Our Mission

The Council of Graduate Students is an authorized student government on campus representing our graduate/professional students at various levels across Michigan State University. Our mission is to improve and advance graduate education in order to ensure the vitality of intellectual discovery.

COGS accomplishes its mission through advocacy, innovative research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.

Supporting education is critical to achieving the highly skilled workforce needed for the U.S. to compete effectively in the 21st century global economy.

Our EBoard

Ben Burke

Ben Burke

President

Ben Burke is a rising 2L at Michigan State College of Law. Prior to law school, Ben served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines working with children in need of special protection. Additionally, Ben has experience working with international nonprofit organizations in business development.

Diondra Straiton

Diondra Straiton

Vice President of Internal Affairs

Diondra Straiton is currently pursuing her PhD in Clinical Psychology and completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology and Educational Studies at Swarthmore College. Her research focuses on improving access to care for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from traditionally underserved backgrounds by increasing caregiver engagement in autism-related services and by increasing access to caregiver-mediated interventions in community settings. Diondra also serves as the Outreach Chair for the Black Graduate Student Association and is the Vice President of the Mid-Michigan Autism Association.

Danielle Kaminski

Danielle Kaminski

Vice President of External Affairs

Prior to her current E-board appointment, Danielle Kaminski served two years as the COGS representative for the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics (AFRE), where she’s a PhD candidate. Her research interests include behavioral and labor economics as they relate to public policy and agricultural sectors. Her dissertation uses experimental economics techniques to assess policies related to labor and human resource management in the U.S. dairy industry. She is also interested in teaching and learning, particularly in methods for increasing student engagement and higher-order thinking. She has been an Inside Teaching MSU Fellow and FAST Fellow.

Meagan Abel

Meagan Abel

Treasurer

Meagan Abel is a second year Ph.D student in Criminal Justice and a University Distinguished Fellow. Her research interests include the social construction of terrorism, mass-casualty event conspiracy theories, and the extremist offender life-course. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Government, English, and Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin.

Gloria Nzeka

Gloria Nzeka

Recording Secretary

Gloria Nzeka is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar, pursuing a Master of Arts in International Journalism. She previously earned a degree in Information Technology from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Prior to journalism school, she was a content producer. Her research interest areas are international development, visual communication and journalistic roles in struggling democracies. She attended the Graduate School’s Leadership Academy (2018 cohort) and has also served as the African Graduate Students Association representative on the Council of Graduate Students (COGS) for the year 2017-2018.

Ian Beck

Ian Beck

Parliamentarian

Ian Beck is a rising 2L at Michigan State College of Law. He is originally from Providence, Rhode Island and attended Arizona State University for his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Law. On campus at Michigan State, Ian is involved with the St. Thomas More Society and the Latino Law Society and volunteers as a coach of the undergraduate mock trial program. His research and study interests include the viability of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, the presence of domestic violence in the world of sports, and the emergence of esports as a collegiate sport.

Alounso Gilzene

Alounso Gilzene

Director of Event Planning

Alounso Gilzene is a Second year Ph.D. student in the Department of K-12
Educational Administration. He is originally from Miami, Florida. His research interests include: the work of principals in schools primarily serving students of color and the role of nonprofits in urban schools. Prior to attending MSU, Alounso worked as a Data Analyst for the Friere Charter School Network in Philadelphia.

Danielle Jones

Danielle Jones

Law Liaison

Danielle Jones is a rising 2L at Michigan State University College of Law. Prior to law school, Danielle completed her undergraduate degree in Criminology with a minor in Psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. At Michigan State, she is involved in Women’s Law Caucus and her study interests include domestic violence in the community and the effect of the criminal justice system on young adults.

Jordan Lippincott

Jordan Lippincott

Medical School Liaison

Jordan Lippincott is a rising M2 at the Michigan State College of Human Medicine pursuing an MD. He is a graduate from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. Jordan served as a medical volunteer at Camp Taylor Kids Heart Camp for kids and teens with congenital heart defects and their family members. Jordan also serves on the Council of Medical Students as the Vice President.

Dr. Laura McCabe

Dr. Laura McCabe

Advisor

Dr. McCabe, Professor in the Department of Physiology and Director of the MSU Beckman Scholar Program, received her B.A. and Ph.D. from University of Chicago. After graduate training in intestinal physiology, her post-doctoral research at UMass Medical Center. Currently, her laboratory is working to identify novel osteoporosis therapeutics that target the gut. McCabe has been training undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students for more than 25 years.

Our Staff

Deanne Arking

Deanne Arking

Office Manager
Ariel Fueri

Ariel Fueri

Major: Political Science and Pre-Law
Lauren Peetz

Lauren Peetz

Major: Marketing
Joshua Pichardo

Joshua Pichardo

Major: International Relations
Tiffany Johnson

Tiffany Johnson

Major: Advertising
Haley Reid

Haley Reid

Major: Social Relations and Policy
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