About RSG


The following students serve as RSG graduate student representatives for the Winter 2020 Term, and together form the Legislative Branch of the government. Their attendance and voting records are available for public review on this page. Each representative serves on at least 2 RSG committees, and holds periodic office hours that are open to the general student body. Jump below to learn more about and contact your student representatives, or meet them in person at one of these sessions.

Wondering what Division represents you?

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Division I – Biological and Health Sciences

Hyo Sub Choi

Molecular & Integrative Biology

Committee Appointments: Sustainability, Legislative Affairs

Hyo is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and he received his B.S. in Biochemistry from Boston College. Hyo’s thesis project involves determining the mechanism of how dietary restriction makes animals live longer and healthier. He is most interested in identifying substrates and metabolic changes brought about by dietary restriction. Hyo joined RSG to bring together and advocate for the graduate student community. He also wanted to learn more about the different organizations and communities within Rackham. In his free time, Hyo enjoys reading and running.

Corinne Din

Molecular & Integrative Physiology

I am originally from California, therefore I never look forward to the winter! I’m a PhD student in my 5th year and am hoping to graduate summer 2020. I am active in DEI initiative efforts on and off campus and am an active organizer in GEO, the graduate student labor union. In my free time I enjoy cooking, spending time with friends, and attempting to make sweaters for my roommate’s dogs.

Shannon Lacy

Cellular & Molecular Biology

Committee Appointment: Sustainability

I am the Sustainability Chair of RSG and I am excited to promote more sustainable initiatives through RSG this year! I am a second-year graduate student in the Cellular and Molecular Biology PhD program. I received my B.A. in Molecular Biology from Colgate University in 2016. After graduating, I worked at the National Institutes of Health for two years as a post-bac and I am now pursuing my research interests in neurodegenerative disease at UM. Outside of research, I am a member of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program as well as a leader for the U-MYScI science and engineering summer camp for middle-school students from underserved backgrounds. As an RSG representative, I want to advocate for graduate students at UM, as well as promoting and enhancing the opportunities for students at and beyond the university.

Ryan Neff

Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Committee Appointments: Student Life, Academic Affairs

I am a first-year graduate student pursuing a PhD in Molecular and Integrative Physiology. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, I received my B.S. in Biology from Temple University before joining Janssen Pharmaceuticals as a research scientist. After several years in industry, I opted to return to school with the intention of studying neurophysiology. I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan, a somewhat-avid reader and movie-watcher, and enjoy being active in the gym and elsewhere. I was raised on Seinfeld and Robin Williams movies. I joined RSG to explore opportunities to better graduate student life here at UM.

Ashley Melnick

Cellular & Molecular Biology

Committee Appointments: Legislative Affairs, Academic Affairs

Ashley is a second year PhD student studying T-Cell Leukemia. This is her second year in RSG and second year as a member of SAGE (Student Advocates for Graduate Education). Outside of school, Ashley loves to hang out with her dog, go camping, and play board games.

Taylor West

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Committee Appointments: Student Life,

I grew up in northern Illinois and graduated with my bachelor’s of science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am currently a first-year PhD student and will be studying ecomorphological convergence using genomic, morphological, and molecular techniques while at the University of Michigan. In my free time, I enjoy reading (any genre will do!) and running. As an RSG representative I aim to improve the involvement of scientists in policy and decision making as well as strengthen our graduate student community through the creation and support of both academic and health resources. Go Blue!

Division II – Physical Sciences and Engineering

Kori Johnson-Lane

Environmental Policy & Planning

Committee Appointments:

Yi Cao

Environmental Engineering

I’m the first year master student from China. I am very happy to be the representative and I’m very willing to help you. Go Blue!

Timothy Michael Erasumus Jugovic

Physical Chemistry

Committee Appointments: Legislative Affairs, Budgetary

My name is Timothy Jugovic, better known to my friends as Raz, and I was born and raised in Washington State. I moved to Illinois after high school to pursue an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Illinois State University. I am currently working on a PhD in Physical Chemistry under the guidance of Paul Zimmerman. My PhD research focuses on special relativistic corrections to quantum mechanics. I joined RSG to improve my leadership and communication skills, as well as represent the interests of Chemistry graduate student to University of Michigan. My hobbies include cooking, historic European martial arts, and story-telling

Jiabei Rao

Industrial & Operations Engineering

I am originally from India, where I did my under-grad. You know it’s not that hot there, at least in Pune city. My background is in Mechanical Engineering at MIT (Maharashtra, not Massachusetts), it’s when I learned about supply chain which led me to do my Masters in this field. My dad is in the Army, so throughout my childhood we shifted places every 4 years, this gave me the opportunity to meet new people and experience vastness of cultures in India. These experiences have made me more open and sympathetic towards all kinds of people which is one of the reasons why I love living in my Co-op.

