UMGSA 2021-2022 Executive Nominations

See below for a list of executive profiles. The candidates names are listed below in alphabetical order by last name and are sorted by the position they have applied for, with their slate name in bold. The election takes place solely online and you will receive a link in your University of Manitoba email account that will connect you to your ballot.

For HSGSA Candidates Click Here.

President:

Silvia Sekander (Electrical & Computer Engineering, Ph.D.), Together

Vice President Academic:

Rubel Chandra Talukder (Electrical & Computer Engineering, Ph.D.), Together

Vice President Services and Support:

Golnaz Shirzadi (Education, Ph.D.), Together

Vice President Finance and Administration:

Nora Ampomah (Political Studies, M.A.), Together

Violeta Bekovcki (Management – Interdisciplinary, MBA)

Senator

AKM Monsurul Alam (Electrical & Computer Engineering, Ph.D.), Together

William Dowie (Environment & Geography, M.Env.), Together


President:

Silvia Sekander (Electrical & Computer Engineering, Ph.D.), Together

Hello, fellow grad students! I am Silvia Sekander. I completed my M.Sc. program at the University of Manitoba and currently I am pursuing Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

I am the current President of University of Manitoba Graduate Students’ Association (UMGSA). During my tenure, I was actively involved in the following:

  • Proposal and implementation of U-pass subsidy program
  • Advocacy for deferral of summer continuing fees 2021
  • Facilitating accommodation waiving the guarantor form requirement
  • Lobbying the Provincial Government for international student health care
  • Advocating for pandemic relief fund for Grad students
  • Advocacy to prevent potential Faculty strike

I was a Sr. Software Engineer in “Samsung R&D Institute Bangladesh” for three years, Post Manager in “Samsung Electronics, Dubai” and “Samsung Noida Mobile Company”. I served as the President and Graduate Students’ Representative at University of Manitoba Bangladeshi Students’ Association. I am the Assistant General Secretary of Canada Bangladeshi Association, Manitoba.

My past experience of leadership in different phases of my career gives me the strong base to qualify for the position of UMGSA President. If elected, my plan is to work for the graduate students’ welfare as my top priority.

For more details: https://www.linkedin.com/in/silvia-sekander-765a39101/


Vice President Academic:

Rubel Chandra Talukder (Electrical & Computer Engineering, Ph.D.), Together

Hello Grad students, I am the current VP Academic, Rubel Chandra Talukder. When I was running one year ago for the first time, COVID was not quite in our horizon and we could not anticipate the implications of this global pandemic in our lives as graduate students like everyone else. However, I would like to highlight few achievements that I am proud to be part of as VP Academic.

Compassionate grading: This grading scheme will give students the choice to drop one of their grades so it does not impact their GPA, although it will stay on a student’s transcript. It was reported in CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/university-manitoba-alternative-grading-1.5827956

Holiday Hamper 2020:  There are far more applications (8 times) in this year’s holiday hamper compared to previous years.  Despite this, I convinced my fellow UMGSA executives to increase the hamper from 100 to 150 dollars for every student. Moreover, I have managed to convince UM administration to help some applications which were rejected by UMGSA.

UM COVID-19 Graduate Student Pandemic Relief Fund: Introduced the idea of suspending the continuing fee in Summer-2021 until Summer-2022 and that push ultimately resulted in University Administration creating this new bursary for graduate students.


Vice President Services and Support:

Golnaz Shirizadi (Education, Ph.D.), Together

Hello graduate student, my name is Golnaz Shirzadi and I am a second-year PhD Student in the department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. My research focus is on language proficiency testing and I hope to make major contributions to this field with my future research. I have been teaching English as an additional language for almost 10 years. I am also a Research Assistant and a project manager in Dr. Kouritzin’s SSHRC funded research.

In 2020, as a representative of EdGSA, I worked on the International Students’ Welcoming Package in COVID’ plan in collaboration with Faculty of Education; Currently I am on the executive board of University of Manitoba Iranian Students’ Association (UMISA), and this has given me the chance to contribute more to the community by running various English classes, cultural events and academic workshops.

As your UMGSA Vice President Services and Support (VPSS) I am planning to organize more academic workshops and cultural events and I will be always there for you, as the Iranian poet Saadi said:

Human beings are members of a whole,

In creation of one essence and soul.

