Our Steering Committee

The steering committee is the elected body of the union. They coordinate the work of the union and lead the standing committees. You can contact the steering committee at this address.

Ethan Ritz

Administrative Liaison


Henry Kunerth

Communications and Outreach Chair

I am a fifth year student and teaching assistant in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department. I love what I do, but I want to actively work to make conditions better for everyone. I believe that a union will help accomplish that.

Kevin Hines




Aubrie James


I am a PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary biology, and I study how bee pollinators affect flowering plant coexistence and diversity. I am also a Teaching Assistant at Cornell, where my job is to teach undergraduate students about ecology and the environment. I am involved with Cornell GSU because I want to make the academic workplace an equitable and fair environment for all, and one of the best ways to do that is ensuring that all grads have rights when they are on the job. 


Johnnie Kallas


As organizing committee chair, I help coordinate the organizing committee meetings, general assemblies, and campaigns that we run on campus.  I believe all workers deserve a voice on the job and that we need to focus on building power at a departmental level.


Natalie Hofmeister

grievances Chair

I’m a fourth-year PhD Candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and I study how and why some birds are successful all over the world. Working as part of the CGSU team makes me hopeful about our ability to empower and care for each other in academia, and I’m especially interested in listening and supporting folks who haven’t always felt welcome and encouraged in university settings.

Jacy Tackett


I am a fourth-year PhD candidate in German Studies, and I study postwar and contemporary science and experimental fiction. I am excited to work with CGSU because I believe that all workers deserve fair working conditions and that through collective action, we can help support the least secure among us. In research and contracts, we’ll be gathering both data and stories to support CGSU’s campaigns this year.   

Mel White


I'm a fifth year PhD in Electrical & Computer engineering studying lensless computational imaging.  I have been a teaching assistant and research assistant and a fellow during my time at Cornell - but always a worker!  I see many ways that we can improve our working conditions as graduate students, and I'm excited to be a part of an organization striving towards those ends together.  As (one of the) treasurers, I ensure that our finances are handled in a fair, transparent, and democratic manner.  


Cait McDonald


I'm a DVM/PhD student, currently in the fifth year of my PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I study host-pathogen interactions between frogs and salamanders and fungus. I'm involved in CGSU because I believe in equity and accountability. I'm excited to build a community that is sensitive to and advocates for our shared needs. I also help Mel with the finances.


Christopher Raymond


I am a second-year PhD student in Industrial and Labor Relations studying workers' rights in apparel supply chains. I think CGSU is important because not only are we students here at Cornell, but workers that deserve the full set of rights that position entails. I hope to grow Unity into a full committee and use our collective power to develop solidarity with other groups on campus and in the Ithaca community.


David Blatter

Secretary and Legal Affairs Chair

I will be working to ensure that union affairs and decisions are conducted in as democratic and inclusive a fashion as possible. Part of this includes ensuring the process of voting in referendums is fair and trustworthy. A second part is collecting voices on what union we want, how we want to be structured and what our relationship with AFT will be going forward.