GSA Executive Board Members 2020-2021

Executive Board Members

Ally Drames headshot


Ally Drames,



A second-year graduate student in the Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs program at West Chester University, I hope to join the Graduate Student Association and continue my work advocating for the advancement of student rights. During my time as an undergraduate student at WCU, dual-majoring in Early Grades Preparation and Special Education, I demonstrated a dedication to the greater impact of service and community building. Over the last 3 years, West Chester University and the surrounding region rapidly evolved from my center of education to my home. The first half of my undergraduate career cultivated personal growth and development, forging and strengthening my ties to the campus community. Advancing through my third-year, a need to serve, support, and nurture a place so vital to my identity became apparent. Joining the Student Government Association as the Curriculum and Academic Policies Council Senator, I joined educators and administrators in deliberating vital educational policy and establishing and improving academic programs at WCU. Through this position, I served as the student representative for the Curriculum and Academic Policy Council, the Academic Recognition Committee, and both the Undergraduate Programs and Policy Committees. In my final year as an undergraduate, I worked with fellow students, Riley McGowan and Katie Fox, to form Advocates for WCU Renters, a student-led advocacy group advancing the rights of tenants within the West Chester borough and beyond. Through this work, I have cultivated working relationships with professors, university officials, as well as state and local representatives. Our greatest success has been obtaining $2 million in CARES Act funding, specifically for the university’s off-campus community. Our work is only beginning and we will be ramping up our activism to continue to support through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.



Alex Karlesses, 

Vice President


I graduated from the University of Delaware in 2017 and started my journey in higher ed at Villanova, where I worked as a Program Coordinator in the Dean's Office and planned various faculty development events. I then moved on to an Admissions Associate role at Tower Hill School where I launched a student ambassador program and got to teach the little nuggets not to walk backwards while giving tours of the school! Currently, I serve as the GA in the Career Development Center, and have discovered that my true passion in student affairs lies in career education. I intend to pursue a thesis in how to implement and design more of a humanity-based career education plan in schools that emphasize life design as opposed to human capital-centric ideals. 


Ja'Briah Manigault,



My name is Ja'Briah Manigault. I am a West Chester Alumna Class of 2020. During undergrad, I sat on the board of Poesis as Treasurer. Along with starting my business JAM Visuals while being at West Chester. JAM Visuals is a photo/videography business that I run capturing various types of photography. I feel I am the best fit for this position due to my familiarity with the duties of a treasurer. and with running my business own; I am always developing a budget for new equipment and managing money for future plans for the business. Moreover, I well organized and use my time management skills effectively when it comes to being a full-time student, an entrepreneur, and a board member.


De'Jah Herndon-Johnson,

Recruitment Officer


I am De'Jah Herndon-Johnson a Master of Science in Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs candidate at West Chester University. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at thee illustrious Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland where I served three years as a Resident Assistant. I am currently a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Residence Life and Housing at West Chester University, and an Area Coordinator at Cabrini University. I am a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society for Education, Chi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, and National Society of Leadership and Success to name a few. As a former Campus Activities Board member,I believe I am the best candidate for the Recruitment Officer because I have excellent communication and program planning skills. These skills will allow me to recruit graduate students from all departments creating a fun and diverse organization. I love Higher Education and would to take GSA to the next level.


Valerie Maynor,

Speaker of the Council


I am Valerie Maynor, I graduated from West Chester University with a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies. During my undergraduate years, I was a Radio DJ for West Chester University Radio (WCUR) where I acted as Social Chair; I was also a Peer Mentor for students of color within the Lawrence Dowdy Multicultural Center (LDMC). As Social Chair for WCUR, I interacted with other campus organization leaders, where I communicated with and negotiated for the planning and implementation of collaborative events with other campus organizations. As a peer mentor, I interacted with my mentees’ advisors so that we could develop strategies to ensure that my mentees would have the necessary tools conducive to their success. I am currently a Graduate Assistant with the Institute for Student Success at Ursinus College in which I serve as a Success Coach for students with hidden disabilities. Within my role, I serve as a guide to my students, offering them information and resources in order to provide them with greater opportunities for academic success during their undergraduate careers. In more ways than one, within each of my roles mentioned, I have served as a liaison between my student/organization and administration. Based upon my experience from my undergraduate career until now, I would serve as the best candidate for the Speaker of the Council position.



Program Coordinator









Diane D'Arcangelo

GSA Faculty Advisor


Back to top of page.