GSA Nominees for 2018-2019 Executive Council

The following individuals have accepted their nominations to run for the 2018-2019 Executive Council.  They have also provided their statements below.

*Nominations will remain open until the beginning of the elections procedures at the May 2 GSA General Assembly Meeting.

President

Jonathan Minnick

Over the past two years as a departmental representative for the Graduate Student Association, my appreciation for the GSA and all of the work we have accomplished is tremendous.

Now, I wish to take up a leadership role and continue to do great work through the GSA. It is my goal to continue the practices that Roy and his council have set forth during their tenure, highlighting key elements such as continued support of the UC Student Workers Union and fighting for affordable housing. I will maintain the pressure put on the administration and continue to fight for our benefits and facilities.

The general well-being of a graduate student is very important to our academic and career success, so additionally, I want to continue helping students with non-academic matters, such as their wellness, both physical and mental, tax preparation (especially with the recently passed tax reform), legal representation, and food resources.

One major goal that I wish to put forth as a new charge for the GSA is to emphasize building community. It recently dawned on me that we as an organization can do so much to help those around us and to help build a stronger community as graduate students and connect with our surrounding community in Davis, Woodland, and Sacramento. I envision volunteer projects, social events for graduate students, and continuing donation drives such as the clothing drive conducted this past March.

Through the fund to support activism and community engagement and GSA organized events, we will build strong support networks and community bridges through grassroots campaigns and activities.

Internal Vice President

Rebecca Hogue

Greetings, friends and colleagues:

I’m Rebecca Hogue, a 4th year graduate student in the English department with a Designated Emphasis in Native American Studies. I am running for Internal Vice President of the GSA. If elected, my aims would be twofold: to listen to and campaign for the concerns of graduate students across the university with a specific attention toward underrepresented and underfunded students, and to work with the University administration to advocate for more transparency in University policies and funding structures.

Though I have not yet served in the GSA, my professional background is in diversity and inclusion advocacy, and I have worked for the last three and half years at various departmental and administrative levels to improve the quality of graduate student experiences at Davis. I currently serve as the Co-Chair of the English Graduate Student Association where I have worked with our department to increase transparency around funding structures and curriculum design, and fought for and collaborated with the department and wider University administration to install gender neutral restrooms in Voorhies Hall.

This year, I became a member of the Chancellor’s Graduate and Professional Student Advisory Board (CGPSA) to join forces with graduate students across UC Davis to directly advocate to the Chancellor on behalf of students. Our project this year focuses on the much needed topic of mentoring, and we are partnering with Grad Studies on the ways grad student-professor dynamics can be institutionally addressed. Next year as Internal VP, I would look forward to continuing these existing relationships by directly championing your concerns around housing, food security, and retention.

Antash Najib

I am a second year PhD student from the Mechanical Engineering department. I am an International student and live with my wife and an adorable 1 year old son.

I see the GSA assembly as a crucial platform to highlight and help address challenges that Grad students in general and Grad students with families in particular face like affordable housing, maintaining work life balance etc. We need activities/ workshops such as the Tax workshop which Roy arranged and more engagement activities such as the Town Hall meeting with Chancellor May so that our voices are heard more effectively.

We also need to increase awareness about the GSA awards and funding so that more Graduate students can benefit from these resources. I want to work with you and other GSA reps to make this possible. I currently represent the Graduate students on the Preferred Partnership Program (UP3) Advisory Committee and also have ample experience of serving as an officer for multiple student groups and clubs (International Students Club, Engineering student societies etc.)

I look forward to working with you towards the betterment of the Graduate student community.

External Vice President

Nicole Holm

My name is Nichole Holm, and I am running for the Vice President of External Affairs. This may sound like a more abstract position, but it truly represents the arms of GSA.

I have been a representative of the Integrative Genetics and Genomics graduate group in GSA for 3 years, and know the GSA process well. I have also been a member of the Legislative Action committee this past year under Jeremy Prim’s leadership, and through this involvement learned a lot more about our reach as GSA.

In this position, I would continue the great work Jeremy established this last year, and continue representing UC Davis at the local, state, and federal level. I hope to work with him in this effort, to ensure both a smooth transition and best fit for all of our skills in these various groups.

Michael Enzi, a Wyoming Senator is believed to have said “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”. I want to be sure UC Davis is at every table possible.

As this VP, I will ensure that our voice continues to be heard on the issues that matter to us; Most recently, I represented UC Davis in our federal advocacy group called SAGE, and I learned that with intense advocacy, legislators listened to our voices and removed the graduate student tuition tax. We have power, and even when it is not always felt, we have the ability to influence and create change.

As VP of external affairs, I would continue to connect with our local and broader advocacy groups, as well as our representatives.

For example, representative John Garamendi is especially fond of UC Davis, and very supportive of graduate education, We have a voice that listens to us right here in town, and utilizing that voice and connection is a top goal of mine.

Additionally, I would connect with local powers to ensure our concerns regarding Davis life are heard, such as housing, well-being, and any other concerns that arise.

I see representing UC Davis as a powerful position, given that we have not only our graduate school, but also many professional schools. Veterinary, medical/nursing, and law students have a huge impact on economy, and are a great incentive for many legislators to consider the impact of the effect of their acts. I will increase the connection and communication between these groups, so that we are a stronger voice together when asking to be heard on issues like student loan financing, immigration reform, and sexual misconduct, as these can effect any and all of us.

Finally, I would like to hear from and update you all regularly on issues you care about.

