Meet the Executive Board & Advisors

President: Alexander Grindstaff 

My name is Alexander Grindstaff and I’m a second year PhD student in Nanoscience, currently serving as a GSA senator for my department. I grew up in western North Carolina and became the first person in my family to pursue higher education. I love languages and grew up hearing Cherokee as a child and studied Arabic and French during my undergrad; currently working on ASL and Spanish. My research interests center around how pathogens (viruses and fungi) survive outside hosts and what genetic components are activated. Outside of the lab I enjoy going to the Farmers’ Market and cooking with friends (not during a pandemic). I love being outdoors and one of my goals while at UNCG is to visit all 41 of NC’s State Parks.

Alexander Grindstaff

Nanoscience, PhD Student


Vice President: Terry Chavis

My name is Terry Chavis (He|Him), and I am an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. I am a second-year Ph.D. Educational Studies: Higher Education student in the Teacher Education-Higher Education department. My research looks to work alongside ethnically marginalized students in STEM microsystems (classrooms) and take a critical approach to understand their experiences with the curriculum, instructors, and peers. As an Indigenous researcher, I aim to work closely with Indigenous students in STEM using decolonial methodologies to center their stories and experiences. I grew up in my tribal homeland of Pembroke, NC, and was the first in my family to pursue a higher education. I went to undergraduate and graduate school in Western NC and took five years afterward to work as a student affairs professional in Kentucky and North Carolina, respectively. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my cats, Ayasha & Tod, and maintaining my educational consulting business.

Terry Chavis

Educational Studies Higher Education, PhD Student


Treasurer: Brooks Youngmark

My name is Brooks Youngmark, and I am a third-year doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) in the Public Health Education PHD program within the school of HHS. I am originally from Abilene, Kansas and spent my life in the Midwest prior to moving to North Carolina in 2020. I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas in 2018, and my Master of Public Health degree from the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2020. At UNCG, my current projects include working with the myPlaybook Health and Wellness programming for collegiate student athletes, and TEAMS: The Esports Athlete Mental well-being Study. I am also a Senator for the School of HHS in the Graduate Student Association, a current instructor of record for HEA 331: Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, a member of the UNCG Athletics Pep Band, and the Vice President/Programming Chair of Alpha Delta Pi Honor Society.

Brooks Youngmark

Public Health Education, PhD Student


Student Relations: Ashley Loper-Nowak

My name is Ashley Loper-Nowak and I am a PhD candidate in the History Department. I grew up in Arizona before moving to Iowa where I received my BS in History from Iowa State University and MA in History with an emphasis in Public History from the University of Northern Iowa. I moved to Greensboro, North Carolina in 2017 to pursue my PhD. My research involves refugees who resettled to North Carolina after the Vietnam War. In addition to being part of the History Department and Graduate Student Association (GSA), I also manage the Fellows Program at the Center for New North Carolinians where we meet monthly to discuss topics related to the local immigrant and refugee communities. Outside of reading, writing, and researching, I love playing tennis, hiking, traveling, photography, and baking. I also enjoy curling up with my cat and dog and watching a good movie or new TV show. 

Ashley Loper-Nowak

History, PhD Candidate



Meet our GSA Faculty Advisor!

Advisor: Nicole Merritt

My name is Nicole Merritt. I am the Associate Director of Student and Family Engagement within the Division of Student Affairs. In this role, I oversee our student engagement platform, parent/family communications and initiatives, and UNCG’s co-curriculum program, the Spartan Experience. I received my BA and MA in English from UNCG and am a first-year doctoral student in the Educational Studies program with a concentration in Higher Education. I have worked in higher education for three years in admissions at Greensboro College and UNCG. I am a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma and serve as their advisor and GSA’s. I enjoy reading and playing with my pets: Fiona – dog and Thalia/Ana – gerbils.

Nicole Merritt

Associate Director of Student & Family Engagement,

Division of Student Affairs