Our Steering Committee

The steering committee is the elected body of the union. They coordinate the work of the union and lead the standing committees. You can contact the steering committee at this address.

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Maggie Gustafson

Grievance Committee Chair

I’m a 6th year in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology. I work in Chris Fromme’s lab, where we study the mechanisms that control shipping of cargo out of the Golgi complex. During my time at Cornell, mixed in with the many stories of brilliant successes, I’ve heard too many stories of grads who slipped through the cracks in the current system with no one to help them. I joined the union because I want to be able to support my fellow grad workers, through successes and hard times. As Grievance Chair, I hope to protect the rights of grads across campus and to advocate for those who need help when something goes wrong. I want to help build a more democratic Cornell, where decisions that affect our work are made with our input and no one has to face workplace hardships alone.
— Maggie
 
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Jeffrey Bergfalk

Treasurer

A place of learning is at its best when the voices of those most directly and daily engaged in the work of teaching are strong.
— Jeffrey
 

Juan Guevara

Unity Committee Chair

I am a 2nd year Master’s student at ILR. I am studying collective representation, with a focus on farmworker unions. I was a research assistant in my first year and am now a teaching assistant. I joined CGSU after realizing how powerless graduate assistants are without collective bargaining. A graduate student union would empower me to know and secure my rights.
— Juan
 

Vera Khovanskaya

Secretary

I am a third year in information science and I study the design of metrics for the evaluation of professionalized labor. I believe that graduate workers need a union so we can collectively bargain for fair working conditions to stand against rise of precarious labor in higher education.
— Vera
 
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Michaela Brangan

Administrative Liaison

I am a sixth year teaching assistant in the Department of English, where I research the politics and aesthetics of the common law and contemporary narrative, and the affordances of the contract form. As administrative liaison, I hope to continue to normalize and build our relationship with the University throughout our amazing campaign and successful election, putting us in a strong position when we start negotiating our first contract!
— Michaela
 
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Ben Cohen

Treasurer

I am a 4th year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering researching methods of tissue engineering human ear cartilage for children with significant facial birth defects. I believe that graduate student employees deserve a voice in creating the system that affects our lives as workers and educators. A union created and run by graduate students has the power to improve our employment conditions and bring our community together for the betterment of everyone. I feel that a collectively bargained employment contract will support the hard work performed by graduate students at Cornell and progress the relationship between students and our university.
— Ben
 
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Sena Aydin

Organizing Committee Chair

I am a second year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology doing research on how people understand and survive the Eurozone crisis in Spain and seeking ways to develop bottom-up theoretical approaches to economic crises. I am a firm believer in that unions are the mechanisms through which workers can defend and further their vested social, democratic, economic rights and turn their common interests into an effective political force. I joined CGSU in its efforts to unionize the graduate student body at Cornell because our collective voice should be a part of the decision-making process alongside the university administration about issues involving and impacting our lives and labor at Cornell.
— Sena
 
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Archishman Raju

Membership Coordinator

I am a fourth year PhD student in Physics. I work on statistical physics and developing our understanding of nonlinear models. I believe that workers should democratically have a say in how their workplace is run.
— Archishman
 
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Bryan Gangemi

Research & Contract Committee Chair

I am a 2nd year Master’s student at ILR. Before beginning my studies at Cornell, I spent a decade working in different capacities with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Collective bargaining has been the pathway for janitors, security guards, food service workers, skilled trade workers, clerical workers, adjunct professors and many others to become stakeholders at universities across the U.S. I am proud to serve fellow graduate students on the Steering Committee as we work to build a stronger, more vibrant community at Cornell.
— Bryan