GPSC 2021 General Elections Candidates
The following are the Candidates Running in the 2021 GPSC General Elections
Candidates for GPSC PresidentClick or enter to reveal information below
As graduate and professional students—you are leaders, teachers, researchers, and invaluable members of the University of Arizona. You are the current and future leaders in education, research, industry, and community; yet, in recent years you have been undervalued and disproportionately impacted by policies that have increased tuition/fees and eliminated access to subsidized loans.
Over the last two years, I have worked alongside my peers and administrators to directly confront these issues and propose reasonable solutions to them. As the GPSC Secretary and Social & Marketing Committee Chair, I have been a part of a team that has:
- Increased need-based aid for graduate students by $800,000 through AFAT
- Successfully advocated for the creation of a Family Study Room
- Hosted the first on-campus Thanksgiving Dinner for graduate and professional students
- Improved the quality of Orientation and increased its attendance by 50%
- Diversified the types of monthly socials and increased their attendance by 25%
- Create an annual family social for graduate students with children
- Made socials more accessible by partnering with Parking & Transportation to charter a Cat Tran shuttle to and from events
- Expanded GPSC’s outreach to UArizona Phoenix campuses
- Provided feedback on University-wide policies protecting graduate students
- Initiated conversations to get dependent coverage added to the Student Health Insurance Policy
- Passed a White Paper and Resolution on Mental Health that will be used for educational campaigns across campus.
Although each of these triumphs is a reason to celebrate, our work is not yet done. In fact, it’s only just beginning. If afforded the opportunity to serve as GPSC President, I will work with the incoming Executive Board, Council, and staff to:
- Lead efforts to continue promoting graduate-student mental health
- Advocate for the creation of an on-campus daycare
- Work with our sister universities to get dependent coverage added to the Student Health Insurance Policy
- Add a summer round to GPSC’s grant programs
- Find solutions to pass fees through student-held fee referenda
- Collect data on sexual assault and violence that will be used to assess the efficacy of the current policies we have in place.
Students at the UA continue to face adversity and barriers that diminish their experience in graduate school. As issues rise, graduate and professional students need a voice to advocate for them. If given the chance, with your support, I can commit to being that voice.
Vote for Joseph Agosttini for President, and please get involved in GPSC!
My beginning is a humble one - I knew the road would be long, but I carried hope in the face of darkness and uncertainty. I am currently pursuing my LLM in Indigenous Law & Policy.
Most decisions that affect our lives as Graduate and Professional Students are made in rooms where our voices are lost in oblivion. I know from experience what it’s like to have your voice oppressed, especially as a woman of color. No one should go bankrupt to fund their education or take eons to pay-off their debts. No one should lose their sanity, tolerate abuse or discrimination to get an education. We Students cannot listen to those who say, “It’s not yet time”. “We know it’s time, our time, and we will make it so.”
I first served with GPSC in 2017, in various capacities: including Executive – Vice President. My goal has remained constant i.e., ‘to empower Graduate and Professional Students to fight for the University Experience they have been promised and deserve.’ I zealously worked on issues pertaining to DACA, Title IX, Tax Cut and Jobs Act, and Affordability of Graduate Education. I had the opportunity to advocate at the Capitol Hill, meet Congressmen and Senators to vehemently oppose legislations that would severely de-incentivize graduate and professional students nationwide. Independently, I continue to advocate at Cats At the Capitol and support BE HEARD in the Workplace Act; this bill protects graduate student employees in precarious situations.
My professional experience, law school, and the United Nations, has equipped me well in terms of advocacy, proficiency, and deliberation. If elected to serve as the President, I would relentlessly advocate for transparency, institutional and structural improvements for graduate and professional education. Key areas of my focus include (not exhaustive):
- Create Mutual-Aid Fund, raise money – to support students during COVID-19 pandemic.
- Increase AFAT Funding - Need-Based for Graduate Students
- Need-Based Funding for DACA and International Students
- LBGTQIA+ Inclusivity and Multi–Cultural Awareness
- Increase Travel & Research Grants, Scholarships
- Provide Funding for resources, help pay for USMLE, NCLEX, NAPLEX, Bar Exam
- Additional Resources for Non-Traditional and Online Students
- Graduate Workers Rights and incidental Benefits
- Secure External Grants for Multi-disciplinary Research and Innovation
- Mandatory Funding for Doctoral Candidates
- Negotiate with Off-Campus partners to reduce Healthcare premiums especially for students on OPT
- Campus Safety
- Improve Student Health & Legal Services
- Support Student Organizations
- Social and Community Events
- Shilpita Sen
Candidates for GPSC Vice PresidentClick or enter to reveal information below
Dear graduate and professional students — you are the current and future pioneers, leaders, researchers, educators, and invaluable members of society. It is with great privilege and pleasure that I submit my application to run for and serve you as the Vice President on the GPSC executive board.
