Meet Our Planning Team

Gracie Wischmeyer, General Manager

"I'll bring some treats!

Gracie is a third-year veterinary student from Franklin Park, IL. She completed her undergraduate education at Illinois Institute of Technology, and started veterinary school at Illinois in the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the things Gracie loves most about the College of Veterinary Medicine at Illinois is the collaborative spirit of her class, especially through the challenges of the pandemic. She hopes to continue her education post-graduation as a veterinary specialist. In her abundant free time, Gracie enjoys running, baking, being a Pokemon master, cleaning, and cuddling with her kitten Scout and big fluffy dog Gus. 

Myranda Richied, Treasurer

"Absolutely not."

Myranda is a second-year veterinary student who grew up in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago and went to Central Michigan University to obtain her bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Biology and Neuroscience. She’s not completely sure what she will do after graduation and is going with the flow for now, although she does have interests in zoo med, acupuncture, and emergency medicine. Myranda enjoys taking care of her sugar glider, Royce, and her multitude of plants. She loves a good softball game, archery, spending time with family and friends, and is always down for a card game.

Taylor Miller, Fundraising Chair

"I'll take care of it." 


Taylor Miller is a second-year veterinary student originally from Belleville, IL. She received her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in May of 2021. She is the SAVMA Symposium 2023 Fundraising Chair and is very excited to be planning the symposium with such a great group of student leaders. She takes pride in helping our sponsors find ways to support veterinary students creatively. Taylor is involved in many extracurricular organizations including serving as the Vice President of both the UIUC Surgery Club and the University of Illinois Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, in addition to as serving as the Class of 2025 Educational Policy Committee Representative, and as a Student Ambassador. She has also received her VBMA Business Certificate, Purdue University's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine Certificate, and her American FFA Degree.


After graduation, Taylor plans to return to Southwestern Illinois as a mixed-animal practitioner and eventually own her own practice. Her special interests in veterinary medicine include surgery, feline medicine, senior pet care, dystocia and calf care, emergency medicine, and client communication and education. She looks forward to being able to practice high-quality medicine for all species of animals while also being involved in her local community and getting to continue being involved with agriculture and agricultural education, which she is very passionate about. Outside of veterinary medicine, Taylor enjoys spending time on her family's farm and with family and pets, watching comedy movies and animated TV shows, and listening to a wide variety of music.

Emily Verwers, Illinois Senior Delegate, Hospitality Chair

"I'm the email queen!" 

Emily Verwers is a second-year veterinary student originally from Columbus, Indiana. She received her Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences; Pre-Veterinary Medicine and minor in Wildlife Science from Purdue University in 2021. Emily has become very involved outside the classroom, serving as the SAVMA Senior Delegate and the AAVMC Student Liaison for the Educational and Professional Development Committee. At UIUC, she served on the iVLE Planning Committee and currently sits on the Wellness Committee.


Emily has an interest in large animal medicine and soft tissue surgery. She loves teaching and is passionate about working with younger students. When not studying, Emily enjoys spending time with her friends and family, walking with her golden retriever (Harley), reading, and trying new recipes.

Crystal Munguia, Illinois SAVMA President, Transportation Chair


Crystal Munguia is a third-year veterinary student from Las Vegas, Nevada and is currently working towards her DVM MPH at UIUC and UIC. Besides SAVMA President, she holds other leadership positions that help elevate diversity and inclusion at the College of Veterinary Medicine. After veterinary school, she plans on working at a fast-paced small animal clinic for a while and later move on to government work to help progress the veterinary field as well as pursue international veterinary efforts. Fun fact: Crystal's love for public education started with her neighborhood's 50+ cat colony in which she worked with several shelters to TNVR as well as develop feeding schedules around the neighborhood to increase cat health.

Hassan Hanna, Illinois SAVMA President-Elect, Student Engagement Chair

Hassan Hanna is a second-year veterinary student from Homer Glen, Illinois, who is interested in aquatic medicine, diagnostic imaging, and wildlife. After veterinary school, he plans on pursuing a zoological medicine residency to work with non-traditional species and contribute to the interdisciplinary One Health movement. Eventually, he intends to return to academia and act as a mentor to future students. Fun fact: Hassan’s favorite bird is the Little Penguin and favorite marine species with which he has worked is the Pot-Bellied Seahorse!


Outside the classroom, Hassan volunteers at the Wildlife Medical Clinic and serves his school as a leader through his roles as President-Elect of the Illinois Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Social Chair for the Class of 2025, the Fundraising Chair for Aquatics Club, and the Secretary for Diagnostic Imaging Club. In his spare time, Hassan stays busy by playing volleyball, horseback riding, and going for runs. He is ecstatic to be a part of the the SAVMA Symposium Planning Team!

Tess Santoro, Illinois Junior Delegate


Tess Santoro is a first-year veterinary student from Homer Glen, IL. She is planning on pursuing companion animal medicine and is interested in a focus in felines and exotics. She is especially passionate about the human-animal bond.


Tess is an active member in multiple organizations at Illinois CVM. These include being the Junior Delegate of the Illinois Student Chapter of SAVMA and the Class of 2026 Student Representative of the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association. She loves to spend her free time finding fun new cafés, reading some good books, and hanging out with her crazy (but cute) cat, Vinny. She is super excited to have joined the SAVMA Symposium Planning Team this school year and to attend her first ever SAVMA Symposium!

Leah Nehila, Bid and Startup Team



Leah Nehila is a 4th year student from Round Lake, Illinois. Her veterinary interests include soft tissue surgery, anesthesia, diagnostic imaging, and small ruminants. She will be practicing small animal medicine in Wisconsin after graduation and is very excited for the future.

Leah put forth the Symposium bid as a former SAVMA Delegate. She has also worked in the Wellness Committee and Government Affairs Committee. She is a dual degree student and getting an MPH through the University of Illinois at Chicago at the same time.

Her favorite thing about the University of Illinois is all the specialty services we have at our VTH so animals can receive the best care from multiple services. During her "free" time she is on the Vetmed intramural soccer team that represents in the playoffs every year!

Her advice for vet school is to stay grounded and remember that your future patients will benefit from all the work you are doing now, and that makes it all worth it.

Max Paulson, Bid and Startup Team



Max is a third-year veterinary student from Homer Glen, Illinois. He attended University of Illinois Urbana Champaign for his Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science. He has plans to further specialize after veterinary school and is currently most interested in Oncology and Neurology! Additionally, he would love to return to academia one day to teach and mentor future generations of veterinary students and leaders. Max has become very involved in student leadership and is a former SAVMA Delegate as well as the current National SAVMA President-Elect. Locally, he sits on the SAVMA Wellness Committee and on the board of the University of Illinois VOICE Chapter.

In his free time, Max enjoys playing board games, exploring new places, listening to music, and dancing! Max is very excited to welcome you to UIUC and hopes you enjoy all of the corn Illinois has to offer!

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