Current LAI GSA Officers

Introducing LAI GSA Officers 2016-2017!


NICHOLENichole Barrett (President): When I started the CiSL program in 2014, I had no idea how influential this department and the people that make up its community would be. As I enter into my third year with a concentration in English Education, I look to those who came before me to help me lead. I am honored and excited to be your 2016-2017 president. I promise to keep cultivating the same LAI community that helped me figure out who I am and where I belong. I love all things popular culture. I love all things Shakespeare. I love all things Harry Potter. I love the remix and the mash-up. It is these things that have inspired my research. I firmly believe that popular culture, digital media, and digital technologies belong in the ELA classroom and it is my goal as a researcher to help teachers feel comfortable implementing these approaches. There are so many different ways to know and I will continue to honor each and every one of them.

Here’s to a great school year!  Please feel free to email me: or stop by our office in the basement of Baldy (Room 6).



LORILori Potteiger (Vice President): Hello everyone! I am your 2016-2017 LAI GSA Vice President. I received my Masters here at the University at Buffalo in 2014 through the Literacy Specialist program. I then began my Ph.D. in the CISL program in the Fall of 2014. I have been in the program for about two years and am entering into the Research Component phase. My current research trajectory involves exploring the inclusivity of the LGBTQ community within elementary classrooms through literature and dialogue. I am looking forward to serving as your Vice President and getting to know you all. If you need to get in touch with me please feel free to contact me via email at





KATIEKatarina (Katie) Silvestri (Secretary): I am excited to serve as your LAI GSA Secretary for the 2016-2017 school year! I am in my third year of my doctoral studies in the CISL program with a focus in literacies. I work as a GA in UB’s Center for Literacy and Reading Instruction (CLaRI), currently serving as their Research Project Manager. I am also excited to co-teach Language, Literacy, and Culture this fall with Dr. Fenice Boyd. I’ve worked previously as an elementary school teacher (Kindergarten, first, fifth) and adjunct instructor (reading, writing) at Niagara County Community College.

My research interests involve social semiotics and multimodality, New Literacies, and the methodological issues that are inherent in data collection, analysis, and representation in both of these domains. In specific, I am interested in how elementary age girls develop their identities and affinities in highly-gendered spaces (i.e. STEM subjects) through literacy practices in schools and other learning environments.  I live in Tonawanda with my husband, Dan, and our two cats, Ringo and Niko. I love being outside, running, biking, walking, and pretending to know how to garden – I especially love food and cooking! I am also a musician, and I love 70s era funk and progressive rock.

We’ve got a lot of exciting events planned this year and hope you join us for one soon!  Feel free to email me at with any questions, ideas, comments, etc.




ERICAErica Demler (Treasurer): Hi! I am thrilled to be your Treasurer for the 2016-2017 school year!  I have just started the second phase of the CISL doctoral program, with a concentration in Mathematics Education.  I earned my BA in Mathematics Education from Niagara University and went on to complete my Masters degree in Mathematics Education at UB.  I have worked as both a tutor and instructor and my teaching experience is mainly at the college level.  I started teaching mathematics courses at Bryant & Stratton College and then became an adjunct at UB.  I am the Mathematics Coordinator for the Learning Center on campus and I also work with the Gifted Math Program.

My research interests are centered on teacher knowledge and the mutliple modes that can be used to represent mathematical ideas.  I am especially interested in focusing on postsecondary mathematics instructors who teach developmental mathematics courses. I live in Cheektowaga with my husband Patrick and our shih-tzu/poodle, Reese.  When I’m not working or schooling, I love to bake, go camping, and work on fixing up our house!

I’m excited for the events we are planning and look forward to meeting more LAI students this school year!




Maryam Sharifian (Senator):

Hello everyone! I am your 2016-2017 LAI GSA Senator. I received my Bachelor and Master degrees in Tehran, Iran through School Counseling program. I worked as a counselor for the Ministry of Education in Iran focusing upon abused children of addicted parents, refugees, and those who were being sexually abused. I have started my PhD program in 2013 at UB in Early Childhood Education. My research focuses on trauma, burnout and resilience of primary teachers who are working inside war zone in Syria. I am looking forward to serving as your Senator and getting to know you all. If you need to get in touch with me please feel free to contact me via email at


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