Skip to main content

SMD Logo

GSS Board

The Graduate Student Society (GSS) Executive Board members serving for the 2016-17 academic year are listed below. Please contact us at

GSS Executive Board Members

Elizabeth Belcher

Elizabeth BelcherI am a second year student in the Translational and Biomedical Science Ph.D. program.  I recently joined the neuroinflammation laboratories of Drs. John Olschowka and Kerry O’Banion, where I currently study the acute effect of low-dose irradiation on hippocampal neurogenesis.  Before coming to Rochester, I received my B.S. in both neuroscience and psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, where I conducted research in the Translational Neuroscience Program.  After graduation I worked in a clinical cognitive neuroscience lab for two years.  Now that I am at the University of Rochester, this is my first year serving on GSS. I am transitioning into the role of Chair of Professional Development and will be co-chair of our 2015 Career Conference. Please feel free to contact me with any suggestions for professional development seminars, workshops, or speakers!

Carrie Klocke

Carrie KlockeOriginally from Idaho, I graduated from Boise State University in the spring of 2012 with a BS in Human Biology and immediately began my studies in the Toxicology program the following fall. I conducted my undergraduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Kristen Mitchell, focusing on the effects of the environmental contaminant dioxin on the liver and immune system. I am currently in my third year working with Dr. Deborah Cory-Slechta on the developmental and behavioral neurotoxicity of inhaled ambient ultrafine nanoparticles. In addition to GSS, I currently serve as a member of the Toxicology Program’s Retreat Committee and I am a student member of the Society of Toxicology. This is my first year as a member of the GSS Executive Board as Social co-Chair and Communications Chair and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead! If you have questions or ideas, feel free to contact me at

Taylor Moon

Taylor MoonI'm a second year immunology student in Dr. Elliott's lab. My thesis project studies cell death in tumors and how factors recruit myeloid cells into the tumor. I'm currently serving as philanthropy chair on GSS and helping design an exhibit for the Rochester Museum of Science. I hope to teach at the undergraduate or graduate level after earning my PhD. Before coming to Rochester, I attended St. Lawrence University and majored in Biology. There I studied tumor immunology and discovered how interesting immunology is! At St. Lawrence I was a member of the 2012 National Champion Riding team, and in Rochester I enjoy riding my two horses, Ben and Duke, in my free time!

Laura Shum

Laura ShumA Rochester native, I learned to love research while earning my B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from SUNY Brockport. I studied migration of pre-adipocytes, and was active in a handful of clubs and organizations. I then moved to Colorado and was a Research Assistant in an Orthopaedics molecular biology lab for three years. In 2013, I left the Rocky Mountains and returned to Rochester to join the Translational Biomedical Science PhD program, and work in the Center for Musculoskeletal Research studying stem cell metabolism. I believe that enjoying life both in and out of the lab is crucial to success in grad school, and I joined GSS in 2014 to help foster the student community at the University of Rochester

Aleta Steevens

Aleta SteevensI am a third year student in the Neuroscience graduate program, training in Dr. Amy Keirnan's lab.  My thesis work is studying the role of the transcription factor SOX2 in inner ear development; specifically my interest is in elucidating how SOX2 operates in the processes of the specification and differentiation of sensory progenitors.  Prior to graduate school, I studied Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Minnesota.  While there, I studied the selective degeneration of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons in Alzheimer's disease, using a transgenic mouse model.  Upon graduating I worked in an acute psychiatric hospital for several years and volunteered as a researcher with the Cognitive Neuroscience Test Reliability and Clinical Applications for Schizophrenia (CNTRACS) consortium.  This is my first year on the GSS board and I am very excited to a part of this group.  My goal is to develop workshops and resources that will aid the graduate student body in academic/professional development.