Meet the Leadership: GSA Executive Board

Officers, 2023-2024

Christopher Lindsay, Chair (he/him)

I am a fourth year PhD candidate and Gruber Science Fellow at the Yale Astronomy department, working with Sarbani Basu. As the chair of the GSA, I am excited to advocate on behalf of Yale graduate students, working towards improving academic and professional outcomes, reducing food insecurity, increasing transportation options, and enhancing mental health facilities at Yale. I received my M.S. and M.Phil from the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 2022, and I graduated in 2020 from the University of Southern California with degrees in Astronomy, Environmental Studies, and Jazz Studies. Research-wise, I am primarily interested in stellar astrophysics, using asteroseismology to study interior mixing and angular momentum transport processes in evolved stars.

John Gonzalez, Vice Chair (he/they/she)

John is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in Experimental Pathology studying transcriptomics, epigenetics, and metabolism in aging. In his role as the Vice-Chair of the Graduate Student Assembly, he is passionate about supporting student advocates by 1) encouraging them to self-empower, 2) de-mystifying bureaucratic hurdles, and 3) facilitating access to the necessary tools and skills needed to achieve their goals.

Katie Chang, Secretary (she/her)

Katie is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in the Physics department working on quantum computing theory and quantum error correction codes. She received her M.S. from the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 2023, and received her B.S. in 2021 from the University of Virginia in Physics with a specialty in computational medical physics and did research at Cornell on extracting quantum phase transitions from x-ray crystallography data. This is her third year serving on the GSA, and is grateful to have served as the Academic and Professional Development committee Chair in 2022-2023, where she worked on ​​enforcing clear and high-quality advising guidelines, and bringing a diverse set of academic and career development opportunities to the GSAS student body. Katie is excited to serve as the GSA Secretary to continue supporting her colleagues in their advocacy efforts, run GSA meetings, and meet with Yale administration to improve graduate student life at Yale.

Alaaddin Ibrahimy, Treasurer (he/him)

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<p>Description automatically generated with medium confidence Alaaddin is a third year PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering Department. His primary research focus lies in Positiron Emission Tomography (PET) image processing and kinetic modeling, with the aim of improving drug discovery in the early phase drug development trials. Prior to Yale, Alaaddin has worked as a pre-doctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he utilized his expertise in processing MRI images to enhance diagnostic accuracy for Chiari Malformation. This is his second year as a GSA representative and the first year as the GSA Treasurer. Alaaddin hopes to be able to help in improving the graduate students’ life here at Yale and the greater New Haven area.

Anya Berlova, Parliamentarian (she/her)


Anya is a second-year PhD student in the Management department. When she is not working on research in Behavioral Science or taking part in the GSA, Anya serves as the President of the Yale European Graduate Student Society and the Social Chair for her department. Outside of Yale, she is a TEDx speaker, illustrator and youth empowerment activist. In her role in the GSA, Anya looks forward to helping support graduate students and working with her GSA colleagues to make Yale the best possible place for its community.


Committee Chairs, 2022-2023

Andrew Takeda, Academics and Professional Development Committee Chair (he/him)

Andrew is a sixth-year PhD student in Immunobiology, studying the basic mechanisms of T-cell function in immune responses and dysfunction in lymphomas. He graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics and first came to Yale as a Postgraduate Associate before starting graduation school. In GSA, Andrew looks forward to expanding career and professional development programs for GSAS students and advocating for transparency in academic affairs.

Shannon Rainsford, Conference Travel Fund Director/Committee Chair (she/her)

Shannon Rainsfortd

Shannon is excited to be serving her third year as a Representative and second year as CTF Director. She is a fourth year PhD student in Genetics co-mentored by Zachary Smith and Bluma Lesch. Her work focuses on the epigenetic influences of the male gamete on early embryogenesis. Prior to Yale, she graduated with a B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and an M.A. in Biotechnology from Boston University, and worked at a start-up in Cambridge, MA.  She looks forward to working alongside the GSA and GSAS to supply funds for graduate students sharing their work with the world.

