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Life at Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences PhD Student Groups

PhD Student Groups

Student groups at NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences provide an opportunity for students to work with their peers outside of the lab and to get to know fellow students with similar interests. Joining a student group is also an excellent way to network.

Vilcek Student Council

The Vilcek Student Council, whose members are elected by students, plans social and academic events for the student body. We act as a liaison between the students and program leadership to suggest new initiatives or events. We also organize fun, seasonal events to promote community building and encourage work-life balance. The Vilcek Student Council plays a major role in student admissions and recruitment, organizing housing tours and serving as resources for applicants and incoming students.

Elected Student Council Members 2023–24

PHOTO: The Vilcek Student Council of 2023–24 consists of left to right: (top row) Megan Gumina, Jillian Poles, and Sam Apodaca; (third row) Shiraz Belblidia, Renate van den Doel, and Emily Dembinski; (second row) Mimi Kostoska and Katie Tumang; and (bottom row) Joseph Kim.

Co-Presidents: Shiraz Belblidia, Renate van den Doel
Vice President: Joseph Kim
Community Engagement Chair: Sam Apodaca
Health and Wellness Chair: Jillian Poles
Secretary: Mimi Kostoska
Social Co-Chairs: Megan Gumina, Katie Tumang
Treasurer: Emily Dembinski

Student Diversity Initiative

The Student Diversity Initiative aims to be a safe and open space for discussion, growth, and empowerment. We host a wide range of events and workshops geared toward building community and addressing issues that underrepresented groups face more globally. Additionally, we organize the Marie M. Daly speaker series, which is designed to feature the untold stories of underrepresented scientists and provide a space for scientists to share their groundbreaking work and journey to success.

Another one of our main events is the Annual D.I.V.E (Diversity, Inclusion, Valor, and Empowerment) Retreat, which culminates the workshops we have hosted throughout the year and brings together students of different backgrounds for a day filled with activities and discussions about diversity-related issues at the graduate school. For more information, contact Gabby Whiten at or Teni Idowu at

NYU Are Women in STEM

NYU Are Women in STEM (NYUrWiS) supports women interested in pursuing careers in STEM fields. Through our seminar series, mentorship program, and informal socials, we aspire to help women achieve their professional goals.

Student Queer Association

The goal of the Student Queer Association (SQuAd) is to strengthen the student LGBTQIA+ community, as well as to facilitate connections with the wider NYU Langone queer community.

We host events throughout the year and welcome the entire Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences community, including meet and greets, happy hours, queer history outings, drag shows, and small-group dinners. Our events aim to spark discussion and foster appreciation of the rich queer culture in our student community.

For more information, contact Joaquin Rodriguez at, Tori Hallisey at, or Richard Von Itter at

Special Interest Clubs

In addition to clubs hosted by Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, our students are encouraged to participate in other special interest groups hosted by NYU Grossman School of Medicine or NYU.

BioTech Club

The NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s BioTech Club is run by PhD students and postdocs. Our objective is to educate graduate students and postdoctoral fellows about how biomedical science applies to industry, business, law, and translational research.

Our vast array of events includes hosting industry speakers and organizing entrepreneurship panels, joint business events with the NYU Consulting Club, and company tours.

We co-organize events with the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, including the Bioventure speaker series and the NYU Hackathon. In 2015, we held a major biopharma conference at NYU with executives from Pfizer, Celmatix, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Medidata Solutions, and Regeneron. The conference was organized with the biotech clubs of Columbia University, Weill Cornell Medical College, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Hunter College of the City of New York.

The club events are open to anyone. If you want to be added to our mailing list, email or visit the BioTech website.

Black Student Union

The mission of the Black Student Union (BSU) is to foster a supportive and empowering community for Black students within the Vilcek Institute. We strive to create an inclusive and culturally enriching environment that promotes unity, celebrates diversity, and addresses the unique needs and experiences of Black students. For more information, you may contact

Board Game Club

The Vilcek Board Game Club meets every other week to play games and hang out after a long day in lab. We offer a variety of games from classics such as SCRABBLE and Settlers of Catan to more recent games including Dead of Winter and Castles of Mad King Ludwig. All are welcome. For additional information, email Alison Ehrlich at

Chinese Students and Scholars Association

The Chinese Students and Scholars Association at NYU Grossman School of Medicine promotes Chinese culture and communications between diverse groups. The group organizes various activities in culture, career, and research to enrich the work and life of the Chinese community at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. We represent the Chinese community here, protect the rights of the community, and encourage cultural exchanges between different groups.

For more information, visit us on Facebook or email Mingzhou Fu at

Committee for the Respectful and Ethical Advancement of Trainees and Educators

The Committee for the Respectful and Ethical Advancement of Trainees and Educators works closely with leadership in human resources and the graduate and medical school administrations to communicate student ideas for improving and enriching the training experience. Through this partnership, we develop initiatives to enhance the training experience for our educational communities. We solicit student input on a regular basis and constantly look for ways to uplift and empower us all through better, more inclusive, policy and training.

