Contact Us

Meet our SACNAS Team!



Melisa Diaz is a PhD student in the School of Earth Sciences (SES) and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She studies polar geochemistry, specifically surface processes of ice-free areas in Antarctica using stable and radiogenic isotopes. She is currently the President of the Ohio State SACNAS Chapter and the Treasurer for the SES Graduate Student Club. Originally from Massachusetts, Melisa is an avid juggler, a climber, and a lover of cats.

Melisa’s email:


Vice President & Fundraising

Miguel A. Lopez Jr. was born in Mexico City, raised in Los Angeles, and graduated high school in Newark, Ohio. Miguel graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University with a B.A. in Spanish Linguistics and a B.S. in Microbiology. He is currently the Vice-President of the Ohio State SACNAS Chapter, mentor for the Discovery PREP program, and a YALE Ciencias fellow. Miguel is starting his 3 rd year in the Biomedical Sciences Graduated Program as newly minted Ph.D. candidate. Miguel studies retroviruses, such as HIV, but more specifically he focuses on the integration step of the retroviral life cycle. Miguel’s dissertation project aims to characterize the real-time dynamics of HIV integration using a combination of biochemical and single-molecule imaging techniques. When not in lab, Miguel enjoys spending time with his family, enjoying the latest movie release, and cycling on Columbus’ bike trails. In addition to his recreational hobbies, Miguel is an active leader in the Latino community and continues to advocate for the needs and concerns of the Latino students at Ohio State.

Miguel Lopez’s email:



Ally Langley is starting her 4th year in the biological division of the Chemistry Ph.D. program.  Her research focuses around the protein folding problem and understanding what factors are involved with the stability of proteins.  She is currently the Treasurer for both SACNAS and FOCUS (a new organization for women in science), was a summer intern at Genentech, and might be your TA this year!  Ally is originally from San Diego and enjoys going to hockey and football games, concerts, and exploring Columbus for new food!

Ally Langley’s email:



Juan Barajas is currently a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. His thesis work focuses on studying RNA biology in fatty liver disease and liver cancer. He is currently the Secretary of The Ohio State University SACNAS chapter, mentor for the Discover-PREP and Aspire program, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Gilliam Fellow.  In his free time, Juan enjoys being outdoors, mountain biking, traveling far and wide in search of the best craft brewery, and reading biographies of interesting people.

Juan Barajas’ email:




Communications Officer

Robert Gross is currently a second-year Ph.D. student in the Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) Graduate Program at The Ohio State University College of Engineering. His current work focuses on taking large data sets and producing insightful visualizations for them as part of a software package being developed at his lab. He is currently the Communications Officer of The Ohio State University SACNAS chapter and a TA for two different courses being offered in the CSE department.  In his free time, Rob enjoys playing video games, watching/analyzing sports, and reading epic fantasy/sci-fi novels.

Robert Gross’ email:


Social Media Coordinator & Undergraduate Recruitment

Gaby Torrini is a third-year undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is double majoring in Astronomy & Astrophysics and Spanish. Her interests include science communication and education, solar physics, and planetary science. In addition, Gaby is a Morrill Scholar, the president of the undergraduate Astronomical Society, and the social media officer for SACNAS. Outside of class, Gaby enjoys listening to Crooked Media podcasts, reading Spanish language poetry, and getting hooked on the latest true crime series to hit Netflix.

Gaby Torrini’s email:




Cody Raul Cardenas was born in Mountain Home Idaho a military brat, living in various places such as Alaska and Okinawa, Japan. After dropping out of College at 18, he worked as a welder then bummed around the Rocky Mountains before attending Columbus State Community College and then graduating from The Ohio State University with a B.S. in Entomology. Cody is starting his second year as a M.S. student in the Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology graduate program at The Ohio State university. He is interested in ant taxonomy, but currently is studying the co-evolution of an antagonistic symbiotic relationship by examining the natural history of a fungus-growing ant species and the parasitoid wasps that afflict them. When not digging holes in neotropical rain forests, or doing molecular work in the lab, Cody plays bike polo with the local Columbus club and in other cities in the mid-west when he can afford the time. He is just beginning to be involved with SACNAS and learning how to best advocate for the needs of Latino students and support the broader Latino community.

Cody Cardenas’ email:


Outreach Chair

Mike Lopez is a third year Physics Ph.D. student at OSU. Mike is a proud Chicano and 1 st gen college student and uses that motivation to investigates how social cognitive factors such as belonging influence student retention, achievement, and aspirations in physics. He is the Outreach Officer of the OSU SACNAS chapter and co-founder of Polaris, a grad-undergrad mentorship program for underrepresented students, and alumni of the OSU Physics Bridge to Ph.D. program. When not studying, Mike enjoys being active, working out, playing soccer, hiking, but make no mistake he is first and foremost a chubster.

Mike Lopez’s email:


Graduate Student Out Reach

Yvan Delgado de la Flor, Originally from Lima-Peru, Yvan received his B.S. in Wildlife Conservation and Management at Humboldt State University in 2014. Yvan’ research experience includes studying mesocarnivores in the coastal dunes of northern California at HSU, and spider richness and abundance in Harvard Forest. He joined the Gardiner’s Lab in Fall 2014 and examined the diversity of ground and rove beetles from vacant lots in Cleveland, Ohio. Yvan has two projects ongoing. He is examining spider communities in Cleveland, more specifically food-web interactions among spiders, prey items, vegetation, and soil quality.  Additionally, Yvan is surveying and cataloging the diversity and distribution of spiders in Cusco, Peru.

Yvan’s email:



Marcela Hernández, PhD

Graduate and STEM Diversity Director


Yolanda Zepeda

Assistant Vice Provost – Office of Diversity and Inclusion

As an Assistant Vice Provost, she leads targeted services for students of color designed to promote access to college, retention and academic success. Student groups served include underrepresented students, single parent students, students in STEM, and Latinx students. Yolanda also works to disseminate diversity and inclusion practices across the campus and leads training workshops on inclusive faculty hiring. Ms. Zepeda is committed to nurturing a supportive climate for Latinx students on campus and fostering university engagement in the central Ohio Latinx community. Toward this goal, she manages the production of the student-led magazine ¿Qué Pasa, Ohio State? and launched a partnership with WOSU to support greater visibility of Latinxs in community media.






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