If one member is afflicted with pain,

Other members uneasy will remain.


Vice President Finance and Administration:

Nora Ampomah (Political Studies, M.A.), Together

Hello graduate students! I am excited and hopeful to continue the journey we have already began as your representation on the UMGSA as Vice-President Finance and Administration (VPFA). I am Nora Ampomah, a second-year masters’ student in Political Studies, with experience in Administration and Finance from the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs.

Despite the effects of Coivd-19 on our community, it has been a successful, interesting, and smooth first year as VPFA. To ensure that graduate students have some financial assistance during these challenging times, I introduced the Conference Grants program for virtual conferences and with approval from Council, reallocated funds from the conference grant budget to increase the budgets for emergency grants and holiday hampers. Together with my team, I also engaged in many advocacy roles which at the request of the UMGSA, led FGS to introduce programs like the virtual travel award. Furthermore, I have ensured that the Governance Manual governing the operations of the UMGSA is more streamlined and demonstrative of the works done within the UMGSA.

My standing goal is to investigate opportunities for incorporating other funding sources into the UMGSA and to implement Council’s mandate to make all of our investments ethical!


Violeta Bekovcki (Management – Interdisciplinary, MBA)

Hi everyone! My name is Violeta Bekovcki and I am running for Vice President Finance and Administration. I am currently in my second year as an Asper MBA student and am double majoring in Finance and Leadership. I also completed my Undergrad at Asper as well, graduating in 2018.

I am currently the people/training manager at a popular restaurant chain and have had experiences in negotiating with other parties, advocating on behalf of my employees, and introducing new and creative ways to improve our current systems; such as a better scholarship program, optimized training schedules, streamlined payroll systems and more!

I have always had an interest in the financial systems especially as it concerns students and wish to use my expertise in the area to advocate for additional Graduate funding. I am highly motivated to find new ways to expedite the grant process for Graduate students and would love the opportunity to be able to do so.

Here is my LinkedIn Link if you wish to know more about me!

www.linkedin.com/in/violetabekovcki


Senator

AKM Monsurul Alam (Electrical & Computer Engineering, Ph.D.), Together

My name is AKM Monsurul Alam and I am running for the position of senator. I am pursuing my PhD in the department of electrical and computer engineering (ECE). Over the years I have been involved in different student and community groups from where I gained tremendous experience in leadership, information sharing and advocacy. From the beginning of my study at this University, I am very much engaged with UMGSA and I am currently a member of finance, event, and senate committees. Beside that I am also serving as treasurer of the graduate student association of ECE department and the vice president finance of university of Manitoba Bangladeshi student association (UMBSA).  Apart from that I am active in professional networking and serving as a treasurer of IEEE Youth Professionals (YP) Winnipeg. These positions helped me a lot to learn more about students’ needs and problems and the strategies that we can apply to eliminate or lessen those problems. My main goal as a senator would be to find out students’ concerns regarding various issues they are facing especially in this unprecedented time and advocate them in the senate committees with sincerity and honesty.


.William Dowie (Environment & Geography, M.Env.), Together

William (Bill) Dowie is the incumbent Senator and Executive Member of UMGSA.  As a graduate student representative, Bill serves on the following UManitoba Committees:  Senate Executive, COVID-19 Relief Steering Committee, Faculty of Graduate Studies Council, Sustainability, FGS Student Experience, Co-Curriculum Record, and Libraries.

Bill is the past Faculty Representative and Co-Councillor for the Environment and Geography GSA, as well as a past vice-president for UMGSA.  Bill knows giving back to the community is important.  Past and current service include several boards and committees within the non-profit and government sectors.  Bill is also a former Instructor within the Faculty of Extended Education.

Bill, a practicing environmental project manager (urban ecology and green buildings), returned to school to pursue a Master of Environment working with the faculties of Environment (NRI), Architecture, and Engineering.  Since Bill is exposed to interdisciplinary research and different schools of thought, Bill is very empathetic to the needs of all graduate students – domestic or international.  Indeed, as a proud Winnipegger and Canadian it is Bill’s duty to be an especially strong leader for all graduate students studying at the University of Manitoba and living in the City of Winnipeg.

Bill would love to connect with you at www.linkedin.com/in/williamdowie