Alyssa DeSimone

Civil Engineering

Alyssa is a PhD Candidate in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department where her research focuses on the effect of fire on structures. She graduated with her BS in Civil Engineering from the College of New Jersey and is originally from the small town of Flemington, NJ. She joined RSG because she wanted to foster a more inclusive and vibrant community for the graduate students of Rackham. Outside of RSG, Alyssa is heavily involved in the Graduate Society of Women in Engineering and serves as an Engineering Teaching Consultant for UM. In her freetime, Alyssa enjoys baking, golfing, hanging out with friends and being outside.

Sarah Bork

Engineering Education

Committee Appointments: Legislative Affairs, Academic Affairs, Mental Health Director

I am a first year Engineering Education Research Ph.D. student representing Division II: Physical Sciences and Engineering. My background is in Electrical Engineering, for which I earned my B.S./M.S. degrees from the Ohio State University. As an Engineering Education Researcher, I employee social science and educational research techniques to assess students’ experiences with a current focus is on engineering graduate student mental health in a social context. Through RSG I advocate on behalf of graduate students at the local, state, and national level. Other activity involvement includes my role as a Co-Vice President of the UMich ASEE Student Chapter and a member of the College of Engineering Graduate Student Advisory Committee. Outside of this, I enjoy biking and hiking with my partner and our two dogs.

Thomas Folk

Nuclear Engineering

Thomas is a first year PhD student in Nuclear Engineering. He is from Charlotte, NC and completed his Bachelor’s degree at N.C. State University in May 2019. Thomas is part of a research team that focuses on computational reactor physics with the goal to predict the performance of existing and next-generation nuclear reactors through comprehensive, science-based modeling and simulation. His hobbies include watching college football, playing guitar and attending concerts, and travelling abroad.

Vacant Seat

Interested in serving as a representative? Contact us and request an application to fill this open board seat!

Vacant Seat

Interested in serving as a representative? Contact us and request an application to fill this open board seat!

Vacant Seat

Interested in serving as a representative? Contact us and request an application to fill this open board seat!

Vacant Seat

Interested in serving as a representative? Contact us and request an application to fill this open board seat!

Vacant Seat

Interested in serving as a representative? Contact us and request an application to fill this open board seat!

Division III – Social and Behavioral Sciences

Kristin Prestel

Public Policy

My name is Kristin Prestel and I am a second-year MPP candidate at the Ford School. My policy interests are in animal welfare and agricultural policy, but I am also passionate about mental health awareness, especially among college students. I joined RSG so that I can advocate for graduate students and help plan events that allow us to take sometime away to just relax and have fun.

Ashley Nowicki

Public Policy

I am a Michigan native and first-generation college student. My policy interests include economic policy, political economy, anti-trust, consumer protection, and government intervention. I am most interested in Federal Economic Policy, and I hope to use my two master’s degrees to help others. Specifically, I hope to research how money and power held by the few leads to growing inequality in the United States and what can be done to combat this. This includes income, wealth, mobility, and economic opportunity inequality that exists between the ultra-rich and most Americans.
As a member of RSG, I hope to fairly represent my constituents and advocate on their behalf. I wish to create positive change not just for graduate students but all students at the University of Michigan. Being a public policy student, my sole focus is to serve others.

Aaron Hoover

Japanese Studies

Jiabei Rao


Committee Appointments: Student Life, Communications

A Chinese master student graduated from the University of International Relations in Beijing majoring in International Economics and Trade while minoring in Spanish and now studying Applied Economics. Love basketball! I hope to help make student life better!

RJ Batas

Survey Methodology

Committee Appointments: Legislative Affairs,

RJ received his bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Sciences with a minor in Biology from Western Michigan University. He currently works as a Graduate Student Research Assistant at the Institute of Social Research.

Caroline Adams

Educational Studies

Committee Appointments: Legislative Affairs, Academic Affairs

I’m Caroline G. Adams, a Ph.D. student in Educational Studies. A native of Milwaukee, WI, I hold both a BA in Political Science, and an MA in Educational Leadership from Clark Atlanta University, as well as an MA in Teaching from The University of the District of Columbia. I began my career in education as a lobbyist and have served as a K-12 educator, a teachers’ union representative, and an early childhood education advocate in the DC Metropolitan Area. My research focus is on teacher advocacy as it relates to engagement and policy-making and I am deeply passionate about the representation of Black and Brown people in public education. Upon completion of my studies, I plan to return to the public education sector. I enjoy attending concerts, outdoors, traveling, watching Netflix, and weekend brunch.

Division IV – Humanities and the Arts

Jessie Bakitunda

International & Regional Studies

Bryan Byrdlong

Creative Writing

Committee Appointments: Communications, Students Life

Bryan Byrdlong is an MFA Creative Writing Student and GSI from Chicago, Illinois. In 2015, he graduated from Vanderbilt University where he received an undergraduate English/Creative Writing degree with a minor in Corporate Strategy.