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The Results Are In!

Thank you for voting and having your voice heard! Your GSS executives are

Firth MacKenzie McEachern

President

Patricia Unung

VP University & Academic Affairs

Emily Tang

VP External Relations

Bhoomika Sharma

VP Students

Election Candidates

List of Candidates
Get to Know the Candidates

Meet the candidates running to be a GSS Executive, and learn why they want to represent the graduate student community and UBC. 

President

Firth MacKenzie McEachern

Studying: Education (PhD) 

Running for: President 

What he brings to the table: Experience as a current GSS Councilor, a friendly personality and caffeine-like energy, a multicultural and interdisciplinary background, and a passion for social and environmental initiatives! 

 

A few words from Firth: 

After living in Jordan, Australia, Nepal, Egypt, Scotland, the U.S., Philippines, Colombia, and more, I finally returned to Canada in 2021 to pursue my PhD here at UBC. On one hand, I felt at home in this multicultural environment, but on the other hand, I discovered the less palatable aspects of life here: not being able to find any housing for months, expensive rent, inflated prices ($5 for a few chilli peppers?), uncertainty in my program direction, and strangers who gave me a weird look for merely saying hello to them. Welcome to Vancouver! My experience reflects that of many, but thankfully in the last year the vista is looking brighter. 

As President, I want to make happy tales the norm for graduate students, by securing commitments from UBC for more housing so that students aren’t left floundering in their first year, increase graduate student financial aid (the price of Timmy’s is going up faster than our grants), expand the number and diversity of social events that GSS organises (looking for a friend, exercise buddy, hobbyist, partner? — we have something for you!), help international students navigate the complexities of immigration and work/study rules, translate the lessons learned from Covid and freak climate events into more innovative and flexible learning and teaching options (p.s. why is the administration so dilatory in announcing online classes when there is a snowstorm?), create “troubleshooting and brainstorming” activities for researchers stuck in a rut, and enhance UBC Career Centre’s programming to better cater to graduate student needs.  

My predecessors have done a lot in the last five years to resurrect the GSS and provide us with a panoply of services. As a current Councilor in the GSS and hopefully President, I look forward to continuing this trajectory with the help of my friendly and somewhat audacious personality, caffeine-like energy, passion for social and environmental initiatives, multicultural and interdisciplinary background (from astrophysics to languages!), and appreciation for this super diverse community we live in. If I make mistakes, kindly let me know (no hard feelings) so I can iterate and improve along the way!

Josiah C. Nworie

Studying: Archival Studies (Master’s) 

Running for: President 

What he brings to the table: Leadership experience, experience as a librarian, a passion for continued progress! 

 

A few words from Josiah: 

My name is Josiah Chukwumaobi Nworie. I am a Master of Archival Studies (MAS) student in the School of Information (2023 – 2025). I am contesting for the position of the President of the Graduate Student Society (GSS). 

I have a PhD in Library and Information Science (UNIZIK, 2018), and a Master’s of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) (2008) from the University of Ibadan Nigeria. I am a Fellow, Institute of Policy and Management Development (FIPMD). I have also worked as a librarian for 15 years and have headed different responsible positions in the University Library in Alvan Ikoku University of Education Owerri, Nigeria. I was the Vice Chairman of Imo State Nigerian Library Association (2023), Financial Secretary, Academic and Research Libraries of Nigerian Library Association (2023), PRO, Imo State Chapter Nigerian Library Association (2019-2022), and the President of Religious Studies Students Association UNN Alvan Campus Owerri (2003). 

I am running for the position of the president to: 

  • Maintain existing GSS services such as graduate student financial aid, housing-security-aid (HSA), peer support, AMS/GSS health and dental plan, and GSS graduate coaching program. 
  • Strengthen the programs and projects of the incumbent administration like the archives project with my executive. 
  • Continue to protect the welfare and rights of the graduate students of UBC Vancouver. 
  • Contribute to building a stronger affiliation between graduate students and the global captains of industry. 
  • Lead the graduate students to support the good initiatives of the current council and management of the university. 

I am using this opportunity to call on all graduate students of the University of British Columbia to support me, vote for me massively and keep faith with our administration. Our administration, when given the opportunity, will bring continued peace and serenity to the university community which is needed in our studies and for our timely graduation. 

My regime shall inspire confidence in the GSS because it is going to be an administration of experience, maturity, and inspiration. 

Every tribe and tongue (diversity and inclusion) in the graduate student community shall be respected and carried along. 

A vote for Josiah Nworie is a vote for continued progress. 

