2021-2022 Executive Branch


Aliesha D. O’Raw (Any)

Bio: Aliesha O’Raw is a fifth-year Biomedical Engineering (BME) PhD Candidate in the Graduate School and Pratt School of Engineering, working in Duke Center for Genomics and Computational Biology on interrogation of gut-brain neural circuits and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. Aliesha is a first-generation college student from a military family, and has a B.S. from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering and an M.S. from Duke University. Aliesha is a Preparing Future Faculty fellow, and is enrolled in the Certificate for College Teaching program, aspiring to teach undergraduate and graduate students after graduation. Outside of the lab, Aliesha is a volunteer blood drive coordinator for the Red Cross, and recruits for Be The Match bone marrow donor registry. Aliesha has four awesome cats, and is always happy to provide a feline fix. For concerns regarding graduate and professional student life, inquiries about how to get involved in GPSG, or proposals for campus wide initiatives, contact aliesha.o.raw@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

Han Setiawan (he/him/his)

Bio: Originally from Indonesia, Han is a fifth year Medical Physics PhD student in the School of Medicine and the Graduate School conducting research in radiology. Han is a first-generation college student and is a member of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. He received his bachelor’s degree in Physics from Michigan State University and associate degree in Mathematics from Lansing Community College. Aside from science, Han is also interested in healthcare, tech, and foreign policy and hopes to pursue a career which combines his interests together. If you have any concerns or questions about advocacy, would like to introduce a legislation/resolution to the GA, or if you are interested to be involved in GPSG in general, feel free to reach out to hananiel.setiawan@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

Sharon Nwaebube (she/her/hers)

Bio: Sharon Nwaebube is a MBA student at The Fuqua School of Business. She was born in Nigeria, grew up in Raleigh, N.C., and attended the University of Virginia (UVa). Prior to Fuqua, she lived and worked in Washington, D.C. Sharon has a legal background in mergers and acquisitions, business development experience with small to large businesses, and worked as an advisor to underrepresented minority founders/startups in the venture capital space. She came to business school to pivot into the quantitative side of finance. Outside of Fuqua and GPSG, Sharon enjoys traveling internationally, making people laugh, meeting people from different cultures, cooking, boxing, axe throwing, and many more. If you would like to learn more about Sharon or have suggestions for GPSG student programs and events, feel free to email her at sharon.nwaebube@duke.edu and 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 the campout.

Vice President for Communications

Shannon Jessen (she/her/hers)

Bio: Shannon Jessen is a MBA student at The Fuqua School of Business, originally hailing from the windy city of Chicago – Go Cubs! She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Communications before moving to New York City to start her career in digital media and buying. In her free time, she enjoys making music, hiking around North Carolina, heading to a beach with friends, and cheering on her favorite sports teams. For all related questions concerning GPSG’s communications and the newsletter, please email her at shannon.jessen@duke.edu.

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 Finance

Denisse Porras

Bio: Denisse is a medical student at the Duke School of Medicine. She graduated with a BS in Nutritional Science from Pepperdine and went to Emory for a year-long dietetic internship. Denisse became a Registered Dietitian shortly after graduation and worked for a few years prior to coming to Duke. She loves going on hikes and baking. 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 Student Organizations

Lily (Yunqi) Yang

Bio: Lily (Yunqi) Yang is from China, and is currently a 4th year PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science in Pratt School of Engineering. She graduated from Shanghai Jiao Tong University with a Chemistry background, and is now interested in bio-material related research. After graduation, she will be devoted to global healthcare by first working in healthcare consulting. Apart from research and work, she loves baking and traveling. She is now the Director of Student Organization in GPSG, and is responsible for registration, events, and funding approval for graduate student groups at Duke. For all related questions concerning graduate student groups, please email her at yunqi.yang@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 Logistics and Operations

Brandon M. Lê (he/him/his)

