Meet the 2018-2019 Exec Board
Samantha Fried – President
Sam is a 5th-year PhD student in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech. This is also her 5th year in the Remote Sensing Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program (IGEP). This is her 4th year of involvement with the Graduate Student Assembly, and her 3rd year serving on the GSA Executive Board. In short, she is sometimes kind of busy. Sam’s dissertation project is about the Landsat satellite system, and the ways in which we can understand blurry distinctions between civilian and military technologies through a Landsat case study. Sam likes to knit in her spare time, and actually has a dissertation-related knitting side project called Knit the World. Knit the World is currently on hold, due to presidential responsibilities. But you can read more about it at samknitstheworld.wordpress.com. Besides knitting, Sam has also been tap dancing somewhat consistently for the last 25 years. Additionally, she enjoys watercolor painting, drawing, and singing. She belongs to two cats: Croissant and Cake Pop.
Veronica Scott – Vice President and Director of Legislative Affairs
Veronica Scott is serving as the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) Vice President for the 2018 -2019 school year. She is working on her Master’s degree in Geography. She is very excited about her research into the safety of drinking water in Virginia. Veronica collaborates with the Virginia Household Water Quality Program to identify the spatial patterns of drinking water contaminants that can result in bone density disorders. The research project allows her to combine two of her favorite things about research: the opportunity to use a process to better understand the world around us and the chance to improve the lives of people around her. When Veronica is not busy with school, she loves to travel, in fact, this summer she visited 13 states!
These same interests have driven her to take part in GSA from her first semester at Virginia Tech just last fall in 2017. It has also lead her to take on the responsibility of being the Vice President. This year she hope to use the University Governance structure to improve the lives of graduate students at Virginia Tech.
Chelsea Corkins – Director of Programs
Chelsea Corkins is a master’s student in Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education with a background in agricultural and ecological engineering. As a native to Kansas, she attended Kansas State University prior to moving to Virginia to pursue her PhD in 2013. After fully accepting her love of teaching and outreach, Chelsea pivoted out of her PhD program and into an education field where she currently assists with the premier adult agricultural leadership program in Virginia. In addition, she currently researches how educators understand engineering concepts and engineering design in agricultural nonformal STEM programs – specifically through the 4-H program. In her free time, Chelsea can be found packing for her ever-upcoming international journey or music festival, reading a Malcom Gladwell type social science or sociology book, or simply enjoying a craft beer at a local pub.
Lehi Dowell – Director of Events
Lehi is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the School of Public and International Affairs earning a degree in Planning, Governance, and Globalization. Having worked ten years in corporate hospitality operations management and several years in nonprofit administration, he has been exposed to issues concerning economic growth, sustainable development, and community engagement on both local and international levels. This firsthand knowledge is instrumental in supplementing his research endeavors and bridging the gap between the real world (applied science) and academia (theoretical science).
In tourism development he views current trends through a global lens, considers how best to improve the community experience by mitigating negative impacts, examines increasing levels of accountability for all sectors, and theorizes on how to intersect policy through local/regional/state/country/world structures. He refuses to live in an ivory tower surrounded by publications that no one reads, and prefers to investigate real life quandaries by finding solutions that incorporate resilience and growth for at risk populations.
Bronson Weston – Director of Finance
Bronson is a 4th year PhD student in the program of Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology here at Virginia Tech. During his time here, he has been involved in a wide range of projects. He has worked with a team to predict signaling pathways perturbed in human cells by a variety of toxicants, he has modeled how immature white blood cells interpret environmental signals to direct their development, and he is currently modeling how a bacteria species, Caulobacter crescentus, utilizes protein localization, degradation, and genetic regulation to divide asymmetrically. When not doing research, he enjoys hiking, exercising and kickin’ it with good friends.
As the Director of Finance of the GSA, he will make sure that this organization manages its resources efficiently and help to drive positive change for graduate students across the common wealth of Virginia.
Martina Svyantek – Director of Communications
Martina V. Svyantek is a doctoral candidate in a self-designed and highly-individualized interdisciplinary program exploring Disability identity situated within higher education. Her research focuses on Disability-related institutional policies, accessibility, and campus activism.She earned her Bachelor of Science in civil engineering in 2011 from Auburn University, complemented by her MS from Virginia Tech in May 2018. Martina curates an ePortfolio (martinasvyantek.com), tweets into the internet void (@svyantek), and generally keeps to herself in large crowds. Ultimately, Martina aspires to continue working with the discipline-agnostic view of learning, research, and impactful service, weaving together connections and resources related to campus communities.