About the Board

Graduate Assistants United 2015-2016 Executive Board

The Executive Board officially took office on June 1, 2015 and will serve for the 2015-2016 academic year. 

 Elizabeth Brannon, Biological Sciences
Elizabeth Brannon is a third year Ph.D. student in Biology and Environmental Science and her research focuses on greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater treatment plants.  She first got involved with GAU last year as the leader of our Contract Action Team (CAT).  In this position she helped organize several CAT walks in which members of CAT visited other GAs one on one to update them on negotiations and discuss potential actions.  Although she is still assisting with CAT, she now focus most of her attention on her duties as President.  This past summer she had the opportunity to attend the annual AAUP conference (our affiliate organization) in Washington D.C. and represented our chapter as a voting member.  While there she was also able to meet with our RI senators and congressmen and discuss the issues (such as student debt) that are important to us.  She also attend CGEU this summer where she learned valuable information that will help GAU as we move forward with negotiations and continue to grow as a union.  She is looking forward to a great year and getting to know each and everyone one of you.


Vice President: 
Sandi Lewanika, Music, Piano Performance
Sandi Lewanika wants to live in a world where minority children are able to learn essential life skills in the performing arts and ice cream is free.

As a second year Master of Music, Piano Performance student, she has performed the solo piano works of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, George Walker, Margaret Bonds, and many others. She has recently performed at the University of Rhode Island Piano Extravaganza Faculty and Student Recital and the Jamestown Piano Association Student Concert hosted by St. Matthew Episcopal Church in Jamestown, RI.
When she is not practicing, arranging music, or giving piano lessons, you can find her advocating for communal peace and love, spreading happiness and laughter, or looking up the latest fashion trends on social media.

As the 2015-2016 Vice President of the University of Rhode Island Graduate Assistant Union, Sandi hopes to present fresh, innovative media ideas and coordinate events in order to build and sustain our evolving organization.

 Rachel Conners, College Student Personnel, Housing and Residential Life


Erin McLeanBiological and Environmental Sciences
Erin McLean is a 3rd year masters student in Biological Sciences. Her research focuses on the consequences of ocean acidification the growth of juvenile lobsters. While she doesn’t have a large background in unions, she’s been involved with GAU for the past year as the Treasurer. She has a lot of experience with running the finances of an organization from her time as an undergrad at BU, where she ran the Marine Science Association. She loves working for GAU because she cares a lot about improving our work conditions.


Member-at-Large: Nick Constant,  Electrical and Computer Engineering

Nick is a first-year master’s student studying statistical signal processing with the College of Engineering. His research focus is on feature extraction from speech signals. He is proud to be a part of the GAU. In addition to being a Member-at-Large Nick is also on the Contract Negotiations team.


Member-at-Large: Margarete Walden, Natural Resources Science
Margarete is a second year Master’s student in the Department of Natural Resources Science. She a member-at-large on the executive board, and can be found in Coastal Institute 007 when she’s not tracking turtles on Long Island.


Grievance Chair: Rosa Ghatee, Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering