NC State
Graduate Student Association

Hey everyone, these are the people who are running for the exec position for the upcoming academic year. Please read what they have to say and make your choice on whom to elect.



For the position of VP Academic, Urmila Adhikari.

I am a third year PhD student in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at NCSU. I am a Plant Pathologist and Epidemiologist by training. My research aims at understanding plant disease epidemics, developing epidemic models and validating them. I represent a Plant Pathology GSA (PP GSA).

My affiliation to UGSA started in 2017. It was a new atmosphere for new people like me. That very first all council meeting helped me determine my vision in the GSA. So, I joined the Research Recognition Committee (RRC). I was elected a committee chair. We evaluated 231 applications, 61 in the Fall and 171 in the Spring. Besides judging applications, my main responsibilities were analyzing data, making final reports with award winners and ranking all applicants. At times where there were positive discussions on whether or not to award an applicant, I have always played my role gracefully. Other works included sending monthly updates to the all council meeting and submitting transition document at the end of the academic year. I also had a chance to work with the graduate school in organizing the graduate research symposium. I have contributed myself towards designing abstract book cover, helping find judges, advertising the event inside and outside of the University and volunteering the whole day of the event. All these great times I have spent in my graduate career; I will always cherish them.

I wanted to work with the committee and keep on doing what the committee was doing. That work was something I always call “real work” and the outcome was even phenomenal. However, the PPGSA constitution would only allow a person to remain in that position for a year. I voiced for a change. Later, the constitution was amended in my favor. That was another successful day for me. In 2018-2019, I joined RRC again.

Working as RRC member for the past two years, I have always been responsible, committed, unbiased and ethical. I have experienced working with teams to accomplishment of a common goal. With my analytical skills, I have been able to assist in discussions while needed. I have played the role of a member and a committee chair. And now I wanted to grow further and use my leadership skills towards accomplishing tasks associated to this position. Meanwhile, leadership training classes from Agricultural Leadership Learning Institute (ALLI) has helped me further develop and practice key leadership attributes and techniques. I am confident that I am able to use them in an effective way. I attended administrative board meetings last fall that boosted me with enthusiasm and preparedness to nominate for this position. If I get this position, I will fulfill my duties responsibly. I would like to bring up a new thing: introduce electronic posters at the Graduate Research Symposium. Posters that are currently used are old fashioned. They also require more space and do not look as appealing as e-posters. I have put my idea in front of the Assistant dean of the graduate school during our last week’s graduate school symposium meeting.

Urmila Adhikari.


For the position of VP Internal, Laura Minemma.

I’m Laura Minnema and I’m a Pharmacology PhD student studying the neuromechanisms of pain. I’m currently in my fourth year and will be done with prelims before the next academic year. I’m planning to be done with most of my benchtop work by the first half of next year and I don’t have any classes anymore, allowing me to have time for GSA. I am the president of my GSA-chapter (CBS-GSA) and have been an active member of my chapter for 3 years, serving as social chair, secretary, VP, and now president. All of these positions have helped prepare me for the kind of work involved with the VP internal. I’ve had to organize events [such as food for meetings 😉 ] as well as deal with revising our chapter’s constitution as we ran into some pretty interesting situations regarding leave and officer tenures that we had not anticipated. I’ve served as the GSA rep this past year and as alternate the year before, so I am familiar with how meetings are run and as an officer I will make it my goal to have meetings be a efficient and short as possible as I have done with the Graduate Representation Committee, which I’m currently the chair of. I’m really good with working with groups and individuals and I think I’ll be a good VP internal.
Thank you,
Laura Minnema


For the position of treasurer, Josh Wheeler.

“Hello Everyone! I’m Josh Wheeler, a 2nd year Neuroscience graduate student in the Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBS) Program. Part of my research is aimed at figuring out how compounds made by the skin cause itch and pain. The other part is figuring out why the face processes pain and itch differently than the rest of the body. For the past year I have been treasurer of the CBS-GSA. As treasurer I have been working to restore the CBS-GSA’s non-profit status. I have also been working out the best way for the CBS GSA to navigate the newer systems that have been put in place by NC State for the individual student organizations. As treasurer of a smaller GSA I have had to learn how to determine which events should/can be done with CBS-GSA funds so that we could maximize our student’s enjoyment from events on our limited budget. I feel that these skills I have picked up as treasurer for the CBS-GSA have made me well prepared for being treasurer for the GSA. Additionally, as treasurer, I would continue working on transparency in the GSA’s financial processes (where applicable). I look forward to working with everyone involved with the GSA next year!”


For the position of VP Communication, Deveshwar Hariharan.

Hi everyone,

I am 1st year Master’s student in computer engineering focusing my research on machine learning applications, specifically in computer vision. I am currently working on a self-driving car project developing algorithms for the car to understand what it is seeing. For those of you worried about people like me creating another Skynet, I regret to inform you but your fears might take a few years to materialize. I love engaging in friendly debates all the time, so if you ever find me somewhere and want to talk about this or anything else, I would be more than happy to have a friendly chit-chat.

I have already been serving as the VP Communication for the last year, and just want to continue in this position as I have found myself loving this. When I began in the position, there were a lot of things that I had to figure out on my own and was able to do that only because of my experience in managing computing systems, but in a couple of months I was able to get familiar with what I had to do and was able to contemplate on how to improve it. Now that I am familiar, I am planning to improve the systems even further, so grad students can benefit from these resources. If you guys give me another chance to serve in this role, I can assure you that we can make some amazing improvements within this infrastructure.

