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Current GSA Executive Officers

*Terms effective July 1st.

**Terms effective October 7th after recent special election.



Brandon Batzloff


Office Hours: 10:00am - 12:00 pm. Every other Monday

     February 3, 17; March 2, 16, 30; April 13, 27

Brandon is a doctoral candidate in the Cognitive and Information Sciences program. His research applies cognitive science to large scale social issues, such as policy regarding, and public engagement with, the issue of climate disruption. A primary goal of his research is to develop methods for utilizing scientific research as a tool that can integrate the needs of the community into the priorities of academic research, thereby allowing the concerns of marginalized communities to have greater representation at state and national levels. A goal of Brandon’s as GSA President is to begin professional development strategies for graduate students interested in similar outcomes for their research. He started the Queer Action Committee (QuAC), the first organization for queer (LGBT) graduate students and is a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for Queer Issues (CACQI). Feel free to contact Brandon about issues you feel are important.


Ritwika VPS (Ritu)


Office Hours: 3 pm-4 pm  in ACS 254. Every other Wednesday, beginning Sept. 18th, 2019.

I am a fifth year PhD candidate in Physics. I work on understanding the dynamics of foraging phenomena on complex landscapes with multiple interacting agents. I ran for GSA President because I have always felt that the GSA could be a positive force in graduate students’ lives. As such, my overarching goal as President is to build the graduate community’s faith in the GSA as an organization capable of voicing graduate student concerns. Specific goals include advocating for better access to mental health services for graduate students, fair-priced transportation and parking options, more training and funding opportunities for graduate students, and safe spaces for marginalized and/or underrepresented groups. When I am not working, I am either traveling and eating all the good food, sleeping in, hanging out with friends, or at the gym.


Internal Vice President

Vicky Espinoza


Office Hours: Held the first Wednesday of every month, beginning Sept. 4, 2019 from 11am-12pm in SSB 350 (GradPad SSB 350)

Vicky is a 3rd year PhD Candidate in the Environmental Systems graduate group. For her doctoral research she is analyzing how California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) has the potential to impact irrigated land use in the San Joaquin Valley, and how these land use changes could affect already socioeconomically vulnerable communities in the region. Overall, her research will offer a framework for strategizing how and where it is optimal to implement alternative land uses that will maximize the benefit to the economy, environment, farmers, underrepresented communities and meet SGMA targets. Vicky will serve as GSA’s Internal Vice President for the 2019-2020 academic year. As IVP, Vicky is a liaison between the Executive Council, Delegate Assembly, and ASUCM to facilitate addressing both graduate and undergraduate student body issues. During her time in GSA, she will advocate for better access to mental health services, safe spaces for underrepresented and/or marginalized groups, and better integration of the UC Merced with the Merced community. When she is not working, you can find her bouldering, running, or at the gym.


External Vice President

Alexandria Pabst


Office Hours: Held the first Monday of every month, beginning after Labor Day on Sept. 9, 2019 from 10am-11am in SSB 350 (GradPad)

Alexandria is a fifth year PhD Candidate in the Cognitive and Information Sciences program. Her main research interests involve modulating brain activity via magnetic stimulation to enhance memory, learning, and other cognitive capacities. Alex has served on both campus committees and system-wide committees as a graduate student, and will serve as the GSA’s External Vice President for the 2019-2020 academic year. As EVP, Alex will serve as a liaison between the graduate student body and UC systemwide administration, state and federal legislative offices, and the greater community. This is a critical time to advocate for graduate student issues and needs, as much legislation is being proposed that will affect the daily lives of our graduate students.


Academic Affairs Officer

Matthew Turner


Office Hours: Held the first Tuesday of every month from 3-4 pm in SSM 241

Matthew is a fourth year PhD student in the Cognitive and Information Sciences program. His research focuses on how sub-cultures and groups emerge and decay within societies of all scales. An important part of this work examines how communication factors in to changing people’s political opinions, and what sorts of metaphors are used in mass media in response to a particular cultural moment. As academic affairs officer, Matthew works to ensure graduate student interests are represented in all parts of campus life.


Internal Communications Officer**

Jordan Collignon


Officer Hours: TBD

Jordan is a third year Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics.  His research focuses on developing mathematical tools to study heterogeneous population structures, and use them to study the dynamics of prion proteins in yeast colonies.  He believes that graduate student representation is necessary as this projects to the community that the well-being of the graduate student body has, at the very least, the same level of importance as any other group, and that the actions of graduate students have great potential to generate a positive outlook for both the campus community and the area we live in.  As the internal communications officer, Jordan will help maintain and strengthen our connection with the people and organizations in our university and local community.



Shayna Bennett


Office Hours: TBD

Shayna is a third year Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics. Her research focuses on numerical methods for modeling spatial movement of biological invasions. As treasurer, Shayna's goal is to better align GSA financial support with the needs of the graduate community.


Public Relations/Community Outreach Officer

Tafadzwa Joseph Dube


Officer Hours: TBD

Joseph is a 2nd year Phd student in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department. He is from Zimbabwe. His research interests are in Human Computer Interaction, focusing mostly on augmented and virtual reality. As the public relations officer this year he focuses on building strong relations between the GSA, the graduate student and the campus community at large. It is his belief that the strength of a student association is based on how well it relates with the community.


International Affairs Officers

Ahmed Correa


Office Hours: Held in COB2 240D, every first Tuesday of every month. Or just ask for a different date through email.

Ahmed is a third year PhD Candidate in the Interdisciplinary Humanities program. He is from Cuba and lived in Ecuador for almost seven years.  His research interest includes border and migrant studies, critical race and ethnicity, especially in the spatial context of global south, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In his role as a member of the GSA, Ahmed seeks to influence the following issues, a) voice graduate students' concerns and needs to the university authorities in decision-making processes, b) implement conditions (like shuttle service and temporary housing) to facilitate the transition to Merced of international and national students from other states, c) strengthen the relationship between our campus and the Merced community.


Feng Yu


Office Hours: TBD


Climate, Diversity and Equity Officer

Maria Ramirez Loyola


Office Hours: Every other Tuesday from 12-1 pm in SSB 350 (The GradPad) starting Sept. 3rd, 2019

Maria is a fourth year graduate student in the Psychological Sciences department. As the 2019-2020 C.D.E. Officer Maria’s ultimate goal is to ensure that the diverse perspectives and concerns experienced by graduate students are represented as UC Merced continues to build a safe and welcoming campus environment for everyone. This year Maria will prioritize the following: a) enhancing equitable graduate student access to mental health services and resources on campus ; b) ensuring graduate students access to resources and/or training that will facilitate our ability to teach and mentor a diverse set of undergraduates; and c) advocating for graduate student views and concerns regarding C.D.E. at the broader university level. When Maria isn’t busy working she enjoys sitting down with a good book, spending time with friends downtown, and having mini-photo shoots with her pets.