Graduate Student Advisory Committee

The Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GSAC) is an organization for graduate students in the MSE department that enables members to promote a sense of community within the department.

Student at a poster presentation

The committee plans social events that include both students and faculty members in order to foster relationships outside of classes and the lab. We plan events tailored to help graduate students prepare for various milestones in the Ph.D. program, act as an interface between MSE graduate students and faculty, and plan social events to encourage interaction and collaboration between students. In this regard, we ensure that our interests are voiced in MSE affairs, as well as general GSA meetings, and ensure the quality of graduate student life.

Graduate Student Symposium

The annual MSE Graduate Student Symposium is organized by the Graduate Student Advisory Committee for graduate students in the department to showcase the work they have performed in the past three to four years. This event also serves as an opportunity for students to network with the rest of the department, as well as with participating companies.

The 2023 Graduate Student Symposium winners were as follows: 

Technical talks - First place: Katrina Ramirez-Meyers; Second place: Gaurav Balakrishnan and Srujana Rao Yarasi (tie); Third place: Ayesha Abdullah; People's choice award: Ayesha Abdullah 

Ph.D. poster presentations - First place: Junwon Seo; Second place: Evan Adcock; Third place: Inkyu Lee; People's choice award: Amaranth Karra 

Masters' Pposter presentations - First place: Bozhong Zhuang & Aditya Rohan Narra (tie); People's choice: Nattavipa (Cindy) Chongvimansin

GSAC Officers

Durva NaikDurva Naik - President, Safety Chair, Graduate Symposium Chair, GSA Representative 

Durva is a 4th Year Ph.D. candidate in the Bettinger group. Her research involves developing ingestible devices for long-term intestinal retention to treat gut ailments. She comes from Karawr, a coastal town in India, and she pursued her Bachelors in Polymer Engineering from ICT, Mumbai. At CMU, she is involved in the Graduate Student Assembly and received the GSA representative award for her contributions. She is also a member of the External Affairs sub-committee, and has attended multiple Legislative Action Days in Washington DC to advocate for graduate-student related issues.

Srujana RaoYarasiSrujana Rao Yarasi - Secretary, GSA Representative

Srujana is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in the Rollett and Holm groups, where she has also obtained her Master's degree in Materials Science. Her research involves using computer vision and machine learning techniques to understand metal powder behavior and dig deep into the data generated during metal additive manufacturing. Her undergraduate degree was in mechanical engineering at the Birla Institute of Technology & Science. In her spare time, she loves to lift heavy things and put them back down over and over again, climb walls with tiny holds, and walk around the parks in Pittsburgh. She also loves cooking, baking, and watching trashy reality shows with some of the other GSAC officers.

Jiwoo SongJiwoo Song - Treasurer, Social Chair, GSA Representative

Jiwoo is a 3rd year Ph.D. Candidate in the Bettinger group. His research involves translating novel materials into clinically relevant medical devices and developing soft and stretchable strain sensor technology. More specifically, he develops wearable cardiac strain sensors for monitoring cardiac output following open heart surgery. He completed his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and chemistry at Duke University. Jiwoo hails from New Canaan, Connecticut and enjoys table tennis, weight training, video games, and petting his cats.

Katelyn JonesKatelyn Jones - Professional Chair

Katelyn is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in the Rollett and Holm groups. Her research applies machine learning and computer vision techniques to images of fatigue fracture surfaces. Fatigue studies often involve analysis of images post fracture, and she is developing methods to make that analysis faster and more quantitative. She is from Atlanta, GA and received her bachelors of arts and engineering, in engineering sciences from Dartmouth College. In her spare time she likes to get meals with friends, go to gallery crawls/art events, and watch trashy reality tv shows with some of the other GSAC officers.

imgLucero Lopez - DEI Chair, 2nd Year Master’s Rep

Lucero is a 1st Generation Mexican-American graduate student studying Computational Material Science under Dr. Holm. The technical focus is mesoscale modeling of 3 Dimension Grain Boundary Evolution. Lucero is a GEM Fellow in partnership with IBM and CMU, which includes technical research internships each summer with IBM and throughout the school year. At IBM, Lucero works for the Department of Material Characterization and Failure Analysis under Jason Rowland, where she focuses on X-Ray Microscopy. In her spare time, Lucero likes to hang out with her fellow GSAC officers, get food with her Holm Group Lab mates, play campaign board games and explore Pittsburgh with her boyfriend, Mustafa.

Dana OConnorDana O'Conner - Recruitment Chair, Social Chair

Dana is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in the Marom group. Her research focuses on using computational methods, including density functional theory and machine learned potentials, to develop crystal structure prediction methods for organic molecular crystals. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA (go gators!). Originally from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Dana has grown to love Pittsburgh and enjoys running the many many hills, reading, climbing, watching trashy reality TV with some of the other GSAC officers, and spending time with her partner, Greg, and cat, Mr. Darcy.

Rochan BajpaiRochan Bajpai - 1st Year Master's Representative

Rochan is a first-year Masters' student in the Materials Science Department pursuing his MS in Artificial Intelligence Engineering in Materials Science. He completed his undergrad from IIT Roorkee, India in 2022. He has a strong passion for expediting materials research with artificial intelligence and is currently working in Prof. Rachel Kurchin’s group. Specifically, he is looking at ways to generate 3D microstructures using generative AI models. Outside of academics, Rochan is a sports enthusiast and a fan of soccer. He often spends his free time playing and watching soccer matches. Additionally, he is also an astrophile and enjoys exploring the mysteries of the universe.

Prakruti VoraPrakruti Vora - 1st Year Master's Representative

Prakruti is a 1st year MS student in the department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her research is currently focused on design and microfabrication of flexible device for wound healing. She's originally from Mumbai, India and completed her bachelor's degree in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering at National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, India. She has previously taken techno-managerial responsibilities and volunteering work during her undergraduate studies. In her free time she enjoys painting, nature walks, cooking, hanging out with friends, and badminton.


Andrew Inigo Santiago - DEI Co-Chair

GSAC Faculty Advisor: Chris Pistorius


GSAC Calendar