April 24, 2023

James Steele, PhD student in mathematics, elected Graduate Students' Association president

New officials elected for Graduate Students’ Association Board of Directors and Graduate Labour Union
Hunter Yaworski, AC Cameron, James Steele, Masume Akbari, Kirsten Neprily, Cameron Armstrong
From left: Hunter Yaworski, AC Cameron, James Steele, Masume Akbari, Kirsten Neprily, Cameron Armstrong. Graduate Students’ Association

The Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) hosted its 2023 General Election on March 13 and 14 with eight candidates running for five executive positions and the AVP Labour position. The GSA is glad to announce that James Steele, PhD candidate in mathematics, was elected as the next GSA president, alongside five other graduate students for the four vice-presidents and associate VP labour positions.

This year, a total of 5.3 per cent of UCalgary graduate students cast their votes for the GSA executive election.

James Steele (he/him) was elected to the GSA president role. Steele is currently the GSA VP academic for this academic year and is excited to continue supporting graduate students in this new role as the GSA president.

Steele shares in his platform: “As GSA president, I intend to connect and mobilize DGAs and GSGs, advocate for higher funding and regulated tuition, and run a bylaw review process that reflects the diversity of our graduate student body, all in the service of creating a more transparent, inclusive, and advocacy-forward GSA.”

Kirsten Neprily (she/her), PhD student in applied child psychology, won the vice-president academic position. She looks forward to advocating for early negotiations on minimum funding, increases to scholarships and bursaries, diverse academic workshops, and equitable student supervisor relationships. The GSA would like to thank the two other candidates, Kasra Soleimani and Arkendu Banerjee, for participating in the GSA VP academic election.

Three executives were re-elected for their current positions: vice-president external position was captured by AC Cameron (he/him), MSc student in mathematics. Cameron Armstrong (he/him), MBA student, will retain his role as vice-president finance and services position. Masume Akbari (she/her), PhD candidate in geomatics engineering, will be returning as GSA vice-president student life position. Cameron, Armstrong, and Akbari all ran unopposed for re-election, and are excited to continue their work advocating for graduate students.  

The GSA also hosted the associate vice-president (AVP) labour election during the same period and saw a 6.3 per cent voter turnout among the academically employed graduate students. Hunter Yaworski (he/him), master’s student in human geography, was elected as the AVP labour. Yaworski will chair the Graduate Labour Union (formerly known as the Labour Relations Committee) which oversees the collective agreement and supports any labour-related issues for academically employed graduate students.

Yaworski shares his plans as AVP labour in his platform: “My goal as AVP labour is to expand avenues of advocacy via workplace education and steward training, be a strong supporter of our bargaining teams in collective bargaining.” 

The GSA would like to thank all graduate students who voted and the outgoing president, Saaka Sulemana Saaka, PhD candidate in political science, for his contribution to the graduate student community during his service term.

The new Board of Directors team will commence their term on May 1, 2023 after getting sworn in at the April 2023 GSA Graduate Representative Council meeting.

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