Vice President University & Academic Affairs 

Patricia Unung

Studying: Curriculum Studies (PhD) 

Running for: Vice President University & Academic Affairs 

What she brings to the table: Experience as a GSS Councillor, a passion for mentoring and representing students, and a deep understanding of the intricacies of university and academic affairs. 

 

About Patricia: 

Patricia Unung, a PhD candidate in Curriculum Studies, is a seasoned university lecturer for more than 6 years prior to her doctoral studies. While lecturing, she was appointed as the unit head in her academic program for two full academic sessions.   

As the unit head, she conducted curriculum updates, and developed a new curriculum series for the continuing education arm of the program. She also coordinated the accreditation exercise of the unit in collaboration with the national university body – National University Commissions, (NUC) Nigeria. She has also supervised more than 15 research projects, coordinated departmental workshops and seminars for students, as well as direct placement of students for internships and practicums.    

Here at UBC, she is currently serving as Peer Advisor in her program, as well as student representative in her departmental board meetings. She is also serving as a councillor representing her program at the GSS council. Her doctoral research features curriculum reforms with equity, diversity, and Inclusion lenses. Consequently, she understands how to successfully negotiate equity, diversity, and inclusion in academic and university practices.   

With this background, she is familiar with the intricacies of university and academic affairs and can efficiently identify suitable tools for managing university’s activities to enhance students’ experiences. She has worked with a wide range of academics and administrators, both locally and internationally. As such, she effectively knows how to navigate the bureaucratic procedures of university affairs.

Vice President - Students

Bhoomika Sharma

Studying: Law (Master’s) 

Running for: Vice President – Students 

What she brings to the table: Understanding of the challenges faced by graduate students (especially international grad students), and a background in law, mental health initiatives, and policy research! 

 

A few words from Bhoomika: 

Hello fellow graduate students of UBC! I am thrilled to announce my candidacy for the position of Vice President-Students in the UBC Graduate Student Society. I am an International Student from India, currently pursuing a research-based LLM Degree at Allard Hall. I joined the UBC family last September, and therefore, as a fresh international student at UBC, I’m also on a journey of figuring out how to fit in and make connections in this unfamiliar place.  

As a current Master’s student, I have had the privilege of being deeply involved in UBC’s academic community, and I understand the challenges and aspirations that we, as grad students, face every day. With a background in law, mental health initiatives, and policy research, I am equipped with the knowledge and passion to represent our collective interests effectively.  

I am running for the position of Vice President-Students because I am committed to enhancing the academic experience and overall well-being of our grad student body. If elected, I will prioritise: 

  • Promoting mental health initiatives for grad students 
  • Providing tools and resources for academic excellence 
  • Empowering affiliated organisations 
  • Establishing effective communication channels between grad students and the GSS 

With your support, I am confident that we can achieve meaningful progress. Thank you for considering me as your Vice President-Students. I look forward to earning your trust and serving  you with enthusiasm. 

Simarjeet Nagpal

Studying: Community and Regional Planning (Master’s) 

Running for: Vice President – Students

What he brings to the table: Experience as GSS’ VP Students, a decade-long commitment to student governance, and a passion for cultivating a collaborative and inclusive graduate community. 

 

A few words from Simar: 

I am currently immersed in the second year of the Master of Community and Regional Planning program, have a decade-long commitment to student governance and currently serves as VP Students. In my short tenue, I have enhanced support for Affiliated Organizations’ activities, recognizing AO as a vital part of GSS. I plan to further strengthen AOs and improve the incorporation of a broader scope of direct democracy within the student body. Beyond governance, I am passionately dedicated to cultivating a collaborative and inclusive graduate community, thereby contributing to a holistic and enriching grad life.

Vice President - External

Asim Khanal

Studying: Forestry (PhD) 

Running for: Vice President – External

What he brings to the table: Lots of passion, leadership experience, and prior experience as a city planner. 

A few words from Asim:  

I’m running for the Vice President-External position at the Graduate Student Society because I’m passionate about various issues that require communication, coordination, and liaison with organisations and authorities beyond the UBC administration. For instance, difficulties and inconveniences related to daily commutes is one aspect that needs to be addressed in UBC.  

My prior experience as a city planner and a government employee makes me capable of dealing with authorities like TransLink and advocating for the required changes in a professional manner.  

I’ve worked in various leadership roles that required similar communication and liaisoning skills like Co-Chair of the Social Committee at Green College UBC, and Executive Member of External and Stakeholder Affairs in Emirates Planning Association in Abu Dhabi.  

