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Graduate Student Association

Executive Boards 2022-2023

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies consists of three executive boards, one for each division in the Graduate School.

Biomedical Science GSA Executive Board

Gina Cusimano: Graduate Student Association Board Member

Gina Cusimano

Microbiology & Immunology

Gina is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Microbiology and Immunology program at Drexel University. She earned her BS in biotechnology from Elizabethtown College in 2015 and her MS in molecular medicine from Drexel University in 2016. Prior to returning to Drexel to pursue her PhD, Gina spent three years working for the pharmaceutical company Merck Co. & Inc. where she supported vaccine commercialization, manufacturing optimization and batch release. Her research interests are in immune modulation to further the development of novel vaccines, vaccine adjuvants and immuno-oncology therapies. In her role as BSGSA president, Gina is a passionate student advocate that is dedicated to improving the student experience within the biomedical sciences division. Outside of the lab, Gina enjoys crocheting, binge watching shows on Netflix, and eating her way through the many great restaurants of Philadelphia.

Jill M. Lawrence: Graduate Student Association Board Member

Jill M. Lawrence

Executive Vice President
Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics

Jill is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the MCBG program. Jill graduated magna cum laude from Ursinus College in 2017 with a BS in neuroscience (with biology and psychology double minors). In 2018 as a second-year student, Jill was first elected to the Biomedical Graduate Student Association (BSGSA) executive board, serving as Vice President of Public Relations & Communication until 2021, when she was elected to the position of Executive Vice President. Jill has also been a biomedical sciences tutor with the Center for Learning & Academic Success Services (CLASS) since 2019 and is the tutor board content chair for all programs within the College of Medicine. She currently serves as the Secretary/Treasurer for Biomedical Graduate Students for Diversity (BGSD) (formerly known as Neuroscience Graduate Students for Diversity) and is a BSGSA student representative on the Women in Medicine & Science Committee (WIMSC). Jill's research interests include infectious disease neuropathology and she performs neurovirology research in the lab of Dr. Mike Nonnemacher (Department of Microbiology & Immunology). She is investigating the relationship between neuroglia cell activation, changes in blood-brain barrier permeability, and the neuropathology underlying development and progression of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) in HIV-infected patients.

Brianna Trankle: Graduate Student Association Board Member

Brianna Trankle

Vice President of Community Service & Outreach

Brianna is a second-year PhD candidate in the MCBG program at Drexel University, studying under Dr. Joan Font-Burgada at Fox Chase Cancer Center. She graduated with a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She then worked for several years in vaccine R&D before deciding to pursue a PhD in biomedical sciences, with the goal of a career in basic research. Brianna has a particular interest in grade-school STEM outreach and is excited to work to bring outreach opportunities in this area and others to students as the BSGSA Community Service & Outreach VP.

Candace Rizzi-Wise: Graduate Student Association Board Member

Candace Rizzi-Wise

Vice President of Event Management

Candace is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience program. She graduated from Arizona State in 2017 with Bachelor of Science degrees in neurobiology and psychology. Currently, her research interests are investigating neural circuits that underlie emotion and memory. Candace enjoys networking and getting to know her fellow researchers as a member of the BSGSA executive board.

Andrey Borisyuk: Graduate Student Association Board Member

Andrey Borisyuk

Vice President of Professional Development

Andrey is a fifth-year PhD candidate in Neuroscience program. He received his BA in German and BS in neuroscience from Belmont University in 2013. He entered the neuroscience master’s program in fall 2017 and transitioned into the PhD program in 2019. His research focuses on investigating rehabilitation strategies to promote motor function recovery and to access spinal cord reorganization after spinal cord injury with Dr. Simon Giszter and his lab. Outside of lab, he serves as an editor in the departmental newsletter The Hillock, gives tours of brains and spinal cords for high school outreach and serves as a teaching assistant for the medical neuroscience course.

Kayla Schardien: Graduate Student Association Board Member

Kayla Schardien

Vice President of Operations

Kayla is a third-year PhD student in the Molecular and Cellular Biology and Genetics program at Drexel University in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Lane. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in translational biomedical science from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey in 2018. She then worked at the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in a molecular neuropharmacology lab before pursuing her graduate studies in spinal cord injury research. Outside of lab, Kayla enjoys surfing, snowboarding and being outdoors.

