About THE BSA

The Biomedical Student Association (BSA) is a Augusta University-sanctioned student organization representing graduate students of the Biomedical Sciences and their student affiliations to provide leadership and support to the Biomedical Science graduate students.  The BSA Bylaws

The BSA conducts activities to promote an atmosphere of fellowship and social support among the graduate students and organizes students' interactions with other institutions and organizations within Augusta University and the community at large. The majority of BSA events focus on strengthening social networks within the graduate student community as well as encouraging students to play an active role in campus and community-wide events. 

 

BSA Events Fall 2022

September 10th

Partnership to facilitate the Tunnel to Towers 5K

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Biomedical Student Association 

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MEET THE BSA LEADERSHIP TEAM

 

photo of Emily Burns

Emily Burns

  • President

Graduate Program:  Physiology

What is your research area ? I am studying immune mechanisms leading to oxidative stress and inflammation during salt-sensitive hypertension and associated renal end-organ damage. My research focuses specifically on determining the role of Toll-like Receptor 4 signaling in renal macrophages in the pathogenesis of the disease.

What does leadership mean to you?  To me, leadership means providing support and guidance so others can succeed - and not being afraid to roll up your sleeves and do some dirty work in order to make a difference.

Why did you seek a leadership position in the BSA? I have held the Vice President and Social Chair positions in my previous terms, and I really enjoyed serving my fellow students. Being a leader allows for my own personal growth as well as growth for the organization. I recognize the importance of fostering a supportive environment to keep students interactive and motivated throughout our PhD journeys.

Fun or memorable BSA experience or highlight: We plan several social events each semester to allow everyone in the program to keep up with one another. I love these opportunities to catch up with fellow students and be reminded of all the support and friendship I have surrounding me here at AU. 

photo of Katie Anne Fopiano

Katie Anne Fopiano

  • Vice President

Graduate Program: Physiology

What is your research area ?  I am currently focusing within my research on heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) and Alzheimer's disease, both prevalent diseases that currently have no treatment options. I am focusing on understanding the 'why' behind what leads to these diseases, focusing on the microvasculature and any dysfunction that occurs.

What does leadership mean to you? Leadership means standing up for the people you represent in a way that brings about meaningful changes.

Why did you seek a leadership position in the BSA? I joined the BSA to plan events that help students find their home here within the program, to get to know my classmates better and make friends, and to hopefully making meaningful and impactful changes for all the students BSA represents.I have been involved with BSA for the past two years and I am excited to continue to grow within the organization and to have the continued opportunity to represent my fellow Biomedical Science students as Vice President. Within my position, I want to continue projects within the BSA as well as implement new projects that will hopefully have a positive impact on the students here. 

Fun or memorable BSA experience or highlight: A memorable experience for me was a night of studying, surprisingly. It was in my first year here and I was at the library studying for a test with a couple of my classmates and we just had to take a break and started joking around and having a good time, they are now some of my good friends and we all support each other. Coming to a new school in a new city can be scary but finding good friends in your classmates makes this experience, this town, and this time that much more wonderful.

photo of Mercy Kehinde-Ige

Mercy Kehinde-Ige

  • Secretary

Graduate Program: Biochemistry & Cancer Biology

What is your research area ?  My research focuses on utilizing genomic and bioinformatic tools to understand and improve engineered T cells for cancer immunotherapy.

What does leadership mean to you?  Leadership is a willingness to serve and advocate for others.

Why did you seek a leadership position in the BSA?  I think that a leadership role in the BSA gives me an opportunity to serve my peers, while helping with self-development.

Fun or memorable BSA experience or highlight: Through the first-year mentorship program, BSA matched me with an amazing student mentor that has been very helpful in connecting me with opportunities and helping me navigate my first year experience.

photo of Sam Melnyk

Sam Melnyk

  • Treasurer

Graduate Program: Physiology

What is your research area?  I study mechanisms involved in corneal wound healing. More specifically I'm interested in how epigenetic factors are involved in delayed wound healing in diabetics and finding potential treatments to speed up the wound healing process.

What does leadership mean to you? Leadership to me means to lead by example and help others achieve a common goal.

What are your leadership goals for BSA in your role? As treasurer, the obvious goal is to make sure the accounts are balanced and that the funds we have are used properly for the betterment of the BSA and others. I also plan to help with ideas for activities and events that the BSA can do.

