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2018 - 2019 Executive Council Candidates

President Candidate::Joey Campbell

My name is Joey Campbell and I would like to nominate myself for the 2018-2019 GSS President position. Over the past 3 years, I have worked to become more involved in the graduate student population. I have held positions as a chemistry senator, on the board of trustees as a representative in BFI, and as the chair of the Housing Action Committee, working with the administration to make housing more accessible to graduate students. I firmly believe that when people refer to the “student experience“ graduate students should be part of that conversation and over the past couple years the graduate student senate has had a large part in making that happen. In this time, I have not only learned about the administration, faculty, and Board of trustees but have also seen the symbiotic relationship between them all. The connection that all these entities hold is at the core existence of GSS and it is my goal to use my experience to foster a stronger relationship between these entities to improve on graduate student life. Some of these issues include housing, stipends, mental health, and the overall student experience as it pertains to Graduate Students. My involvement within the GSS and past positions as president of the SGA, and board of trustee representative at Wheaton college (MA) have given me a first had look at what a community of students are capable of. The collaboration and outlook when students, administration, faculty and the Board of trustees are functioning as one is tremendous. Through fruitful conversations with senators, representatives, and graduate students alike it is possible to make graduate life and the graduate student experience better for everyone. Finally, the graduate student senate is your chance to voice your opinion on how to make the graduate student experience better. I am more than willing to discuss your success (personal or professional), adversities, or thoughts of how I could better serve you as GSS president this coming year. The graduate student population can do great things to better the student experience now and in years to come.

Vice President Candidate::Jessica Bocanegra

I, Jessica L. Bocanegra, would like to run for Vice President of the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) for the 2018-2019 term. I am currently a third-year Ph.D. candidate in the Chemistry program, and I served as the GSS Communications Director this past year. As Communications Director, I not only gained experience serving on the Executive Council, but I also had the opportunity to learn what improvements can be made across the graduate programs as well as hearing the wants and needs of the greater graduate community. Graduate student housing has been a hot topic for the past couple of years and GSS has made great strides towards making that dream a reality. As Vice President, I will continue to fight relentlessly for reasonable housing accommodations for our graduate students. Along with housing, graduate student mental health and resources would be a top priority, and I would work with CAPS and the Graduate College to create programming that is targeted towards helping graduate students cope with stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Along with programming, I would collaborate with CAPS to adjust available hours for counseling to better suit graduate students’ hectic schedules. Lastly, I hope to strengthen our connection with alumni of the Graduate College to allow for more career opportunities upon graduation. By bettering our relationship with alumni, we will not only open the door for a wider variety of job opportunities, but we can also start to build a mentorship program to guide graduate students on routes that differ from academia post-graduation. My interests solely and earnestly lie with the graduate students and bettering our experience at UVM. I am open to hearing any and all ideas and suggestions from graduate students and communicating that information directly to the administration. Thank you for your time and for considering my nomination!

Treasurer::Aayudh Das

Dear Graduate Student community, I’m Aayudh Das, a graduate student in the department of plant biology and I’m running for the treasurer position. For past one year I’ve been a part of GSS as a senator from plant biology. I strongly believe that GSS is a great platform to voice graduate student’s concern and I would like to contribute more by being more deeply involved with the executive council. The past, I served as a President of Indian Student’s Association (ISA), University of Vermont for the term of 2017-2018. I lead a group of international students executed our charter and the university’s diversity mission. We organized many cultural events throughout the year that aimed at bringing the international students together. From barbeques that welcomed incoming graduate students, to road trips to cultural events like DIWALI, ISA did it all. During my term, I also enforced creating a greater social network and I involved all the graduate students not only from India but every other country around the world, now ISA is the most diverse group (representing ten countries) on UVM. I also worked as an acting treasurer and got familiar with university budgeting system, especially the chart string system. I have also worked with various UVM business analysts which has given me a deep understanding of the university’s budgeting and accounting system. As a result I was given the responsibility for forming the ISA budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 (~$14k) and a key decision maker for managing the expenditure in all our event. I shall utilize my previous experiences to better serve as a treasurer in GSS, and to serve the greater graduate students community. With my diverse experience and fresh perspective, I will make a difference for the graduate student community. I’m proud to be a UVM graduate student and it’s my responsibility to serve my fellow graduate students, which I seek to serve through the Graduate Student Senate.

Communications Director::Mahafuza Aktar

Hello everyone, My name is Mahafuza Aktar. I am a second year neuroscience graduate student. I am excited to say that I am running for the communications director for 2018-2019 academic years. Currently, I am the secretary of the graduate student senate and can say with pride that I successfully fill my role. Over the last year, I learned and grew a lot as a member of the executive board. I want to use my experience and help the graduate student senate become a strong community that graduate students can rely on. In addition to being a member of the executive committee, I was also co-treasurer of the Indian Students Association, and I am a member of the GSS housing committee, whose goal is to push the authority to build a permanent graduate housing community at UVM. I have volunteered in several outreach programs including the Vermont brain bee, and BRAIN (Bringing Rural Areas Interactive Neuroscience). Before coming to UVM, I was vice president of the Bangladesh Student Organization (BSO) at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) where I earned an M.S. degree. My goal as a communications director is to make the information about all events, on campus and off campus, available to graduate students. I also want to make GSS a strong support system and an inclusive community for all graduate students; not only doctoral students, but masters level students as well. I want to strengthen the relationship of GSS with every graduate student by making sure that every voice is heard, and I want to increase the participation of graduate students in GSS by organizing events that they want. As an international student studying and working in two American universities for almost five years, I understand issues that both American and international students care deeply about. With my diverse experience and fresh perspective, I believe I am the best candidate for this position. I love the University of Vermont and would be honored to serve in the UVM Graduate Student Senate. I hope you will vote for me and elect me as the Communications Director for next academic year. Thank you!


Currently there is no one running for Secretary. There will be a write in option as well as an option to allow the newly elected president to appoint a secretary (with a student whose program is not already represented on the elected executive board). In either situation the write in or appointed secretary would have to formally accept the position.

Other Information:

Campaigning week, this will take place from today (3/19) until Sunday (4/1). During this time candidates running will have their bios/statements released and are encouraged to speak with other graduate students about their platforms.

Elections will take place from 4/2 - 4/4 and will be opened for 48 hours. All graduate students on the list serve will be e-mailed a survey link that will require your NetID (NOT your 95#). Names of new executive members will be released by Friday 4/7.

2017 - 2018 Executive Council Members

President: Michelle DiPinto

Vice President: Leslie Sepaniac

Treasurer:Jesse Cases-Villablanca

Secretary: Mahafuza Aktar

Communications Director:Jessica Bocanegra

Previous Executive Council Members

Last modified March 19 2018 02:34 PM

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