Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Biochemistry Graduate Student Association (BGSA)


BGSA logoBGSA is a student-led organization registered with the UGA Center for Student Activities & Involvement.  BGSA represents graduate student interests in communicating with the faculty. 

BGSA is committed to the recruitment of the highest caliber of students for the department, the recruitment of high level seminar speakers, and providing exciting and diverse social and philanthropic opportunities for both graduate students and the faculty.  The purpose of these activities is to increase the cohesiveness of the department and raising the visibility of the department both in the university and in the community.

All Biochemistry graduate students are members of BGSA.  Officers are elected in late spring every year to lead the organization.

Visit BGSA Website

Description of Officer Positions:

President: Holds regular meetings to coordinate and help assist the BGSA officers in their respective delegations. Registers the organization with UGA’s Department of Student Activities, and facilitates the application for funding for the student organization. Helps with the organization and execution of all BGSA functions.

  • 2022-2023: Thomas Curry (Urbanowicz lab)
  • 2021-2022: Johnathan Mayfield (Wells lab)
  • 2020-2021: Adam Hannon-Hatfield (Garfinkel lab)
  • 2019-2020: Brittany Berger (Schmidt lab)
  • 2018-2019: Dominik Haja (Adams lab)
  • 2017-2018: Sally Boyd (Wells lab)
  • 2016-2017: Michelle Dookwah (Tiemeyer lab)
  • 2015-2016: Amanda Rhaesa (Adams lab)

Vice-President: Attend all BGSA meetings and provide aid to all members and president. Help with all BGSA functions including TGIF, Holiday reception and spring and fall seminars. Provide thoughtful insight and comic relief at all times and takes on any other responsibilities as delegated by the President.

  • 2022-2023: David Steen, Jr. (Wells lab)
  • 2021-2022: Thomas Curry (Urbanowicz lab)
  • 2020-2021: Trevor Adams (Wells lab)
  • 2019-2020: Jeremy Duke (Avci lab)
  • 2018-2019: Andrew Boland (West lab)
  • 2017-2018: Dom Krzysztof
  • 2016-2017: Peter Smith (York lab)
  • 2015-2016: James Smith

Treasurer: Handle financial business. Determine how to acquire UGA funds from the student fee for BGSA events. We have not been getting this money and we have a right to it as a student organization. Hopefully we can use these funds to do some in person events after the pandemic is over.

  • 2022-2023: Lubana Shahin (Mohnen/Urbanowicz labs)
  • 2021-2022: David Steen (Wells lab)

Secretary: Attend and record minutes at BGSA meetings.  Facilitate interactions between BMB graduate students/faculty and undergraduate students, and takes on any other responsibilities as delegated by the President.

  • 2022-2023: Paige LaMore (Woods lab)
  • 2021-2022: Vacant
  • 2020-2021: Vacant
  • 2019-2020: Anushka Sarkar (Schmidt lab)
  • 2018-2019: Rajani Ravishankar (Schimdt lab)
  • 2017-2018: Rajani Ravishnakar (Schmidt lab)
  • 2016-2017: Kate Rosenbalm
  • 2015-2016: Diep Nguyen

Seminar Liaison: Organize and advertise the speakers for all TGIF's. Organize speakers for the winter and spring departmental seminars. Serve as a liaison to all speakers and make their trip to Athens as comfortable as possible. Included in these responsibilities are organizing times for the speaker to meet with students and faculty, transportation, and accompanying them to any departmental functions and meals. Seminar liaison should also be working closely with the student body to assess interest in seminar candidates, and takes on any other responsibilities as delegated by the President.

  • 2022-2023: Katie Johnson (Terns lab)
  • 2021-2022: Adam Hannon-Hatfield (Garfinkel lab)
  • 2020-2021: Liju Mathew (Lanzilotta lab)
  • 2019-2020: Liju Mathew (Lanzilotta lab)
  • 2018-2019: Vacant
  • 2017-2018: Jeremy Duke (Avci lab)
  • 2016-2017: Gabe Rubenstein (Adams lab)
  • 2015-2016: Peter Smith (York lab)

Social Chair: The social chair(s) coordinate social and other activities, primarily with respect to the purchasing and serving of refreshments.  The social chair serves as treasurer with the President.  The social chair purchases, prepares, and serves beverages at departmental TGIF seminars.  The social chair works with the President to coordinate music, food, and drinks for the Fall and Spring receptions.  The social chair is also responsible for proper storage and disposal of materials belonging to BGSA and takes on any other responsibilities as delegated by the President.

