Each spring, the Executive members of the UMGSA are decided in the annual General Election. Each graduate student enrolled at the University of Manitoba gets a vote, and candidates campaign on issues that affect graduate student life. If you have any questions about how the election works, contact the Chief Returning Officer, Sixtus, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Election Committee, Chief Returning Officer and Deputy Returning Officer thank all the candidates that put up themselves for election. However, the results are in and have been ratified by Council. Click here to view a full breakdown of the vote tallies. The elected candidates are as follows:
President: Carl Neumann
Vice President External: Skye Kushner
Vice President Academic: Silvia Araujo
Vice President Internal: Cody Ross
Vice President Marketing and Events: Sakib Rahman
UMGSA Senator 1: Felix Nwaiwu
UMGSA Senator 2: Laura Forsythe
Students voted against an increase to the UMGSA operating Budget Fee of $4.62 per semester for each of the fall and winter semesters. 382 students voted against the Operating Budget Fee hike, while 292 voted in favour.
2018-2019 UMGSA Executive Team
Carl Neumann – President
I am the current UMGSA President. I serve on more than 35 Councils, Boards, and Committees at the U of M. I also chair three UMGSA committees, including the Bylaws and Policy Committee. I was previously the Philosophy Representative on the UMGSA Council for two years, and chaired the UMGSA’s Internal Development and Review Subcommittee that oversaw the official review of the UMGSA Executives for 2015-2016. Accordingly, I have exceptional practical and interpersonal experience within the Association, as well as with the University’s administration. Even before becoming President, I have taken the initiative to propose numerous Council motions which have improved the accountability and functioning of the Association.
I am continuing to pursue my MA in Philosophy. I have repeatedly served as a Teaching Assistant for courses that include Business Ethics and Environmental Ethics. Prior to this year, I served as the Vice-President and then the President of the Ethics Center Students’ Association.
Three years ago, I was an Executive-at-Large with the Winnipeg Teachers’ Association, which has given me extremely valuable practical experience in how different but similar organizations and their executives organize and manage their affairs. While completing my undergraduate degree at Carleton University, I served as a student Senator for three years and a Council Representative for two years. I served on all of that Association’s committees, and was elected Chairperson to conduct all administrative duties for four of them.
- Continue to boost grad student engagement through ongoing innovation.
- Continue improvements to governance policies and procedures.
- Continue to boost inclusion, efficiency, and sustainability.
Silvia Araujo – Vice President Academic
I am a 3rd-year, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Civil Engineering who has completed my B.Sc. and M.Sc. at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. I’ve had a long history of student representation, stretching back to when I was 9 years old! Since my first week at the University of Manitoba I’ve volunteered in positions with the university before becoming further involved with the UMGSA.
In early 2017, I served as UMGSA representative for Civil Engineering and afterwards was elected to the position of Senator. In both positions I served in various committees and spoke in favour of graduate students, emphasizing needs like student funding and office spaces. and our will to have them heard and solved. I want to serve as your future Vice-President Academic because I would like the opportunity to raise student issues to higher levels of the University. I would be honoured to be your representative for the coming executive term.
Over the upcoming term I hope to Advocate for the graduate students on academic matters, collaborate to strengthen the bonds between the graduate student body and the Alumni, and Continue to expand the improvements of the UMGSA Awards.
Skye Kushner – Vice President External
I’m a M.Sc. student in the Department of Environment and Geography studying trace-metal fluxes from Central American volcanic systems. Prior to this, I graduated with a B.Sc. in Geological Sciences from the University of Manitoba.
As a graduate student, I served as a Senator for the UMGSA for the 2017-2018 term and have acted as president for the Environment and Geography Graduate Students Association for the 2016-2017 term. As an undergraduate student, I served three terms as President of the Society of Earth Science and Environmental Students. Throughout these positions, I held an active role in representing student issues at a University and Faculty level.
While serving in senate, I have enjoyed sitting on university committees advocating for graduate student interests. Now I would like to expand on that role by advocating for larger graduate student matters with the provincial and federal government. The University of Manitoba consists of over 75% of the Provinces graduate students and we should be a strong participant in policy considerations affecting graduate students. I would like to work towards establishing ties at a governmental level to ensure that when education is a topic of conversation, graduate students are a part of the story.
Cody Ross – Vice President Internal
My name is Cody Ross and I am a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Department of Geological Sciences. I have also completed a M.Sc. in Geological Sciences and a B.Sc. (Honours) in Environmental Sciences, both at the University of Manitoba.
