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Theodore Nollert, a third-year PhD student in the English and Comparative Literature Department, has been elected president of the Graduate and Professional Student Government. He smiles for a portrait inside Graham Memorial Hall on Feb. 17, 2022.

Theodore Nollert

Position: 2022-2023 GPSG President

Status: Incoming

Hometown: Edmond, Oklahoma

Bio: Theodore is pursuing his PhD in English Literature at UNC. He is passionate about I like solving problems. I enjoy cutting red tape when possible, demystifying the policies and structures that shape our lives, and equipping people with the information that converts frustration into successful action. I believe in the power of collective action. Theodore is looking forward to developing a first-year mentor program, collaborating with students to improve their professional development, clarifying the factors that keep grad stipends so low, and soliciting student engagement as we continue implementing our plan to finally do something about it. Theodore is excited and grateful to be serving as the 2022-2023 President of the Graduate and Professional Student Government.

Fun Fact: I’m very fond of a novel called The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, which was published by an expatriate Irish clergyman named Laurence Sterne in nine installments between 1759 and 1767. Sterne is the warmest, kindest, and most humane of all English satirists (and, so far as I know, only P. G. Wodehouse is funnier).


Elena Vidrascu

Position: GPSG Senior Vice President

Status: Incoming

Hometown: Rochester, NY

Bio: Elena is from Rochester, NY and is pursuing her PhD in the Neuroscience of Addiction. “It’s very meaningful work to get students involved and interested in things other than their academics!” She is looking forward to increasing the impact that Senators have with their constituents.

Fun Fact: I backpacked the 100-mile wilderness of the Appalachian Trail!

Emily Youree

Position: 2022-2023 Chief of Staff

Status: Incoming

Hometown: Huntsville, AL

Bio: Amanda Smythers is studying English and Comparative Literature. “I look forward to using my organizational skills to facilitate communication and scheduling and make GPSG’s Executive Branch run as smoothly as possible. I believe that GPSG is the most powerful tool graduate students have to voice our concerns and improve our experience, as well as the experiences of students who come after us.”

Fun Fact: I have 25 houseplants!

Hailey Steele

Position: Vice President for Communications

Status: Incoming

Hometown: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Bio: Hailey is a Doctoral Student in Media & Communication. “I am motivated to serve my peers in the graduate and professional communities and deepen my connections with the UNC community. My aim is to help humanize and integrate communication processes both within GPSG and in our outreach to the broader Carolina community.”

Fun Fact: Outside of my academic research, I study ancient Hellenistic astrology as a cross-cultural symbolic language.

Samantha Golden

Position: Vice President for Advocacy and Government Affairs

Status: Incoming

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC

Bio: Samantha is studying Dual MS/PhD student in Hispanic Linguistics. “I went to UNC for my undergrad, and now as a grad student, I’ve found that I am passionate about advocating for all of our students. I want to create positive change at UNC that will last for students for years to come. Not only do I want to achieve the goals of our administration this year, but I also hope to set up the foundation for the success of future officers. Change means nothing if it stops after one year!”

Fun Fact: I have taught my dog a lot of tricks, but my favorite one is when he knocks Duke hats off of people’s heads.


Claire Klein

Position: Director of Assessment

Status: Incoming

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Bio: Claire is studying Clinical Psychology, Autism. “I was inspired to connect my department with university resources.”

Fun Fact: I have a dog named Skipper!


Mary Peter

Position: Director of Community Engagement

Status: Incoming

Hometown: Nigeria

Bio: Mary is earning her Masters of Public Health in Environmental Health Solutions​. I was inspired to pursue a student officer position because of my commitment to serve and increase engagement among Graduate and Professional Students. I look forward to increasing engagement among Graduate and Professional Students as a way of improving mental health and general well-being.”

Fun Fact: I lived in the Russian Federation for 7 years.

Kathryn Goodpaster
(Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Kathryn Goodpaster

Position: Director of Digital Media

Status: Incoming

Hometown: Raeford, NC

Bio: Kathryn is in the Global Studies MA Program with a Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies Concentration. “I want to help graduate and professional students find a community on campus. I look forward to working to expand GPSP’s reach on campus.”

Fun Fact: My favorite website is the UNC Directory.


Lauren Hawkinson

Position: Director of Employment Affairs

Status: Incoming

Hometown: Dodgeville, WI

Bio: Lauren is studying human Movement Science – Pediatric ACL Injury Prevention, Implementation Science. “I am looking forward to accomplishing stipend and health insurance advocacy for graduate students and increasing professional development opportunities for graduate students interested in careers outside academia.

Fun Fact: I collect old books. My oldest is a copy of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen from 1897.


Mark Simon

Position: Director of Health and Wellness

Status: Incoming

Hometown: Columbus, OH

Bio: Mark is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health. “I gravitated to the Health & Wellness position because of my lived experiences navigating various campus health services at UNC and my undergraduate institution as someone with a mental health condition and disability. Among other things, I hope to increase awareness of the multitude of campus services and help students with intersecting needs (e.g., mental health, disability, financial health) get connected to the appropriate resources that will then work in unison.”

Fun Fact: Since moving to North Carolina last summer to begin my masters, I have become an avid birder. I now have three bird feeders and a bird bath and one of my favorite things to do each day is to sit at my kitchen table and watch the birds.


Celeste Kurz

Position: Director of Local Relations

Status: Incoming


Manny Galvan

Position: Director of Social Justice

Status: Incoming

Zehra Razai

Position: Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Status: Incoming


Chad Lloyd

Position: Director of Academic Affairs

Status: Incoming