I would like to have an online submission box for concerns that you or your constituent graduate groups feel need to be addressed, and update you on the progress of ongoing issues. In the same way that we bring our concerns as UC Davis to the larger parties, I want you all to come to me with your concerns, so I can be sure I am accurately representing all of you as well.

As a member of Jeremy’s legislative action committee, I have been working with him to create a chancellor tracker for the GSA website, to track the chancellor’s fulfillment of promises. Getting this page live is another goal for both transparency and accountability before the end of 2018.

In what can sound like an abstract role, I would like to make you all more aware of the arms of our GSA, and feel empowered by the effect and influence we can have as a group.

Thank you.

Secretary 

Emma Shipman

I am Emma Shipman, a third year in the Plant Biology Graduate Group, and a candidate for Secretary of the Graduate Student Assembly Executive Council. I have served as a Plant Bio Grad Group representative to GSA for two years, and during that time been on several committees. I learned a lot about how the university is run at different levels, and decided that I want to be involved in this system. As Secretary, most of my job description would be to organize and record GSA meetings and announcements relevant to graduate students. I have been a student here for three years and will be for another few years, and I have firsthand experience with how difficult graduate school could be, and how much easier things are with access to the right resources.

It would be worthwhile to me to be able to make the process of graduate school even a little bit easier for my fellow students. To that end, I want to continue Gwen’s initiative of collecting and organizing food security resources and information. The issue I am most invested in on campus is in sexual assault response, prevention, education, and support, so I hope to also coordinate and update the GSA’s resources around that issue during my tenure. Fundamentally I care about information dissemination as a way to solve problems, so I really want the opportunity to serve the graduate student community as GSA Secretary this upcoming year.

Treasurer

Jianping Pan

First, I would like to thank Yiwan for nominating me. I am a second-year graduate student in the math Ph.D. program. I am here to apply for the Treasurer for the 2018-2019 academic year in GSA Executive Council.

I have been volunteering in the GSA Treasurer Advisory Committee for the last year. I served in the 2017 Fall and 2018 Spring GSA travel award. Aside from evaluating numerous application forms, I also actively participated in the Treasurer Advisory Committee meetings and provided advice to our current Treasurer Yiwan including the division of awards by quarter, and how to evaluate the applications. I believe that my experience volunteering in the GSA Treasurer Advisory Committee makes me a good fit for this position.

As a woman in MPS (Mathematical and Physical Sciences), and also as an international student, my presence in the Executive Council will add diversity and help the council better understand graduate students from the various departments of the university.

Charles Rozhon

My name is Chuck Rozhon and I wish to run for treasurer to assist the GSA and help represent graduate students. I have strong quantitative skills and previous job experience in financial organizations, so I can handle the difficulties of managing money. But I wish to be more involved in the needs of graduate students here at UC Davis. Previously I have organized with UAW2865—the UC Davis Student Workers Union—and I wish to build off this experience to better assist graduate students.

Audrey Sulkanen

I’m running for treasurer because I’m interested in becoming more involved with the GSA, and because I have the great organizational skills that I believe are necessary for position. I have 5+ quarters of experience working as a head TA for the general chemistry series run by the chemistry department. Oftentimes, my head TA appointment was a double appointment, which involved two general chemistry classes with 800+ students running smoothly each quarter; an assignment that was uncommon before I took it up.

My experience as a head TA has been invaluable for strengthening my organizational skills, as well as my ability to handle large volumes of emails, and to master excel. I’m also familiar with budgeting, as I’ve used it in my day-to-day life to manage my own expenses. If I win the position of treasurer, I hope to support the GSA through accurate and dependable budgeting, which is critical to the maintaining our reputation organization within the UC Davis community. In addition to my duties as treasurer, I also hope to focus on improving mental health for student across campus and to start collaborations for special projects focused on that.

Public Relations Organizing Director

Laura McGowan

I am an ideal candidate for the PROD position based on my previous experience and accomplishments as PRO and PROD, and my desire to provided graduate students with wellness activities.

As PRO in 2016-2017, I not only reduced the cost of CBDD, I was able to make- lasting improvements to CBDD, which are still in effect. I listened to grad students who wanted healthier options, and added alternatives such as oatmeal with healthy add-ins, more fruit options, and organic and decaf coffee. I also listened to those with food restrictions and preferences and added a variety of lactose free milks and nut butters.

As an Atmospheric Scientist, I saw the need to make sure CBDD was as environmentally friendly as possible, so I implemented a system of composting and recycling to ensure that we reduce the amount of trash CBDD produces. After taking the position, instead of simply continuing to order bagels and doughnuts from the same place, I did a great deal of footwork to ensure that we went with the best options. I managed to make these improvements all while staying a grand under budget.

As PROD in 2017-2018, I continued to successfully plan and help run regular events for graduate students (bar nights, bowling night, corn maze, yoga, etc.). In addition, I started and ran the first student activism fund, and managed the two new assistant positions. If re-elected as PROD in 2018-2019, my goal is not only to maintain the previous events/funding, but to continue to make additional events and improvements with an emphasis on activism, and student wellness both physical and mental.

From personal experience, and from talking to colleagues, I know that student health and wellbeing is often overlooked. I am hoping to start workshops on meditation, work-life balance, massage, and if elected, I will be able to implement them quickly, having regularly run such events.

In conclusion, my previous experience and accomplishments as PROD, and a desire to provide graduate students with wellness activities make me an ideal candidate for this position.

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