Meet the Leadership

Officers, 2021-2022

Da’Von Boyd, Chair

Da’Von is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the Departments of African American Studies and Political Science. Da’Von’s dissertation examines the influence of Black religious traditions in shaping the political and ethical architectures of organizations in the Black Freedom Struggle in the mid-twentieth century. This is Da’Von’s fourth year in the GSA as one of the Political Science representatives  and he currently serves as Chair of the assembly. Prior to his election as Chair, Da’Von previously served the GSA as a member of the Steering Committee and, more recently, Secretary. As Chair, Da’Von hopes to help represent graduate students’ interests by making audible the untold narratives of graduate student life, ensuring that graduate students are key contributors in the university’s decision making, and increasing the assembly’s engagement as partners with the New Haven community.

Jo Machesky, Vice Chair

Jo is a fourth year PhD candidate in Environmental Engineering. This is her fourth year in the GSA and her first year as the Vice Chair after serving as the CTF director for two terms. Her research focuses on identifying and understanding non-traditional sources of air pollution in urban areas. Before Yale, Jo received a degree in Environmental Engineering and Integrated Science from Northwestern University. Through her position in the GSA, Jo is excited to work with GSA representatives and GSAS to ensure that GSA is helping advocate and support graduate students in all divisions.  

Karina López, Secretary

Karina is a fifth- year PhD in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. This is her second year as a representative and her first serving as Secretary. Her research focuses on anti-slavery works written by people of color in Cuba and Brazil during the late nineteenth century. Through her work with the GSA, she hopes to continue to support graduate students as they navigate the uncertainty brought upon by the pandemic. She is deeply interested in helping her fellow graduate students develop their skills and best utilize the resources available to them at Yale so as to prepare them for work opportunities beyond their time here, whether they be academic or professional

Roxanne Morris, Treasurer


Committee Chairs, 2021-2022

Zheng Wei, Academics and Professional Development Committee Chair

Zheng is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Immunobiology Department. This is his first year as a GSA representative and his first serving as the Academic & Professional Development Chair. His research is on the immunometabolism mechanisms regulating inflammatory responses and antibacterial activities in immune cells, especially myeloid cells. This year, Zheng will work on assessing and improving academic life and professional training for graduate students at Yale. Through his work with the GSA, he wants to establish and revive more career and networking programs, work on the department-specific advising guidelines that are being developed by different units across GSAS, and help GSAS community with professional exploration and development of alternative careers to academia.

Alison Renna, Facilities and Healthcare Committee Chair

Alison is a fourth year PhD student studying Religion and Modernity and Science and Technology Studies. She will be the Facilities and Healthcare Chair for the GSA for 2021-2022. Please do not hesitate to reach out to her with questions and concerns about your living, working, and healthcare conditions at Yale–she and the rest of the GSA Facilities and Healthcare committee are here to advocate for you! When she’s not thinking about insurance policies, Alison researches the intellectual history of science and religion, with a special focus on the human body and planet in the history of ecology


April Pruitt, Service Committee Chair

April is a second-year PhD student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program (INP), co-mentored by Ellen Hoffman and Kristen Brennand. She is interested in genetic risk of autism spectrum disorder, sex-specific differences in neurodevelopment, and rare copy number variant disorders that predispose individuals to developmental and psychiatric disorders. She is a Kavli Institute for Neuroscience Scholar and is in the Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP). April obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

This is April’s first year as a GSA representative for the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS). She is also the Service Committee Chair and is excited to partner with New Haven community organizations and other graduate school advocacy organizations.

Robert (Xiangru) Tang, Transit and Security Committee Chair

Xiangru (he/him/his) is a master’s student in the Department of Computer Science. Xiangru’s research is on machine learning and natural language processing. He is interested in developing machine learning methods in the healthcare domain. Xiangru actively encourages students from nontraditional backgrounds and historically underrepresented communities to be involved in research and entrepreneurship. He founded the Entrepreneurs Association of Yale International Students (YEA) and cofounded the Medical Innovation Group at Yale (MINNO). Before Yale, he has also worked for Tencent, Microsoft, and Sinovation Ventures. One of the things that really excites Xiangru about the work is reaching out to the community. This year, Xiangru will work with the university-wide Committee for Transit and the Yale Police Department to make Yale a better community.

Christopher Lindsay, Public Relations Committee Chair

Christopher (he/him/his) is a PhD student in the Department of Astronomy. Christopher’s research focuses on stellar astrophysics, how stars are born and evolve over billions of years. In particular, Christopher explores how long time series observations of stellar oscillation modes can be used to study interior processes and structure of stars.  Christopher received degrees in Astronomy and Environmental Studies from the University of Southern California. 

This is Christopher’s first year serving as the Public Relations Chair of the GSA.