Yaprak Yıldırım, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Chair (she/her)

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Yaprak is a combined PhD student at the departments of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and American Studies. In her role as the DEI Chair, she prioritizes social justice over mere representation and will try to bring forth the material conditions that render certain graduate students more vulnerable at Yale. You can find out more about her and her research here.

Victoria Rai, Facilities and Healthcare Committee Chair (she/her)

Victoria is a fourth year PhD student in Cellular & Molecular Physiology jointly mentored in the laboratories of Joseph E. Craft and Michael J. Caplan and interested in chronic disease pathophysiology. She graduated with a B.S. in Biophysics and B.S. in Economics from the University of Michigan and worked at UChicago prior to coming to Yale. As the returning Facilities and Healthcare Chair, Victoria hopes to continue advocating for accessibility and healthcare needs of graduate students and to expand equity and inclusion projects in the graduate school. Outside of GSA, Victoria volunteers with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, is a co-leader for the Graduate Student Disability Alliance, and enjoys football Saturdays.


Jane Lee, Service Committee Chair (she/her)

Jane Lee

Jane is a third year student in the Computer Science department. Her general research interests are in machine learning theory, particularly in understanding and proving why various machine learning algorithms are effective. Prior, she studied mathematics, computer science, and statistics at University of Pennsylvania. She is passionate about equal access to education and opportunity, volunteering with educational non-profits including the SMART program and TEALS for the past 4-5 years. She hopes to focus on improving access to information and resources for graduate students this year. Broadly, she hopes find ways to help improve the graduate student experience at Yale and the New Haven community at large.

Riley Wadehra, Transit and Security Committee Chair (she/her)

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Riley Wadehra is a third-year PhD candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She graduated with a B.A. in Environmental Science from Colorado College in 2020 and a minor in mathematical modeling. Here at Yale, she studies fires in the tropical savannas and loves to talk about how important wildfires are! This is her second year in the GSA and first year as a committee chair, and she’s excited to further advocate on behalf of the grad student community, specifically regarding getting students from one place to another as safely (and happily) as possible.

Dani Katenkamp, Public Relations Committee Chair (they/them)

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Dani is a second-year PhD student in Linguistics. They completed a B.A. and M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Florida, and at Yale are continuing to work on revitalization and historical documentation of the Native languages of the American South, particularly Choctaw, Timucua, and Mikasuki. As PR Chair, they are primarily interested in making Yale’s infrastructure feel more approachable to the average graduate student, as well as discovering new ways of communicating information to the grad student body.


Nicola Angeli, Ad-hoc International Students Committee Chair (he/him)

Nicola is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of French. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Bologna, Italy, as well as three Master’s Degrees from the Yenching Academy of Peking University, the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS, Paris), and Yale. He specializes in nineteenth-century French literature and culture. His dissertation explores the interactions  between literary texts and electric technologies in fin-de-siècle France. As the International Students Ad-Hoc Comittee Chair, Nicola is excited to continue advocating for the improvement of international students’ academic and living conditions and to raise awareness on undocumented, asylum-seeking, or refugee students.


Ben Sanders, Ad-hoc Unionization Committee Chair (he/him)

Ben is a fourth year PhD candidate in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program and mentored in the laboratory of Janghoo Lim. In 2020, he graduated with a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northeastern University with a minor in biochemistry. Here he uses molecular genetics to study the pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. In his role as the Unionization Ad-Hoc Committee Chair, he is excited to coordinate communication with Local 33 about ongoing contract negotiations, and to advocate for the extension of contract benefits to graduate students outside of the bargaining unit. Outside of GSA, Ben is a departmental organizer for Local 33 and works on the Yale School of Medicine Dean’s Advisory Council on LGBTQI+ Affairs.

Steering Committee Members, 2022-2023

Nicola Angeli, Humanities

Ania Tropnikova, Humanities 

Eleanor Stewart-Jones, Natural Sciences

John Gonzalez, Natural Sciences

Dani Katenkamp, Social Sciences

Grace Lan, Social Sciences