AACN Announces New Members of the Graduate Nursing Student Academy Leadership Council

Washington, D.C., September 28, 2023 - The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce that eight nursing students have been selected to serve two-year terms on the national Leadership Council of the Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA). Following a call for applications, which was disseminated to more than 10,000 GNSA members at nursing schools with master’s and/or doctoral degree programs, the following individuals were selected to serve on the council:

  • Farida Bibi Mughal, University of Michigan
  • Julia Black, University of New Mexico
  • Valerie Escamilla, Abilene Christian University
  • Otitolola Fletcher, University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston
  • Tyler Gaedecke, Columbia University
  • Aimy Jakini, University of Cincinnati
  • Chanelle Pearson, Brenau University
  • Grace Udoh, Regis College

Pictured from left to right
eight headshots of  members of the GNSA Leadership Council

These newly elected leaders will join two continuing GNSA Leadership Council members:

  • LCDR Akeeka Davis, Villanova University
  • Shazia Mitha, Columbia University

Pictured from left to right

"AACN applauds these graduate nursing students for their commitment to advancing the GNSA’s mission to serve as the voice for graduate nursing students and foster collaboration, innovation, and excellence in academic nursing and health care,” said AACN Board Chair Cynthia McCurren. “We are excited to work with these student leaders on a national level and provide mentorship to future leaders within academic nursing.”
The new members of the Leadership Council will work together to develop strategic goals, plan a successful national conference, and grow the GNSA in terms of membership numbers and level of engagement. The current council includes two MSN students, three DNP students, and five PhD students. Council members represent all regions of the country and represent both public and private institutions.
The GNSA continues to experience significant growth since its formation in 2012 to over 10,000 members nationally. Members have access to a free Webinar series on topics of particular interest to graduate students; receive monthly updates on funding announcements, leadership opportunities, and career advancement resources; graduate study success strategies; and opportunities for public policy engagement through the GNSA Advocacy Leaders. GNSA members can connect with fellow students nationwide through an online community and a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Membership in the GNSA is free to all graduate nursing students enrolled in AACN member schools. Find out more about the GNSA and to meet the new Leadership Council.

Volunteers Needed to Serve as GNSA Liaisons

Leadership development is a key component of the GNSA, and AACN is seeking your help with recommending one or more graduate students to represent your school as a GNSA Liaison or serve as a GNSA Advocacy Leader. These students should demonstrate strong leadership potential and an interest in either introducing GNSA initiatives and resources to their peers or in learning more about advocacy and fine tuning their skills around policy. GNSA Liaisons are essential to linking your school's student body to all of the resources and services that are available for free through the GNSA. If you have students that may be interested in one of these roles, complete the following online form.


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 865 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research and practice.