GPSA Election Debate
Join us for our President, Vice president, and College representative debate on by March 5, in CUB L60 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
GPSA General Election online voting opens from March 5 at 7:00 p.m. to March 8 at 5:00 p.m. Vote now!
My name is Amir Asim Gilmore and I am a Ph.D. student in Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education. For these last three years, it has been a tremendous honor to serve in GPSA and advocate on your behalf at WSU. As a servant leader, I understand the importance of service and advocacy for graduate and professional students. During my tenure in GPSA, I have devoted my energies to enriching the lives of students and RSOs; developing robust programs and events and increasing our voice at the administrative level. I have served as a GPSA Senator, as a College Representative, as a Director of Programming, and as your Vice President. I would be honored to serve as your President.
As your Vice President, I have served the needs of graduate and professional students in a multitude of ways. I have consistently advocated to WSU administrators that cutting graduate stipends is a "bad idea." Under the mantra: "your voice, our actions," I established the Open Forum within Senate and with an 88% usefulness rating, Senators were able to talk about relevant student issues such childcare, stipends, housing, the tax bill, the university budget, and student media. Senators believed that relevant issues were addressed 98% of the time. I also aid in the university's charge to address campus climate by inviting GPSA Senators to serve on the University Working Groups; serving as the Co-Leader for the Cultural Competency & Ally Training Working Group and serving on the search committee for the Associate Vice President of Community, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence. In the Research and Arts Committee, I address graduate research needs by reviewing faculty "seed" grants and reviewing Centers, Institutes, and Laboratories that fund and support strong graduate student research.
This upcoming year, my running mate David Silva and I have strategic goals to better the lives of graduate and professional students. We want to improve on the great services and programs that GPSA already provides by reshaping our policies. We want to do better for our RSOs by supporting them and attending their events. Moreover, David and I want to improve College and Departmental relations by funding ideas and initiatives of our Senators. Through these efforts, we will improve graduate and professional student representation throughout the WSU system through visibility, advocacy, and collaboration.
As President, there are two major responsibilities: (1) to chair the Executive Board and (2) serve on Faculty Senate. As Executive Board Chair, I will work with our Directors to improve our programs and services, and foster synergy between the Directorships. Serving on Faculty Senate will allow me to amplify the voices of graduate and professional students vis-à-vis matters that affect our education, our research, and our general wellbeing.
With your vote, David and I will continue the positive momentum of GPSA and further strengthen the association with our strategic vision, dedication, and our passion to the serve the graduate and professional community.
On Election Day, please vote Gilmore & Silva - Synergy We Need.
Vice Presidential Candidate:
Hello, my name is David and I would be honored to serve as Vice President of GPSA next year.
I am a PhD student (candidate by the time you are reading this!) in communication. This year I served as a District Representative for the Murrow College of Communication on the GPSA Executive Board and was the Director of University Affairs. I sat on the Student Health Advisory Committee, the Dean Search Committee for the College of Communication, the Driver Safety Committee, and the Graduate School Data Workgroup. My job was to keep track of all the goings-on of the University while managing several information gathering campaigns. I also had the opportunity to voice this information back to administrators, GPSA members, and a diverse set of offices and departments so they could better support graduate and professional students.
In previous years, I benefited from the services and advocacy maintained by previous GPSA leaders. This year I learned just how solid of a structures is in place to help our graduate and professional students be successful. There are so many different groups at WSU that prioritize graduate student well-being, but so often they are not working together! This wastes resources, limits information, minimizes student voices, and leads to poor decisions. But in almost every case, when groups come together they realize their similar goals and are excited to collaborate.
But collaboration is difficult. When we could take another class, get out one more paper, or attend another conference, is it really worth it to attend another meeting?
I believe now more than ever the answer is yes! Because only through collaboration will we overcome some steep upcoming challenges.
