About the Board

Graduate Assistants United 2016-2017 Executive Board

The Executive Board officially took office on June 1, 2016 and will serve for the 2016-2017 academic year. 

President: Nick Constant,  Electrical and Computer Engineering

I am a second-year master’s student studying statistical signal processing with the College of Engineering. My research focus is on feature extraction from speech signals. I am proud to be a part of the GAU. I am focused on improving a sense of community in our member-driven organization. If you see me around campus or at an event, stop and say hi as I would love to meet you.







Vice President: Daniel Jones, Department of Chemistry

Dan Jones received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2014. While at WPI he was the treasurer of a small charity club, invisible children, for 4 years and the vice president of the community service fraternity, APO, for one year. Now Dan is beginning the third year of his PhD in chemistry at URI and is enthusiastic about serving the union, building community and leading educational initiatives to strengthen GAU from within.


Treasurer: Jim Blair, Department of Business

A fourth-year marketing PhD student Jim is a consumer behavior researcher with interests in price framing, psychological ownership, global marketing, and the sport industry. Currently, he has two projects examining psychological ownership for public spaces and optional surcharges being an effective pricing strategy for firms. He has presented research at several conferences including The Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Conference, University of Rhode Island Graduate Conference, and CIBER Faculty Development in International Business: Globalization Workshops where he won the “Best Poster Presentation Award.”

Jim has taught courses at Boston College, Boston University, and the University Rhode Island including introduction to business, marketing principles, marketing research, and global marketing. His courses focus on mixing theory with practice by incorporating experiential learning through live-client projects which has gotten the attention of local media outlets. He is actively involved in several organizations on-campus including being a Senator for the Graduate Student Association, Graduate Student Representative for the Athletics Advisory Board, and Treasurer for Graduate Assistants United. Additionally he has served as a Moderator for the University of Rhode Island College of Business Administration Alumni Day, Scribe for the Marketing Science Institute Trustees Meeting, and Reviewer for the Academy of Marketing Science Conference.

As the Treasurer for Graduate Assistants United, Jim hopes to form an effective Finance Committee comprised of individuals from different departments on campus. This committee will be tasked with finding ways to make GAU more financially efficient, evaluate new potential banking and financial options, and give monetary awards to grant fund applicants.



Grievance Chair: Ian Armitstead, MESM

Ian Armitstead is a second year MESM student in the Environmental Policy and Management track. He is currently the Grievance and Resolution Chair and was a contributing member of the Negotiations Committee, where he brought insight as a part-time Research Assistant to the table. He became interested in Student- Administration and Employee-Employer relations during his undergraduate career as a member of CCRI’s Student Government where he helped draft a new Constitution, fought to have all positions of Student Government elected by the Student body, and sat on the Academic Grievance Committee; and as a founding member and eventual Editor-in-Chief of the often besieged student newspaper, The Unfiltered Lens. He brings nearly ten years of experience and training in conflict resolution, negotiation, and advocacy, as well as a strong understanding of contract language and meaning and a desire, above all else, to serve the GAU membership to the best of his ability.



Member-at-Large: Michaela Cashman, Department of Geosciences

Michaela Cashman is a second year graduate student in the Department of Geosciences. With a focus in hydrogeology, Michaela’s research interests include groundwater remediation strategies and contaminant fate in the environment.  Michaela first got involved with the GAU last year through the CAT walks. She is the URI 2011 Diversity Award recipient for Undergraduate Leadership, as well as 2010 URI Julien R. Davis  Award recipient for Service in Peace. Michaela is excited to work with the GAU and see how she can help strengthen the graduate community here at URI.






Past President: Elizabeth Brannon, Biological Sciences

Elizabeth Brannon is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in Biology and Environmental Science andher research focuses on greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater treatment plants. She first got involved with GAU two years ago as the leader of our Contract Action Team (CAT). Last year she served as President and helped with negotiations. This is her last year at URI and as a result she has stepped into the Past President position to help transition in the next leaders of GAU.







GSA Liaison: Elizabeth Kohr, Master’s Student in Chemistry and Business

Liz is the GAU-GSA liaison. She makes sure that everyone knows who is up to what when across campus. You can find her in Beaupre or up at the Providence campus. When she’s not on campus you might find in the ocean SCUBA diving, hiking in the woods, or biking near her house.






Not Pictured:
 Ashvin Fernando, Department of Chemistry

Member-at-Large: Oleg Kazakov, Department of Chemistry