The Northwestern Graduate Student Association represents and serves non-professional graduate students at Northwestern University in Evanston and Chicago, IL.  We serve as advocates for the student body to the administration, build coanmmunity at Northwestern, and provide opportunities to serve the greater Evanston and Chicago communities.

Questions or comments? Want to get involved? We’d love to hear from you! E-mail us

2014-2015 GSA Officers

Zafir Zaman – President
Zafir Zaman (aka “Z”) is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. He was previously the treasurer of GSA. His research involves visualizing how granular materials mix and segregate in flow. He received his A.B. in Chemistry with an Applied Math minor from Colgate University. At Northwestern, Z was involved with Project SOAR, a youth mentoring program run by the Grove St. YMCA. Originally, he is from Brooklyn, NY and roots for the Mets.

President Description
As president, I oversee internal operations, enabling our executive board to bring quality service and social events. I also look for opportunities to co-sponsor with other student and university groups to expand our reach and to better serve TGS students. Keep an eye out for all the exciting events for this year.

Stephanie Brehm – Secretary
Stephanie Brehm is a doctoral student in the Religious Studies Department. She studies religion and popular culture, specifically humor, in contemporary American life – she loves a good joke about religion! Her work combines ethnography, history, cultural studies, and media studies. Stephanie is in the Rhetoric and Public Culture Cluster and in the Religious Studies Graduate Student Association. She is also a graduate mentor in the Brady Program in Ethics and Civic Life. Before coming to Northwestern, Stephanie graduated with a B.A. from Florida State University in Religion and Communication Studies and an M.A. from Miami University of Ohio in Comparative Religion.

Secretary Description
As secretary, I work on all internal information for GSA: minutes, Google Drive, records, supplies, room reservations. I also assist other board members when needed.Austin Isner – Treasurer

Treasurer Description
As this year’s treasurer, I’ll work to maintain the organization’s finances while fostering our relations with new and existing co-sponsoring organizations. One aim of this year’s executive board is to expand the GSA’s capacity to host various social/networking events; to that end, it is my responsibility to streamline our working budget to make achieving these goals as easy as possible. I look forward to working with the board on planning and executing the GSA’s vision to serve the Northwestern graduate student body and greater community.Janet Bourne – Communication Officer
Janet Bourne is a fifth-year PhD candidate in Music Theory and Cognition. She graduated from George Mason University in spring 2010 with a B.A. in music and minors in linguistics and theater. While at George Mason, she worked as a Resident Adviser and, since being at Northwestern, she co-organized her department’s 2011-2012 colloquium series and has served leadership positions in the NU Graduate Christian Fellowship. Her research focuses on how listeners use analogy to make sense of music.

Communications Officer Description
I am the “telephone operator” of GSA. I update the website, answer E-mails, run the twitter, update plan-it purple and send out the bi-weekly newsletter. If you want to publish any events in our bi-weekly newsletter, please E-mail GSA.
Fashina Aladé – Social Co-Chair
Shina is a PhD student in the Media, Technology, & Society program, where she she studies children and media. Her research looks at media use in relation to children’s growth and development, with a particular focus on educational media. She holds an MA from the Ohio State University and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, both in Communication. In addition to her academic pursuits, she has worked with MediaKidz Research and Consulting, Inc. on a variety of projects evaluating children’s television programs and online games. She is also a big fan of the arts, and a member of the NUtones, Northwestern’s grad student a cappella group.Jia Wu – Social Co-Chair
Jia is a third year PhD student in the IBIS program, specializing in computational biology. She is an active fellow in the NSF GK-12 program at Northwestern University, and is working on integrating computational thinking into K-12 science and engineering curriculums. She enjoys backpacking, surfing, and cooking. She received her BS in Bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego, and planned events as the social chair for Tau Beta Pi.Jordan Norris – Social Co-Chair
Jordan is a second year PhD student in Economics, with his research specializing in applied econometrics and public policy. Earlier this year, he served as a Graduate Sidekick for the International Office and is currently a Social Chair in the Department of Economics. Before Northwestern, Jordan graduated from the University of Cambridge, UK, with an M.Sci and B.A. in Theoretical Physics and Natural Sciences, respectively.

Social Chairs Description
We plan and host all the social activities sponsored by the GSA, such as the recurring Happy Hours, summer BBQs and the annual camping trip – all heavily subsidized and many free! In Grad School it can be hard to create friendships across departments: we’re here to help break down those barriers. We encourage you to get involved. Anything you’d like to see or do which we don’t do, don’t hesitate to contact us with suggestions.

Wendy Chan – Service Co-Chair

Sharlene He – Service Co-Chair

Service Chairs Description
Love giving back to the community? As the GSA service chairs, we are excited to offer NU graduate students many opportunities to be involved with the local Evanston community while making new friends and establishing lasting relationships along the way. Stay tuned for details about our first event coming up in October, Fairy Tale Trails, where we invite graduate students to dress up and give children the best Halloween ever. In the spring, you can enjoy the return of nice weather at our annual GSA 5K/10K race with proceeds going to the Cradle Foundation, an adoption organization dedicated to providing children with loving homes. Keep an eye out for other fun events throughout the year – we look forward to meeting you!Amanda Kleintop – Advocacy Chair
Amanda Kleintop is a third-year Ph.D. student in Northwestern’s history department. She hosts information sessions for graduate students about issues like healthcare benefits and serves as GSA’s representative on the Graduate Leadership and Advocacy Council (GLAC). Feel free to e-mail ( her about any advocacy issues regarding insurance, diversity and inclusion, funding, and other concerns you want to bring to GSA, GLAC, or TGS.

Advocacy Chair Description
I will host information sessions for graduate students about issues like healthcare benefits and serve as GSA’s representative on the Graduate Leadership and Advocacy Council (GLAC). Feel free to E-mail me about any advocacy issues regarding insurance, diversity and inclusion, funding, and other concerns you want to bring to GSA, GLAC, or TGS.