Community Research Consulting Initiative

The Community Research Consulting Initiative provides research support for community-based organizations. A student-consulting undertaking, our goal is to share our expertise in human subjects research with the broader community and gain experience in working in applied settings with community organizations. For more information, contact Deborah Onakomaiya at or Miriam Gofine at

Consulting Club

The Consulting Club is a group of PhD students and postdocs interested in learning about careers in life science consulting. Our mission is to provide training and develop members’ skills for a career in management consulting, connect members with both alumni and external consultants, and assist consulting firms in recruiting NYU students and postdoctoral scholars.

We are based at NYU Grossman School of Medicine but accept members from the greater New York City graduate student community.

We provide a chance to network, practice for case-based interviews, and attend company recruiting events. We collaborate with other graduate consulting clubs in the Northeast to facilitate citywide events such as case competitions.

To stay connected, you can find us on LinkedIn or sign up for our listserv by emailing

Jewish Graduate Student Club

The Jewish Graduate Student Club provides a safe space for Jewish graduate students to come together and celebrate holidays as well as go to cultural events throughout the city. This club will be a safe space for Jews and our allies to delve deeper into our religion. For more information, you may contact

Kick-starting Interest in Degrees in Science

The purpose of Kick-starting Interest in Degrees in Science (KIDS) is to expose young minds to science. Current PhD and MD/PhD candidates travel to a middle school in East Harlem in Manhattan several times a year to bring science to the classroom.

The group starts by introducing seventh-graders to the field of science by doing basic experiments. This hands-on science is continued with eighth-graders to help prepare them for standardized tests.

If you like working with kids and want to get some teaching experience, join the group. Emails with dates and times are sent out over the club listserv. To join the listserv or to get involved, email Allison Hall at or Lauren Meyer at

Neuroethics Club

The Neuroethics Club seeks to promote active discussion within the scientific community about topics related to the impact of neuroscience on policy, self-reflection and philosophy, and ethics. We encourage such discussion through monthly journal clubs, seminars, and various outreach activities. Topics are member-driven and can range from free will and criminal justice to artificial intelligence. We encourage members from the greater NYU Grossman School of Medicine community to join due to the interdisciplinary nature of neuroethics.

For more information, contact Asha Caslin at

Neuroscience Outreach Group at NYU

Neuroscience Outreach Group at NYU (NOGN) coordinates outreach efforts and forms partnerships with organizations within NYU and throughout New York City. These partnerships, and the dedication of nearly 100 scientist volunteers, have allowed NOGN to have a large impact.

Classroom visits, Brain Awareness Week programs, and new initiatives like Brains and Brews provide many opportunities to get involved. Contact Heather McKellar at to sign up for our volunteer list.

NeuWrite Downtown

NeuWrite integrates the scientific and science communication communities through events, talks, and a monthly workshop where members create compelling science journalism and art.

NeuWrite is looking for students or postdocs who are willing to embrace aspects of organization and leadership, as well as those who would like to participate in workshops as writers and communicators. Contact Heather McKellar at for additional information.

NYU Rugby Club

No experience is required to join the men’s rugby club. Practices take place on Randall’s Island from 7:00PM to 9:00PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Schedule changes and updates are listed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For more information or to sign up, email or

Raíces (Latin American Student Association)

Through social and educational events, Raíces hopes to celebrate the Latino community throughout our campus by promoting an inclusive environment. While Latin American cultures are historically complex and unique, we share similar roots, and our name honors our diverse Raíces. We seek to provide a space to explore the intersectional identities and individuality of our members and celebrate our personal journeys as members of the Latino community. In the spirit of making you feel en casa, students should feel free to speak the language they prefer, while promoting a respectful and inclusive environment. In our home, everybody is welcome.

For more information, email Kimberly Zaldana at, Paola Angulo Salgado at, and Josue Canales at

Science Communications (SciCom Club)

Science Communications (SciComClub) is a community of students who wants to build our science communication skills, written and spoken, to help us in our careers across academia and industry. We meet monthly to develop our skills in workshops and learn about more opportunities with invited alumni and guests, all over a meal. We run events to improve writing and presentation skills, as well as those geared toward outreach and career path exploration.

We have a peer-editing pipeline and work to polish articles for publication on other platforms. Our goal is to build a community of writers that keeps each other accountable and provides feedback to encourage productivity. If you want to improve your writing and develop your science communication skills, or are just interested in exploring other careers, keep an eye out for announcements about our next meeting. For more information, contact Kristen D’Elia at


The Science and Faith Club, or SCI+FAI Club, is a community of Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences students who are Christian. The club is part of the Graduate Christian Fellowship (GCF) at NYU. The group explores the nuances of integrating faith into professional life.

The club meets regularly for Bible study and to discuss books written by distinguished scientists who are Christian or writings that are related to science and faith. It hosts casual seminars and Socratic happy hours to encourage conversation about the questions surrounding science, faith, philosophy, and ethics.

The club supports the emotional wellbeing of graduate students by encouraging open dialog about the struggles facing graduate students. Graduate students, postdocs, and faculty are welcome.

For more information, contact José Montoyo-Rosario at You can also visit the Graduate and Faculty Ministries website.


Scigraphy aims to tap into our fellow scientists’ creativeness and artistic expression through photography. Come evolve your still storytelling skills with others who share your passion for science and visual arts. We welcome everyone with an interest in photography, even those who’ve never handled a camera. For more information, please contact Nelson García-Vázquez at