GNSA Leadership Council

The GNSA Leadership Council consists of 10 graduate nursing student members selected to serve two-year terms. The council provides direction on what programs, services, and resources should be developed to meet the needs of nursing students in master’s and doctoral degree programs. 

Please direct any questions to AACN Director of Student Engagement Marta Okoniewski at

headshot of Farida Bibi MughalFarida Bibi Mughal
PhD Student
University of Michigan

Farida Bibi Mughal is a second-year PhD student at the University of Michigan, School of Nursing. Originally from Karachi, Pakistan, she earned a BSN and MSN with a specialty in Mental Health from the Aga Khan University, School of Nursing and Midwifery in 2014 and 2018, respectively. With over six years of experience, Farida has worked in various roles, including Registered Nurse, clinical coordinator, and senior instructor. She has served patients in hospital settings and taught undergraduate nursing students. Her range of experience has given her a comprehensive understanding of patient care, clinical coordination, and nursing education. Passionate about working with gender-based violence survivors, Farida aims to give them a voice and support them on their trauma healing journey. She is dedicated to advocating for patient rights and has a strong interest in voluntary work and community service. As a PhD student, Farida is committed to advancing nursing research and patient care. Outside of her academic and professional pursuits, Farida values spending quality time with her family. She enjoys hiking and volunteering with various organizations. 

headshot of LT Akeeta DavisLCDR Akeeka Davis
PhD Student
Villanova University

LCDR Akeeka S. Davis, MBA, MSN, BSHCS, AMB-BC, CLSSGB, enlisted in the United States Navy in 1993, and she completed her four-year contract obligation and re-affiliated as a selected Reservist from 1997-2005. LCDR Davis has a MSN and BSN with a double minor in Psychology and Human Biology. Her nursing background includes Critical Care/Trauma, Neurology, Transplant, Cardiac, Executive Medicine, Ambulatory Care (Board Certified), Nursing Informatics (Certificate of Completion at OHSU), Performance Improvement, and Data Science and Analytics. She received her MBA and Bachelor of Science in Health Care Services degrees from the University of Phoenix where she was selected to deliver the commencement speech to her graduating class. LCDR Davis graduated in 2018 with an MSN in Nurse Educatoion from Purdue University and aspires to become a Nurse Researcher later in her career.

headshot of Valerie EscamillaValerie Escamilla
DNP Student
Abilene Christian University

Valerie Escamilla, MHA, BSN, RN is a second-year student pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with focus on Executive Nursing Leadership at Abilene Christian University. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of the Incarnate Word and a BSN from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She obtained her Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Walden University. She is currently employed as an Assistant Nurse Manager at South Texas VA. Her passion for translating the best evidence to improve patient health outcomes led her to join her organization’s Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Committee where she was elected to serve as the EBP Secretary from 2021-2023. In October of 2022, she completed the Ohio State University’s Helene Fuld Immersion Program and is working towards obtaining her EBP certification. She currently serves as an EBP mentor and is a Pathway to Excellence Ambassador. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, fishing, creative writing, and going on adventures with her dog, BB.

headshot of Otitolola FletcherOtitolola Fletcher
PhD Student
University of Texas Health Science Center - Houston

Otitolola Fletcher, MSN, APRN, AGPCNP, is a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston. Her research focus is the nursing workforce, and she is currently working on ways to keep nurses in the profession and facilitate more seamless nursing transitions. She earned her BSN in 2008, and then pursued an MSN in Nursing Education in 2013, both from Texas Woman’s University. Serving as adjunct faculty for a local college in Houston after earning her MSN, she contributed to the academic fabric, molding the future of nursing. She also spent several years as a research nurse, bridging the gap between groundbreaking clinical trials and patient care. Otitolola’s academic and clinical prowess culminated in her attainment of a post-master's certificate in Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner in 2016 also from Texas Woman’s University. Currently, Otitolola is the Inpatient Advanced Practice Provider Manager of a robust team of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in the Leukemia department at U.T. MD Anderson Cancer Center. In this role she is overseeing leukemia care and actively participating in numerous hospital committees to promote best practices in patient care. Amidst the demanding nature of her work and current academic program, she finds solace in global exploration, journaling, and embracing quality moments with her family.

headshot of Tyler Gaedecke

Tyler Gaedecke
PhD Student
Columbia University

Tyler Gaedecke, BSN, RN is a PhD student at Columbia University and a Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for Sexual and Gender Minority Health Research. They received a graduate certificate in LGBT Health Policy and Practice from George Washington University and their BSN and BA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality from the University of Virginia. Tyler has worked as a clinical nurse in a pediatric intensive care unit and as a care partner in acute care surgery. Tyler is a peer mentor and acts as the PhD President of the Doctoral Student Organization at Columbia, providing them with insight into the experiences of their fellow graduate nursing students, allowing them to effectively lead as a member of the GNSA Leadership Council.

