GSA Executive Board Candidates

Below you will find the candidates running for the Executive Board in GSA.

The election for the new GSA leadership has begun! You can get to the online ballot at this link: (If you have not logged into CatLife before, you will be first prompted to activate your account).

Name Position Personal Statement
Azar Alizadeh, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science International Affairs Officer

Even though studying abroad will provide lots of opportunities for students but it also brings some difficulties. Beside feeling homesick, dealing with the new condition, new culture and new rules might be challenging. As an international student, I am familiar with all these difficulties. I have experience as a technical manager in a travel agency and during that time I communicated with my colleagues and customers all around the world. I eagerly have the desire to help new applicants who want to join UCMERCED or current students who want to go abroad for studying in the different field. My goal is to solve their problems and prepare an ideal condition to overcome all probable issues.

Thaddeus Seher, Quantitative Systems Biology President

I have always been interested in understanding how complex systems work. How do many individual components resolve their conflicts to become a harmonious whole? Politics, economics, religion, biology, and social interactions all encompass the fundamental conflicts and mediations between individuals. Evolution posits an explanation for how complex biological systems originate. Perhaps that is why I find microbe-microbe and molecule-molecule relationships fascinating, and I have dedicated my graduate career to understanding host-symbiont intergenomic dependencies.

The position Graduate students occupy in the University of California is comparable to a biological system. Because the school is new, it has been rapidly expanding the student body, the staff, and the campus footprint. In this environment of constant transformation, I want to initiate positive institutional changes to the University of California. Graduate students are one of the foundational elements of this University, like the heart in the body. I know that as a UC Merced Graduate student, I will seize every opportunity to be taken seriously during policy decisions. I am here to help the body of Graduate students consolidate their efforts to effect economical, progressive, and downright fun plans. I will forward the happenings of the University upper-echelons to you, and help us develop strategies in response.

The University is complex. There are competing offices, business interests, and administrative red tape. My experience disentangling biological systems through the lens of evolution gives me uncommon insight into how I can better the lives of UC Merced Graduate students while enhancing the entire University of California.

Lauren Stark, Quantitative Systems Biology Treasurer I have served on GSA and several campus committees in the past to ensure the needs of the graduate students were addressed. I am currently a student representative on SFAC, which oversees how student fees are used. As GSA Treasurer, I will work to maintain a fair and transparent method of awarding travel awards and funds to graduate student organizations. I will continue to look for ways to support our graduate student body.
William Delmas, Physics External Vice President I have past experience working on different committees during my time here at UC Merced such as the Society of Physics Students and the Physics Graduate committee.  I wish to become more involved in campus activities and hope to make a positive impact on the experience graduate students have while attending UC Merced. 

Katherine Shurik, Interdisciplinary Humanities

Public Relations & Community Outreach Office

I think that I am a good candidate for Public Relations & Community Outreach Officer because I have been an activist in various communities that I have lived in for the past decade. These include initiating a non-profit chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women) in Louisiana, which was involved in political activism as well as assisting women in the area. I believe I can help make UC Merced more involved in the local communities and help improve graduate culture in Merced and the Central Valley.

Sona Garsevanyan, Quantitative Systems Biology Academic Affairs Officer I am more than happy to accept the nomination for Academic Affairs Officer, as I am great at coordinating and planning as this position requires. Being nominated by the current officer, I have the best role model and exemplar to follow and be sure the job gets done right! I will always strive to work for the best interest of all graduate students. 
Auguste Kouadio, Interdisciplinary Humanities Climate, Diversity, & Equity Officer

As an interdisciplinary graduate student, my approach encourages a reflection on intercultural and transnational collaboration to help design a framework of action with regards to our campus complex diversity problems. This approach is the result experienced many years back traveling the world and working as a media and performing artist. All over the place I had been or lived wanted: food, shelter and security. These basic needs, I believe are essential for human development and advancement. As, I transpose these needs to the academic setting, It occurs to me that they become a variable that span across gender, race and sexual orientation among graduate student. How do we help? 

Lorenzo Booth, Environmental Systems Internal Vice President If you think the ideal representative/bureaucrat should be boring, brutally dispassionate, and impartial then consider supporting my candidacy for Internal Vice President