The Graduate School Access Fund (GSAF) provides advising and financial support for Colgate students of color and students with demonstrated financial need to seek admission to graduate schools and professional schools.

The application period for the 2024–2025 GSAF cohort has ended.

Interested students may preview the application questions.

To be eligible to apply, students must have a résumé certified for the current academic year. Schedule an advising appointment and review our résumé guide in the Career Services Toolkit.

About the Fellowship

Established in 2020 through the generosity of Giovanni ’94 and Maree Cutaia and with support from the Arnold A. Sio Chair in Diversity and Community, the GSAF has supported 85 students in their pursuit of graduate and professional (i.e., architecture, business, engineering, law, medical) school. 

This fellowship selects current juniors with a clear academic focus and determination to enroll in graduate education within two years of Colgate. This cohort will engage in structured advising and programmatic initiatives throughout the spring, summer, and senior year aimed to prepare them to thrive as students and submit compelling applications for postgraduate study. Students can access dedicated funding to mitigate the costs of completing standardized testing preparation (i.e., MCAT, GRE, LSAT), testing registration fees, graduate school application fees, and travel to interviews. Students across all academic disciplines and intended degrees are encouraged to apply. 

To be eligible to apply, students must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Identify as Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian,  Pacific Islander, or bi/multiracial and/or a recipient of Colgate’s financial aid.
  • A member of the current junior class.
  • Currently enrolled at Colgate or participating in an approved off-campus study program (including Colgate study groups).
  • Earned at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Have had their résumé certified by Career Services during the current academic year.
  • Confirmed with a faculty member that they will serve as a reference for this application (no recommendation letter required, just contact info for a follow-up conversation).
  • Submit an application by the stated deadline.

Questions should be directed to Teresa Olsen ( or Matt Ardaiolo (

Meet the 2023–24 Graduate School Access Fund Fellows

Paige Avila headshot

Paige Avila ’24

Major: Neuroscience
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.

Paige first learned about the role of surgeons when she attended the National Youth Leadership Forum in high school. After speaking with several professionals in the medical field, she was inspired to explore a career in medicine. Outside of the classroom at Colgate, Paige works alongside Professor Spencer Kelly as a research assistant, where she combines her passion for language and neuroscience. Paige has used her knowledge in the lab to establish strategies for advocating for patients from diverse backgrounds. Recently, she joined the nonprofit MCW Global and, upon graduating, she will join the organization on their trip to Africa to aid medical projects. Paige’s ultimate aspiration is to become a pediatric neurosurgeon and create a nonprofit organization to alleviate the financial burdens of surgery in impoverished countries.

Joseph Berberich headshot

Joseph Berberich ’24

Double major: Chemistry and Geography 
Hometown: Holtsville, NY

Joe aims to receive a PhD in chemistry and to explore atmospheric science at the chemical level, combining the knowledge he has gained as a chemistry and geography double major. His desire to tackle climate change stemmed from acute awareness at an early age about the impact of acid rain. During his time abroad in Cape Town, he was struck by anecdotal accounts of how the 2015–2018 drought disproportionately affected people of lower socioeconomic status. On campus, Joe has worked in Professor Anne Perring's chemistry lab investigating biological sources of cloud formation. Joe is a community leader for Residential Life, co-founder of the Colgate Grilling Club, and laboratory assistant for organic and general chemistry. His vast collegiate experiences help him to communicate effectively, guide others, and be inclusive of people from all backgrounds. Joe hopes to become a professor to fulfill his passions for leading, teaching, and learning.

Pariya Chanthasensack headshot

Pariya Chanthasensack ’24

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Manlius, NY

Pariya’s interest in clinical psychology solidified after she observed patient-practitioner dynamics at a shadowing opportunity. During the summer of 2022, she conducted patient assessments and piloted group psychotherapy in Bangkok at the Somdet Chaopraya Institute of Psychiatry — a public hospital that primarily treats schizophrenia patients. She is particularly drawn to research that investigates alternative treatments for schizophrenia, as well as identifying the risk factors of developing and maintaining eating disorders. Pariya aims to be part of a growing cohort that addresses gaps and inequalities in the international dissemination of psychological research. At Colgate, she is a research assistant at the Relationships and Health Lab for Dr. Tomlinson and a co-leader of the Colgate Ballet Company. She hopes to continue her higher education career into graduate school in the field of clinical psychology.

Benjamin Darko ’24

Benjamin Darko ’24

Major: Molecular Biology
Minor: Global Public and Environmental Health
Hometown: Accra, Ghana

Benjamin is passionate about the natural sciences and is excited about taking part in future opportunities, specifically in MD and PhD programs. He has a keen interest in healthcare administration policies and global health advocacy. He chose his minor to acquire a valuable perspective on aspects of the public health domain. On campus, Benjamin is an active member of the African Student Union and recently served as its vice president. He enjoys participating in student-led activities that allow him to connect with others who share similar interests. During the summer of 2022, he completed a research internship at a neuroscience biotech company, where he worked in the in vivo pharmacology department. This past summer and through this fall semester, Benjamin was selected for an internship at the National Institutes of Health, where he currently works alongside a principal investigator on multiple projects.

