Ziad Ghaith (President)
In 2016, when I ran for the GSA President position I ran on two main platforms: First, to improve the graduate student representation on important decision making bodies at the university including the University Board of Governance and Council. Second, to advocate for developing compulsory supervisor-student guideline highlighting both the supervisors and their students’ responsibilities.
These significant projects which are reflected directly on the graduate student academic and non-academic experience were addressed at three levels: university administration, the provincial government, and broader university stakeholders. The efforts I have made in advocating for these strategic changes were well-received by both the provincial government and the university administration. To date, these projects have crossed a critical threshold, where the GSA has managed to build internal and external trust and a strong network with all stakeholders, and to successfully seed and advocate for the change.
Any cultural or strategic change, is a long-term change require years of work, I am running for the GSA President 2017/2018 to continue what I have started in 2016/17 we have some momentum now that we can build on effectively to achieve our strategic goals. I see the opportunity to serve as President for another year to “make something happen.” An experienced leader of the GSA is important as we try to validate our position and showcase the significance of graduate representation on the Board of Governance and building a network of trust in side the university to approve a mandatory student-supervisor guideline.
Jordan Bonkowski (VP Operations & Finance)
Greetings fellow graduate students!
My name is Jordan Bonkowski, and I am campaigning to serve as the Graduate Student Association’s VP of Operations and Finance for the 2017 / 2018 academic year. After completing my Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at the U of S, I elected to pursue a Master of Business Administration through the Edwards School of Business. As an engineer and MBA candidate, my academic experiences have familiarized me with governance, ethics, and financial competence. I have a strong background in mathematics, and take pride in my meticulous organization skills (which is a less nerdy way to say I love spreadsheets).
As the GSA’s VP of Operations and Finance, I would serve the University’s graduate students with the utmost ambition and integrity. Don’t forget to exercise your right to vote by logging onto PAWS and submitting your ballot from April 3-5!
Ali Kiani (VP Student Affairs)
Hi everyone! I'm running for Vice President Student Affairs for the GSA. I have been a member of this association (VP Academic) since April 2016 and It has been a great experience for me. I hosted a lot of workshops about different topics. One of these topics is an important issue of our time: Anti-Racism. Also, I am hosting 3MT and graduate student research conference at the GSA commons.
One of the most important functions that I learned is part of the VP Academic role is being an advocate for graduate students who have academic concerns with their supervisors and committee members. The GSA is initiating a student supervisor agreement that if implemented will address many of the issues I have being involved with over the previous year. This is a step in the right direction to make the working relationship between students, supervisors and committees more amenable.
I am also on the bargaining team for the 2016-2017 (PSAC) at the University of Saskatchewan. The goal of this bargaining team is to investigate ways to improve the standing of TA’s and RA’s with a formal agreement. This process, though still ongoing, has been personally fulfilling and I look forward to a positive outcome for all the key stockholders.
Here's a little background about me:
I have earned my B.A. and M.A. degrees in Political Science from Iran. I also got a my Master’s in Political Studies at the University of Saskatchewan and currently working on a Master’s in Public Administrations.
Vita Andersone (VP External)
I am an international student from Latvia and have lived in Canada for seven years, of which four were spent in Saskatoon. My Bachelor’s degree is in Sociology from the University of Saskatchewan. Currently, I am a first-year MA student in the Department of Sociology. As an undergraduate student, I was involved with Sociology Undergraduate Student Association and sat on several USSU committees. Working for change is important to me as a sociologist. My volunteer experiences have also guided me and my political interest to community outreach between our university and our city. This year, I have been instructing English as Additional Language for newcomer women at the International Women of Saskatoon.
As a graduate student, I am also involved with student politics, and, specifically, I am a councillor on the GSA council. I know we can do better, and as a council we need to be more engaged with students. Our voice has been quite silent, and it is time to step it up.
As your VP External I will focus on:
- pocketbook issues including wages, tuition and transit,
- be available for coffees, town halls, and social events to engage students,
- learning from, and working with other universities.
If you want to elect someone who is responsive, responsible, and respectful, then I am exactly what you are looking for. It is important that your voice is heard. On this election, vote for me as your VP External.
