Graduate Student Advisory Council

The Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC) is the representative body of graduate students that acts as a liaison between the graduate students and the department administration. We organize social, professional, outreach, and recruitment events including the Graduate Research Symposium, professional networking, welcome week, recruitment weekends, Toys for Tots, and the annual Food Drive. We provide bonding opportunities for students and foster a sense of community.

President and Symposium Co-Chair

Alyssa Spencer 

Faculty Advisor: Nancy Makri

Research Topic: Developing methods to study quantum mechanical processes in large molecules and the condensed phase using the path integral formulation of quantum dynamics. 

Hobbies: Crocheting, painting, Minecraft 

Alma Mater: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 

Why Illinois?  "Illinois conducts great research in theoretical chemistry and will support their students in achieving both their academic and professional goals. Also, low cost of living." 

Vice President 

Michael Taleff

Faculty Advisor: Damien Guironnet 

Research: Precise, automated synthesis of polymers with designed structures

Hobbies: Cycling 

Alma Mater: University of Texas at Austin 

Why Illinois? "Every aspect of the community. I really enjoy working with the professors here, especially with my advisor and his close collaborators. The student body is also incredible, always friendly and very welcoming."


Trevor Gayer 

Faculty Advisor: Baron Peters 

Research Topic: Understanding the degradation mechanisms of anion exchange membranes for fuel of cell applications 

Hobbies: Watching movies/TV shows 

Alma Mater: University of Nevada, Reno 

Why Illinois? "Exciting and wide range of research opportunities." 


Community Engagement and Symposium Co-Chair 

Priyotosh Bairagya (Priyo) 

Faculty Advisor: Ying Diao 

Research Topic: Organic photovoltaics, Polymer self-assembly 

Hobbies: Manga, Anime, War-Movies, Badminton 

Alma Mater: Jadavpur University, India 

Why Illinois? "Reputed program with diverse research areas besides, of course Urban-Champaign being so livable and having such a great community."

Professional Development Chair

Emmanuel Ejiogu

Faculty Advisor: Baron Peters 

Research: Computational modeling for polymer upcycling 

Hobbies: Playing piano 

Alma Mater: University of Lagos 

Why Illinois? "It has a strong computational chemistry/chemical engineering program. Champaign is also my ideal type of town - calm and nice."

Outreach Chair

Austin Lomas 

Faculty Advisor: Ying Diao 

Research: Investigating tunable structural color with additive manufacturing and autonomous experimentation.

Hobbies: Baking bread, reading, and Yoga

Alma Mater: Texas Tech University 

Why Illinois? "Illinois has a strong spirit of collaboration and camaraderie. I feel really supported and empowered here!"

Communications Chair

Lela Manis 

Faculty Advisor: Baron Peters 

Research: Computational modeling with rare events techniques from molecular modeling and quantum chemistry. 

Hobbies: Crocheting, Playing board games, Brewing 

Alma Mater: Tennessee Technological University 

Why Illinois? "Illinois has a welcoming community of graduate students, faculty, and staff, all of whom are dedicated to collaboratively contributing to cutting-edge research and educational opportunities."

Past Student Advisory Councils


President: Tony Pham
External Vice President: Melanie Fournier


President: Destiny Collazo
External Vice President: Rajarshi Samajdar
Internal Vice President: Suchi Vijayaraghavan
Professional Development Chair: Gunnar Thompson
Outreach Chair: Darien Raymond
International Chair: Sonji Lamichhane
Communication Chair: Melany Opolz


President: Lauren Endress
External Vice President / Co-Symposium Chair: Richa Ghosh
Internal Vice President / Treasurer: Kyle Timmer
Communications Chair: Rachel Gaines
International Chair / Co-Symposium Chair: Jarom Sederholm
Professional Development Chair: Gunnar Thompson
Outreach Chair: Darien Raymond


President: Victoria Kriuchkovskaia
External VP: Tianhao Yu 
Internal VP/Treasurer: David Potts 
International Chair/Symposium Chair 1: Azzaya Khasbaatar 
Symposium Chair 2: Aashutosh Boob 
Outreach Chair: Yash Kamble 
Webmaster: Jemin Jeon 
Professional Development Chair: Jiachun Shi 


President: Chris Torres
Vice President: Lili Bello
Treasurer: Danielle Meyer
Secretary: Caroline Li
Webmaster/Symposium Chair: Armin Shayesteh Zadeh
Outreach/Symposium Chair: Aliki Kolliopoulos