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Meet the GSL Advisory Council

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Graduate Student Life Advisory Council

The mission of the Graduate Student Life Advisory Council is to promote the highest standards in academic achievement, social communication, recruitment, retention, and quality of life for all graduate students at the University of Oklahoma. We will pursue these standards by utilizing the individual strengths of our members through leadership, campus and community involvement, and commitment to the University of Oklahoma. Our logo is inspired by our desire to serve as the lamplight of the Graduate College, providing guidance to prospective and current graduate students.

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GSLAC Member List

Tracey Bark
Political Science

Auston English

Human Relations

Jessica ForehandHuman Relations
Lindsey Gunderson
Adult and Higher Education
Brandon Holzbauer SchweitzerEnvironmental
Christiana HornAdult and Higher Education
Claire ParkerAdult and Higher Education
Nisha PatelMicrobiology
Shivani Rani
Civil Engineering
Jenni ReavisHuman
Pratik SamantBiomedical Engineering
Deidra SmithHuman Relations
Erin Michelle Todd
Erika Warbinton
Counseling Psychology

GSLAC Member Biographies

Graduate College Student Ambassador Tracey Bark

Tracey Bark is a doctoral student in the Political Science department at OU.  She also completed her undergraduate degree at OU, earning a B.A. in Political Science in 2014. Tracey is currently a graduate research assistant at the Center for Risk and Crisis Management, where she works on a variety of projects related to regulatory policy and the federal bureaucracy. Her research interests are primarily in the areas of bureaucracy and higher education policy. In her free time, Tracey enjoys being active outdoors and traveling with friends.

Graduate College Student Ambassador Auston English

Auston English is a graduate assistant in Graduate Student Life. He recently completed a master’s in Human Relations. This fall, he will be continuing his education in pursuit of a license in professional counseling. Auston serves as president for the Graduate Student Life Student Advisory Council. When not at the Graduate College, Auston enjoys coaching 8th grade football, spending time with his wife, Talia, and nomming on some “Tex-Mex.”

Jessica Forehand earned her bachelor's degree in Fine Arts Media in 2014 and came to work for Graduate Student Life in the summer of 2016. She is responsible for GSL graphic design, photography, and helping with events. In addition to working for GSL, Jessica is working on her master's in Human Relations. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her dog Legolas, traveling, and watching movies.

Lindsey Gunderson is an academic counselor for graduate programs through the University of Oklahoma’s College of Liberal Studies, where she also serves as an adjunct instructor in interdisciplinary and leadership topics. Lindsey also coaches men’s and women’s diving for Oklahoma Baptist University where she has been a part of three national championship teams and has been twice named National Diving Coach of the year. Prior to coming to OU, Lindsey coached diving full-time for Minnesota State University after competing as an athlete.

Lindsey holds undergraduate degrees from Minnesota State University - Moorhead in Early Childhood Education and Community Health, and a master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education (emphasis in Intercollegiate Athletic Administration) from OU. She is currently a third-year doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies through OU’s College of Education.

Lindsey’s research interests are: Career Development and Theory, Intercollegiate Athletics Administration, First-Generation Student Experience, Women in Higher Education, Social Justice, Adult Education, Non-Traditional Student Experience, and Educational Access.

Graduate College Student Ambassador Brandon Holzbauer Schweitzer

Brandon Holzbauer Schweitzer is a graduate research assistant in the College of Engineering. He earned his bachelor's in Environmental Geoscience from Winona State University in 2014 and his master's in Environmental Science from the University of Oklahoma in the summer of 2016. His main goal since being appointed as a Graduate Student Life Advisory Council member is to ensure that incoming and current graduate students have the same experience he did throughout his graduate career. He wants all graduate students at the University of Oklahoma—current and prospective—to feel at home, safe, and like they have a place in the campus community. Brandon has lived in Norman since January of 2015 and has enjoyed every day here. Most of his time is spent on campus researching issues related to water resources and management. When he is not on campus he enjoys hiking the local trails, venturing to Bricktown, or hanging out with his cat and dog.

Graduate College Student Ambassador Christiana Horn

Christiana Horn is a Ph.D. student in Adult and Higher Education. She received her Master of Library Science from Texas Woman’s University in 2013 and her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Sam Houston State University in 2011. She currently works as a graduate research assistant at the K20 Center where she serves as a mentor for K20 Scholars and a liaison for the Board of Advocates.