Logan Pizzey (director, 1 year)
My name is Logan Pizzey and I am running for a Board of Directors position in this year’s GSA elections. I am currently finishing my first year of a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. In addition to being a student, I play an active role on my family farm in Manitoba and also operate my own seed retail agency, selling DuPont Pioneer seed in the Binscarth, Manitoba area. This past year, I served on the GSA academic council as a representative for the department of Agriculture and Resource Economics. In addition to my position as a councillor, I also sat on the Finance and Audit committee. Through my work in both these capacities, I feel that I have gained a good understanding of the GSA and the current important issues that it is facing as an organization. I hope that by serving on the board, I will be able to help guide the organization forward and ensure that it can successfully meet the needs of its members in the future. In addition to my experience on council, I also feel that I am qualified for the position due to the experience that I have gained in recently forming my own business. This has provided me with first-hand experience in strategic planning, organizational structure, business law, and corporate finance. I hope to earn your vote in the upcoming election. Thank you.
Levi Johnson (director, 2-year)
Hello! I'm Levi Johnson, and I am campaigning for the two year seat on the GSA Board of Directors. My background is in Computer Science, and I received my B.Sc through the University of Saskatchewan in 2002. I'm currently working at PotashCorp as a Systems Analyst, and have lived in this city for the last 20 years. I've recently returned to school as an MBA candidate, which I plan on finishing in 2018.
My strength in data and analytics, coupled with my business education that is underway, will ensure that I bring something valuable to the table with this position. Both my father and grandfather went to the University of Saskatchewan, and it would be my honor to serve on this board to give something back to this school.
Anatoliy Trokhymchuk (director, 2-year)
Greetings fellow graduate students!
My name is Anatoliy Trokhymchuk and I am asking for your support to serve on the GSA Board of Directors.
Being a serial graduate student, I came to realization that there are actually things that can be done better at the U of S to the benefit of hard working and committed people pursuing graduate studies.
First of all, in the complex and challenging university environment graduate students are vulnerable to conflicting priorities of their academic supervisors – I have real life knowledge how difficult it is. I strongly support the idea of persistent, focused, and well-resourced effort in both educating and assisting faculty and students on developing functional, fair, and mutually beneficial supervisor-student relations. I think instituting the official guidelines is the right first step in the desired direction.
Secondly, GSA as an organisation needs to be more visible and proactive both on and off campus. I strongly support the recent GSA governance initiatives and happy to offer my help to advance the good work.
I would like to offer my insights and own experience as a student of two very different graduate programs to the service of the GSA Board of Directors. The current learning within the Master of Business Administration program will let me be efficient and effective contributor to the GSA Board of Directors work.
Wanda Seidlikoski Yurach (director, 2-year)
Wanda Seidikoski Yurach is currently enrolled in her first year of a Doctor of Philosophy program in Health Sciences in the Department of Medicine (Dean's Office). She lives in Prince Albert with her husband of 31 years and is the mother four children and has one grandchild. She completed a BA Advanced from the University of Saskatchewan in 1987, a BSW from the University of Regina in 1994 and an MSW from the University of Regina in 2001. Her graduate Thesis focused on the challenges women face balancing work and family. Wanda is a registered social worker and has been employed in a number of positions in her career including: a Corrections Worker with the Department of Corrections; Group Home Worker and Assistant Supervisor with the Ministry of Social Services and a Residential Support and Training Consultant with the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region. She has also been a sessional lecturer with the University of Regina, Faculty of Social Work. Wanda has worked as a community based Mental Health Therapist in northern First Nations communities since 2006 and is certified ASIST and SAFE Talk Trainer. Most recently Wanda was contracted by Prince Albert Grand Council to assist in the development of community based Mental Wellness Teams in six First Nations communities. These Mental wellness teams are one of the only community based teams developed within Canada. She also has a private counselling practice in Prince Albert that has been placed on hold while she attends the University of Saskatchewan.
Syed Adil Afzal (director, 2-year)
My name is Syed Adil Afzal, and I am interested in running for the open seat on the Graduate Student Association Board of Directors. I have previously represented graduate students on the University of Saskatchewan Code of Ethics and Discipline Committee. Additionally, I was the graduate student rep for the College of Arts and Science vice-dean search committee. I have also worked with many graduate students during my employment as a Residence Advisor at the U of S. Currently I am completing my graduate studies in Sociology. I have previously completed a Masters in Public Administration from the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the U of S, which has provided me with a strong knowledge and competency set to work in any non-profit or public sector executive position. I hope to continue to serve and represent graduate students as one of the GSA Board of Directors.
Syed Adil Afzal