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Interdisciplinary and Career-Oriented GSA Executive Board

Desmond Lewis: Graduate Student Association Board Member

Desmond Lewis

Drug Discovery & Development

Desmond is a second-year student in the Drug Discovery and Development program. In 2021 Desmond earned his BS in chemistry from The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina where he researched Fluorouracil derivatives for the treatment of colon cancer. He is a current inaugural Janssen-Drexel "4D" Fellow and lab member of the Janssen Prostate Disease Area Stronghold. Desmond's research interest is in antibody-drug conjugates for the treatment of metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer. Desmond is also a proud member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, 328th Brigade Support Battalion and holds the role of platoon leader for a fuel and water platoon.

Suhani Suthar: Graduate Student Association Board Member

Suhani Suthar

Vice President
Drug Discovery & Development

Suhani is a second-year master's candidate in the Drug Discovery and Development program at Drexel University. She graduated with a Bachelor in Pharmacy in 2019 from India. She has admired science since she was a kid and now aspires to become a clinical researcher. She is enthusiastic to contribute to the development of drug products in the pharmaceutical industry. Suhani looks forward to work with fellow ICO GSA executive board members and making the experience of ICO graduate students at Drexel exciting this year.

Alexa Kravitz: Graduate Student Association Board Member

Alexa Kravitz

Event Coordinator
Master of Laboratory Animal Science

Alexa is an incoming second-year Master of Laboratory Animal Science (MLAS) student at Drexel. She is originally from South Florida, but graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the spring of 2021. She will be applying to veterinary schools this cycle to begin her schooling in August of 2023. She currently works as a mouse technician in a Drexel lab focused on reproduction and cancer and also works as a veterinary assistant at the Pet Mechanic on South Street. She is very excited to get started with the ICO GSA executive board for this upcoming year!

Brandye Davis: Graduate Student Association Board Member

Brandye Davis

Master of Laboratory Animal Science

Brandye Davis is a second-year graduate student in the Master of Laboratory Animal Sciences (MLAS) program at Drexel University. She has a passion for animal welfare and the process of preventing and treating both animal and human disease. Currently, she is active in the field of animal health management as a senior veterinary technician for the University of Pennsylvania. She aspires to combine her 10-plus years of experience in post-secondary education with her love of animal medicine to become an academic laboratory veterinarian.

Prior to moving to Philadelphia in 2021 for the MLAS program, she had a career in both post-secondary education and real estate, demonstrating proven leadership skills and an exceptional facility for communication and cooperation among diverse populations. Her management of residential properties included handling contracts, funds and budgets. These are skills that she hopes to contribute and refine as the treasurer of the Interdisciplinary and Career-Oriented Graduate Student Association. Brandye earned a Bachelor of Arts in Medieval European History at the University of California, Irvine.

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Pre-med/Pre-health GSA Executive Board


Grace Sandel

Interdisciplinary Health Sciences


Rachel Allison

Vice President
Interdisciplinary Health Sciences


Anooj Shah

Interdisciplinary Health Sciences


Ryan Murphy

Events Coordinator
Interdisciplinary Health Sciences


Jocelyn Adams

Chair of Philanthropy and Community Outreach
Interdisciplinary Health Sciences


Kemi Ogunruku

Interdisciplinary Health Sciences


Sameika Graham

Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Class Rep


Rudy Chiu

Biomedical Studies Class Rep

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About the Graduate Student Association (GSA) of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies

The Graduate School GSA represents over 800 students and provides a variety of services to enhance the Drexel experience. The GSA executive boards oversee but are not limited to:

  • Creating a community within their respective programs, divisions and the Graduate School as a whole.
  • Creating and supporting professional and career development opportunities.
  • Student representation and voting on the Graduate School Committees, including the Graduate Council.
  • Travel awards for the biomedical science programs.
  • Supporting annual events such as orientation, commencement and faculty awards.
  • Student mentoring program.
  • Networking and social events.
  • Oversee community outreach, initiate service projects and volunteer opportunities.

As stated in the GSA bylaws, the purpose of this group is to:

  • Operate in compliance with the by-laws of the Biomedical Graduate Student Association;
  • Advise the University Student Council on matters of mutual concern to the School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies and the School of Medicine;
  • Provide a channel for communication among the graduate students, the University, and the community;
  • Serve the graduate students and represent their interests in the University and the community;
  • Promote understanding and intellectual stimulation among graduate students, the University, and the community;
  • Improve the position of graduate students in academic and extracurricular matters;
  • Elevate the quality and standards of graduate education;
  • Guarantee the rights and privileges of graduate students as members of the University and the community.

Read the GSA bylaws [PDF].

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Drexel graduate student attending Careers Beyond the Bench 2016.

Upcoming Events

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