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: Amanda Weller

My name is Amanda Weller, and I am a third year PhD Environmental Health Sciences student in the Biology department. My research focuses on subterranean small mammal evolution, and I use genetic/genomic data to look for signatures of subterranean life. I also use functional morphology (i.e., shape of limb bones) comparisons across all subterranean rodent diversity. I moved to Greensboro from Ohio during the summer of 2020, right in the middle of peak restrictions from the pandemic. While it was difficult to feel incorporated into a new city when I couldn’t do most things in person, the GSA provided opportunities for me to feel a part of the UNCG community. As the GSA Vice President, I chair the programming committee where I am responsible for planning events. I strive to represent and advocate for graduate students across campus by pushing for diversity, inclusion, and parity for the graduate student population. In my free time I enjoy hiking and exploring all the trails across North Carolina. I also have two cats who I love dearly.

Amanda Weller

Environmental Health Sciences, PhD Student


Treasurer: Krista Meder

My name is Krista Meder, and I am a Ph.D. student in the Kinesiology Department with a concentration in Applied Neuromechanics and an Educational Research Methodology minor. I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio, where I received my BA in Exercise Science and Pre-Physical Therapy from Baldwin Wallace University. I earned my MS in Exercise Physiology with a focus on Biomechanics at West Virginia University (WVU). My research interests are in using technology to alter gait and its translatability to rehabilitation programs for clinical populations. Aside from my professional career, I enjoy being active and two of my favorite activities are lifting and hiking. I also love traveling and trying new foods.

Krista Meder

Kinesiology, 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 Advisors!

Advisor: Dr. Adrienne Craig

I am the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. In this role, I provide leadership for Campus Activities & Programs, Career & Professional Development, Elliott University Center, the Office of Intercultural Engagement, and the Office of Leadership & Civic Engagement. Previously, I served as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Columbus State University (Ga.) I has over 16 years of experience working in various facets of Student Affairs and am passionate about developing student leaders, having created campus-wide leadership programs at multiple universities. I am also a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. I earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Old Dominion University and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech. I earned my doctorate in Leadership & Innovation from Wilmington University (Delaware).

Dr. Adrienne Craig, Ph.D

Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Advisor: Dr. Paul Steimle

 I am a professor in the Biology Department and have been a faculty member at UNCG for the past 21 years. I have served on the Graduate Council since 2017 (two years as Chair) and was the Graduate Program Director in Biology for six years. In these roles, I have been committed to ensuring that student issues are at the forefront of conversations about graduate education at UNCG, and I plan to continue that commitment as an advisor to the GSA. I earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cleveland State University and a PhD in Regulatory Biology from the same school. I was a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University and then at Case Western Reserve University prior to joining the faculty at UNCG. My research has involved studies of the molecular processes driving cell shape change, with the goal of understanding how defects in those processes can contribute to tumor development and metastasis.

Dr. Paul Steimle, Ph.D

Biology, Professor