Since becoming a graduate student, I have participated as a UMGSA councillor in the IDRSC (2016/2017) and Bylaws and Policy Committee (2016-present). I have also served as a department representative in Geological Sciences and am currently an executive member of the Canadian Young Hydrologic Society.
Through those experiences I have recognized how important the UMGSA is in ensuring graduate student representation. If elected as Vice President Internal, I hope to advocate for students and help make the UMGSA as effective as possible. Specifically, I plan to work towards more consistent and accessible governance documents and pursue budgetary options that will afford increases to student grants. It would be a privilege to represent graduate students as VPI for the coming executive term.
Sakib Rahman – Vice President Marketing and Events
My name is Sakib Rahman and I am a third-year graduate student pursuing a PhD in Particle Physics (CGPA: 4.5) at the University of Manitoba (U of M). Previously, I completed a B.Sc. degree with first class honours (CGPA: 4.38) in Physics and Mathematics from the U of M.
I have served as the President of the University of Manitoba Bangladeshi Students’ Association (UMBSA) in addition acting as the Information Technology Executive in a separate term. During my tenure at UMBSA, I developed its first website and organized events with attendance of 400-500 students by getting sponsors, booking venues and equipment, and handling ticket sales. If elected as the VPME, I hope to use the experience to increase graduate student involvement in UMGSA by establishing direct communication with the general students and holding multi-department events.\
As VPME, I would like to make the UMGSA more inclusive. Being the co-chair of the Internal Development and Review Subcommittee of UMGSA, I noticed that there are around 5000 graduate students at the U of M but only a few hundred vote in the general election and attendance at UMGSA events is even lower. I recognize the reality that this is due to the diverse graduate student demographic. There are off-campus students, students with parental duties, students who prefer activity-based events instead of socials etc. Orientation events serve newer students, but I hope to bring more events that serve students in their later years of graduate studies. I will make myself accessible to general students and open to any suggestions that will make UMGSA an organisation where all members feel comfortable.
Laura Forsythe – Senator
Dishinikawshon Laura Forsythe. Red River Métis nki nitáwikin. Hello, my name is Laura Forsythe. I am Métis from the Red River. I am an M.A. student at the U of M researching Educational Sovereignty: First Nations Education and Self-Governance with the Department of Native Studies, and will begin my Ph.D. here in the Fall. I returned to my homeland after completing a BA in First Nations Studies and a B.Ed. with specialization with Indigenous Perspectives from Simon Fraser University.
I currently serve as the Co-President of the Native Studies Graduate Association, Métis Student Representative for the University of Manitoba Aboriginal Student Association and the Chair of the Indigenous Ad Hoc Committee for the UMGSA as well as the councilor for the Department of Native Studies. I am the Métis Inclusion Coordinator for the University of Manitoba and Secretary for the Manitoba Métis Federation Bison Local.
I have been on advisory councils for the creation of courses, degrees, and teaching. I have aided in the development of the Indigenous library collection and in the creation of Indigenous academic awards, and I have contributed to hiring committees and reconciliation forums. My journey to this point has prepared me to represent the UMGSA as Senator.
Felix Nwaiwu – Senator
My name is Felix Nwaiwu, currently a Research & Teaching Assistant and a third year PhD student in the department of Mechanical Engineering. I obtained my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nigeria, both in Mechanical Engineering with majors in Automotive and Energy & Power Engineering respectively. I started my career in a steel industry as a supervisor before moving into academia as a teaching staff at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria.
As a supervisor, I was tasked with advocating for better conditions of the staff under my jurisdiction, to enhance their productivity. As an academic staff, I served in different capacities at the University, some of which included the co-supervision of student projects and resolution of advisor-student issues. At the University of Manitoba, I currently serve on the UMGSA Bylaws and Policy committee and the Faculty of Graduate studies Appeals Committee. As a member of the UMGSA committee, we reviewed the existing Bylaws and Policies and amended the conference grant section of the Financial Policy. We also amended the Election and Referendum Policy to ensure a more transparent electoral process. As a member of the FGS Appeals Committee, I am currently working with the UMGSA president to seek the review of a section of the appeals procedure to better position graduate students in the appeal process.
With regards to my valuable past and current experience in University/graduate student relations, I seek to:
➢ Reach into our diverse heritage for better negotiation on matters affecting graduate students.
➢ Provide trustworthy and courageous representation on issues of concern amongst Canadian and International students.
➢ Improve graduate students reach out for better representation.