This board contributes to the graduate student community at Illinois by providing varied perspectives that enhance the academic, professional, and social experience of graduate students at the university. They collaborate with Graduate College staff on projects related to programs, initiatives, or the broader goals of the college.
As we embark on a new academic year, we are excited to introduce our 2020-2021 SAGE board:
Abby Valtierra is a second-year graduate student pursuing her Master’s in Social work, with a concentration in School Social Work. She is passionate about creating a more equitable learning environment in elementary or middle school settings. In her free time, Abby enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. She also loves to read, hike, and listen to podcasts.
Ana Irene Mitchell is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. As a former teacher, she aims to combine her experience in education and passion for health equity in her research, which focuses on the implementation and evaluation of nutrition education interventions and health programs for diverse populations. In her free time, Ana likes to travel, cook, and be active.
Andrea Kunze is a third-year doctoral student in Educational Psychology with a focus in Cognitive Science of Teaching & Learning. Her research focuses on the use of technology-based interventions to understand and change students’ perceptions of racism. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys working out and hanging out with her pit bulls Sedona and Hamlet.
Angelique Evans is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership with dual specializations in Global Education and Diversity and Equity. Her research interests include global education and study abroad, African American participation in global education, diplomacy, international policy, international education, and foreign languages. When not working or studying, Angelique enjoys good music, cooking amazing food, traveling, and watching foreign films.
Anna Flood is a second-year graduate student in the Department of English. She is originally from Washington State and attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Her research interests include investigations of the Gothic in representations of enslavement, and how the Gothic’s function impacts audiences’ engagements with the past that is not past. Anna hopes that her research will incite recognition and reparation of slavery’s eerie presence and that her work will go beyond the traditional academic space.
Bianca Xu is a first-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Her research has aspects of bioinformatics algorithms, nutritional sciences, epigenetics, and immunology that can be applied to personalized nutrition and improve the diagnosis and prognosis of certain chronic diseases. Outside of school and work, Bianca enjoys traveling, watching movies with friends, and spending time with her recently adopted cat, Theo.
Brett Coffee is pursuing a Master of Business Administration and lives outside of Washington, DC. Currently, he consults with companies looking to grow and/or exit various markets with his own consultancy. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and holds a position as a member of the iMBA Student Council. Brett focuses his studies on strategic innovation and how organizational design, data, team structures, and leadership impact the innovation life cycle. In his spare time, he is active with his kids’ youth organizations, reading, and traveling (well, not this year).
Cat Kengle is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Physics department working on condensed matter physics. Her research focuses on using electron spectroscopy techniques to understand unconventional superconductors and their related phases of matter. Apart from research, she works with the GEO mutual aid network to organize and deliver masks and other PPE to graduate students during the COVID-19 crisis. Off-campus you can find Cat hiking, at a coffee shop, or taking care of her houseplant collection.
Dominique (Nicole) Campbell is a second-year graduate student pursuing her Master's in the Department of Communication studying political and legal rhetoric. Her research interests include the rhetoric of the Supreme Court, secrecy, gender, and women’s studies. In her free time, Dominique enjoys working out, going on walks, and tending to her houseplants.
Fikriyah Winata is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography and GIS. Her dissertation research focuses on exploring the everyday life of Indonesian female domestic workers in Hong Kong. She draws on the concepts of therapeutic landscapes and networks to understand how places and social networks contribute to the health and wellbeing of domestic workers within the restrictive space-time constraints associated with their jobs. She also uses GIS and spatial analysis to study healthcare and healthy food access. Besides research-related activities, Fik enjoys cooking, doing exercises, and gardening.
Flávia Batista is a second-year graduate student pursuing her Masters in Brazilian Studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Her research touches upon themes related to foreign policy, electoral campaigns, political behavior, fake news, and democracy. When not working, Flávia enjoys watching her favorite Brazilian soccer club matches (aka Flamengo!), working out, and traveling as much as possible.
Holly Mallinson is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. Her research focuses on a better understanding of precipitation processes relating to hail formation and how these processes and subsequent hail characteristics will change in the future, warmer climate. Additionally, she works on topics relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the geosciences. In Holly's free time, she enjoys hiking, cycling, reading, and cooking.
