Organizing Committee

Our Organizing Committee comprises of UMass Boston Graduate Students who are passionate about labour issues and ensuring the fair and equal treatment of Graduate Workers.

Kathy Melish

President of the UAW 1596, the parent Union to the GEO here at UMass Boston. Kathy manages a large and diverse union which also includes the GEO at UMass Lowell. Kathy does not hold office hours here on campus, but instead works from the Union local in Canton, MA. She coordinates with the GEO Organizing Committee here on campus.

Christopher R. Whynacht

Chris was born in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada and has close family ties to the fishing and natural resource industries which have dominate the local economy.  He attended Dalhousie University in Halifax before beginning a career in business development.  After almost 15 years as an entrepreneur and management consultant, he returned to Dalhousie for a Master of Environmental Studies (MES) degree to gain a better understanding of environmental resource management.  His research interests revolve around the intersection of business and sustainability.

Chris came to UMass Boston in the fall of 2014 to begin work on a PhD.  He was attracted by the Organizations and Social Change (OSC) Program at UMB’s College of Management.  This program in one of the few in the United States which brings together researchers interested in how organizations interact with society, the environment, and economics – the core pillars of sustainability.  The OSC group clearly sees an opportunity for organizations of all types to play a role in moving to a more sustainable, prosperous, and equitable future.

Chris has been involved with several previous student unions and activist groups; having chaired the Student Union, Association of Graduate Students, and Arts Society at Dalhousie University.  He will be bringing his experience, energy, and passion for student rights to his work at the UMass Boston Graduate Employee Organization.  Chris is always open to meet and discuss student issues with fellow students, administrators, and faculty as he believes that open collegial conversation is one of the best ways to provoke organizational change.

Program: Organizations and Social Change, PhD  | Email: Christopher.Whyna001@umb.edu

Katsyris Rivera-Kientz


Photo_KRK2Katsyris Rivera-Kientz A.K.A. “Katsy” was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Three years ago, she moved to Boston, Massachusetts to pursue graduate studies. She is a second-year Sociology PhD student at UMass Boston. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey in 2016 with a major in Psychology and Community Mental Health and completed her Master at UMB’s Critical Ethnic and Community Studies program in 2018. She has worked in projects about service provisions in times of crisis, access to public Higher Education institutions, social entrepreneurship, the failing student-financial aid system, issues concerning underrepresented minorities at UMass Boston, animal welfare, and labor organizing forming part of the GEO organizing committee at UMass Boston. 

Her research interests lie at the intersection of Political Sociology; Transnational activism; Colonialism; National Identity; Education; Race and gender issues; Natural and not-so-natural disasters, and the Puerto Rico-United States political relationship. She is a community-oriented scholar devoted to collaborating and learning from different communities that have been threatened by climate change -and everything it entails- in order to act and amplify the discussion on such a crucial matter. She believes in collective advocacy through community-based research aiming for environmental justice is crucial during this atrocious environmental, political and social panoramas.

Program: Sociology, PhD       |      Email: Katsyris.riveraki001@umb.edu

Drew Bevis 

Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 3.49.26 PMDrew Bevis is a second-year graduate student, writer, and organizer in the creative writing program at UMass Boston. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, he has worked in Boston for the last 3 years in international education, designing and implementing primary school curriculum for particularly impoverished communities in Africa and India. He continues to do that work while in graduate school full time. In addition to school work and “work-work”, he has spent the last year politically organizing in Boston through Socialist Alternative, specifically focusing on campaigns to fight the affordable housing crisis in and around the city. If you are interested in getting involved with the struggle for working people all over the city, he’d love to talk.

Program: Creative Writing, MFA        |      Email: Drewbevis@gmail.com

Warren Hinckle

Warren Hinckle joined the GEO Organizing Committee as a student in Spring ’17, continued until he received his MFA in May ’18, and was then brought on as a staffer for the union–and he’s happy for it. Though a writer by education and vocation, he’s found solid craft in union work and, even better than discovering solid craft, has discovered immensely wonderful, beautiful, and actualized people.IMG_20180903_164622_689

At the GEO, he spends his time reaching out to members and administrators, as well as shoring up the organizing committee’s internal structure. He lives part-time in Allston, part-time in scattered, far-flung parts of the internet, and part-time in isolated sections of the US and world whenever his heart or mind wander. Though he’ll pick up the word and pen again some day, for now, he bears in mind always the final words of Marguerite Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian; “…I have ceased to feel the immediate presence of those beings, the living reality of those events; they are near me still, but of the past, neither more nor less now than the memories of my own life. … what I could say has been said; what I could learn has been learned. Let us turn, for the time that is left to us, to other work.” 

Email: whinckle@gmail.com 

–Past Organizing Committee Members–