Gordon GartrellGordon Gartrell
PhD Student
University of Mississippi Medical Center

After obtaining his Associate Nursing Degree from Hinds Community College – Nursing Allied Health Campus in 2011, Gordon Gartrell, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CEPN, CCRN, CPEN, CEN, TCRN, joined the University of Mississippi Medical Center as a staff nurse in the Adult Emergency Department. He served the AED in many different administrative and clinical capacities prior to transitioning to Nurse Manager of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in 2021 at Children’s of Mississippi. During his time at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, he has obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing as well as a Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in Nursing Leadership and Healthcare Administration from the School of Nursing at UMMC. His current research interests in healthcare-related stigma and healthcare policy reform have contributed to his PhD dissertation research surrounding victims of sexual violence and their experiences while receiving post-assault care. Gordon holds six national board certifications in the areas of emergency, critical care, and nursing administration/leadership. He is a member of multiple professional organizations including the Mississippi Nurses Association, American Nurses Association, Emergency Nurses Association, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, and the American Organization for Nursing Leadership. Gordon has presented at various state, regional and national conferences and was most recently published as a co-author in the Journal of School Health earlier this year. 

headshot of Aimy JakiniAimy Jakini
BS to DNP Student
University of Cincinnati

Aimy Jakini, BSN, RN, CCRN, is an accomplished and dedicated nursing professional with a passion for leadership and advancing the field of nursing. Aimy began her nursing journey at Loma Linda University, where she graduated with a BSN in 2016 before accumulating over seven years of invaluable experience in various intensive care units. She then obtained her Certified Critical Care Nurse (CCRN) certification, further solidifying her expertise in the critical care field, and enrolled in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program, BSN to DNP at the University of Cincinnati. Aimy also earned her Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) credential from the University of Cincinnati, equipping her with the knowledge to guide and support the next generation of nurses, ensuring a smooth transition from student to practitioner. Her involvement in multiple nursing organizations including Sigma Theta Tau reflects her desire to collaborate with colleagues, share knowledge, and work collectively towards advancing nursing practice and improving patient outcomes. She hopes her contributions to the GNSA are destined to have a lasting impact on the future of nursing.

headshot of Chanelle PearsonChanelle Pearson
Entry-Level MSN Student
Brenau University

As a nuclear medicine technologist, Chanelle Pearson has achieved nearly 20 years of experience in the medical field broadening her expertise with CT, radiation safety, and nuclear cardiology certifications. Recently dubbed a health equity champion, Chanelle has completed programs in environmental justice and health informatics with Morehouse School of Medicine. Her educational background includes a BS in Radiological Sciences from the Medical College of Georgia and an AS with a pre-med concentration from Georgia Perimeter College. Chanelle is a 2023 CHOA Candlish Scholarship recipient and a member of several nursing organizations to include the American Nurses Association and the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program. Optimistic about her future as a CRNA, Chanelle plans to utilize her skills as an exceptional scholar, mentor, and leader to contribute to the undeserved, marginalized, and vulnerable populations. While pursuing the MSN from Brenau University, Chanelle maintains full time and PRN work status, and a committed mother of four children.

headshot of Grace UdohGrace Udoh
BS to DNP Student
Regis University

Born with a passion for healthcare and a desire to impact people's lives positively, Grace began her academic journey began at Denver College of Nursing, where she obtained her RN-BSN degree. She is currently enrolled at Regis College, where she is working towards attaining her Doctor of Nursing Practice with a focus on Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (DNP-AGACNP). She looks forward to applying her advanced skills and knowledge to provide comprehensive and specialized care to adult and elderly patients with acute and complex medical conditions. She currently works as a staff nurse in the Med Surge unit and serves as a GNSA Liaison at Regis College. Her dedication to nursing and commitment to patients has earned her the Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) certification which reflects her expertise and proficiency in medical-surgical nursing. Grace enjoys spending time with her loved ones, volunteering in the community, and engaging in outdoor activities outside of her academic and professional pursuits.