WSU and GPSA together face difficulties on many fronts: finances, political/social climate, increased pressure from workloads, lack of engagement with students, funding and benefit reductions, and loss of programs, to name a few. The services that benefit you are under threat from the weight of an institution struggling to overcome some significant issues. For some of us, no we can't just front a higher conference cost because our credit card won't allow it. If you are a student supporting children, no you can't just spend another two hours in the lab because evening childcare hours were reduced. If you are one of the 30-50% of post-grad students struggling with depression (Panger, Tryon, Smith, 2014) maybe keeping your head down and plug away for another night isn't the healthiest option.
As a student organization, GPSA members (you!) balance all we must do for our degrees with our ability to advocate for each other. That shouldn't be the decision. GPSA 2018-19 needs to be an organization that prioritizes building relationships and coordinating resources. To do that we need leadership that values synergy, dialogue, and building real solutions to address everyday problems. I believe these should be our highest priorities and the vision that shapes next year.
When under pressure, some institutions crumble from a weakness within. Through infighting, scrambling to grab every scrap available, or blindly protect their interests groups tear themselves apart. That protective reaction, to close off and shut out, is natural, but should be fought at every opportunity. WSU GPSA is under pressure, and it is testing our core.
I believe we have good people at all levels of WSU with good intentions. They want to see our students achieve great things academically, professionally, and socially, but without a transparent, honest, and community-based mindset our efforts fall flat. We don’t have to do more, we have to do better. We need synergy, not just efficiency. We need each other, not other people.
This is the platform I hope to implement should I serve next year. I know my running mate, Amir, believes in this model and together we will do whatever we can to continue WSU’s tradition of excellent and successful graduate and professional students. This can start with reshaping our services and policies, better supporting RSOs, and building better relationships with a broader number of administrators. Most importantly, we should foster a GPSA senate that is a place where people go to raise issues, find support, and make a difference.
Thank you for taking the time to vote, and please encourage your peers to do the same. I hope to continue working for you into next year. On Election Day, please vote Gilmore & Silva – Synergy We Need.
Candidates for College Representative
College of Arts & Sciences
Candidate: Tiffany Alvarez
I currently serve as College Representative for the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and Director of Community Affairs for GPSA. In these roles, I have helped plan and coordinate community-enhancing and community-service events for the WSU and Pullman community. I have also sought to develop new programming aimed at enriching graduate student wellness (Yoga Wellness Week) and expanding student's access to the academic community, to this latter end I have successfully obtained a TEDxWSU license (so yeah a delay but watch out Fall 2018!). My current university committee involvement includes service on the Commission on the Status of Women, Pullman 2040 committee, and the Center for Civic Engagement Advisory Board Counsel. In these positions, I have assisted with the development of a gender pay-disparity study within the CAS and I have assisted the process of engaging community members to develop and operationalize strategies aimed at enriching the identity, education, health, and economic development of the WSU-Pullman community. Prior to assuming these roles, I served as a GPSA Senator for two terms and was a member of the GPSA Legislative Affairs Committee, where I advocated on behalf of graduate students and led a group at Coug Day at the Capitol to lobby on matters concerning graduate tuition, healthcare, and loans.
Beyond health, graduate student wellness is influenced by financial security, academic engagement, social relationships, career prospects, and support that spans department, university, and legislative scales. My 2017-2018 leadership involvement has reified my passion for student-informed advocacy and has strengthened my ability to both recognize and serve the dynamic needs of the WSU graduate and professional student body. If re-elected, I will continue to advocate for policies and practices that promote an inclusive campus community and create spaces capable of fostering community, unity, and collaborative knowledge -building and -sharing. Moreover, I aim to enhance the GPSA’s ability to connect graduate students to the greater WSU research community by organizing the first-ever GPSA sponsored TEDx event.
I have experienced the challenge of balancing an academic schedule, teaching obligations, and a personal life with service appointments but I have also experienced the unique satisfaction that comes from being an informed student capable of introducing meaningful modifications to the status quo. I have experienced the unique satisfaction that comes from being surrounded by people who are passionate about progress.
