Kate Dunning
History Dan Belczak  
Modern Languages & Literatures Karyn Newton
Music Brenton Grom  
Theater & Dance Karina Browne  
Math & Natural Sciences
Astronomy Jay Franck
 Aaron Watkins
Biology James Ferguson  
Chemistry Nicholas Tomko  
Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences
Mathematics Joe Volzer  
Physics Ben Saliwanchik
Johanna Nagy
Statistics NONE  
Social Sciences
Anthropology NONE  
Cognitive Science Sebastian Rimehaug  
Political Science NONE  
Psychological Sciences NONE  
Sociology Tirth Bhatta Maggie Waltz

School Executive, School of Engineering, Swarna Solanki


Biosketch: I am a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering.† My research project works towards developing rehabilitative devices that restore lost arm function in individuals with paralysis due to injury or disease. ¬†Alongside research, I have been involved in graduate student organizations since I started my program in the Fall of 2008.¬† I served in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Student Association for my first 3 years; my final year as president.¬† After that, I became interested in becoming more involved in progressing initiatives that target the entire graduate student population.¬† I was happy to serve as the Activities Chair for GSS in the 2012-13 academic year to support the efforts of fellow GSS members and, of course, provide opportunities to bring the graduate students together for the fun we deserve!¬† Off campus I keep myself busy with tutoring high school kids in math and science; physical activities like running, touch football, and yoga; and exploring the culture and scenery that Cleveland has to offer.

Statement of Purpose: I would like to continue to serve on the executive board to help define and make progress in their initiatives.  In the past year, we had a great deal of discussion about ways of increasing senator involvement in choosing and executing GSS activities.  I would like to spend the year helping increase senator involvement from the School of Engineering and ensure that the Chairs of GSS have support for their endeavors.  

Senators Representing School of Engineering:

DepartmentSenatorAlternate Senator
Biomedical Engineering Rebecca Schur  
Chemical Engineering Omar Gonzalez Pena G. Frank Mongelli
Civil Engineering Hao Yu  
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Brendan Mulcahy, Madison Kretzler  
Macromolecular Science & Engineering Brylee Tiu
Materials Science & Engineering Matthew Dahar  
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Mostafa Motavalli
TIME (The Institute for Mgmt. & Eng.) Matthias Ellegiers  

School Executive, School of Medicine, Neetu Gulati


Biosketch: My goal as the SoM executive is to uphold the traditionally high level of participation of SoM graduate students in GSS activities. I would also like to strengthen the relations between SoM students and those of other schools at CWRU.

Senators Representing Biomedical Sciences:

DepartmentSenatorAlternate Senator
Anatomy Niki Perez  
Anesthesiologist Assistant Roxana Crivineanu  
Biochemistry Courtney Niland Callie Merry
Bioethics Alexandra Junewicz Nido Guljon
Biomedical Sciences Training Program (BSTP) Caroline Farrington  
Cell Biology NONE  
Clinical Research Scholars


Epidemiology & Biostatistics Haley Gittleman Rebecca Carter
Genetics Andrea Cohen Lana Pollock
Molecular Biology & Microbiology Yotam Blech-Hermoni  
Molecular Medicine David Mosinski Tiffany Sturey
Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Sirui Jiang Leo Kim
Neurosciences Taylor Jay Jim Sears
Nutrition (M.S. Clinical Nutrition) Belinda Tolsma Brigid Titgemeier
Nutrition (Ph.D.) Amanda Scelsi  
Pathology Hana Russo
Pharmacology Seth Villareal  
Physiology & Biophysics Amrita Samanta  
Systems Biology and Informatics Lindsay Stetson  

School Executive, Professional Programs, Nirmala Lekhak

Biosketch: I am a first year PhD student at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. My research interest is in aging, particularly focusing on spirituality, caregiving and quality of life. I have been GSS senator and professional program executive member for a year now. Apart from being a graduate student and being involved with GSS, I am also a board member of a non-profit organization called Nepali Akash, whose main mission is to promote education to poverty stricken and rural parts of Nepal. I enjoy learning new things, helping people, and dancing.

Statement of Purpose: As a professional program executive, I am planning to encourage more involvement from professional programs senators though social programs such as breakfast or dinner and working on common problems such as conference travel funding, security or parking issues.

Senators Representing the Professional Programs:

DepartmentSenatorAlternate Senator
Designing Sustainable Systems TBA
Organizational Behavior Chantal Van Esch  
Social Welfare (Ph.D. in MSASS) Leon Harris  
Masters in Public Health Zoe Gordan  
Nursing (Ph.D.) Nirmala Lekhak  
Social Work Jazmin Long  
Finance Adam Stang  
Accounting Aleksandra Brikman  
Design and Innovation Lee Zickel  


Grad-Pro Liaison, Joe Volzer