A complete guide to the GPSA Senate election

Polls opened at 7 p.m. Monday night and close 5 p.m. Thursday night

FORREST HOLT, Evergreen news editor

The Graduate and Professional Student Association will elect new senators this week. Graduate and professional students can vote now through 5 p.m. Thursday. All voting will be online at studentvote.wsu.edu.

The following information comes from personal statements the candidates gave to GPSA. Some statements have been edited for brevity. Numbers after section names signify seats up for grabs.

Sixteen senate seats had no candidates file. GPSA Vice President Amir Gilmore said the association would hold special elections to fill the vacancies.


College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences

Apparel Merchandising Design and Textiles (1)

Jenisha Gerard, master’s student in apparel design, merchandising and textiles

I have previously worked in the GPSA office as the office assistant for the 2016-2017 year, so I feel that I know a lot of what will be expected and ways to promote graduate student and AMDT voices.


Biological Systems Engineering (1)

Anamaria Paiva Pinheiro Pires

I admire the work of GPSA in the university and I believe that I can help GPSA to communicate, understand and help the needs and struggles of other international students at WSU.


Yonas Gezahegn

I am very grateful for being an applicant for the “senator” position in GPSA. The excellence of GPSA in creating strong learning platforms from elite and experienced professionals and the practical leadership and communication experience that I will develop from the club are my main motivations to apply for this positions.


Lina Martinez, second-year doctoral student, biological systems engineering

I would love to have the opportunity to represent the graduate student voice as senator for the upcoming school year by attending and voting at the GPSA Senate meetings. Currently I am passionate about fostering the integration between graduate students.


Crop and Soil Sciences (1)

Halle Choi

Keeping in touch with other departments will help me develop as a well-rounded candidate. I hope to learn more about the budget distribution and factors that affect the lives of my current and future coworkers.


Aichatou Djibo Waziri

I am an international student and growing up I did not get the chance to participate to extra-curricular activities, mostly because of some societal bias. I see in that application both a way to have a foot in the door in terms of learning management skills and get to know the American system better.


Entomology (1)

Joshua Milnes

I would like to run for a GPSA senator position in order to provide off-campus representation for extension graduate students. Graduate students located off campus are presented with and face many different challenges than their on-campus peers, which I believe should be brought to the attention of GPSA.


Horticulture (1)

Margaret McCoy

I have been a part of WSU GPSA for three semesters, and I have found it a great place for growth of our whole graduate community, as well as a place for personal growth. I strive to make the horticulture department a more united front to addressing the issues that affect us in grad school, like health care and freedom to speak out for those things that we believe in deeply, regardless of location.


Plant Pathology (1)


Jonathan Eagle

I am running for this position so that I may represent my department. I have spent the last two years as a senator at large and represented other departments that did not have a senator.


College of Arts and Sciences


Anthropology (1)


Andrew Gillreath-Brown, second-year doctoral student, anthropology

I have served as an Executive Board member for Tennessee Archaeology for four years, where I have formed and led several committees. I am passionate about advocating for graduate and professional students.


Chemistry (2)

Kristen Johnson

I believe that participation in local governance is extremely important, as it is the backbone of our democratic system. If given the opportunity to represent the College of Arts and Sciences in the 2018-2019 academic year, I promise to improve GPSA visibility within the college and continue to represent you all in a professional and fair manner.


Critical Culture, Gender and Race (1)

Nicholas Krebs, doctoral candidate, American studies

It has been my pleasure to serve on the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies’ Graduate Education Committee as your graduate student representative for the last two years. I have been intimately involved in representing graduate student concerns throughout this trying process, and I believe this experience will help me serve you, my constituents, as I advocate for your rights in the new school.


History (1)

Joshua Johnson

I wish to be a GPSA senator and represent the history department because it is a valuable leadership position and I want to make sure that our department has a viable line of communication with GPSA.


Mathematics (1)


Damilola Olabode

I believe graduate school is an avenue to build career relationships and develop etiquette that can be projected into our regular lives after we graduate. It will be a great honor for me to represent the Department of Mathematics at the level of the Graduate and Professional Student Association.


Ralph Chikhany

After deciding to step out of my comfort zone and become more involved on campus, I applied to become a senator for the mathematics department with GPSA starting fall 2017. After the way senators and graduate students opposed the tax and stipend situations this year, I came to the realization that student voice is powerful and can make a big difference.


Allison Fisher

I feel very passionate about the voice that GPSA is able to give students. One aspect that I am passionate about is the conversation regarding mental health. I would like to help change this conversation within the graduate school. I would like to make the resources on campus easier for graduate students to access.

Physics (1)

Islam Khan

Being a senator in the GPSA, I realized the power us students have over the university policies and how essential it is to make sure the voices of the students are effectively communicated throughout the community. As a senator, it’s my responsibility to keep the needs of the student community in my best interest, and I plan to do exactly that.


Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs (1)

Mohammed Ghaedi

Being a senator in GPSA is an opportunity to contribute to WSU and particularly to graduate student community. This is my last year as a graduate student at WSU and I have time and incentives to give back to GPSA after years of receiving.


Timothy Chatburn

Serving on the GPSA Senate this past year has been a rewarding and eye-opening experience. If elected to continue on as senator, I feel I have the experience and insight to navigate the processes required to make students’ lives better.


Psychology (1)

Noel Vest

Having attended Coug Day at the Capitol for the past 3 years, I have found an interest in governmental policy advocacy and legislative affairs. This opportunity is in line with my career goals.