I would like to continue serving as college representative because finding meaningful ways to impact lives and contribute to society is not only a professional aim but also a very personal goal that has radiated throughout my life. My love for community, volunteerism, and advocacy with vulnerable populations is a fundamental part of who I am. I am dedicated to service and want to continue to be a part of a team dedicated to the development of solutions capable of addressing the complex inequities that plague the communities I both am and am not a part of.
College of Arts & Sciences
Candidate: Andrew Gillreath-Brown
My name is Andrew Gillreath-Brown, and I am a second-year PhD student in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology. I am a current GPSA Senator for the 2017–2018 academic year for the Department of Anthropology at WSU Pullman. During my time, I have served on the Travel Grants committee. I have taken an active role and additional responsibilities while on the Travel Grants team to improve the process of the GPSA Travel Grants. I hope to join two committees soon at WSU, including Historic Preservation and the Academic Integrity Hearing Board. I also had the opportunity to work with a team at Coug Day at the Capitol, where we met with Washington State representatives to highlight WSU graduate and professional research and discuss important graduate issues, such as research funding, healthcare, student loans, and DACA. I believe that my previous experiences and leadership roles have equipped me well to serve as a College Representative if given the opportunity.
I joined the GPSA Senate because I am passionate about advocating for graduate and professional students. GPSA provides a platform and safe environment for voicing concerns. The best part is that the Executive Office, Executive Board, and Senate are quick to jump into action on solving problems and working with school leadership to find solutions. I believe that my drive for hard work and dedication to improving any facet that I work on, would allow me to effectively serve the graduate and professional community as an Executive Board member. I really like participating in a collaborative environment and working to improve the graduate and professional experience at WSU. My goal is to continue the positive momentum of the current GPSA administration. I would like to see the GPSA stay healthy and connected. So, we could continue to advocate and fight for graduate and professional students, so that we can remove any unnecessary stressors and allow students to thrive in their programs.
I have learned a great deal about collaboration, interdisciplinary communication, and leadership through a variety of experiences. I have served as an Executive Board Member for Tennessee Archaeology for four years, where I have formed and led several committees. We work together as a(n) board and organization to promote the stewardship of cultural resources. I have assembled other state organizations together to be proactive in legislation. I currently serve as the Treasurer and Webmaster of the Anthropology Graduate Organization at WSU.
I have sought opportunities to share my knowledge in academia such as mentoring undergraduates. I want to run for this position because I am passionate about advocating for students to increase their success as graduate and professional students. I have worked hard to get to where I am, and I want to work hard to make opportunities equally available for other students. I would be honored to serve as a College Representative, and I promise to observe and uphold the GPSA Constitution and Bylaws.
Candidate: Jennifer Johnson
I am a third year PhD student completing my PhD in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences. I was a GPSA senator in 2016-2017 and was active on the Legislative Affairs and Academic Integrity committees. I currently hold the Director of Professional Development position with GPSA and sit on the Professional Development Initiative committee. As a result I have had a year of experience residing in a college representative position and know how to run a committee and understand the expectations for the position. I also served on the National Association for Graduate-Professional Students for two years in director positions. I truly enjoy working with these groups to serve graduate and professional student needs. I believe that constant communication between the executive board and our constituents is essential to ensuring a well-rounded and healthy graduate experience. I hope as a to continue to improve the graduate experience in an executive position and ensure we are always trying to better the organization. This includes volunteering to run events, converse at meetings, and advance advocate efforts. I have experience of working with state and federal representatives through our efforts with GPSA Coug Day at the Capitol and NAGPS Legislative Action Days in Washington D.C. I believe this work is essential to ensuring that those that represent us at the state and federal levels have our best interest as graduate students at heart. I hope to continue this work as a college representative with GPSA.
Candidate: Jenisha Gerard
Although I have not served as a senator before, I have had other unique experiences with GPSA. For the 2016-2017 year, I served as the GPSA office assistant and took on a lot of extra responsibility due to a vacancy in the program coordinator position for majority of the year. I believe I have a unique insight into how the president, vice president, and the rest of the executive board works from my time working for the organization. Within the year I spent with GPSA I did the following:
- Advanced use of Excel
- Provide clerical support for the GPSA staff and other related duties as required
- Budget transferring and office purchasing
- Serve as the initial point of contact for the Graduate Professional Student Association Office
- Resolve problems associated with the GPSA operations and respond to inquiries.