Katie Frye is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Microbiology, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. For her graduate work, she is studying the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus and how metalloenzymes aid its defense against oxidative stress during infection. When not in the lab, Katie loves riding horses, spending time with friends, and enjoying the outdoors with her boyfriend, Diego, and their two dogs, Lexi, a long-haired dachshund, and Marley, a yellow lab.
Liqian Ma is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. Her research focuses on investigating the mechanism by which a cholesterol metabolite, 27-hydroxycholesterol, promotes breast cancer metastasis, and she hopes that her work can help develop preventative measures targeting metastatic breast cancer. In her free time, Liqian loves traveling, hiking, exploring palatable food, and cooking tasty food.
Maria A. Philip is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry. Her research focuses on advanced electrolytes and interfaces for lithium metal batteries and beyond to develop safer, more capacious batteries. She enjoys meeting new people, and in her spare time, Maria loves to read and tend to her indoor garden.
Matthew Klopfenstein is a seventh-year Ph.D. candidate in the History Department. His research examines the cultural history of Russia and analyzes the deaths and funerals of famous female performers as key events for the public sphere in the period before the 1917 Revolution. Before graduate school, Matthew taught for four years at an international school in St. Petersburg, Russia, and is passionate about international education.
Melanie Archipley is a third-year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in the Astronomy Department. Her research focuses on extremely distant galaxies and objects in the early universe. She enjoys teaching astronomy for non-majors and making science accessible to everyone. Melanie volunteers at a non-profit for youth astronomy with a global audience. She enjoys listening to people’s stories and spending time outdoors.
Olnancy Tzirides is a Ph.D. candidate in the Learning Design and Leadership Program. Her research interests include emerging digital technologies, like Artificial Intelligence tools, and online education, as well as language and culture learning. Olnancy loves traveling to new places and exploring different languages and cultures. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, playing board games, and crafting.
Opeyemi Arogundade is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in Bioengineering from Nigeria. His research focuses on the development of quantum dot technologies for the imaging of biological cells and tissues with applications in disease diagnostics and basic biology. When not in the laboratory, Ope enjoys playing sports (soccer, basketball, and badminton), watching TV series, reading books, and learning new concepts.
Rama Paudel is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Crop Sciences. As a native of Nepal, she is passionate about improving the agricultural conditions in developing countries. Her Ph.D. research focuses on herbicide and cover crop interactions to improve herbicide efficacy. In her free time, Rama loves to spend time with her 21 months old daughter Ananya and watch movies.
Sarah Brown is a second-year Ph.D. student in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. Her research maps and synthesizes evidence on the agricultural, environmental, and socio-economic impacts of agroforestry practices and interventions, with a focus on impacts of relevance to Southern Illinois farmers. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, baking, gardening, farming, and working on home projects.
Sebastian Aviles is a graduate student pursuing his master's at the School of Labor and Employment Relations studying Human Resources and Industrial Relations. He grew interested in LER while studying team cooperation and diversity within the private sector during his undergraduate career. In his free time, Sebastian likes spin classes, cooking, and hiking.
Shelby Keye is a second-year Ph.D. student in Kinesiology. Her research interests are on physical activity and exercise in children and its impact on their body composition as well as cognitive function. In her free time, Shelby likes eating, working out, spending time with friends and family, and watching reality TV.
Shivani Siddagangaiah is a graduate student pursuing her master's in science in Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering. She hopes to design innovative and sustainable structures around the world. She is driven towards the world of Philanthropy with a focus on children. Shivani spends her spare time reading memoirs and biographies, watching documentaries, and going for runs.
Tina Hermosillo is a third-year graduate student pursuing a Master's in Fine Arts: Design, Technology, Management focusing on stage management. She is originally from Los Angeles California where she graduated from California Lutheran University with a B.A. in technical theater. Tina also has a passion for dramaturgy and a specific interest in the types of theatre that explore social justice and gender dynamics.
Victoria T. Fields is a second-year graduate student pursuing a Master’s in the Department of Communication. Her research focuses on the rhetoric of social movements and sports, intercultural communication, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. In Victoria’s spare time, she likes to explore Champaign-Urbana, watch movies, TV shows, Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+.
Vidushi Ojha is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Computer Science department, with a focus on computer science education. Her research involves studying how people first learn computing and how to make the field accessible and equitable to everyone. In her free time, Vidushi is a huge bookworm and loves karaoke!