School of Biological Sciences (1)

Carsten Voelkner

I am running for my third year as a GPSA senator. I think I have invaluable experience in this job, which helped me improve my communication skills and being able to connect to more people.


Sociology (1)

Sadie Ridgeway

I care a great deal about graduate and professional student issues and bettering our experience. I want to be a part of this organization and work with other graduate and professional students to help create the environment we want to exist here at WSU.


School of the Environment (1)

Ayman Alharbi

I am applying for this position to be a senator representing the School of the Environment because I want to make a difference and give a helping hand to graduate students. I am looking forward to helping graduate students be more connected to the GPSA and more engaged in GPSA activities.


Michelle Peziol

I want to become more involved in the WSU community. I have been very lucky to have people support me in my academic career and I would like the opportunity to give back.


Carson College of Business

 Accounting (1)

Michael Craven

I would like to keep representing the accounting department, the business school and all of the graduate and professional students of WSU. The GPSA does exceptional work for students, and I would like to support that work by improving the foundations of GPSA in the Constitution and Bylaws so that the work of GPSA can continue and grow well into the future.


Business Administration (1)

Zhe Ouyang

I joined the Carson College of Business three years ago and have enjoyed the life in Pullman as an international student. Now I’m more than happy to change my role and serve the community.

Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

Communication (2)

Stephanie Saracco

As a student, I have reaped many benefits from GPSA and want to give back in any way possible. By becoming a senator, I would be able to continue the work that has contributed to my success.


Xizhu Xiao

The reason I’m running for this position is that I would like to better facilitate the communication efficiency between GPSA and our department. Besides, I hope serving as a senator could not only make a difference in the lives of graduate students at our department, but also improve the status quo of graduate students in general.


College of Education

Educational Leadership, Sport Studies and Education/Counseling Psychology (2)

Rachel Wong

I am running to be senator because I would like to be more involved at WSU and GPSA offers me a platform in which I can be a voice for those who need it. In becoming a senator, I likewise hope to help enrich the graduate experience for others, academically, professionally and socially.


Teaching and Learning (2)

Courtney Benjamin

I was honored to serve as a senator for the 2017-18 school year, representing the teaching and learning department. While on Senate, I learned more than I could have imagined about policy about procedure, and, most importantly, about attending to and balancing differing agendas.


Jeremiah Sataraka

In college, I started to think critically about my educational experiences because of the professors who challenged me to think deeply about social inequities, and the friendships that spoke to my heart. It was through these experiences that solidified my belief that those in positions of power have a responsibility to realize that you can never be neutral.


Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

Engineering Sciences (1)

Shima Bahramvash Shams

Being involved in GPSA since January 2017 was a great opportunity for me to be informed of different issues that happened on the WSU campus. Discussing these issues and finding a way to mitigate them was a great experience. I am so excited to serve as a senator one more year.


Chemical and Bioengineering (1)

Maryam Davaritouchaee

It will be an honor to be a part of GPSA, and I will do my best to be a productive, supportive and creative part of this humane organization. As a GPSA member, my main priority will be to establish professional settings for graduate students so that they can pursue their goals with ease of mind and support of their fellow colleagues who understand the hardship of their path.


Civil and Environmental Engineering (1)

Mehnaz Shams

I love to meet with new people and want to serve the WSU community with them. Some of my friends were already senators of GPSA and I am highly inspired by them. I want to develop my leadership skills by being an active member of GPSA.

School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (2)

Dishary Banerjee

As I near the end of my fourth year, I am more than ready to take my involvement to the next level and serve as a committed member to GPSA. GPSA provides a platform and safe environment for voicing concerns for graduate students at WSU.


Seyed Hossein Mamanpush

I am looking for a valuable experience and I want to be a part of this community. I also love getting to know other graduate students from different departments and learning how different colleges work.


Haley Mikeska

I served as a senator for the MME department for the 2017-2018 term and thoroughly enjoyed the involvement the position offered. I am running for a Senate position again, so that I can stay involved as I continue along my academic journey as WSU.


School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (3)

Parisa Mohammadalizadeh Shabestari

I think this would give me a great opportunity to be helpful for my department’s graduate students. I can help their voice to be heard by GPSA and try to solve the issues and concerns they may have.


Amirkhosro Vosughi

I found the services that GPSA provides for graduate students really helpful. So I wish to be involved in GPSA activities.


College of Veterinary Medicine

Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience (1)

Naomi Wallace

I previously served as a Senator for the College of Veterinary Medicine during the 2016-2017 school year. If elected, I will work to increase knowledge about GPSA and its services amongst my constituents. I look forward to hopefully rejoining the GPSA team next fall!


Veterinary Medicine (6)

Garrett Ryerson

As a WSU professional student and a second-year DVM candidate in the College of Veterinary Medicine, I would like to be considered as a representative to the GPSA Senate. I am very excited about the possibility of working with the larger graduate and professional student community at WSU.


Graduate School

Material Science and Engineering (1)

Yu-Chung Chang

I have had the pleasure and honor of serving as a GPSA senator this semester. One of my main goals is to let my peers understand that their concerns and opinions matter, and I will be their voice in the Senate should they so desire.


Molecular Plant Science (1)

Bruce Williamson Benavides

I see GPSA as a great chance to give back to the Graduate School and WSU community. GPSA provides me with the opportunity to represent my department and work toward a better graduate school experience for all my colleges.


Individual Interdisciplinary (1)

Susan Williams

I have greatly enjoyed representing the IIDP program this last year, and wish to expand duties and communications with those in the program in the next year. I will work to expand the meet-ups, information exchange between cohorts and issues covered in the GPSA.