- Ensure ongoing and timely communication of information and feedback from customers to immediate supervisor and/or appropriate staff.
- Assist with the operations of the GPSA computer lab in the Terrell Library.
- Design and assist with marketing content for scheduled events
- Maintain and organize large amount of information for Travel Grant applications and review
Beyond my qualifications, I am a Master's student in the Apparel Design, Merchadising and Textile department. I want to help grow and advocate for my graduate program and help inspire other to get involved with GPSA and other university leadership opportunities. As the program is very small, Jing Sun and myself are the only ones who have had any real exposure/involvement with GPSA and I want to change that! I believe the more we can be involved in decision making and choices for graduate students, the better our experience and department program will become.
I feel a natural pull toward the director of communications position. I feel that I am timely and efficient when it comes to managing and organizing large amount of information and data. Being the voice to WSU's graduate and professional students will give me the chance to help increase the awareness of our services and events, and well and increase the quality of communication between all GPSA members and the executive team. I have previous experience creating many marketing and promotional materials for many GPSA activities, and I feel that I can take those skills and build upon them to create fun and engaging Monday minute emails. I am a good listener and can also help create quality notes from every committee and senator meeting.
Overall, spending my first year of graduate school focusing on my studies has really helped me get adjusted and learn how to manage my time. I feel that it is time for me to take on a leadership role with more responsibility and challenge myself more outside of my classes. I am eager to learn and take the skills I would learn into my future career and lifestyle.
College of Education
Candidate: Carolina Silva
Having served as a senator this academic year has given me the expertise and confidence to run for the College of Education Representative position. I greatly enjoyed advocating for students in my college while working with students across campus on issues impacting graduate students. For this reason, I seek to continue gaining meaningful leadership experience as a GPSA College Representative. Learning the ins and outs of graduate school is no easy task. As a first-generation immigrant college student, I am familiar with the challenges faced by graduate students in general and underrepresented graduate students in particular. Becoming the College of Education Representative would allow me to use my experiences and expertise to ease the transitions and maximize the graduate journeys of my peers.
In my time as a graduate student in the College of Education, I have had the privilege to work with the Alhadeff Future Teachers of Color, the Mestizo Center, and provide guidance to incoming undocumented graduate students. Currently I am a research assistant in my department. Prior to that, I coordinated a program that serves over 400 underrepresented students in STEM. Through that role, I refined my organization, communication, and event planning skills. My previous experience in Student Affairs as a GA for Multicultural Student Services has also allowed me to gain great insight into the experiences of graduate GA's/interns as well as the programs and resources offered by my college. As the advisor for the Crimson group, (undocumented student advocacy) I have learned how to work effectively with administration which I think would be key in the role at hand. I also hope to share my professional resources and networks through my role on the Executive Graduate Student Committee for Division G of the American Educational Research Association. While the College of Education offers a dozen graduate programs, I have had the opportunity to familiarize myself with programs other than my own and many faculty and students outside my program. I am also aware that many of my colleagues come from abroad or have families. Thus, I am committed to ensuring practices and programing are inclusive to all graduate student needs.
As a graduate student, I have taken advantage of many opportunities offered in my college, including research, writing with faculty, professional development and conference funding. I have also been able to take advantage of national professional and academic opportunities through organizations like AESA and AERA. If elected as a college representative, I am committed to using my knowledge and networks to make such opportunities more accessible to all my colleagues. I am also interested in working across colleges to identify opportunities for College of Education graduate students in other departments. Last but not least, I look forward to working on issues faced by graduate students at a legislative level. This year I served on the GPSA Legislative committee, was able to help coordinate GPSA Coug Day at the Capitol and worked directly with the higher education committee to provide support for House Bill 1488.