I am a first-year MBA & Management Information Systems (dual-degree) student, with a concentration in Business Analytics from the Eller College of Management. During this academic year, I have been a part of the GPSC General Council as a College of Management representative, and I have also served on the MBA Student Association board as the class representative. My experience in both these organizations will tremendously help me fulfill the responsibilities of this role effectively.
Before joining the university until last year, I worked for five years in advertising, working with some of the top marketing agencies and media houses in India. Working with cross-functional teams on multiple projects and handling the clients taught me a lot. The job also introduced me to the applications of analytics and how data could help organizations make smarter, more informed decisions. I aim to utilize these talents to help improve the operations of the GPSC.
In 2018, I completed a master’s degree in marketing while working fulltime. This parallel experience of work and education not just improved my technical skills, but also honed my managerial talents and time management skills. My current MBA and MIS studies have only added to these skills, which I look to bring with me to the Vice President position and the executive board.
My work experience, my perspective as an international student, and my unique educational background ranging from engineering to marketing and business, will help me connect with both full time and part-time, graduate and professional students across the university. If elected, I will work with the newly elected Executive Board to continue advocating for:
- Diversity & Inclusivity
- Graduate Student Mental Health
- Improvements and Further Optimization of the Grant Application Processes
I look forward to representing all the students to the best of my abilities if I were to be elected. Please vote for Prakhar Jain, and please get more involved in GPSC.
Candidates for Assembly ChairClick or enter to reveal information below
As graduate and professional students, you deserve a diplomatic assembly chair at the head of your student council. A chair who makes sure all general council and executive board meetings are run productively.
It has been an honor to serve as a representative for the college of fine arts this year. I am passionate about furthering the efforts of GPSC for another academic year. I am asking that you vote for me to fill the role of the council’s Assembly Chair. If afforded the position, I would implement the following:
• A more in-depth on-boarding program for council members.
• Chairing and utilizing the organization’s Governing Documents Committee to support the council with handouts on best practices in Roberts Rules of Order.
• Being an accessible ally for current and prospective GPSC members.
Your graduate and professional student council continues to need diplomacy and improvement. I am asking for your support to foster the growth and benefits of this organization in order to better serve you.
Vote for Shelby Miller for GPSC Assembly Chair!
Candidates for TreasurerClick or enter to reveal information below
In a large diverse group of students enrolled in the University of Arizona, Graduate and Professional students make up about a quarter of population, spread across more than hundred departments. We deserve the best resources and opportunities to be able to showcase our talent and stand out amongst our peer groups.
Keeping these intentions in mind, I am running for the GPSC Treasurer position for the following year. It is of ultimate importance that resources are directed in the most efficient way so that every concern is addressed optimally. I strongly believe that one can have resources and yet not able to make the most out of it, unless solutions to the issues have been carefully planned and strategized, by assigning proper weights in order to best optimize the given resources.
With my professional experience in an education industry for more than 1.5 years and 3 years of handling finances in college club during undergrad, I thoroughly understand how to bring money in the system, how budget is circulated and allocated, and importantly how pressing issues needs to be addressed, not just financially but strategically.
With so many students working in so many different departments, our diversity is unique but due to too many cliques and faction, we are divided. This will be another major focus of mine to bring all the smart graduate minds together, so that we can thrive together. I plan to achieve this especially by directing more funds to inter-department research events, therefore facilitating research activities so that we get to share and learn more about the amazing research going around the campus.
As your student council treasurer, I vow to direct all the money to students. Just kidding. I can't do that, but what I can do is:
· Regularly collect feedback from College Representatives and try to address each and every issue,
· Secure funds for multi-disciplinary research and innovation
· Direct additional funds to travel and research grants
· Organize inter-department research events
and work with my full capacity to make this one of the best years UofA has ever had.
What I do want to offer is steadfastness, hard work and the ability to work with others even during difficult circumstances while keeping a sense of humor.
Today, I am asking for your vote. Should you select me, I will work hard for the things that are important to students, no matter how big or small they might be.
