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.


Freddy Ward

Faculty Advisor: Hyunjoon Kong 

Research Topic: Defining and quantifying neural stem cell differentiation and neuroinflammation for the construction of neural networks. 

Hobbies: Cooking, swimming, tailgating, video games, and reading.

Alma Mater: The University of Tulsa  

Why Illinois?  The community and opportunities. I come from a smaller university, so community is very important to me. It was clear to me that Illinois has this collaborative community that I thrive in. This, combined with research that is both exciting and transformative, made it clear that Illinois was my home. 

Vice President 

Aryaman Joshi

Faculty Advisor: Hyunjoon Kong 

Research: Controlling senescence of mesenchymal stem cells and utilizing their extracellular vesicles for therapeutic applications.

Hobbies: Traveling, Cooking & Baking, Sports  

Alma Mater: Indian Institute of Technology Varanasi 

Why Illinois? Illinois provides a highly collaborative and supportive environment, world-class research facilities, and an excellent cost of living. 


Chintan Shah 

Faculty Advisor: Damien Guironnet 

Research Topic: Polymer Science and Catalysis 

Hobbies: Sports (Badminton, Squash, Tennis), Reading, and Listening to music 

Alma Mater: University at Buffalo (SUNY) 

Why Illinois? The University at Illinois-Urbana Champaign has had great research prospects and facilities. The scope and diversity of the projects are huge, and the place is also affordable compared to many other cities. These are the primary reasons why I chose Illinois. 


Symposium Co-Chair/Outreach

Jiye Lee 

Faculty Advisor: Simon Rogers 

Research Topic: Brittle and Ductile Yielding of Soft Materials  

Hobbies: Watching dramas, cooking  

Alma Mater: University of Florida  

Why Illinois? I chose Illinois because it has amazing faculty members, and the department genuinely cares about student well-being and success. 

Symposium Co-Chair/Professional Development  

Michael Chen  

Faculty Advisor: Diwakar Shukla

Research Topic: Computational Modeling of G-Protein Coupled Receptors and ML guided based drug discovery.

Hobbies: Watching movies/tv shows, exploring the outdoors, traveling  

Alma Mater: University of California, Davis  

Why Illinois?   I chose Illinois because of its strength in chemistry and chemical engineering. The community here is also very collaborative and welcoming for graduate students. 


Professional Development Chair

Harini Srikant

Faculty Advisor:  Theresa Schoetz 

Research: Flexible Batteries, particularly, I'm working on Electrode-Electrolyte Composites.

Hobbies: Learning languages, singing Carnatic Classical music and going on treks.  

Alma Mater: Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai  

Why Illinois?  I chose Illinois because I really liked how friendly and welcoming everyone here was, and because Urbana-Champaign has a strong public transportation system!  

Outreach/Community Engagement  Chair

Juan Rojas

Faculty Advisor: Paul Kenis 

Research:  Membrane-based CO2 capture for Diesel Engine Exhaust 

Hobbies: Travel, Gym, Hiking 

Alma Mater: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  

Why Illinois? I choose Illinois due to the wide range of energy and sustainability research. I also like how affordable and how close Champaign is to Chicago. 

Communications Chair

Parham Ghasemiahangarani

Faculty Advisor: Theresa Schoetz

Research: Charge Storage Mechanisms 

Hobbies: Soccer history collection, networking on Instagram, and cycling on bicycles 

Alma Mater: University of Tehran, Iran 

Why Illinois? I chose Illinois because of its outstanding academic reputation, authentic institutions, and strong programs, especially in chemical engineering. The dynamic campus environment and the wide array of student organizations also attracted me, as I want a comprehensive college experience. 

Past Student Advisory Councils


President: Tony Pham
President and Symposium Ch-Chair: Alyssa Spencer
External Vice President: Melanie Fournier
Vice President: Michael Taleff
Treasurer: Trevor Gayer
Community Engagement and Symposium Co-Chair: Priyotosh Bairagya (Priyo)
Professional Development Chair: Emmanuel Ejiogu
Outreach Chair: Austin Lomas
Communications Chair: Lela Manis


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