Health Psychology Graduate Student Association

Each year the students within the Health Psychology PhD program elect a group of fellow students to represent them to faculty, staff and the University. The members of the Health Psychology Graduate Student Association (HPGSA) bring up concerns of students to the faculty and University, organize social events, provide opportunities for philanthropy, participate in UNC Charlotte events (e.g., research conferences), and instrumentally support the program in recruitment efforts of students and faculty. The HPGSA executive committee is comprised of four core members (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer), the chairs of two subcommittees (Philanthropy Chair and Social Chair), a senator, representing our program in the Graduate and Professional Student Association, and three student representatives on the Health Psychology Advisory Committee.

Importantly, the HPGSA elects ombudspersons who can be approached about any concerns that a student feels they cannot bring to their main advisor. The ombudsperson will offer support and advice while keeping the concerns of the student confidential. For more information, please visit the current handbook.


Health Psychology Program Ombudsperson: Dr. Erika Montanaro (

External Faculty Ombudsperson: Dr. Hannah Peach (

Graduate Student Ombudsperson: Michelle Chen (

An instrumental benefit of HPGSA is that every incoming Health Psychology PhD student automatically becomes a member and is therefore eligible for up to $500 of travel funding each academic year.

Below are the students that currently hold offices in HPGSA 2023/2024:

  • President: Shaina Glass
  • Vice President: Lia Bauert
  • Secretary: Daniel Dickie
  • Treasurer: Rachel Uri
  • Senator: Vacant
  • Philanthropy Chair: Sophie Hirsch
  • Social Chair: Kristen Van Swearingen
  • Social Media Chair: Mackenzie Hood

Health Psychology Concentration Representatives:

  • Behavioral Science Representative: Shaina Glass
  • Clinical Representative: Rose Soliemannjad
  • Community Representative: Maegan Mack

Executive Committee meetings are held regularly. Details from each of our meetings can be found in the minutes distributed to all students following each Executive Committee meeting.

Recent HPGSA activities:

We love a good social to kick off the year! Below are group photos of our start of the year social at NoDa Brewery in 2021, 2022 and 2023:




HPGSA hosted its inaugural book club over the 2020 summer break, where students met virtually to discuss Ta-nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me.

The book club was a hit, and HPGSA is excited to host its second book club during January 2021, in collaboration with the Psychology MA program and the Philosophy MA program. In January, the book club will discuss Good White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism written by UNC Charlotte’s very own Dr. Shannon Sullivan. Contact Rachel Siegal, HPGSA president, with questions or ideas for future book clubs.

In the fall 2020 semester, HPGSA hosted several philanthropy events, including volunteering with a local non-profit organization, Rice N’ Beans, as well as the UNC Charlotte Jamil Niner Food Pantry. HPGSA is looking forward to continuing to partner with local non-profits in the spring semester. Contact Alexis Mitchell, philanthropy chair, with questions or additional philanthropy ideas.

(Jamil Niner Pantry, September 2020)

(Jamil Niner Pantry, September 2020)

(Jamil Niner Pantry, September 2020)

Volunteering with Rice N’ Beans (December 2020)

During the spring 2019 semester, HPGSA hosted 4 faculty speakers in a pilot of the HPGA Speaker Series. Students were excited to hear from Dr. Galati, Dr. L-R, and Dr. Dahl on a range of topics including a grant writing workshop, a training in R, as well as the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. The speaker series moved online when the pandemic started, and will continue in the spring 2021 semester.

Historically, HPGSA hosted monthly coffee hours for students, faculty, and students to connect informally prior to program meetings. During the 2020-2021 academic year, this social activity was hosted via video conference once per semester.

HPGSA also orchestrates a UNC Charlotte Health Psychology PhD program swag sale every 1-2 years (most recently to kick off the Fall 2020 semester) that serves as a fundraiser for other programming. Garments are sold internally to faculty, staff, and students, and are adorned proudly by many.