Yiduo He ’24

Yiduo He ’24

Double major: Anthropology and Political Science 
Hometown: Shanghai, China

Yiduo hopes to receive a PhD in Meso-American archaeology. He is interested in pre-Columbian era history and archaeology due to the isolation of the Americas from Eurasian cultural influence before the late 15th to early 16th century. At Colgate, he has worked at the Longyear Museum of Anthropology, and he conducted research with Professor Santiago Juarez last summer in Mexico. Yiduo has traveled to more than 20 countries, but he is especially intrigued by Latin America. He likes to learn and practice photography in his spare time.

Jenna Mapley ’25

Jenna Mapley ’25

Double major: Educational Studies and Mathematics
Hometown: Port Byron, NY

Jenna has always been passionate about education and has a special interest in providing educational access to students of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. At Colgate, she is an SAT tutor and a member of the Friends First Club, which are both part of the Center for Outreach, Volunteerism, and Education (COVE). These activities allow her to pursue her passion for educating and motivating students, making her an active member of the Hamilton community. She also participates in the club field hockey team and is a member of Gamma Phi Beta. In the summer of 2022, she was a research assistant for a project that developed learning materials for an interactive virtual field trip to teach math and science to third through fifth-grade students. Jenna plans to pursue a master's degree in education and become a secondary mathematics teacher.

Sarah Miller ’24

Sarah Miller ’24

Major: Physics
Minor: Biology 
Hometown: Long Valley, NJ

Sarah is interested in applied physics and has been able to fulfill this interest through undergraduate research in two labs. In these labs, she explored bioelectronics and neuromorphic computing. These experiences have sparked her passion for interdisciplinary research. After graduation in 2024, Sarah will pursue a PhD in medical physics, which will prepare her to become a leader in medical research and a contributor to its clinical applications. At Colgate, Sarah is a member of the varsity women’s lacrosse team, a career ambassador, an executive board member of Athlete Ally, and a peer tutor.

Omshi Samal ’24

Omshi Samal ’24

Double major: Computer Science and Mathematics
Hometown: Bhubaneswar, India

In the fall 2023 semester, Omshi studied at the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program. In the summer of 2023, she worked at Bloomberg, completing a software engineering internship in New York City. At Colgate, she has worked with Professor Aaron Gember-Jacobson on the verification of router command line interfaces, which made her realize that she wants to pursue a career in research. She enjoys research, in particular the process of refining a question in the pursuit of an answer. She has learned that progress is not always in the form of a solution but often gaining a better understanding of the problem itself. Omshi is grateful for the opportunity provided by the GSAF and hopes to attend graduate school in computer science or mathematics.

Nilesh Shah

Nilesh Shah ’24

Major: Biochemistry
Minor: Philosophy
Hometown: Kolkata, India

From a young age, Nilesh had a keen interest in science and research, driven by a desire to uncover new discoveries. The lack of functioning laboratories in schools in his hometown was a significant obstacle to fostering research skills among underprivileged students. To remedy this, Nilesh founded a social initiative called Vigyan Stem Labs, which aimed to bring the joys of science to these students. His efforts were recognized by the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology. At Colgate, he has found a welcoming community and a culture of scientific inquiry. Under the guidance of Professor Jacob M. Goldberg, Nilesh explored the chemistry of peptide synthesis and neurotransmitter receptors, seeking new ways to reveal the secrets of the brain. This year, Nilesh will work on rare variants of GluN1 subunits of NMDARs at Dr. Roche's laboratory at the National Institutes of Health as part of Colgate's Bethesda Biomedical Research study group in Maryland. Through this experience, he is building upon the educational foundation he received at Colgate and continuing to explore the frontiers of biochemistry. Nilesh plans to pursue a career in biochemistry, leveraging a passion for scientific inquiry to make meaningful contributions to the field and new discoveries that may benefit society.

Gianna Woods ’24

Gianna Woods ’24

Major: Theater
Hometown: Tomball, Texas

Gianna has been working in the theater industry since high school. After considering other majors, Gianna decided to follow her passion for the arts with a major in theater at Colgate. As an innovator, artist, and unique personality, Gianna works hard to discover new ways of thinking. She plans to be a member of production on a film or theater set. Gianna has worked professionally as a stage manager and plans on going to graduate school for film production.

Toni-Ann Yapp '21
Toni-Ann Yapp ’21

Read more

The Graduate School Access Fund has opened doors for Colgate students. Neuroscience major Toni-Ann Yapp ’21 aspires to help others and improve their well-being. The fund helped her pursue a graduate degree at Yale with a concentration in chronic disease epidemiology.