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The Nutritional Sciences Graduate Student Association (NGSA) works to foster departmental graduate student advocacy and support. 

The NGSA has five objectives focused on enhancing graduate student experiences, as outlined below:

  1. Promote the interests and opinions of the graduate student body.
  2. Develop and promote events that benefit graduate students.
  3. Serve as the voice of graduate students on matters of academics, physical and mental welfare, and finances.
  4. Facilitate communication and interaction among graduate students, including hosting graduate student-only social events.
  5. Act as the bridge between faculty and graduate students in matters of curriculum reform, funding, and departmental policy.

Contact us: NGSAoffice@austin.utexas.edu

Follow us: @utngsa

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NGSA Officers 2023-2024

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Lavender Hackman, RD

Lavender is the president of the NGSA. She is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Stefano Tiziani. She is from Abilene, TX and got her BS in Nutrition from UT Austin. Her research is focused on determining metabolic vulnerabilities related to glutamine metabolism in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) and identifying combinations of bioactive compounds that target these pathways and synergize to improve treatment outcomes, overcome mechanisms of drug resistance, and reduce toxicity. In her free time, she likes to play tennis and pickleball, and ride her bike. 


Marcela Abrego, MPH
Director of Programming

Marcela is the Director of Programming of the NGSA. She is a second year PhD student in the Widen lab. Marcela received her BS in Nutritional Sciences at UT Austin and MPH in Health Leadership and Nutrition Quality from UNC Chapel Hill. Her research is focused on the intersection of obesity and cardiovascular disease as it pertains to metabolic syndrome in maternal health and early childhood. The ultimate goal of her research is to improve the well-being of underserved populations through culturally competent intervention programs that are sustainable for equitable health across social-economic strata. In her free time, Marcela enjoys taking Lagree Pilates classes, watching Jeopardy, and reading mystery novels. 

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Yujin Lee, MS
Director of Membership

Yujin is the director of membership for NGSA. She is from South Korea and earned her B.S and M.S in Food and Nutrition. She is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Fleet lab. Her research is about investigating vitamin D-dependent gene regulation in the colon epithelium. In her free time, she enjoys playing squash and tennis, learning new recipes, and trying out new restaurants in Austin. As an international student who struggled (too much) with relocating, she now considers herself a relocating expert. Reach out to her if you need help!

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Keally Haushalter
Director of Culture and Engagement

Keally Haushalter is the culture and engagement chair for NGSA. She is a second year Ph.D. student in the Davis lab with interests in how food insecurity effects cardiometabolic health and cardiometabolic markers associated with diabetes. She received her undergraduate degree from Penn State University. She enjoys anything that involves the outdoors and will never turn down a game of pickleball (despite being very unskilled). Fun fact- she is the youngest blueberry picker in the state of Oregon as she went blueberry picking at 3 days old (and then proceeded to hate blueberries until age 20 but now loves them).   

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Emily Kinsella
ICPD Liaison

Emily Kinsella is the Integrated Coordinated Program in Dietetics (ICPD) Liaison for NGSA. She is in the second year of ICPD with a goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian who works with eating disorders. She enjoys running, reading, and trying new restaurants in Austin. Emily would consider herself a coffee connoisseur (you should ask her where the best coffee is in Austin).

Jesse Balderrama
President Emeritus