CMBSA is a student – run organization which works to enrich connections between CMB students and represent them in interactions with the CMB and CSU leadership.

Mission Statement

CMBSA brings together our students for personal growth, graduate education, and navigating a life in academia. It allows for graduate students to develop unique personal and professional qualities, which helps to further translate into overcoming challenges and achieving goals.

The CMBSA wholly embraces community diversity, and provides a platform for all CMB students to come together to learn as a student community.

Current Elected Members

Seitz, Valerie

President: Valerie Seitz, (PhD, 2019 Cohort) 

The President manages all CMBSA meetings, activities (see below), and projects. The President also serves as the main point of contact between CMB, CMBSA, faculty, and staff at CSU.

Val is in the Prenni lab studying Soil Microbiomes. She is also an OVPR Fellow (2022) and a SoGES Fellow (2022)

Casey-Tyler Berezin
Joey Stewart

Co-Vice Presidents: Casey Tyler Berezin, (PhD, 2019 Cohort), Joey Stewart (PhD, 2019 Cohort)

The Co-VPs work in tandem to support the President’s efforts. With multiple concurrent projects, the VPs often helm them separately.

Casey-Tyler is in the Vigh Lab and her research interests focus on understanding the effects of opioids on sleep/circadian behaviors.



Joey is in the Lucas Argueso Lab where he studies DNA damage and repair in yeast.

Naly Torres

Treasurer: Naly Torres, (PhD, 2020 Cohort)

The Treasurer oversees all financial inquiries and maintains the CMBSA financial accounts, spearheading our fundraising events for CMBSA activities. Such activities include: refreshments for all CMB students during finals week, pizza parties, cookouts, etc.

Naly is in the Erin Nishimura Lab where she studies mRNA localization in C. elegans.


Secretary: Victoria Nieciecki, (PhD, 2020 Cohort)

The Secretary facilitates the overall organization of CMBSA; recording content covered during meetings, keeping track of current CMBSA goals and ensuring their completion.

Victoria studies the tumor microbiome in the Jess Metcalf Lab.


Social Media Chair: Logan Dean, (PhD,  2022 Cohort)

The Social Media Chair is a new position that will support the CMBSA with increased social media presence (primarily on FB) and help maintain the CMB website.

Logan is a first year rotating student interested in infectious disease and immunology.



DEI and Outreach Co-Chair:

Kayl Ecton (PhD, 2019 Cohort) 

The DEI-O Co-Chair ensures that students from diverse backgrounds (minorities, international students, women, LGTBQ, etc.) feel welcome at CSU and within CMB. This is achieved by organizing events that attract and retain diversity within CMB.

Kayl is in the Zaid Abdo and Gregg Dean Labs where she works on development of a probiotic vaccine platform utilizing the probiotic organism Lactobacillus acidophilus


CMBSA Activities

The CMBSA organizes a variety of events on and off campus throughout the academic year and summer. These events are developed to bring together our CMB students, who are spread across campus. At these events, we celebrate our successes, sympathize with each other’s struggles, find solutions to lab issues and personal troubles, and just relax in the company of friends.

Past activities include:

  • Serving coffee to CMB students during finals week.
  • Helping host the CMB welcoming and end of semester parties.
  • Pizza parties after major academic exams.
  • Summer hikes followed by potluck dinners.
  • Selling CMB merchandise at CSU’s poster sessions.
  • Hosting quiet / private study rooms the week before finals.
  • Creating fundraisers and raffles at local restaurants.
  • Potluck style dinner with our domestic and international students.
  • Networking events.

Interested in joining the CMBSA Leadership?

Any student within the CMB graduate program can be elected into the CMBSA. New members of CMBSA are elected, by their peers, every two years during the spring semester. Prior to the elections there is a call for nominations, where you can nominate yourself and / or your peers.