Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs Student Advisory Board

IGPSA Mission Statement

The IGPSA is comprised of student representatives from each program affiliated with the OIGP. The IGPSA collaborates across programs both professionally and socially. The IGPSA reps serve as liaisons to the OIGP Administration to assist students in their own programs in strengthening existing resources and in expanding their network. The IGPSA is involved in the planning of the annual Interdisciplinary Spring Reception.

The IGPSA is dedicated to the social justice mission of the OIGP in all of its efforts. This resonates throughout board interactions, decisions, planning, etc. The Graduate School’s Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs (OIGP) at Purdue University promotes equity, respect, and social justice for all graduate students. The OIGP appreciates, celebrates, and promotes a diverse and inclusive environment for all of Purdue University.

Student Advisory Board Chair

American Studies

Jennifer Sdunzik's hometown is Herzfelde, Germany. She is a graduate student in American Studies researching Sundown Studies, Hate Crimes, Migration Studies, Minorities and Segregation, Race and Violence, Media and Visual Literacy, and 20th Century Social and Cultural History. Her career goal is to teach at a Liberal Arts college or work with an international NGO. Jennifer's hobbies include learning foreign languages, chess, puzzling, and traveling the world. 


Kadari Taylor-Watson is an American Studies PhD student with a focus area in Sociology. She is from Williamsburg, Virginia. Her current research interests include Race, Identity Construction and Image Expectations among Black Women. In the future, Kadari plans to continue to research and open up a consultation firm helping persons overcome with Racial Inequality. Her hobbies include making jewelry and designing clothes.


Comparative Literature

Tolun Tosin is a Comparative graduate student from Izmir, Turkey. Tolun's research interests include the Renaissance, Shakespeare, and Ottoman Studies with the goal of becoming a comparativist on Shakespeare and Ottoman Studies. In her free moments, Tolin likes pottery making and dancing. She had the opportunity to perform in X-works concerts, a student run show. 


Biomedical Sciences

Leon Friesen is from Plain City, Ohio. Leon is an Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences graduate student with research interests in immunology, infectious diseases, microbiology, and parasitology. His future career goal is to conduct immunology research at an academic or industrial organization.  In his spare time, Leon enjoys home and auto maintenance. 


Computational Life Sciences

Themi Mdluli, is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering. Raised in Nhlangano, Swaziland, Thembi enjoys soccer, dancing, and Christian fellowship. Her research interests are Mathematical modeling and control of biological systems, in particular intercellular signaling systems and stem cell processes. In the future Thembi would like to engage in clinical based research, working with companies involved in solving medical problems through mathematical mode and control tools.


Computational Science & Engineering

Tsung Tai Yeh is a PhD student in ECE. He was born in Taiwan and is interested in program language. In the future, Tsung would like to pursue a career in engineering. When Tsung is not working he enjoys running.


Ecological Sciences & Engineering

Janelle Cronin


Ulyssa Hester 


Food Science

Sydney Moser is a graduate student in Food Science from Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Sydney's reserach interests emcompasses polyphenol stability, bioavailability, and impact on glucose transport. In the future, Sydney would like to manage a lab in the food indtustry. Her hobbies are running, biking, hiking, and trying new foods. 



Gulcin Con is a PhD student in Sociology and Gerontology. Gulcin is from Kirklareli, Turkey and is researching aging and life course, family, health. Particularly on sibling relationships in adulthood. In her free time, Gulcin enjoyes dancing, cooking, reading or ristening to Sci-Fi novels and learning about different cultures and languages. She is also looking forward to a tenure position in an R1 university in Europe or Canada. 


Information Security

Lauren Marie Stuart is an Interdisciplinary Information Security PhD student from Terre Haute, Indiana. Lauren is pursuing research interests in applications of computational linguistic semantics to problems in information secuirty and vice verssa.  In the future Lauren would like to become a professor. She enjoys food, fiction and funny jokes. 


Ingestive Behavior

Lauren O'Connor is originally from Massachusetts. She earned her Bachelor's of Science in Dietetics/Nutrition, Fitness and Health at Purdue University and is now continuing as a PhD student at Purdue in Nutrition Sciences. She is in her second year and studies the effects of lean red meat consumption on cardiovascular disease risk factors. Her hobbies include traveling, trying new foods, wines, and beers and taking her dog on hikes through the trails in town.


Life Sciences (PULSe)

Amy Funk entered in the PULSe program in 2011 and joined the Department of Chemistry with a research focus in Biochemistry. Amy is currently working with a membrane protein that is involved in many diseases, specifically pancreatic cancer. She is from Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Her future goal is to work in industry or an academic position as well as keeping her options open. Amy's hobbies include running, reading, and watching her favorite television shows. 



Chuck Bradley, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Chuck is a graduate student in Linguistics with research interests covering cross-linguistic structure-meaning mapping in nominals; evolution of language. In the future, he would like to pursue career as a Researcher/ Professor at an R1 University or Research Institute. When Chuck is not researching he enjoys watching movies, playing pinball, riding bikes, and baking. 



Jia Li


Women's Studies

Nicholas Marino, is a PhD Candidate in Rhetoric and Composition from Boston, Ma. His home department is English, but he also teaching within the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. His dissertation research focuses on the intersection between literacy learning and the socialization of masculinity; in particular, how masculinist ideologies inflect our assessment of "good writing" across the curriculum.  


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