2023-2024 Executive Council


Katherine Haro (she/her)

Biomedical Sciences (BIMS), School of Medicine, Co-Vice President

Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics (BMG), Abbas Lab

I’m a third-year Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics graduate student in Tarek Abbas’ lab. We as a lab study how ubiquitination and DNA damage affect cancer. I specifically look at how the loss of FBXO31, which functions as a substrate recognition protein for SCF class E3 ubiquitin ligase, affects prostate cancer. I was inspired to join GRIT because when I was interviewing, Diversity Dialogue helped answer any tough questions I had that I would not feel comfortable asking faculty but also created a safe space to prompt such conversations!

A fun fact about me: I’m Peruvian and I have never seen Machu Picchu even though I have visited Peru almost every year!

Fateme Nikseresht (she/her)

School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS), Co-Vice President

Computer Science, Link Lab

I am a PhD candidate in the computer science department affiliated with Link Lab, where my research focuses on wireless sensing. By utilizing existing wireless communication signals and infrastructure in the environment, I aim to introduce new sensing capabilities, particularly in environmental monitoring and smart city and building management. Additionally, I am dedicated to enhancing STEM education experiences, and I contribute to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute - Inclusive Excellence 3 (HHMI-IE3) initiative as an intern at the UVA Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). Furthermore, since 2022, I have been an active member of the UVA Graduate Engineering Student Council (GESC), advocating for the needs and interests of fellow graduate students. In 2023, I joined the GRIT council to expand my experiences and commitment to enhancing educational experiences beyond the engineering school, particularly in promoting equity and inclusion.

A fun fact about me: I am a FIDE Arbiter (FA).

Roberta Onoharigho (she/her)

College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences , Co-Vice President

Biology, Campbell Lab

I’m a third-year biology graduate student in the Campbell Lab. I study how neurons in the hypothalamus regulate energy balance. I joined GRIT because I am interested in increasing the recruitment and retention of diverse students.

Casey Bauchle (he/him)

BIMS, Treasurer

Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology (MIC), Elliot Lab

I am a 4th year MIC student in the Neuroscience Department and a member of Dr. Tsai-Yi Lu’s lab. My research focuses on oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPC) in the context of development and Alzheimer’s disease, with a special emphasis on how OPC engulf synapses and may contribute to neurodegeneration. My decision to join the GRIT council stems from the many ways in which GRIT has aided and supported graduate students at UVA, including myself, and I wanted to do the same for the next generation of graduate students in STEM.

A fun fact about me: One of my hobbies is competitive yoyoing, and I’ve done it for 10+ years. Lots of ups and downs, but I always come full circle.

Yadeliz A. Serrano Matos (she/her)

BIMS, Secretary

Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology (MIC), Cowardin Lab

I am 5th-year graduate student conducting research in the Cowardin Lab, focusing on understanding how the microbiome influences growth and IgA immune responses during early life undernutrition. Attending GRIT Day as a member sparked my interest in joining the executive council of this organization. During this meeting I witnessed firsthand the impactful initiatives and collaborative spirit to enhance DEI efforts at UVA by GRIT.

A fun fact about me: Outside of the lab, I spend my weekend doing 3D nail art.

Maddie Jackson (she/her)

BIMS, Communications Chair

Cell Biology, Hirschi Lab

I’m a second-year Cell Biology graduate student in Karen Hirschi’s lab. Broadly, we study the role of cell cycle state in endothelial fate decisions in embryonic development–specifically, I study this in the context of lymphatic valve formation in the mid- to late-gestation mouse embryo. I was inspired to join GRIT because I really enjoyed participating in the Diversity Dialogue session when I was interviewing with BIMS and wanted the opportunity to contribute to other recruitment and retention efforts like GRIT Day and Getting to The Nitty Gritty!

A fun fact about me: I’ve been rock climbing for 13 years–over half my life!