“Lets fly higher together”
Candidates for SecretaryClick or enter to reveal information below
Graduate and professional students are the most valuable and seemingly underappreciated groups on university campuses across the country. While serving as the GPSC Representative for the College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS) during the past term, I saw the power and purpose of unity among students. This spring semester, with the help of the CALS Deans, I assisted in the conceptualization of the CALS graduate student council, which will be inaugurated in the fall semester of 2020. This was made in an effort to further connect graduate students in CALS, the second largest school on campus, with peers across campus and the state of Arizona. My diverse research experience in biomedical and environmental sciences has also afforded me many connections with brilliant and passionate students throughout different graduate programs. Hearing general graduate and professional student needs from my peers motivated this candidacy pursuit to expand representation outside of CALS. As GPSC Secretary, I intend to bring all graduate and professional student concerns to the council, as everyone deserves a seat at the table. I aim to unite the vast graduate and professional student network across the university to help eradicate isolation and inequality – connected we are strong. As GPSC secretary I intend to:
i. Ensure that each seat of the council is occupied for every college across campus with diverse representation.
ii. Encourage graduate student leaders to organize within their college.
iii. Implement council transparency through providing zoom links to council meetings and publishing meeting summaries with pertinent developments in the GPSC newsletter.
iv. Act as a voice that echoes the needs of graduate students across the campus engaging with constituents both on and off campus, through social media engagement or in-person.
All are welcome to the table. Together, no need shall go unsung. United, we will make a difference.
Candidates for General Council RepresentativesClick or enter to reveal information below
My name is Megan Deeter and I am a third-year PhD student in Entomology. This is my second year as a GPSC representative and the experience has been an absolute pleasure that I wish to continue throughout my graduate education. Unattached to a specific constituency, my mission as an at-large representative is to help programs that facilitate student research and development. In my two years as a GPSC representative, I have volunteered to help with various functions that celebrate and promote student accomplishments – from Student Showcase to REAP grant committees. Moving forward, I want to help further the GPSC’s history in promoting institutional excellence and the University of Arizona’s commitment to eco-friendly and public health initiatives.
College of Education
As a former school psychologist in pursuit of my doctoral degree, I understand the complexities of navigating graduate school especially for “nontraditional” students. In completion of my master’s degree at another university, I encountered numerous instances where I as a student did not feel as if I had a voice relative to the overarching powers of my department, college, and university. This sense of powerlessness resulted in the decline of my mental health, motivation in my coursework, and general dissatisfaction with my graduate school experience. As the GPSC Representative for the College of Education, I intend to efficaciously represent students and empower them to take an active position in their education at the University of Arizona. I empathize with the competing demands of being a graduate student and feeling discouraged to enter large-scale conversations within the university. Being a school psychologist illuminated my fervent commitment for advocacy on behalf of students, which I aim to make the center of my practice if elected for this position. I am passionate and dedicated to improving the experience of all graduate students with the intention that their tenure at the university will be one that transcends throughout their career.
College of Engineering
My name is Yi Zhang. I am a third year PhD student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. I submit this petition for GPSC Representative because I am willing to speak for the graduate students in the College of Engineering. In the role of a GPSC representative, I am going to improve the study environment and research environment for graduate students. Firstly, as a graduate student, I have taken many courses and I have been TA for graduate level courses. I really understand the importance of group study and the discussion with each other. I will put my effort on providing more space and opportunities for group study and collaboration among students. Secondly, I will aim at providing support on the communication between graduate students and their advisors. The frequent and periodic communications with advisors will be very helpful for the graduate students to achieve their professional research. Thank you for your trust！
College of Fine Arts
Before beginning the art history master’s program at the University of Arizona, I attended the GPSC orientation and found it incredibly helpful and put me at ease. Coming into the master’s program at UA from a smaller state school in Georgia was really intimidating, but because of GPSC everything felt manageable and empowering. I was able to enter my program and feel like I had access to all the resources I needed. I understand how important GPSC is and its ability to make incoming and current graduate students feel comfortable and have a student run organization to turn with their questions and concerns. After being in the Art History department for almost and year, and becoming friends with students involved in GPSC, I saw becoming the representative for the College of Fine Arts as a great opportunity to be able to help speak with the fellow students in my department and represent the things that are most important to them. I believe becoming the College of Fine Arts Representative is a chance to give my fellow graduate scholars a voice within student government, and an opportunity to be able to continually help improve the program we find so dear to our hearts.
College of Medicine
GPSC was first introduced to me via a friend who was participating in a student showcase, one of the events that GPSC hosts. From this, I saw the impact this organization had on the student body through its initiatives and opportunities. As I learned more about this organization, the more I wanted to be a part of it. Now as a professional student, I want to improve the student experience for my fellow graduate and professional students. I have been fortunate enough to be part of the GPSC family for a little over the last half-year and would love to continue my involvement in the organization. I believe I have been able to represent the GPSC opportunities well amongst the College of Medicine and have a lot more plans to involve the College of Medicine’s students with GPSC. Should I be re-elected as a College of Medicine representative, I will continue to represent GPSC to my peers and participate in the GPSC events. Below I have attached the endorsing signatures of my classmates from my college, whom I would be proud to represent as a 2020-2021 GPSC Representative.