College of Communications
Candidate: Miles Sari
Greetings, Murrow College community:
I ask for your support in my campaign for GPSA district representative for the Murrow College of Communication. I believe my leadership experience and determination are what make me a viable candidate for this position.
For the last three years, I’ve served as a member of the Communication Graduate Student Association (CommGrad). In my second year of graduate school, I served as the vice president of external affairs for this organization, and for the past two years, I’ve served as president. It will be difficult to leave my position in CommGrad, but at this juncture in my graduate school career, I feel the need to contribute more to the WSU community. Through collaborative leadership with my colleagues in the Murrow College, we’ve fostered a network of support to improve the graduate community in our college. While our main goal in this organization is to develop social and academic programming to enrich the graduate student experience, we are also at the forefront of bringing our students’ concerns to our College’s administration. By listening to the struggles of graduate students in our program, we’ve been able to work with our administration to improve the graduate education experience. Through this collaboration with our faculty and administration, I developed the necessary skills to initiate dialogues that address the needs of our students and suggest effective solutions. I believe I could bring these same skills to the important dialogues and decision making that occurs within GPSA.
If provided the privilege to serve as your district representative, I will make your concerns a top priority. We are at a critical juncture in higher education, especially at WSU, and we have the opportunity to produce substantive change and provide protection and support for our graduate students. It is critical that our College is involved in the conversations and policy decisions that will affect the experiences of all graduate students at this institution. Because of my leadership experience in the Murrow College, I believe I am the best candidate to ensure that Murrow College graduate students feel heard and represented in these decision-making processes.
Finally, I will make it my duty to collaborate with my colleagues in GPSA to develop plans of action so that the GPSA can better serve the needs of our diverse community of students. Also, I am determined to maintain the fantastic rapport and network of communication that has been created by our former senators and district representatives in GPSA. It is crucial for our community to stay informed about the decisions being made by the leaders in our student government. A vote for Miles Sari means a vote for experience, representation, and determination.
Thank you for considering me as a candidate for this wonderful opportunity. I look forward to serving you and the wider WSU graduates tudent community in GPSA if elected as your district representative.
College of Engineering & Architecture
Candidate: Hongda Ren
My name is Hongda Ren, a graduate student in Electrical Engineering at Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture (VCEA). I am running for College Representative of VCEA.
I have been a GPSA senator and serving on Professional Development Committee for nearly a year. My work is to help organize PDI events year around. The service experience of PDI events tells me what kind of events our graduate and professional students are interested in. I also learn how to serve for graduate students with the majors like social science, education, science, biology, art, and others.
I am representing GPSA on two university committees, University Parking and Transportation Task Force(UPTTF), and Transit Advisory Group. These two committees are collecting bus transit, campus parking, and traffic advisory service feedbacks from all students. The student transit fee and budget topics are discussed and voice of graduate students are effectively delivered and highly valued. Bus service updates, like new bus locator app and new express routes, are introduced in Senate meeting.
As a representative from Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, I weekly send out PDI and other GPSA social events notification to encourage more EECS graduate students to participate. Besides that, I am an active problem solver when graduate students in MME in our college experienced stipend cut. I visited a group of graduate students who were affected and made my best effort to build up communication pipelines between students and faculties and promote to reach a good solution. Really appreciate all efforts from administration board, GPSA, faculties, and graduate students to work together to reach good results.
The GPSA is a great place to get all kinds of concerns from graduate and professional students heard. All GPSA senators, directors, vice presidents and the president take all efforts to hear, learn and contribute their intelligence and efforts to make good things happen. It is a wonderful experience for me to be a part of GPSA to proudly represent and effectively serve graduate and professional students in EECS.
I am running for College Representative of VCEA to take larger responsibility and serve more graduate students in my college. This position can help me to allocate more resources like PDI events to benefit our graduate students on academic and professional life, and like travel grants to make more valuable research experience happen. I will get our graduate and professional students’ voice from VCEA heard, valued, and louder.
Thank you for your continuous support!