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.

Nora Ampomah, Vice-President Finance & Administration

Nora Ampomah – VPFA:

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!

Rubel Chandra Talukder, Vice-President Academic

Rubel Chandra Talukder – VPA:

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:

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.

Golnaz Shirzadi, Vice-President Services & Support

Golnaz Shirzadi – VPSS:

Hello graduate students, my name is Golnaz Shirzadi, and I am an international student pursuing my Ph.D. at the Faculty of Education, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL). I did my undergrad and Master’s degree in Iran, one in English Language and Literature and the other in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). I have been teaching English to none-English speakers for almost ten years.

Currently, I am Dr. Kouritzin’s Research Assistant in a five-year SSHRC-funded study on faculty workload creep. My own research is focused on high-stakes language testing systems and the policies which govern their uses, and their impacts on immigrants’ and international students’ lives.

I have always tried to support different groups of people’s rights during my personal and professional life. I have been the director of the student service at the University of Manitoba Iranian Students’ Association ( UMISA) during COVID. I am totally familiar with students’ academic and mental needs in times of crisis.

Therefore, as your VP of Services and Support, I have planned to support all the grad students by providing more academic and mental health workshops. I have also tried to plan the upcoming services according to the university’s guidelines of equity and diversity. This year we will have more cultural events and workshops to highlight and recognize our grad students’ multicultural context.

Please feel free to email me if you need the GSA’s support.

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.


Akshi Malik, HSGSA President

Akshi Malik – HSGSA President:

Namaste! My name is Akshi Malik. I am a PhD student in the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre (SBRC). I did my Bachelors and Masters from Delhi, India where I have always been a part of student associations and was involved in organizing and leading social as well as academic events.

During the pandemic, we faced unusual challenges and as part of HSGSA 2020-21 Exec team, I made sure that all of you were heard. I had the opportunity to support my fellow graduate students through virtual events, workshops, Upass support, and bursaries. My collaborative work practices with faculties, staff members, and students have equipped me with the understanding of diverse perspectives.

I am once again thrilled to serve as the President of the HSGSA and be the official spokesperson for health sciences graduate students. I will continue focusing on promoting and providing graduate student community to have a great university experience. In the course of COVID-19 situation, I understand the need of support and networking, thus me and my team will make whole-hearted efforts to make these tough times endurable for all of us.

Its time, we connect and thrive together.

AKM Monsurul Alam, Senator 1

A.K.M. Monsurul Alam – Senator 1:

My name is AKM Monsurul Alam. 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 was a member of finance, event, and senate committees. Currently 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 is 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.

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.