The Executive Committee is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the UMGSA. All of the Executive Members are elected during the UMGSA general elections held each March.  If you would like to suggest ideas, raise your concerns, or meet with any of our Executives for any reason, call us at 204-474-9181 or e-mail us to make an appointment.

Please note that given the recent events surrounding the global outbreak of COVID-19, the UMGSA Office will be closed to the public for the remainder of the term. The Executive will still be working their regular hours and will be available for contact by e-mail and at request by Zoom. Thank you for your understanding.

The Executive is headed by the President, who is responsible for ensuring that the UMGSA runs effectively and sits on the U of M Board of Governors, the Senate, and chairs the Executive Committee. The Vice-President Finance & Administration looks after Policies and Bylaws, the UMGSA budget, conference grant funding, and other services. The Vice-President Services & Support is responsible for liaising with outside organizations and planning events to help improve graduate student life at the University. The Vice-President Academic is responsible for coordinating academic events, providing services for students in financial need and providing advocacy on academic issues on behalf of graduate students. The HSGSA President represents the interests of Health Sciences students at the Bannatyne and St. Boniface campuses. Additionally, two Senators and the Vice-President Academic represent graduate student interests in the University Senate.

Silvia Sekander, UMGSA President

Silvia Sekander – UMGSA President:

Hello, fellow grad students! I am Silvia Sekander and I have been an international student here at the University of Manitoba (UofM) for more than 5 years.

As the President and the spokesperson of UMGSA, my goal is to ensure that the interests of all the graduate students get represented.

I have completed my M.Sc. program here at UofM and currently I am pursuing my Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. During my M.Sc. and Ph.D. program, I have received prestigious “University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship (UMGF)” award.

I worked as Sr. Software Engineer in “Samsung R&D Institute Bangladesh” for three years where I got the opportunity to lead a team of software Engineers for “Regional Handset Development Project” in Korea. I also worked as Post Manager in “Samsung Electronics, Dubai” and “Samsung Noida Mobile Company (SNMC)”.

From 2018-2019, I was Graduate Students Representative of University of Manitoba Bangladeshi Students’ Association (UMBSA) under the umbrella of University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) where I got the opportunity to work closely with many graduate students, learned about different aspects and problems of their day to day life. This has really been a true eye opener for me to feel the necessity of the fellow grad students. From 2019, I have been working as the President of UMBSA which caters around 1000 students in the UofM campus. This has given me an unique experience to work for a large group of student body. Being the President of UMBSA, I had got the opportunity to work closely with the UMSU executives in various projects including “Health has No Border” and “U-pass referendum” program. During my tenure, I worked with the city of Winnipeg to get the permission of “Bangladeshi Flag Raise in City Hall” for the very first time in Manitoba at 16 December, 2019.

Last but not least, I have organized several collaboration programs including different student groups such as MSA, PSA, Laksh etc. in the campus to serve large number of students and make networking stronger. Besides working in the student organizations, I have been actively involved with outside campus community groups. I am the current Assistant General Secretary of Canada Bangladeshi Association(CBA), Manitoba and also served as the Assistant Sports Secretary there. CBA always celebrates diversity and multiculturalism. Being part of the association, I have achieved hands on experience of applying for government funding, organizing events such as “High Commission Service Program”, “Mental Health Workshops” etc. While organizing these, I have developed effective and efficient communication skills by networking with the city delegates.

Rubel Talukder, Vice-President Finance & Administration

Rubel Talukder – VPFA: (He/ Him)

Hello Grad students, I am very excited and honoured to start my journey as VP Finance and Administration (VPFA). I am Rubel Chandra Talukder, a PhD candidate in Electrical & Computer Engineering.  When I was running two years ago for the first time for VP Academic, 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. Despite the effects of pandemic, I am very proud to represent fellow graduate students as their VP Academic. Now, I will embark on a new journey as your VP Finance and Administration (VPFA).

As VPFA, I will prioritize several things. First, I will secure the availability of conference grant in a post-COVID world. We are expecting a lot of physical conferences this year and UMGSA will be prepared to support all the graduate students who will attend the conferences in this fiscal year.

Besides this, I will ensure adequate funding for holiday hamper-2022. Since we saw an increase of hamper applications in last two years, we will be prepared for increased applications this year too and will create the budget to support the hamper applications. Moreover, I will ensure that the Governance and Operations Manual of the UMGSA is updated in a timely manner to reflect the works of all the UMGSA executives and stuffs.

AKM Monsurul Alam, Vice-President Academic

AKM Monsurul Alam- VPA:

My dear graduate students, my name is AKM Monsurul Alam. I am a PhD student in the department of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) and currently I am your VP academic. 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 served in many FGS and senate committees. I was one of the senators of UMGSA in 2021/2022.

I am also serving as a treasurer of the graduate student association of electrical and computer engineering department.  Apart from that I am active in professional networking and serving as a treasurer of IEEE Youth Professionals (YP) Winnipeg and assistant general secretary (AGS) of Canada Bangladesh Association (CBA). These positions helped me a lot to learn more about students’ needs and problems and the strategies that I can apply to eliminate or lessen those problems.

