Graduate Student Association

The Graduate Student Association serves as an advocate for graduate students at VCU. It sponsors events such as meet-and-greets, monthly socials and the annual Graduate Research Symposium that are designed to enhance academic skills, provide professional development opportunities and facilitate an active social environment.

The GSA and the Graduate School work together to assist students with travel costs for academic conferences. The GSA places students on campuswide committees to ensure concerns of graduate students are heard.

2016-17 GSA Executive Committee

The GSA Executive Committee advocates for the graduate student population by addressing student concerns, promoting events, and encouraging involvement in the graduate community.  The GSA Executive Committee can be contacted at

GSA general meetings: TBD


Shawn Hakim, President:  Shawn is a PhD candidate in the Clinical and Translational Research Sciences program with a concentration in Molecular Medicine.  He is investigating Prolactin Receptor (PRLr) structure/functions and signal transduction in breast cancer.

Kayla Scott, Vice President: Kayla is a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Engineering department. She is investigating the potential for 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 to retard the development and severity of osteoarthritis.  

Samantha Spencer, Secretary: Sam is a second year PhD student in the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal with a concentration in Neuroscience.  She is investigating the role of LPA and its receptors in the development of oligodendrocytes as a potential target for remyelination in multiple sclerosis.  

Justin Liang, Treasurer: Justin is a second year Master of Science student with concentration in finance at the VCU School of Business. He also works full-time as a budget analyst for one of the Commonwealth of Virginia executive branch agencies.

Trung Le, Appropriations Chair:  Trung is a second year Masters student in the Public Administration program with a concentration in nonprofit management. In addition to working as a Graduate Assistant in the VCU Graduate School, he is also working at a local nonprofit called Family Lifeline as a development intern.

Navaneetha Bharathan, Communications Chair: Nav is a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Portal program with a concentration in Human Genetics. He is investigating the role of the cell-junction protein, desmoplakin, in embryonic development and its regulation in the embryonic skin using the African clawed frog,Xenopus laevis, as a model.

Sri Lakshmi Chalasani, Symposium Chair:  Sri is a PhD candidate in the Dept. of Pharmacology and currently working on the kinetics of formation of XLF and XRCC4 heterofilament formation at the double strand break in Non-Homologous endjoining repair. 


Graduate student organizations

The GSA is responsible for appropriating program funds for all VCU graduate student organizations. Each organization is required to submit a proposed budget in the spring for the following academic year. The GSA appropriations committee is charged with receiving, hearing arguments for and deciding on the actual amount that each organization will be given and for what purpose.

Currently, the following organizations are recognized as VCU graduate student organizations: