GSA Mission

Enhance the overall graduate student experience of all BB graduate students. We have several more specific goals within this mission:

  1. Provide opportunities for professional development, especially in terms of career development and pursuing potential career paths; particularly in exposing graduate students to non-academic career opportunities.
  2. Improve communication between faculty and graduate students and increase involvement and input of graduate students in departmental decision making and strategic planning.
  3. Foster positive interactions between graduate students, both socially and professionally.

Meet Your GSA

This position is charged with leading the BB GSA as a whole and keeping track of other leadership positions. They will serve as a faculty liaison- communicating comments and concerns between the faculty and/or chair and the graduate student body as needed. They will attend faculty meetings as the graduate student representative.

Kayla Jara (she/her)

Class Standing: 4th year Graduate Student

Lab: Barbar

Hello! My name is Kayla Jara and I'm very honored to serve as GSA president for a second year. I'm originally from Parker, CO and completed my undergrad at the University of Northern Colorado where I earned my degree in Biochemistry. Currently, I’m a 4th year in the Barbar Lab on a quest to study the cargo attachment subcomplex of dynein. When I'm not in lab I enjoy watching classic TV sitcoms and game shows, as well as spending time with my partner (also named Kayla) and our 2-year-old Shepskie, Winston. I chose to pursue my PhD at OSU because of the collaborative environment of the department and the amazing outreach opportunities our community has to offer. I’m looking forward to representing students and trainees this year!

This position is charged with representing the greater graduate student body in graduate student recruitment. They will serve as a full member of the Graduate Programs Committee and will serve as the point person for graduate student recruitment events.

Aidan Estelle

Class Standing: 4th year graduate Student

Lab: Barbar

I’m Aidan, the Barbar lab’s designated computational biophysicist. I’m from San Diego, CA, and did my undergraduate degree at Oberlin college near Cleveland, OH. I’m in my 4th year here at OSU and work primarily on protein dynamics and allostery, specifically of dynein protein complexes and a class of peroxide reductases called peroxiredoxins, which I study through a mix of solution NMR techniques and computational approaches, including mathematical modelling as well as molecular dynamics (soon) (hopefully). I spend most of my free time cooking, to try to recreate the joys of lab-work at home, and I like to read science fiction and fantasy when that’s not taking up all my free time.

Ruben Riordan

Class Standing: 4th year graduate Student

Lab: Perez

Hi! I’m Ruben Riordan. I’m originally from Austin Texas… although I only lived there for about a year. I have since lived in Indiana, two places in Missouri, Salem Oregon, Seattle Washington, and now here. I received my B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Washington and came to BB for the opportunity to study age related diseases at the Linus Pauling Institute. I currently work in the Perez laboratory studying how the aging process drives the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. It is my pleasure to serve as a co-vice president and taking part in the recruitment process, particularly as we work out how best to interview candidates during the covid-times.

This position is charged with creating and maintaining a database of submitted fellowship applications (both successful and unsuccessful) from the department as well as organizing a list of fellowships and annual deadlines. They will organize peer reviews for fellowship applications and assist applicants with navigating applications/application websites as needed.

Isabelle Logan

Class Standing: 5th year graduate student

Lab: Gombart

Isabelle hails from Belgium and received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Portland State University, where she found a love for physical chemistry and redox biology. She’s currently finishing up her PhD in the lab of Dr. Gombart, where she studies the use of a natural compound, xanthohumol, in the fight against obesity and metabolic syndrome. She will soon return to her passion in the fields of redox and tumor biology and immunology. She wants students to follow their passion and obtain extramural funding, which is why she’s the GSA’s fellowship coordinator.

This position is charged with updating and maintaining a graduate roster and graduate student FAQ on the department website. They will assist in posting important departmental updates on BB’s socials.

Lena Ferguson (she/her)

Class Standing: 2nd year Graduate Student

Lab: Kolluri

Hi! My name is Lena Ferguson and I am a 2nd year graduate student in the BB department. I received a bachelors in Chemistry from Oregon State University in 2017. After I graduated from OSU, I started working full time as a chemist at Gene Tools, LLC . I am still working at Gene Tools full time while pursuing my PhD in Dr. Siva Kolluri’s lab researching cancer therapeutics. When I am not working, I spend my time with my fiance (Chase) going on adventures with our pups, Hagen (yellow lab) and Rosko (Corgi/Jack Russell). My biggest hobby is going SCUBA diving and I hope to pursue my dive masters in the near future! With COVID and work, I have felt so isolated from the BB department and miss being able to see everyone on a daily basis. So, I am very excited to be involved in GSA this year as the media and publicity coordinator.

This position is charged with maintaining the BB GSA shared drive and organizing resources for each year. They also assume responsibility for all allocated funds and for recording and distributing minutes from graduate student meetings.

Rosalyn Fey

Class Standing: 5th year graduate student

Lab: Hendrix

I'm Rosalyn Fey, and I am a 5th year PhD student in the Hendrix lab in the BB department. I'm studying aging and the circadian clock in fruit flies using a systems biology approach. In the future I'm interested in pursuing research in space biology and/or astrobiology. In my free time I enjoy crafting, cooking, reading and adventuring. I'm excited to continue working with the GSA this year to serve the trainees in our department!

The Outreach Chair will be charged with heading the BB Summer Camp, and other outreach events including Discovering the Scientist Within. This officer will be in contact with Cathy Law to organize these events.

Allyson Erlendson

Class Standing: 6th year graduate Student

Lab: Freitag

Hey all! My name is Ally and I am excited to serve the BB department as GSA Outreach Chair. Although outreach might look a little different this year, I look forward to finding creative socially-distanced/virtual events to promote public engagement in science. I am a sixth-year grad student in the lab of Dr. Michael Freitag where we study chromatin-meditated gene silencing in filamentous fungi. I choose to pursue graduate studies at OSU for quite a few reasons – one of the most notable being the many teaching and outreach opportunities the OSU community has to offer. My hobbies include hiking about the picturesque Pacific Northwest, cooking (and eating), everything houseplant related and more recently, introducing my 4-year old to the world of musical theater.

This position will be charged with being the student rep in the BB JEDI group. This officer will communicate JEDI efforts between the department and the COS.

Brittany Lasher

Class Standing: 2nd year graduate Student

Lab: Hendrix

Hello, my name is Brittany Lasher and I am excited to be serving as the first Diversity and Social Justice Chair for the GSA! I am a Pacific Northwest native, obtained my bachelor’s degree from UW in Chemical Engineering and my master’s degree from Johns Hopkins in Biomolecular Engineering. I am a second-year graduate student in the Hendrix lab, where I utilize data science to better understand biological processes related to gene rhythmicity and RNA structure. When I’m not on my computer doing research, I’m outside with my two wonderful dogs exploring the vast PNW. I chose to pursue my PhD at Oregon State University because of the amazing research opportunities as well as the close-knit department environment, which quickly felt like a family. I am excited to be serving on the GSA this year!

This position is charged with organizing and initiating selecting and inviting seminar speakers, including at least one graduate student selected seminar speaker and the annual alumni speaker. They will also guide younger graduate students with hosting and planning duties and is responsible for ordering the plaque for the annual alumni speaker. They will coordinate with 3rd year graduate students and Faculty Seminar Chair to make sure Tsoo King Lecture arrangements are proceeding on schedule.

Amanda Radke

Amber Vogel

This position will maintain events, celebrations, and socials for the BB GSA. They will organize quarterly events to promote positive interactions between graduate students.

Jesse Howe

Class Standing: 3rd year graduate Student

Lab: Barbar

I’m Jesse Howe, and I’m excited to serve another year as Party Czar. I’m from just north of San Diego. I’m currently studying polybivalency in LC8, and am currently working towards determining whether molecular crowding from the cell can affect how LC8 binds its clients. In my free time, I enjoy playing board games, playing guitar, and watching old movies. I have a baby skink named Rex, and his favorite food is bananas.

A representative will be selected for each class cohort. These positions are charged with serving as the primary contact for the class (particularly for department administrators).

Mareike Moller

Lab: Freitag

John Ridenour

Lab: Freitag

Savanna Avila-Crump

Lab: Mehl

Grace Galles

A representative will be selected for each class cohort. These positions are charged with serving as the primary contact for the class (particularly for department administrators).

Cat Hoang

Class Standing: 1st year graduate Student

Alex Eddins

Class Standing: 2nd year graduate Student

Lab: Mehl

Jesse Howe

Class Standing: 3rd year graduate Student

Lab: Barbar

Phil Zhu

Class Standing: 4th year graduate Student

Kasie Baker

Class Standing: 5th year graduate Student

Lab: Nyarko

Riley Bednar

Class Standing: 6th+ year graduate Student