Bio: Brandon is a fourth-year Genetics & Genomics (UPGG) PhD candidate in the Graduate School and the School of Medicine, 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 the Duke IT Advisory Council on campus. 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 any logistical/operational concerns, please email brandon.m.le@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The GPSG 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 External Advocacy

Adaobi Onunkwo

Bio: Adaobi Onunkwo is originally from New York City and is a current professional student in the MBA program at the Fuqua School of Business. Prior to Fuqua, she graduated from Earlham College with a Neuroscience degree before doing a deep dive into everything clinical research related. At Earlham, Adaobi was a part of a group that pushed the administration to support the unionization of the nonunionized Earlham cafeteria workers. This advocacy bug has not left and is aiding her in her current role as Director of External Advocacy. After Fuqua, Adaobi will be working in healthcare consulting in Los Angeles. When she is not debating the next steps in reducing healthcare inequities, she can be found trying to veganize traditional West African dishes. For all related External Advocacy inquiries or concerns, please email her at adaobi.onunkwo@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 oversee the Advocacy and Diversity Committees and conduct voter registration.

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 Events Programming

Jamila Slade (she/her/hers)

Bio: Currently, Jamila is a second-year MBA student at The Fuqua School of Business, studying marketing with a healthcare focus. While at Fuqua, Jamila serves on the executive cabinet for both BLMBAO (Black and Latino MBA Organization) as Student Affairs member and on Fuqua Pride as an Ally member. In her free time, Jamila enjoys looking up cool Airbnb homes and exploring fun things to do in Durham. Please email her at jamila.slade@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 Durham and Global Community Relations

Michael Sindoni (He/His/Him)

Bio: Michael Sindoni, originally from Buffalo, NY,  is a second year PhD student in Neurobiology in the School of Medicine who studies how cells are able to detect, respond, and adapt to physical force. Prior to Duke, Michael graduated form Canisius College with a degree in biology with minors in both neuroscience and molecular biology. Following graduation, Michael hopes to pursue a career as a college professor in order to satisfy both passions for teaching and research. Currently, he serves as the Director of Durham Community and Global Relations for the GPSG executive committee and as one of two members of the Duke neurobiology Steering Committee. When he is not poking cells or working on advocacy initiatives, Michael can be found cycling, reading, or playing the banjo. For all related advocacy inquiries concerning Duke involvement in the surrounding community, please email him at michael.sindoni@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

Kara Nunnally (she/her/hers)

Bio: Kara Nunnally is a professional student in the Master of Environmental Management program in the Nicholas School of the Environment. Originally from Dinwiddie, Virginia, she earned a B.A in History from James Madison University and a MBA from Elon University. Kara is located at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC this academic year, and her interests include coastal resilience and adaptation strategies, oysters and aquaculture, community-based environmental management, and blue economy. She will pursue a career in environmental consulting upon graduation in May 2022. In addition to her previous career in fundraising and communications in the higher education space, Kara was the graduate assistant to the Nicholas School’s Associate Dean of Professional Programs last year. These experiences inspired her to serve as Director of Academic Affairs. For all concerns, ideas, and feedback regarding academic policies or issues, please email her at kara.nunnally@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Director of Academic Programming 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 Programming 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 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Jasmine Hughes (she/her/hers)

Bio: Jasmine is a second-year masters in global health student. Before coming to Duke, she completed a Masters in Bioethics at Wake Forest University. She received her first undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry from East Carolina University – Go Pirates! After graduating from the global program, she hopes to complete a MD-PhD program and become a surgeon-scientist. Please email her at jasmine.hughes@duke.edu.

Responsibilities: The Director of Diversity and Inclusion organizes active efforts to promote Diversity and Inclusion on campus. The Director shall pay special attention to anti-racism, anti-sexism, and the needs of International Students.

Contact the Director of Diversity and Inclusion: To learn more about the efforts undertaken by GPSG to promote Diversity and Inclusion throughout the University.