Fun or memorable BSA experience or highlight: Through the first-year mentorship program, BSA matched me with an amazing student mentor that has been very helpful in connecting me with opportunities and helping me navigate my first year experience.

photo of Drew Speese

Drew Speese

  • Social Chair

Graduate Program: Vascular Biology

What is your research area?  Obesity-related cardiometabolic dysfunction.

What does leadership mean to you?  Setting a good example and facilitating progress.

What are your leadership goals for BSA in your role? As a newly elected BSA officer, I am excited to gain valuable community service experience. 

Fun or memorable AU experience or highlight: Some memorable Augusta University Graduate School moments where when I had the opportunity to travel to Philidelphia and to Budapest, Hungary to present my research. 

photo of Elisabeth Mellott

Elisabeth Mellott

  • Humanitarian

Graduate Program: Physiology

What is your research area ? My research focuses on expanding the knowledge in the pregnancy field on preeclampsia, a cardiovascular disease that arises mid-gestation. Specifically, I'm working on elucidating the mechanisms the placenta activates that worsen the symptoms of preeclampsia and the difficulties in treatment options.  

What does leadership mean to you? I always have seen some form of service from the people around me and those in leadership roles who genuinely inspire. "Service is the rent you pay for room on this earth," spoken by Shirley Chisholm and I like to apply to any situation. The best way to ensure you are providing for those you lead for and those you work under is by serving

What did you want to accomplish as the Humanitarian of the BSA and what has been accomplished so far? There has been a precedent of expanding BSA's role on campus and in the community by lending volunteer hours to different local efforts and I want to continue that ideology to include more projects that our students want to get involved in. I hope to provide different opportunities to highlight needs in our diverse community that include our international students' needs, those from other states, and still pour into Augusta.

Fun or memorable BSA experience or highlight? My first experience with the power of BSA was the food pantry that was offered to the first years. We had just had our first test and a lot of us were still stressed from the transition to graduate school. BSA held a little social hour for us to connect with older students who bought different grocery items for easy dinners like pasta. It was comforting in ways we didn't know we needed.

photo of Dina Kira

Dina Kira

  • GSGA Representative

Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

What is your research area? Genetic causes of a rare disease called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) Syndrome

What does leadership mean to you?  Leadership to me is channeling our power for causes that will benefit the whole team while setting a positive example for others.

What are your leadership goals for BSA in your role? As a Graduate SGA representative of BSA, my goal is efficiently and accurately share BSA views with GSGA. Also, make sure that biomedical science program students are part of GSGA’s mission to improve the quality of life for the graduate students at Augusta University.

Fun or memorable BSA experience or highlight: Being part of the BSA mentor-mentee program, where newly accepted incoming graduate students are paired with current students to help them start this new exciting chapter of their careers. I made great friends through this program!! It’s always helpful to share experiences with others.

photo of Dominique Monroe

Dominique Monroe

  • SGA Representative

Graduate Program: Biochemistry and Cancer Biology 

What is your research area?  My research area is cancer biology, more specifically, I am investigating how DNA repair mechanisms affect cancer.

What does leadership mean to you?  Leadership is the ability of one to bring the most out of others for a common cause. 

Why did you seek a leadership position in the BSA?  Motivating and inspiring others has been a goal of mine since joining the PhD program. I want to take on the initiative of helping others, just as I have been helped by others in the past. 

Fun or memorable BSA experience or highlight: The most memorable moment I have of the BSA is when the BSA won the award for donating the most clothes in the clothing drive!  

Recent BSA Service Projects

On a monthly basis, the BSA members work to organize a service project to make a difference in our communities, gain leadership experience, promote student-student interaction and expand networking opportunities. Through service, students feel more connected not only with the campus community, but also with the larger CSRA community. 

August | 1st Year Mentorship program

For August, we focused on first-year mentorship. We hosted a potluck, where upper classmen brought hot dishes as well as fruit and non-perishables to the biomed lounge for the first-year students.



September| Tunnel to Towers 5K

In September, we volunteered with the Tunnel to Towers 5K that raised money for Wounded Warriors.

Tunnel to Towers 5k runners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


October | Halloween Candy Drive for the Ronald McDonald House

In October, we had a Halloween Candy Drive that benefitted the Ronald McDonald House. People were very generous with the drive! We were able to stuff over 60 bags full of candy and other goodies. Some student trick-or-treaters took the bags over to the Ronald McDonald House on Friday evening. We had enough left over to send some to pediatric oncology and the Children’s Hospital as well!


See more of the BSA's previous projects >>