Meet the Board

eading, knitting, and watching college football. Her favorite thing about PSU chemistry is how friendly and collaborative the department is.

Santina Cruz


Santina is from Manassas, VA and received a B.S. in Chemistry from James Madison University. She is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry under the direction of Benjamin Lear. Her thesis research aims to understand how the surface chemistry controls the electronic properties of metal nanoparticles. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, working out, playing volleyball, reading, shopping, gardening, and spending time with her family. Santina’s favorite part about Penn State Chemistry is their investment in continuously evaluating and improving the climate of the department for the graduate student community.
Role: The President is the spokesperson for the organization. The President presides at all meetings.

Lily Mawby

Vice President

Lily is a 3rd year graduate student in the Lear lab studying coatings for aluminum microparticles to be
used in additive manufacturing as well as the electronic effects of dynamic ligands on gold nanoparticles. She is from Fairfax, VA and received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Richmond. In her free time Lily enjoys exercising, reading, drawing, and spending time with friends. Her favorite part about PSU Chemistry is how much everyone cares about having and creating a good graduate school experience.
Role: The Vice-President serves as President when the President is unable to do so.



Ryan Szukalo


Role: The Treasurer is in charge of handling all organizational finances. 



Varun Mandalaparthy


Role: The Secretary is responsible for maintaining a list of active membership, maintaining the Constitution, recording attendance and minutes at all meetings, and administering the listserv, Facebook page, and website.



Auston Butterfield

Chairman of Professional Development

Auston is a 2nd year graduate student in the Schaak lab studying the synthesis and surface assembly of complex nanoparticles. He is from Salt Lake City, UT and received a B.S. in chemistry from Southern Utah University. Prior to coming to Penn State, Auston spent two years working in industry in the clinical toxicology department of ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City, UT.

Outside of lab he enjoys attending Penn State football games, playing on the chemistry intermural flag football team, rock climbing, and outreach events. The things he loves most about the PSU Chemistry Department is its interdisciplinary environment, dedication to continually improving, and having access to state-of-the-art instrumentation.

Role: The Chair of Professional Development Events is responsible for organizing and overseeing all events classified as professional development events.

Andrew Veenis

Chairman of Community Outreach

Drew is a 3rd year graduate student in the Bevilacqua lab and studies mechanisms of RNA catalysis. He grew up in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and enjoys skiing, snowboarding, kiteboarding, hiking, camping, and hanging out with his wife, Holly. His favorite thing about Penn State Chemistry is all the awesome friends he’s made since joining the department.
Role: The Chair of Outreach and Community-Building Events is responsible for organizing and overseeing all events classified as outreach or community-building events.


Gabriella Di Domizio

External Liaison

Gabby is a 1st year chemistry graduate student in Raymond Schaak’s lab researching a variety of unique synthetic routes to explore the formation of nanoparticles, and understand structure-property relationships. She is originally from Lansdale, PA, and received her B.S. in Chemistry and Visual Arts minor from Iona College. In her free time, she loves to exercise, spend time with friends and family, paint outdoors, and bake pies. Her favorite thing about Penn State Chemistry is the extremely friendly, and collaborative environment. It truly is a Happy Valley!

Role: The External Liaison is responsible for acting as a liaison between the Chemistry Graduate Student Association and other Graduate Student Associations and groups at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park campus.