Executive Branch

The GPSG Executive Committee officers are elected by the GPSG General Assembly every year in May. The Executive Committee meets regularly and oversees various operations and committees. The Executive Committee is composed of 13 members:

President Brandon M. Lê
Vice President for Advocacy TJ Bryant
Vice President for Student Affairs Christopher Kilner
Vice President for Communications Cindy Pan
Director of Finance Denisse Porras
Director of Student Organizations Monique Alofoje
Director of Logistics and Operations Dylan Lu
Director of External Advocacy Julia Palmucci
Director of Events Programming Maureen Ojukwu
Director of Durham and Global Community Relations Allie Hargrove
Director of Academic Affairs Evan Pebesma
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Kamillah Kassam
Director of Environment and Sustainability Meech Carter


Brandon M. Lê (he/him/his)
Bio: Brandon is a 5th-year Genetics & Genomics (UPGG) PhD candidate in the School of Medicine and The Graduate School, working at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute on the genetic modifiers of sickle cell disease. Originally from Pennsylvania and graduated from Brown University with a Computer Science degree, he helps organize events and advocacy for Duke F1RSTS (the first-generation / low-income community of Duke graduate and professional students) and represents student interests on various on-campus committees, including the Duke IT Advisory Council and the Duke Chapel Student Advisory Board. Off campus, he can be found looking up obscure facts about Duke and Durham, creating digital iconography and critiquing UI/UX designs, and going back on campus to visit Peaches and Mamabean. For concerns regarding graduate and professional student life, inquiries about how to get involved in GPSG, or proposals for campus wide initiatives, email brandon.m.le@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The President is the chief spokesperson of the Council and is the official liaison between the Council and all outside bodies, both inside the University community and outside.

Contact the President: For ideas, thoughts, or concerns regarding Graduate Student Life that you would like GPSG to focus on or discuss, if you are interested in serving in any capacity with GPSG, or if you would like to propose a co-sponsorship with a campus-wide initiative.

Vice President for Advocacy

TJ Bryant (he/him)
Bio: TJ Bryant (he/him/his) is a third-year student in Duke Divinity School’s Master of Divinity Program. He serves on the GPSG Executive as the Vice President of Advocacy. Prior to serving on the Exec, TJ served as a Secretariat for the Divinity School. In Spring of 2021, TJ served as an intern with Durham CAN, an affiliate of the Industrial Area Foundations, through the Grad Engage Fellowship at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and continued his internship until August of that year. During the 2021-2022 school year, he worked at the Ormond Center as an Open Design Strategist where he worked on a project that connected Campbell University to various churches in Harnett County to promote education equity in underserved communities. In the summer of 2022, he interned at St. Joseph’s AME Church, Durham’s most important historic black institution, where he led Sunday school and taught Bible study. At Duke Divinity, TJ is a Thriving Community Fellow and plans to graduate in Spring of 2023 with certificates in Black Church Studies and Faith-based Organizing, Advocacy, and Social Transformation. His academic interests include Political Theology, Christian Ethics, Black Church Studies, Broad Based Community Organizing and Christian Education. His hometown is Marietta, Ga. Feel free to email him at todd.bryant@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Vice President for Advocacy is responsible for developing and advancing GPSG’s mission of advocacy within Duke University and in the broader local, state, and national community.

Contact the VP for Advocacy: To learn more about the internal and External Advocacy plan, contribute to advocacy efforts within Duke University and beyond.

Vice President for Student Affairs

Christopher Kilner (he/him/his)
Bio: Christopher is a 6th-year PhD candidate in the University Program in Ecology at the Nicholas School of the Environment and The Graduate School. His research focuses on microbial community dynamics under climate change and increased natural disasters. Hailing from the great state of Maryland, Christopher attended Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC before earning a triple-major (Biochemistry, Cell, & Molecular Biology; Environmental Science; Philosophy) from The University of Scranton. As a Mitchell Scholar, Christopher then earned his Masters of Science in Biodiversity and Conservation from Trinity College Dublin. At Duke, Christopher has served as the student representative to the Academic Council (2017-2019) as well as on the Young Trustee Nominating Committee (2020-2021, Chair 2021-2022). Always curious, Christopher enjoys pottery, baking, hiking, and website development. And, can be found at the Arts Block or at various fields across Duke playing intramural sports! If you would like to learn more about Christopher or have suggestions for GPSG student programs and events, feel free to email him at christopher.kilner@duke.edu to schedule a virtual or in-person coffee chat.

Responsibilities: The Vice President for Student Affairs is responsible for supporting and developing student life on campus, including events programming and student organizations. The VP-SA also oversees the logistics and internal operations of the Government.

Contact the VP for Student Affairs: To learn about the upcoming events on campus or grad campout.

Vice President for Communications

Cindy Pan (she/her/hers)
Bio: Cindy is a third-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student in the School of Medicine whose main career and research interests are in neurological rehabilitation. Originally from Edmond, Oklahoma, Cindy graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Biology, minor in Chemistry, and certificate in Marine Science and Conservation Leadership - ask her about her favorite mollusks! Within her program, she serves as the Class of 2023 Secretary. Outside of school, Cindy enjoys hiking, crocheting bucket hats and blankets, and reading realistic fiction. Shoot her an email at yiwei.pan@duke.edu to chat about GPSG communications, the newsletter, or your (current) favorite book.