Currently, I’m also a Counselor at Forestry Graduate Student Association, and an Honorary Founding Member at Placemaking India. I believe my leadership, volunteering, and professional experience around the world will benefit the graduate student community as a whole if I become VP-External Relations at GSS.  

Emily Tang

Studying: Kinesiology (Master’s) 

Running for: Vice President – External

What she brings to the table: Experience as GSS’ VP External, passion for improving student mental health, increased graduate funding, food security, increased supports for gender-based violence, and international student fees! 

 

A few words from Emily: 

Do you want more money to help support your education and living expenses in Vancouver? If yes, please vote for me to be your VP-External for the 2024-2025 school year!  

My name is Emily Tang, a Master of Arts in Kinesiology student, and I was your VP External last year! Please vote for me to be your VP External again this year because as a first-generation immigrant woman, I am so passionate about improving student mental health, increased graduate funding, food security, increased supports for gender-based violence, and international student fees. This past year, I have worked with the BC and federal government and advocated for these needs, and I want to continue advocating for you all!   

This year, I will continue to lobby the federal government to increase the amount and the duration of the Tri-Agency Council funding, recognizing that it takes an average of two years for a Master’s and five years for a PhD. I will also continue to ask the BC government to allocate more funding to graduate student needs detailed above specifically.  

I welcome any questions on my Instagram @itsemilytang or @emily4vpx_ubcgss! 

Questions?

For general inquiries, please email eseo@gss.ubc.ca

Nominate Form Submission

Submit Your Nomination Form Today!

Email your form to the Elections and Student Engagement Officer at eseo@ubc.gss.ca or set up a time with them to submit your form in person. All nominations must be submitted by February 16 at 5 pm.

Alternatively, you may also pick up the form in person from the GSS office located at the Thea Koerner House on campus.

Positions
President

The President performs many important tasks including being the public face of the GSS by speaking on behalf of the Society and graduate students, as well as being responsible for communications of the Society. This involves important leadership responsibilities including communication between the Society and its members and responsibility to the Council for the execution of Council decisions by the Society and the Spokesperson for the Council and the Society.

Vice President External Relations

The Vice President External Relations is responsible for the external affairs of the Society. This involves representing the Society to external organizations that deliberate on the affairs relevant to graduate students by developing links with such organizations and promoting and communicating information on the Society’s activities to other organizations excluding UBC organizations. They will be responsible for community outreach and external political events of the Society and liaising regularly with affiliated organization.

Vice President Students

The Vice President of Students holds the responsibility for academic matters of the Society supporting the Society’s affiliated organizations by enabling members to create social, recreational, and educational programs sponsored by the Society. This involves assessing the needs, in terms of services and programs, of the Society’s members on a regular basis. The Vice President’s goal is to encourage and facilitate affiliate organizations applications for the GSS Event Funding and liaising regularly with affiliate organizations.

Vice President University and Academic Affairs

The Vice President of Academic Affairs holds the responsibility of academic matters of the Society. This involves being responsible for the Academic and External Affairs Committee, by liaising with organizations concerning graduate student academic matters, as wells as the Faculty Association, the seasonal instructors, the teaching assistants, and the nonteaching staff.

Submission Guidelines
Criteria and Process

Any ordinary Society member (any currently registered Masters or PhD student from UBC Vancouver campus) may be nominated for positions listed above to be contested in the election.

  • Nominations are completed by submitting a copy of the approved nomination form with signatures of three ordinary Society members (any registered Masters or PhD student from UBC Vancouver campus) in support of the nomination and the nominee themselves.

  • Completed forms should be emailed to the elections and student engagement officer before or on February 16, 2024 at 5 pm, or handed in person to the ESEO (Elections and student engagement officer) by first contacting the ESEO via email (eseo@gss.ubc.ca) and arranging a drop-off point and time.

  • Candidacy will be verified by the Electoral Officer or a member of GSS staff.

  • Eligible candidates will be notified and invited to the All-Candidates Meeting. Unless an exception is granted, all candidates are required to attend the meeting.

Meeting Absence and Submission Guidelines

Candidates who are unable to attend the meeting must contact the Electoral Officer ahead of time. What material should candidates submit?  

  1. Personal Statement for GSS website (200 words max). For instance, who you are, why you are the right person for the position, and why people should vote for you, what you hope to achieve if elected.  
  2. Personal Statement brief for the ballot and GSS social media (100 words max)  
  3. Personal photo 
GSS Policy Manual
Questions?

For general inquiries, please email eseo@gss.ubc.ca