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McDougal Graduate Student Life Staff & Fellows

The McDougal Graduate Student Life (GSL) staff and fellows organize many fun programs and events to help you connect with other students, explore New Haven, and build a strong sense of community. Please feel free to reach out to us if we can help you!
To learn more about our events:

McDougal Graduate Student Life Staff

The Graduate Student Life staff oversees the McDougal Center facilities, plans New Student Orientation, and advises graduate student organizations and other student groups. 

Lisa Brandes's picture

Lisa Brandes

Assistant Dean & Director of McDougal Graduate Student Life
Founders Hall 185
Lisa Brandes's picture

Lisa Brandes

Assistant Dean & Director of McDougal Graduate Student Life
Founders Hall 185

Primary Responsibilities: McDougal Student Center, New Students & Orientation, Student Activities & Student Life

Lisa Brandes joined the staff of the Graduate School in 1996 upon the founding of the McDougal Graduate Student Center. She has worked with graduate student fellows and staff to develop a wide range of social and cultural events and foster a greater sense of community among students and postdoctoral fellows. She oversees orientation and various events sponsored by the Graduate School, including coordination of Commencement activities.

Raised in Louisiana, Dean Brandes received her B.A. in political science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She earned her M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. in Political Science at Yale, with a specialization in international relations. Lisa held faculty positions at Tufts and Wesleyan Universities, and her research focused on the domestic sources of foreign policy, particularly the impact of gender on public attitudes toward war and peace issues. Brandes has served as an officer within regional and national political science associations and women’s groups. More recently, she has been a leader in graduate student services associations and active in graduate education issues, writing articles, consulting, and making conference presentations on graduate student life and mental health.

Elizabeth Ludyjan's picture

Elizabeth Ludyjan

Administrative Assistant
Founders Hall 187A
(203) 432-7377
Elizabeth Ludyjan's picture

Elizabeth Ludyjan

Administrative Assistant
Founders Hall 187A
(203) 432-7377

Primary Responsibilities: Administrative Support, Facilities, McDougal Center Events

McDougal Graduate Student Life Fellows

Graduate School students who are appointed as McDougal Graduate Student Life (GSL) Fellows assist with organizing and leading many events for graduate students, including:

  • First Fridays at Five, a popular monthly grad student social event with free food and drink for adults 21 and older, with government photo ID. Bring your own mug (BYOM). We don’t supply cups or glasses!
  • the annual McDougal Winter Ball for graduate and professional students, post-docs and their partners and guests.
  • New Student Orientation for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).
  • Grad Arts Nights, wellness events, family events, sports events, and much more.

Sound Like Fun? Apply to be a Fellow with us!

Interested in becoming a McDougal GSL Fellow? Applications are available online each March for the following academic year. Fellows work between five and eight hours per week in a flexible schedule and receive a modest honorarium ($5100/10 months in 2019-20). For a limited set of program areas, a GSAS student and spouse may share 1 Fellow position.

GSL Coordinating Fellow

Samantha Rossano's picture
Samantha Rossano
Biomedical Engineering


Taryn and Johnny Dubois's picture
Taryn and Johnny Dubois
Music Department, Spouse
Nathaniel and Jessica Lovdahl's picture
Nathaniel and Jessica Lovdahl
Religious Studies, Spouse

Health & Wellness

Heather Liu's picture
Heather Liu
Biomedical Engineering
Larissa Tsukamoto's picture
Larissa Tsukamoto
Medieval Studies


Ivy Huang's picture
Ivy Huang
Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry
Walid Bouchakour and Hania Deriche's picture
Walid Bouchakour and Hania Deriche
French, Spouse

Public Service

Caitlin Davis's picture
Caitlin Davis
Mengwen Zhang's picture
Mengwen Zhang


Nakeirah Christie's picture
Nakeirah Christie
Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry
Jing Ping's picture
Jing Ping

Sports & Recreation

Sarwar Hussain's picture
Sarwar Hussain
Chemical Engineering
Emily Theus's picture
Emily Theus
Religious Studies

Technology & Communication

Luyao Shi's picture
Luyao Shi
Biomedical Engineering

West Campus

Sarah Ostresh's picture
Sarah Ostresh
Tayah Turocy's picture
Tayah Turocy