  • 2022-2023: Kirsten Thorne (Urbanowicz lab)
  • 2021-2022: Nick Kegley (Haltiwanger lab)
  • 2020-2021: Nick Kegley (Haltiwanger lab)
  • 2019-2020: Vacant
  • 2018-2019: Jeremy Duke (Avci lab)
  • 2017-2018: Andrew Boland (West lab)
  • 2016-2017: Sally Boyd (Wells/Lemons lab)
  • 2015-2016: Sally Boyd (Wells lab)

New Student Liaisons (ideally to be filled by two 2nd year students): New Student Liaisons attend ILS recruitment events (“Meet the Geeks” in the Fall and ILS interviews in the Spring), coordinate biochemistry ambassadors for ILS recruits in collaboration with the Graduate Coordinator, host a social event in the Spring for new BCMB students, attend all BGSA meetings, assist with other duties as delegated by the President.

  • 2022-2023: Mariah Salcedo (Life Sciences, Kannan lab), Nolan Kemppinen (Life Sciences, Kannan lab)
  • 2021-2022: Donovan Cantrell (Life Sciences, West lab), Kristen Thorne (CCRC, Urbanowicz lab)
  • 2020-2021: Thomas Curry (Life Sciences, Urbanowicz lab), Johnathan Mayfield (CCRC, Wells lab)
  • 2019-2020: Denise Fahey (Life Sciences, Yin lab), Trevor Adams (CCRC, Wells lab)
  • 2018-2019: Zaka Asif (Life Sciences, Dolan/Edison labs), Marley Brimberry (CCRC, Lanzilotta lab)
  • 2017-2018: Brittany Berger (Life Sciences, Schmidt lab), Hannah Steven (CCRC, Wells/Lemons labs)
  • 2016-2017: Dominik Haja (Life Sciences, Adams lab), Stephanie Halmo (CCRC, Wells/Lemons labs)
  • 2015-2016: Ormarie Silva (Life Sciences, L. Wang lab), Michelle Dookwah (CCRC, Tiemeyer lab)

Faculty Liaison: attends monthly faculty meetings, takes minutes at monthly faculty meetings, distributes monthly faculty meeting notes over the grad student listserv, brings BGSA concerns directly to the faculty, brings faculty concerns directly to BGSA, attends all BGSA meetings, and takes on any other responsibilities as delegated by the President.

  • 2022-2023: Naomi Hitefield (Wells lab)
  • 2021-2022: Aarya Venkat (Kannan lab)
  • 2020-2021: Aarya Venkat (Kannan lab)
  • 2019-2020: Clare Edwards (Terns lab)
  • 2018-2019: Brittany Berger (Schmidt lab)
  • 2017-2018: Stephanie Halmo (Wells/Lemons labs)
  • 2016-2017: Rachel LoPilato (Haltiwanger lab)
  • 2015-2016: Paeton Wantuch (Avci lab)

Service Chair: Propose and organize community service and outreach activities for the Biochemistry Department. In the past, these have included “scientists in the classroom” activities and organizing the blood drive with the American Red Cross. The service chair can propose new ideas as well, and assess interest with the students in the Biochemistry Department. In addition, the service chair attends all meetings and assists in other tasks delegated by the BGSA President.

  • 2022-2023: Sydney Bedillion (Tiemeyer lab)
  • 2021-2022: Shannon Wagner (Tiemeyer lab)
  • 2020-2021: Donovan Cantrell (West lab)
  • 2019-2020: Adam Hannon-Hatfield (Garfinkel lab)
  • 2018-2019: Max Colonna (Zhao/Edison labs)
  • 2017-2018: Max Colonna (Zhao Edison labs)
  • 2016-2017: Mary Walter (Lanzilotta lab)
  • 2015-2016: Mary Walter (Lanzilotta lab)

RISE Coordinators: This position serves to coordinate and plan aspects of the RISE program. This includes matching mentors with mentees, helping train mentors, and helping plan events for mentors and mentees to attend. This position is also responsible for planning game nights with the social chair as well as the challenge course dates. In addition, they attend all meetings and assist in other tasks delegated by the BGSA President.

Revised August 2022


Support us

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Click here to learn more about giving.

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.