Graduate College Student Ambassador Claire Parker

Claire Parker is a graduate assistant in Graduate Student Life. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from OU in 2015. She is a programs specialist in Graduate Student Life, aiming to create events and programs that meet the broad spectrum of the social and academic needs of graduate students. Her main goal through working in GSL is to make every graduate student feel welcome and like they have a place in OU’s campus community. Claire is a master’s student in the Adult & Higher Education program with an emphasis in Student Affairs. She has lived in Norman for the entirety of her life thus far. When she’s not on campus you can find her enjoying the lake with her family, watching Audrey Hepburn movies, or taking in a Thunder basketball game.

Graduate College Student Ambassador Nisha Patel

Nisha Patel received her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology at OU. Currently, she is a graduate student pursuing a doctoral degree in Microbiology. Nisha’s research examines the gut microbiota of indigenous Peruvian communities and the recovery and classification of novel microbes. She is also managing editor for the Bergey's International Society for Microbial Systematics's journal, "The Bulletin," and was chair of the Academic Affairs committee for the Graduate Student Senate in 2014. During the school semesters, Nisha is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Microbiology laboratory courses.

Graduate College Student Ambassador Shivani Rani

Shivani Rani is pursuing her doctorate degree in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at OU. She works as a research assistant in the Asphalt Binders Laboratory at OU with Dr. Musharraf Zaman. Shivani is also a part of the Graduate Student Life Center at OU. She was born and raised in Uttar Pradesh, India. She earned her master’s degree in 2013 from Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, India and her bachelor’s degree in 2011 from Uttar Pradesh Technical University, Lucknow, India. Shivani is a fun-loving person. Her hobbies include playing sports, watching movies, and cooking. Additionally, she loves helping out her friends and family members. She was awarded Outstanding Player in Sports in 2014.

Graduate College Student Ambassador Jenni Reavis

Having completed her undergraduate degree in business at UCO, Jenni Reavis is currently a second year graduate student in the Department of Human Relations. She is especially interested in diversity and wants to help international students feel as much at home as possible here at our wonderful university. Her plans include finishing the LPC track with her current degree program in order to pursue a career in the field of counseling psychology. She is especially interested in helping others find their inner strength so that they feel empowered to live their life to the fullest. In her spare time you can find her lifting weights in the gym, trying to learn a new language, attempting to read 10 new books at the same time, or meeting new people.

Pratik Samant is a doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering.

Graduate College Student Ambassador Deidra Smith

Deidra Smith is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Human Relations degree with concentration in Human Resource Management where her focus is diversity and inclusion and women in leadership. She holds a Master of Science degree in Community Development from Prairie View A&M University—an HBCU in Texas—and an undergraduate degree in Business Management from University of Phoenix. Deidra is a non-traditional student who decided to pursue higher education many years after high school. She is a native Houstonian.

Deidra joined the GSLAC because she wants her walk to appeal to the seasoned adult that might be thinking about returning to school to retool. Additionally, she wants to assist in partnering those ideal candidates with programs and organizations on campus for mentoring and guiding other students just now entering the work force or who are just like her.

Deidra’s future goals are to continue to be a lifelong advocate for learning with application of the many concepts acquired through education, volunteerism, community outreach and engagement, mentorship to leadership and excelling at all levels in life. Her hobbies include spending time with her sons, family and a host of friends and colleagues.

Michelle Todd is a member of the Graduate Student Life Advisory Council. She particularly enjoys planning and going on GSL getaways, camping trips, and outdoor events. She is a doctoral student in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology program at OU, studying creativity in the workplace. When she’s not working, she enjoys kayaking, playing her ukulele, and eating stuffed-crust pizza. She loves to travel and is constantly annoying her advisor to give her a month off to visit Iceland.

Graduate College Student Ambassador Erika Warbinton

Erika Warbinton joined the Graduate Student Life Advisory Council in May 2015. Erika earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Bethany College in biology and psychology. She attended Emporia State University and received her Master of Science degree in clinical psychology, and is attending the University of Oklahoma for her PhD in counseling psychology. In her spare time, Erika enjoys traveling, cooking, cats, and she also pretends to enjoy running.