The aim of the Black Graduate Student Association is to foster the intellectual, social and cultural community of Black graduate students at Stanford University. To that end, we envision and construct a thriving community characterized by joy, freedom, and intellectual curiosity. We focus on providing our members with academic and professional resources in addition to sponsoring events that not only cultivate Black social experiences, but ideally enhance the overall well-being of the black graduate student community at Stanford.

 

We are committed to leveraging our access to institutional resources to strengthen our communities and address the social, economic, environmental,  and political barriers that we face, while also collaborating with organizations  dedicated to achieving these goals both on and off campus and developing programming to promote equity and liberation across the Africa and the African diaspora.

About Us

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Darion Wallace,
President

Darion A. Wallace, from Inglewood, CA, is pursuing a PhD in Sociology of Education and Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) at Stanford University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric and African American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in International Education Policy Analysis from Stanford University. As an interdisciplinary sociologist, Darion employs mixed methods to explore how the sociolegal conditions of schools have structured Black education and outcomes across time. He has worked with the Learning Policy Institute as a Research and Policy Associate, San Francisco State University as an Africana Studies Lecturer, and the Service Employees International Union as an Organizer. Darion is a recipient of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship, Stanford Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education Fellowship, and Stanford Knight-Hennessy Fellowship.

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Reagan Ross,
Vice president

Reagan Nicole is from Hahnville, Louisiana (a suburb of New Orleans). They are a community organizer and racial justice researcher. Reagan is also a 3rd year PhD candidate in the Department of Communication. Their research interests include Blackness and virtual reality, the U.S. criminal legal system, and algorithms. Reagan has a B.A. with Honors in African and African American Studies and an M.A. in Communication. Before returning to Stanford for their PhD studies, Reagan was employed as a Campaign Researcher for Color Of Change, the nation’s largest digital civil rights organization. In their free time, Reagan enjoys playing Animal Crossing, reading Black science fiction, and watching horror films.

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Mekedlawit Setegne,
Communications Chair

Mekedlawit is a 3rd-year Ph.D. Student in the Department of Chemistry. She is a part of the ChEM-H CBI training program and is interested in utilizing chemical tools to address human health/ disease. She currently works on the development of a therapeutic for Sickle Cell Disease in the Dassama lab, primarily on developing a cell-specific drug delivery method to progenitor erythrocytes. In her free time, Mekedlawit enjoys organizing community gatherings, food, beach days, and biking. Mekedlawit is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. She received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Rice University in Houston, Texas. She is most excited to foster community as we move back to in-person events and continue to grow in her mentoring outreach.

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Amina Ly,
Financial Officer

Amina is a 4th year PhD Candidate in Earth System Science. Her research is primarily focused on understanding climate change risks, impacts of extreme weather events, and human system-climate interactions. Her work has intersected with heatwaves, mobility, and human health and behavior. After immigrating to the United States as a kid, she spent most of her time in Charlotte, NC. Outside of her research on climate, Amina enjoys staying active through hiking and exercising, painting, and adding to her ever-growing collection of houseplants.

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Alexis Wilson,
Social Co-Chair

Alexis Wilson (she/her) is from Chicago, Illinois and is currently a third year PhD Candidate in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University. She earned her B.S. in Environmental and Sustainability Sciences (2019) from Cornell University. Her passion lies in understanding and combating environmental racism and climate injustices on local and global scales. Alexis’ current research focuses on identifying and remediating soil contamination in urban gardens, particularly in marginalized communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Alexis is committed to mentoring underrepresented students and is working to make the STEM field more accessible and inclusive of all people.

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Kristin McFadden,
Academic Co-Chair

Kristin McFadden is a 3rd year PhD Candidate in Anthropology. Her research focuses on land dispossession and property ownership  in African American communities in the American South through an exploration of political and legal claim making, conceptions of citizenship, and heirs’ property as a legal categorization. Kristin is originally from Florence, South Carolina and received her undergraduate degree from Emory University in African American Studies and Cultural Anthropology. In her free time she enjoys reading, podcasts, and traveling.

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Awoenam Mauna-Woanya
Academic Co-Chair

Awoe is a 2nd year Civil & Environmental Engineering graduate student passionate about the intersection between the built environment, social justice, and climate change. He is currently focused on designing sustainable urban systems capable of addressing complex urban problems from housing affordability to transportation injustice while mitigating climate change. Awoe was born in Ghana but spent most of his life growing up near Baltimore, MD. He earned his BS in Civil Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University. 

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Kristen Jackson,
Social Co-Chair

Kristen Jackson is a 2nd year PhD student in the Graduate School of Education, studying Race, Inequality, Language and Inclusion. She hails from Southfield, Michigan, and attended the University of Pennsylvania for her undergraduate and master's degrees, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and a Master of Sciences in Secondary Social Studies Education. Prior to matriculating at Stanford, she was a high school history teacher, soccer and swim coach, and teacher lead in West Philadelphia. Her research interests lie at the intersection of Black feminism and inclusive education. When not reading for class, she enjoys staring contests with her dog, lifting heavy things, attempting to learn rugby and trying out new recipes.

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