Office of Graduate Studies launches

The newly formed Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences is ready to support graduate students and their academic and professional development.

The new year brought exciting changes for graduate students in Arts & Sciences. As part of an ongoing reorganization of graduate education at WashU, led by the Provost’s Office, the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) in Arts & Sciences has been created to enhance the administration of graduate programs and provide more targeted support for Arts & Sciences’ master’s and doctoral students.

As a hub for graduate student support, the newly launched OGS will promote a higher degree of student and faculty engagement in graduate education and professional development. Members of the office are focused on graduate admissions, student affairs, education initiatives, and a host of details that shape the graduate student experience at WashU. They also share a deep commitment to ensuring the health, safety, and success of all graduate students in A&S.

“Our vision is one in which all graduate students of A&S are thriving, not just surviving, in their educational journeys,” said Sophia Hayes, Interim Vice Dean of Graduate Education. “Our commitment is to create a sense of community among and across the disciplines of A&S, connecting graduate students with each other, WashU, and St. Louis.”

“As we enter this 'Decade of Arts & Sciences,' we all have a role to play. We are excited to support graduate students as essential contributors to the bright future of A&S,” Hayes added.

“The new OGS team is working to implement Dean Hu’s exciting vision for graduate education in A&S, aligned with the rich opportunities of the new strategic plan,” said William Acree, Dean’s Fellow for Graduate Education Initiatives. “Though just a few months in, we’re running on all cylinders to achieve this — building up enhanced support for students, expanding cohort and community building, and exploring new approaches to areas ranging from recruitment to admissions to celebrating graduate student excellence.” 

Hayes and her colleagues in the OGS invite all A&S graduate students to a virtual meet-and-greet on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 3-4 p.m., where the OGS team will introduce themselves and their vision for graduate student support in Arts & Sciences. Read more about some of the team's new members:

Leadership in the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts & Sciences

Sophia Hayes, Interim Vice Dean of Graduate Education and professor of chemistry, has been at WashU for 20 years. Hayes came to St. Louis from California, and she also lived in Germany as a foreign student and postdoc. Her research uses magnetic resonance to study new materials for carbon capture, thin films, and semiconductors. Much of her professional service work touches on science communication and topics of tech transfer. Hayes invites students to ask her about her three years spent in the energy and environmental industry between her undergraduate studies and graduate school.



Na’Nette Ashford, Director of Graduate Admissions, is originally from St. Louis, but comes to WashU most recently from Norfolk State University in Virginia. Ashford earned a doctorate degree in education from Maryville University, with a focus on higher education administration. She brings more than eight years of experience in graduate school admissions and affairs. Her strategic approach to admissions is to eradicate barriers and to provide access, affordability, and attainability for all.



Andy Wiegert, Director of Graduate Student Affairs, was born and raised in St. Louis. Wiegert has more than eight years of experience in graduate and professional student affairs, most recently coming from the Washington University School of Medicine. He loves to read, write, and stay physically active outdoors with his wife and two little girls (Hattie, 9, and Birdie, 6). He is also passionate about graduate student well-being and community.




William Acree, Dean’s Fellow for Graduate Education Initiatives and professor of Spanish, American Culture Studies, and Performing Arts, works closely with Hayes on OGS priorities and initiatives. Acree’s research centers on the enduring impacts of everyday experiences and the ways cultural goods and activities inflect public life, politics, and racial and ethnic identities in Latin America. He is eager to strengthen professional development opportunities for students, expand access to graduate education, and help graduate students in A&S form transdisciplinary connections with peers and mentors.