Responsibilities: The Vice President for Communication is responsible for maintaining effective communication platforms for the Government, including overseeing the GPSG newsletter and the website.

Contact the VP for Communications: For questions about the newsletter, where to find information on the website, and any other general information.

Director of Durham and Global Community Relations

Allie Hargrove (she/her/hers)
Bio: Allie Hargrove is a first-year M.Div./MSW dual at Duke Divinity and UNC Chapel Hill. Originally from Greenville, South Carolina, Allie graduated from Furman University, where she received a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Poverty Studies. Post-graduation, Allie worked at a nonprofit, where she came alongside unhoused individuals and those with low wealth to work towards self-identified goals and focus areas. It was experiences like that fostered an interest both in community organizing and economic development, and ignited a passion for flourishing neighborhoods. Allie spearheads the Duke Graduate and Professional Student Chapter of Durham CAN, and would love to plug interested students in the chapter. Feel free to shoot her an email at alexina.hargrove@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Director of Durham and global community relations is responsible for developing programming to connect Duke Graduate and Professional students with the broader Durham community and for promoting engagement with local community organizations.

Contact the Director of Durham and Global Community Relations: For getting involved with community outreach or knowing about Durham-based organizations.

Director of Academic Affairs

Evan Pebesma (he/him/his)
Bio: Evan is a sixth-year Program in Literature PhD Candidate in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School. His research interests include political theory, American studies, and contemporary U.S. literature. Evan’s dissertation project explores how American comedy engages with the defining political issues of our time, with a focus on how this genre treats culture as a political force. Originally from Canada, Evan graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Theory and Criticism before coming to Duke. To reach out, email Evan at evan.pebesma@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Director of Academic Affairs acts as a resource with regard to University policies and academic affairs, including the broader issues of diversity, harassment, discrimination, and due process. The Director of Academic Affairs also manages the GPSG Lawyer Assistance Program.

Contact the Director of Academic Affairs: For questions about University resources and policies, Alumni events and resources, career services, and the Lawyer Assistance Program.

Director of Finance

Denisse Porras (she/her/hers)
Bio: Denisse is a medical student at Duke. She graduated with a BS in Nutritional Science from Pepperdine and went to Emory for a dietetic internship. Denisse became a Registered Dietitian shortly after and worked for a few years prior to coming to Duke. Outside of school you can find her trying to keep her sourdough starter alive and baking way too many loaves! Please email her at denissecristina.porras.fimbres@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Director of Finance is responsible for the handling of all approved budgeted and allocated Council funds, which consists of preparing the Annual Budget (to be approved by the General Assembly), maintaining an up-to-date log of disbursements and transactions, organizing Student Group Funding with the Director of University Affairs, and chairing the Finance Committee.

Contact the Director of Finance: For questions/proposals for the GPSG Annual Budget and Student Group Funding concerns.

Director of Logistics and Operations

Dylan Lu (he/him/his)
Bio: Dylan is a second-year student in the master's program in statistical science. Looking forward to being an inspiring and creative data scientist who can thrive in the already crowded industry (There are too many data specialists). As an international student from China, Dylan have been in the U.S. for six years. While being a big movie and music fan, Dylan love all kinds of sports and outdoor activities, especially basketball, badminton, and hiking. You will find Dylan on the Wilson gym's basketball court very often, sometimes too often... Plus, Dylan is also practicing for his first triathlon competition. Dylan is excited to join the GPSG executive board this year and looking forward to contributing to the well-being of our graduate students! You can reach him at shiting.lu@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Director of Logistics and Operation responsibilities include managing and maintaining the GPSG House, approving any GPSG House student events, reserving the meeting space and provides food/supplies for both the General Assembly and the Executive Committee meetings, and overseeing the GPSG Community Pantry and GPSG Emergency Travel Fund Committees.

Contact the Director of Logistics and Operations: For reserving the GPSG House for your event, providing feedback/concerns/suggestions for the GPSG House or GPSG meeting food options, and learning more about the GPSG Community Pantry or the GPSG Emergency Travel Fund.

Director of Student Organizations

Monique Alofoje (she/her/hers)
Bio: Monique Alofoje is an MBA student at the Fuqua School of Business. She grew up in Nigeria and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia (UVA). Prior to Fuqua, she lived and worked in various capacities in Nigeria as an Investment Analyst at an agriculture focused private equity fund, Portfolio Manager at an asset management firm and launched her own beverage company. Outside of Fuqua and GPGS, Monique enjoys meeting people from diverse cultures, baking, traveling internationally, playing with dogs, going on long walks while exploring nature and so much more. If you would love to learn more about Monique or questions/suggestions related to student organizations, please email her at monique.alofoje@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Director of University Affairs coordinates the Council nomination process for members of the General Assembly to internal and external committees and manages GPSG affiliated groups.

