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Executive Board


Past Executive Board Members

GPC remembers the service of previous officers at our past executive board members page.

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Alek Willsey



Al Willsey is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Philosophy Department. He received both a B.S. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Mathematics from Mizzou in 2015, and then received a M.A. in Philosophy from Mizzou in 2017. This marks Al’s second term as GPC President. Prior to his first term as President, Al served as the Treasurer of GPC. In addition, Al is a Teaching Assistant in the Philosophy Department.

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Jesse Wyatt

Vice President


Jesse Wyatt is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Chemistry. Prior to attending Mizzou, he received his B.A. in Biochemistry from Blackburn College in 2010 and M.S. in Biological Sciences from the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) in 2012.  Originally from Illinois, he moved to Columbia to study structural biology with an emphasis on understanding the biochemistry of proteins and how that relates to structure and function. Jesse has previously served two years as a departmental representative to GPC and as Vice President for the Graduate Student Association (GSA).  In addition to his duties as GPC Vice President, Jesse serves as Vice Chair for the South Central region of the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS).


Nanxi Xu



Nanxi Xu is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her research focuses on family relationships and child social emotional development. She obtained her Master’s Degree at the University of Denver and held an undergraduate B.B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring Finance, Investment, and Banking. During the last academic year, Nanxi was the Committee Chair at the International Student Affairs Committee (ISAC). Outside of work, Nanxi completed a yoga instructor training in 2017.

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Shannon King



Shannon King is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Biochemistry.  She received her B.S. in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry with a minor in Agronomy from Northwest Missouri State University.  Shannon works as a member of a large interdisciplinary team working to understand how corn roots grow during drought conditions.  Her research specifically looks at how these roots grow in real-world field conditions.  Shannon also serves as the Biochemistry Graduate Student Organization’s (BGSO) Treasurer, Interdisciplinary Plant Group – Student PostDoc Organization (IPG-SPO)  Secretary and the NWMSU Sigma Alpha Alumni Chapter President.

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Ransford Pinto

Director of Professional Development


Ransford is a Ph.D. candidate in the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis program at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His research focuses on the intersection of race and gender in educational leadership, educational leadership development for social justice in a global context, effective leadership in Ghanaian Basic and High schools, and how scholarship informs policy-based solution in improving the educational journey of Black boys and girls. Ransford is currently examining the educational and career pathways of Black Women in Senior Leadership Positions in U.S 4-year public Universities. Prior to his doctoral studies, Ransford worked at the British Council, Accra Ghana as the administrator in charge of the University of Cambridge International Exams. He received a B. Ed in Primary Education from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana and a master’s degree in public Affairs from the University of Missouri’s Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs.

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Kristen Kalz

Director of Programming


Kristen Kalz is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology with an emphasis in Environment & Technology, and Science, Knowledge, & Technology. Broadly speaking her research interests are in the study of Risk, Health, and Environment. Her current research is on the environmental uncertainty that surrounds residents who live and work around West Lake landfill and Coldwater Creek, both of which contain cold-war era radioactive waste. Prior to coming to Mizzou, she received both a B.S. in Psychology & Sociology, and a MA in Sociology, at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). She looks forward to working with graduate students and hopes to plan community based events to highlight the vast skills of graduate and professional students at Mizzou.


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Shishi Chen

Director of Communication


Shishi Chen is a 1st year master student from the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Originally from China, she received her B.S. in civil engineering from Mizzou and Shenzhen University in 2018. She is a graduate research assistant at the Mizzou Asphalt Pavement and Innovation Laboratory (MAPIL) and is mentored by Dr. William Buttlar.  In addition, Shishi serves as a recycling ambassador for the City of Columbia.

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Benton Berigan

Director of National Affairs


Benton Berigan is a doctoral student in the Division of Biological Sciences. He received his B.S. in Biology and B.S. in Psychology from Mizzou in 2016. Broadly speaking, his research interests are in the fields of biophysics and neuroscience. His current research aims to identify, engineer, and test novel genetic tools to be used in fundamental brain research. Since 2012, Benton has led student initiatives at the local, state, and federal level to reform drug policy and expand federal research initiatives. In addition to his duties as GPC Director of National Affairs, Benton serves as President for the University of Missouri Biophysical Society, and he is a member of the Seminar Planning Committee in his home department.

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Kari Chesney

Director of State Affairs


Kari Chesney is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology and a veterinary resident in the Comparative Medicine Program. Kari’s research focuses on characterizing transgenic animal models for inherited human and animal diseases, and her residency appointment involves advanced training in providing veterinary care to research animals. Kari received her B.S. in Biological Sciences and B.S. in Psychology from Illinois State University in 2011 and received her DVM from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015. Prior to her term as State Affairs Director, Kari served as a delegate to the Student American Veterinary Medical Association and Chair of the International Veterinary Exchange Committee. In addition to her duties as GPC State Affairs Director, Kari serves on the City of Columbia Energy and Environment Commission.

Alex Howe

Alex Howe

GPC Immediate Past President/Ex Officio


Alex Howe is a doctoral candidate in the Philosophy Department. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.A. in Religious Studies, both from San Diego State University. Alex has previously served three years as GPC Treasurer, and one year as national Employment Concerns Chair for the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS). In addition to his duties as GPC President, Alex is also the Kline Research Assistant in his home department. Please don’t hesitate to contact Alex with any questions, comments or concerns that you may have.

Alex currently serves as the National Director of Outreach for NAGPS.

Sarah Senff

GSA Immediate Past President/Ex Officio