My main goal as a VP Academic would be to increase number of financial awards for students as well as increase the holiday hamper. I want to work with university administration on health insurance, transportation, grading system and EDI to create easier and fairer academic experience for our graduate students. I am interested in advocating on new bursaries and relief funds to address potential post pandemic crisis that our grad students may face.

Marzieh (Marianne) Hajiloo, Vice-President Services & Support

Marzieh (Marianne) Hajiloo – VPSS: (She/ Her)

Hello graduate students!

My name is Marzieh (Marianne) Hajiloo, a first year master student in the Department of Psychology, researching brain and cognitive science. I finished my undergraduate program in physics while in Iran.  

I gained valuable experience within different roles in student associations such as: lead administrator of the astronomy group; administrative secretary of the physics scientific association; founder and chief editor of our astronomy magazine; and co-organizer of multiple conferences, workshops, and seminars.


My main goal as your VP of Services and Support is to make the everyday practice of our academic roles easier, while providing what is needed to come over hardships– especially the stressors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Offering accessible and engaging workshops (in partnership with FGS and administration), plus constant social communications with graduate students of all types.

Jamie Sookhoo , HSGSA President

Jamie Sookhoo – HSGSA President: (He/ Him)

Hi all! I’m Jamie Sookhoo and I am a PhD student in the Department of Immunology. I completed my Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago. During my Masters program, I was the student representative for the School of Veterinary Medicine’s GSA for three years as well as the secretary of the Faculty of Medical Sciences (FMS) Infectious Disease Research Cluster.

More recently, I served as President of the Immunology GSA 2020-2021. In this role, I served on several committees for the HSGSA. I believe that my 5+ years of experience in various administrative and leadership roles as well as my longstanding dedication to and involvement in the HSGSA over the past 2 years sets me as an excellent candidate to lead the HSGSA in the coming year.

Several of my closest friends are past members of the HSGSA executive and I’m proud to say I stand on the shoulders of giants. I intend to fulfil my role as successfully as my predecessors, building on their successes in advocating for the benefit of the students, supporting each and every one of you to the best of my ability.

Uche Nwankwo, Senator 1

Uche Nwankwo – Senator 1:

Hello Friends and Colleagues, my name is Uche Nwankwo, you can also call me Focus. I am doing my Master of Natural Resource Management at the Natural Resource Institute. My research focus, which I am currently ongoing, is devoted to learning and working on Indigenous issues, with particular interest on sustainable livelihood, Indigenous food system knowledge and food security.

Thank you once again for giving me this privilege and opportunity to serve you as Senator 1 in the current UMGSA Executive. I am excited to be part of this executive and committed to serving you in this capacity. I regard this privilege as a way of serving humanity and giving back to the academic community. Among my passion and commitment in serving as Senator 1 is to assist graduate students accomplish their academic and non-academic goals.

I am dedicated to playing strong community and student advocacy roles within and outside the university environment, while prioritizing issues of equitable and affordable access to education.  This is because I strongly believe that quality education tailored to solving human problems, can contribute to reducing societal inequalities. Thus, I promise to be a dependable strong voice for you.

This promise is premised on several years of quality leadership and mentoring roles that I have played within and outside the university community. Therefore, I will leverage on my vast innovative and compassionate leadership experience acquired from three continents. I have travelled extensively to many countries, which presents me with robust interpersonal relationship skills to easily network and interact with all students in multiculturally diverse university community like ours.

 I am committed to mentoring students, playing role model obligations, and advocating for all students. Issues faced by the Indigenous students will be prioritized, as well as the restoration of the universal healthcare coverage for international students. I have broad network within and outside the academic community which can easily be mobilized when students have issues and challenges. Together with my colleagues and your supports, we will ensure that our campaign promises are achieved through dedicated and honest service laced with integrity.

As a leader, I place emphasis on networking, consulting, listening, and acting, using the tools of diplomacy, compassion, and positive assertiveness in resolving conflicting issues. I will work hard to improve the teaching and learning experience of the students based on my over seven years of organizing train the trainer workshops. I understand that returning to in-person learning has become a bit of a concern, but my colleague and I are committed to making the transition less burdensome.

Bill Dowie, Senator 2

Bill Dowie – Senator 2:

Hello graduate students, my name is William Dowie and I am currently working on my thesis in the Master of Environment program on urban ecological design. I am a strong proponent of interdisciplinary research, pursuing my current project through the NRI here at the U of M, in conjunction with the research units of environment & geography, city planning, and biosystems engineering. I am self-proclaimed naturalist, a lover of ecology, and follower of Aldo Leopold’s landscape ethos.

Outside of the university, I am a thirty year plus environmental consultant. I hold an Applied Management Certificate for non-profit organizations, a Masters Certificate in Project Management, and am a certified permaculture designer, master gardener and an accredited LEED (O+M) professional. A former Instructor in Prairie Horticulture (arboriculture), I continue to coach homeowners as an independent Ecological Landscaper. I am a past vice-president of UMGSA and have served on several boards and committees — within universities, non-profits, and government. In addition to this, I am a Past-President of the Green Action Centre – the province’s largest environmental non-profit organization.

My current position in the UMGSA is as one of your graduate student Senators, and dedicated representative on the University of Manitoba Sustainability Committee.