Contact the Director of Student Organizations: For internal and external committee seating and questions regarding GPSG affiliation of student groups.

Director of Events Programming

Maureen Ojukwu (she/her/hers)
Bio: Maureen Ojukwu (she/her/hers) is a class of 2023 MBA Candidate. Maureen holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Nursing and Health Systems Management, specializing in health care policy, quality improvement, and hospital project management. She spent 7.5 years working from the provider and payer sides of the industry in a variety of clinical environments, including acute care and intensive care in hospitals and population health and chronic disease case management. Immediately prior to her MBA, she worked in healthcare revenue cycle management doing utilization review, medical coding, and auditing with Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Maureen’s campus involvement includes cabinet roles in the Duke MBA Consulting Club and the Association of Women in Business. She enjoys endorphin-boosting activities, entertaining/hosting guests, exploring new places, comedy, games, dancing, and reading. You can find her just about anywhere on campus—she often takes the scenic route. Maureen hopes to bring joy, build community, and create opportunities for positive social connection through a year filled with fun and engaging events! She would love to connect with you and hear your thoughts and ideas about how to make the 2022 to 2023 academic year a great one! Feel free to reach out to her at maureen.ojukwu@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Director of Event Programming coordinates and organize social programs for the graduate and professional student community, promote Student Life events through GPSG Newsletter and through social media, and co-sponsor events to foster collaboration among different graduate and professional student organizations.

Contact the Director of Events Programming: For event information, suggestions, questions, or if you would like to get involved.

Director of External Advocacy

Julia Palmucci (she/her/hers)
Bio: Julia is a 5th year PhD candidate in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. She works in the laboratory of Dr. John Perfect where they study the opportunistic fungal pathogens. Fungal infections are situated at a nexus of poverty, health infrastructure, and climate change, and Julia has found that her laboratory training intersects well with her interest in global health policy. Julia was born and raised in the idyllic state of New Jersey and graduated magna cum laude from Gettysburg College in 2018 with a BS in Biology. In her free time she enjoys making terrible pottery, feeding raptors at the Piedmont Wildlife Center, and taking her greyhound to breweries. If you are interested in state or federal advocacy, please email her at julia.palmucci@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Director of External Advocacy focuses on broad issues affecting graduate and professional students at the local, state, and national levels, and keeps the General Assembly members aware of what’s happening, how GPSG is involved, and what they can do to help. They also manage annual GPSG voter registration efforts.

Contact the Director of External Advocacy: For questions about what types of advocacy GPSG is involved in, suggestions for how we can do more to ensure we are representing everyone and taking action on the relevant issues for our community or if you’d like to volunteer for Fall and Spring Voter Registration.

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Kamillah Kassam (she/her/hers)
Bio: Kamillah is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry of the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School. Kamillah earned her B.S. in biochemistry from Georgia Tech before coming to Duke to pursue her chemistry PhD. She conducts research in the lab of Amanda Hargrove, investigating the structure, function, and dynamics of non-protein coding RNA. During her time at Duke, Kamillah’s passion shifted from scientific research to the work of increasing equity within academia, and she hopes to continue this work in her future career. In her free time, Kamillah loves to create art, listen to audiobooks on 2x speed, and spend time with her cat, Kovu. This year, Kamillah is excited to use her position to advocate for the Graduate and Professional Student body; if you would like to join her, bring a topic to the attention of the GPSG, or chat about DEI efforts on and off campus, please email Kamillah at kamillah.kassam@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Director of DEI focuses on promoting diversity and inclusion on campus to create a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for a broad diversity of identity and affinity groups, establishing direct relationships with student leaders for identity and affinity groups, and serving as the liaison to all structural centers dedicated to the historically marginalized or underrepresented students on campus.

Contact the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: To ask questions about current Duke DEI policies, suggest GPSG projects, or address concerns related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Director of Environment and Sustainability

Michelle (Meech) Carter (she/her/hers)
Bio: Meech is a second year in the Master of Environmental Management (MEM) program at the Nicholas School of the Environment. Meech earned her dual B.S. in biology and geology from UCLA in 2020 and completed her Master’s of Science in Law with a specialization in environmental law and regulation at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law in 2021. Michelle’s interests lie primarily in constitutional environmental rights and land conservation. She has worked in a molecular biology lab in Hong Kong and for an agricultural advocacy group in Washington, DC. She is active throughout the Nicholas School as an Alumni Council Fellow, a member of Duke Conservation Society and Duke Environmental Justice Network, and is a Science and Policy Editor on the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum. For more information on the Climate Crisis Committee or any GPSG-led environmental initiatives, feel free to email Meech at michelle.e.carter@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Director of Environment and Sustainability focuses on organizing GPSG’s efforts to advocate for increased environmental protection and is responsible for holding Duke accountable for its commitment to environmental justice and sustainable business practices. The Director also coordinates and assists with functions of the Climate Crisis Committee and serves on or liaises with the Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility.

Contact the Diector of Environment and Sustainability: For questions about sustainability initiatives, comments about Duke's climate policies, and suggestions for environmental justice initiatives and policies in GPSG and in the Duke University community as a whole.