I am looking forward to serving as a part of GSA the next academic year too.

Deveshwar Hariharan


For the position of VP Internal, Paige Moore

Paige L. Moore is graduate student and Teaching Assistant in the Masters of Social Work program at NC State University. Her research interests include social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion within higher education and academia, and working with oppressed and marginalized populations. Moore’s primary interests in the field are in macro social work and she is currently serving as a Department liaison to NASW-NC


For the position of VP Relations, Lexie Malico

I am currently a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry. My current research focuses on building biosensors to enable the high-throughput engineering of artificial enzyme pathways to convert simple small molecules into complex pharmaceuticals, insecticides, and bio-fuels.
I joined the Chemistry Graduate Student Association as a first-year student and quickly became an active member, including serving as a graduate student representative in meetings with the administration, where I worked to advocate for the interests of students. Inspired by my work with the CGSA, I joined Student Government as a Graduate Student Senator, where I have passionately worked to address issues at NC State relating to equity, inclusion, and accessibility. My experience has shaped my belief that the needs of students are an ever-evolving discussion and that students should have an avenue to advocate for those needs. This is particularly salient for graduate students. As such, I am excited about the opportunity to leverage my experience working within the framework of Student Government to now work specifically on graduate student issues and ensuring that we remain an important voice in those discussions.


For the position of VP External, Ryan Dudek

Hey everyone! I’m Ryan Dudek, a fourth-year PhD candidate in Chemical and Bio-molecular Engineering, and for the past year I have served our Graduate Student Association in two roles: as Chair of the Legislative Affairs and Student Advocacy committee (LASA); and as one of our two Delegates to the NAGPS Legislative Action Days in Washington, DC. During the previous calendar year, I also sat on the University Standing Committee for Extension, Engagement, and Economic Development as our graduate student representative. I’ve held various leadership roles in my departmental GSA and have also served as a recruiting captain for my department.

I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with our outgoing Vice President for External Affairs, Judy Rivera, and now I’m happy to throw my hat into the ring to serve the GSA as her successor. Among the various duties of the VP-External, I have direct experience related to three of the core responsibilities of the role, and applicable experience for several others. I know what to expect from and how to contribute to University Standing Committee meetings as a former appointee to a USC, and I will ensure the GSA is a well-represented and active component of university meetings. As chair of LASA in its first year, I understand well how the committee works and how it can be improved, and I will be a reliable resource for the next committee chair as the executive liaison. Finally, drawing from my experience as a member of NAGPS and as the Delegate from NC State, I will continue to build our organization’s reputation on the national stage and will be delighted to advise our next class of Delegates in the fall. As a past president of CBE GSA, I am prepared to preside over All-Council meetings in place of the President if needed; moreover, I am skilled in event planning and logistics from my role as a recruiting captain, and I will capably coordinate the planning and execution of our New Graduate Student Orientations.

I care deeply about our graduate community at NC State, and in my view, my primary responsibility as your VP-External will be to represent you all, and to represent you well – to our administration, to the General Assembly, to the federal government, and to our friends and colleagues at other institutions – so that we receive more of the resources and partnerships and protections that will help us succeed in our studies. As up-and-coming experts in our fields, as instructors in our classrooms, as communicators in our communities, we know that if we succeed, the benefits ripple outward from us. I’m committed to working hard to support you for the next year, and I’m certain I’ll do the job well. Thank you!


For the position of the Secretary, Emily Krzystowczyk

Hi everyone!
My name is Emily Krzystowczyk, a second year PhD student in Chemical and Bio-molecular Engineering (CBE). My research revolves around chemical looping and how it applies to air separation. Our goal is to turn air separation, a multi-billion-dollar industry, into an entirely green process with a minimized energy penalty when compared to current processes. This past year I have been a member of the Graduate Student Association for the CBE department, serving as the Internal Vice President. In this role, my primary responsibility is to organize student seminars and fundraisers for the department. To do this, I need to ensure that all parts are systematically planned and prepared in a cohesive manner such that everything can run smoothly. Outside of the department, I am a soccer coach to 8 and 9-year-old girls, which absolutely requires both patience and forward planning, or else everything will fall apart (quickly). Patience and organization are two of the things necessary when working with other professionals, and as such, I believe I have developed the skills necessary to be Secretary for NC State’s GSA. NC State’s graduate community has been instrumental in my development as a leader in my field, and so I will work hard to not only support you, but to make this year (and all the meetings that will come) quick, thorough and cohesive. Thank you!


For the position of secretary, Ashling Lupiani

Hello all!

My name is Ashling Lupiani, and I am a first-year PhD student in biomedical engineering. My research is in Dr. Huang’s lab, involving lower-limb prosthetics. Our lab works to enhance the relationship between human and machine to improve quality of life for amputees.

As an undergraduate, I was heavily involved in outreach for my department, participating in and training others for outreach events with children from K-12. I was also a Learning Assistant, and made efforts to learn about evidence-based teaching to develop my teaching skills. I then was research assistant on staff at Boston University for over a year, gaining insight into the faculty perspective. I have continued to be involved in outreach this year, participating in UNC Splash and Science Olympiad events. I have also participated in BME-GSA meetings throughout the year, and attended the NAGPS Advocacy Summit in Arlington, Virginia this spring. As Secretary, I would work to ensure that communication is concise, precise, and efficient. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to working with the GSA in the future!