I first became involved in GPSC as an undergraduate student following my yearly participation in the Student Showcase, where I witnessed firsthand the affirmative impacts of inter-professional events to the academic, social and professional interests of all students at the UofA. Now, I am committed to helping improve the student experience for graduate and professional students across all disciplines. My relevant qualifications include extensive experience in positions requiring substantial amounts of inter-professional communication and event planning, including my 2-year term as the President and Health Chair of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the national pre-health honor society, my 4-year involvement as the Volunteer Coordinator of the Pack-a-Thon for Southern Arizona, and my role as an ambassador for the UA College of Medicine. Should I be selected to be a GPSC Representative, I intend to contribute to improving the student experience by conducting meetings with students from my constitutive unit regarding improvements and suggestions, presenting such proposals to the GPSC General Council, and participating in and informing my peers about GPSC related activities and events. Below I have attached the endorsing signatures of over 80 of my classmates from my college, whom I would be proud to represent as a 2019-2020 GPSC Representative.
College of Nursing
I am seeking the nomination of representative for the College of Nursing on the Graduate and Professional Student Council because as a student in the Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Anesthesia program, which is a hybrid distance learning program, I feel my colleagues and constituents from the other DNP programs with an online format would benefit from a spokesperson within the council to better involve them in the events, social opportunities, and other benefits the council can provide. I am the incumbent representative for the college of nursing. I hosted an inaugural event in Phoenix which had a good turnout from the nurse anesthesia, nurse practitioner, and the clinical translational sciences programs. I have been a co-chair of our unit-based council in the Intensive Care Unit which brings issues and improvement plans to the director and administration for continual improvement, as well as being a charge nurse showing my ability to garner support and engage others to create a productive, safe, and inspired work environment. Therefore, I believe I am a suitable candidate for the representative for the College of Nursing to help connect, inform, and improve every graduate and professional student’s experience at the University of Arizona.
College of Science
In my 8 months here in Tucson, I’ve had admittedly little interaction with the GPSC. Bar the odd email, I can only remember attending office hours with the brilliant Prof. Chomsky in an event the GPSC put on. More troublingly, I’ve also had barely any contact with graduate students in other departments, aside from the odd physics student electing to take a math course. I suspect the same is true for many of you.
This is why I am running to be GPSC representative for the College of Science. I look forward to the opportunity to meet (albeit via Zoom initially) with grad students from other departments and share ideas about what our departments are doing well. There is so much expertise across the university, and it seems a shame that we as grad students may feel siloed within our departments/research groups, even before Covid-19 struck.
I feel I’m well-qualified for the role: during my Master’s at SFU I acted as TSSU departmental steward for two years, president of the Math Graduate Caucus for one year, and participated as a representative on the SE campus safety committee for one year (co-chair for the second six months).
Thanks, take care!
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
My name is Sonia Bat-Sheva Kaufman and I am a second semester Masters student in Geography. I have served as the SBS Representative for GPSC since November 2019, and it has been an honor to do so. I am running for re-election because I feel there is still much work to be done. I campaigned on issues like lowering or capping student fees (even more relevant now) and educating students on campus sexual assaults.
If I am given the position, I will continue to be a student voice that advocates for fair pay, tuition and fees, and a more comprehensive sexual assault awareness and response program. I also want to know what matters to you, since I will be serving as your representative for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Feel free to shoot me an email anytime to tell me about issues that matter to you.
James E Rogers College of Law
For those who don’t know me, I’m the guy who spends 7+ hours a day
in the sun and subsists on berries and Costco rotisserie chickens. I am
emerging from a sun-soaked bench on campus to advance an agenda I
think will benefit constituents in the law college and UA grad students.
1) GPSC should advocate for a policy that says students must be
informed of which books they need for classes at least 30 days
before each semester starts, and faculty must justify only using
new editions of books with a short written declaration as to why
doing so is necessary. This would reduce the early-semester
scrambling to get books and potentially disincentivize the
unnecessary use of expensive textbooks.
2) Any food contracts the University has with BlackJack pizza
ought be suspended and replaced with an edible product, e.g.
Upper Crust or Rocco’s.
3) Increase advertising of GPSC’s excellent events with the goal
that all grad students are “reached” with information about them a
week in advance.
I believe that open communication, humility, and being willing to listen
seriously to all suggestions—even those critical or unpopular—is key to
good governance. Thank you for your consideration! -IHS