SAIS Europe SGA Candidate Profiles

This week SAIS Europe will hold elections for their student government.  Below are all the candidates and their profiles in alphabetical order.

Rima Abou-Ziab
Rima Abou-Ziab

Rima Abou-Ziab

I’m Rima Abou-Ziab, from southern California, concentrating on Conflict Management and looking forward to the opportunity to join our Student Government Association. Most recently, I worked at a non-profit organization in Los Angeles coordinating opportunities for cultural diplomacy through artistic and educational programming related to the Middle East and North Africa. As an undergraduate student in San Diego, I also held executive positions in three on-campus organizations, ranging from Vice President to Social Chair (gelato socials anyone?) Having attended Pre-Term in Bologna, I can’t exactly say that I am now fluent in Italian (Signora Claudia if you are reading this…mi dispiace), but I can say that I now have a better idea of what SAIS is all about having gotten to know my peers and this charming but funky city during the summer months. I am eager to serve as your Student Government Representative to listen to your diverse needs and work diligently and creatively to enhance your experience here. Together, we can contribute to and discover all of the things that SAIS and the city of Bologna have to offer (beyond, but probably not excluding, SodaPops and aperitivi…)

Aaron Badway
Aaron Badway

Aaron Badway

N/A: BLURB COMING
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Grace Cineas
Grace Cineas

Grace Cineas

It was one of those very profound and beautiful moments when everything felt right. The intensity of the sun, the speed of the wind, the amount of people walking down the street when I said to myself, “I feel happy”. I was simply acknowledging to myself the unwavering feeling of happiness that existed in a moment as I was heading to the Bologna Center at the beginning of my second week in Italy. The happiness I felt was tangibly different from the existential happiness I always carry in me. After days interspersed with great BBQ’s, enlightening one-on-one conversations, academic planning, and trying to figure out why I was so happy, I was finally able to identify that it’s the people of SAIS Bologna (erm…Europe) that are imbuing me with this measurably different form of happiness. Anecdotally, when I first arrived here sans apartment or the ability to tell left from right, numerous people took the initiative to make introductions. These introductions came with no physical indication on my part that that was something I needed and not only this, people provided me with their numbers and offered their time to help orient me. Having been out of school for several years and being in a hardened city like Washington, DC these acts were very special in how pure and well-intentioned they were. It is this connection to the other students at SAIS that inspires me to be a member of the BC SGA. My desire to be a member of the SGA does not stem from a long list of grievances or because there is so much wrong. On the contrary, it’s because there is so much right and so much left to be right in this year long experience. In my sense of indebtedness to such a unique and fascinating group, I do truly believe I can work tirelessly to make sure this year is a reflection of who we are as a class.

David Collins
David Collins

David Collins

I want to be on the student government because I believe that service to others is the highest goal a human being can aspire to. Nothing is more important and nothing brings me greater satisfaction. Over the past ten years, I have had a chance to serve my country as a soldier and a diplomat; serve Afghanistan as a governance advisor, and serve students from the Arab world as a student advisor. These have been great experiences but I have never had a chance to work with and serve a group as varied and dynamic as the SAIS Europe class. I would like to be on the student government to use all these skills I have developed over the years to serve you all and make this the best SAIS year possible.
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Holly Love Deaton
Holly Love Deaton

Holly Love Deaton

I would like to officially declare my interest in running for the Student Government Association. Being here, I feel truly privileged to be a part of SAIS and to have the opportunity to interact with all of the amazing people around me. SGA is a way for me to not only connect to the SAIS community on a deeper level but to also make sure all of our concerns are heard. These two years at SAIS are incredibly important and as your Student Government representative, I would strive to make sure that we all get the most out of this experience in Bologna: academically, socially and most of all professionally.
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Virgil Doyle
Virgil Doyle

Virgil Doyle

Hi everyone! My name is Virgil and I’d love to represent you in Student Government this year. I’m a native New Yorker who attended Johns Hopkins as an undergraduate, where I gained a lot of valuable experience working with the school administration as president of my fraternity and in my role helping to plan the University’s largest speaker series. Those experiences will make me an effective advocate for your interests and allow me to put your ideas into action. I have several proposals of my own for how to make SAIS even better, including creating a single daily email with everything happening around campus and finding more opportunities for us to interact with University of Bologna students. I would also organize more occasions for us to get to know our professors and advisors in informal settings like class dinners and group discussions. But beyond these and other proposals of my own, electing me would give you a strong proponent in the SGA willing to listen to your ideas and work hard for your interests. Thank you all for your consideration-it would be a privilege to represent our class and help make this year great for all of us.
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Jordan Gerstler-Holton
Jordan Gerstler-Holton

Jordan Gerstler-Holton

Proposal: After only one week of class, many of us have thought of ways SAIS Europe, as great as it already is, could improve. To this end, I’ve set up a Google Doc (click here) entitled SAIS Bologna 2014 Suggestions.

How does it work: The doc streamlines student ideas and gauges how our fellow students feel about them. That way, when working with the administration, we’ll have data supporting our concerns and helping us make improvements.

Contribute your opinion: Please register your support or opposition to an idea, comment on a pre-existing suggestion, provide specific recommendations, or contribute a new suggestion by simply inserting information under the relevant heading. If elected, I’d like to push for ideas that find substantial support.

*Special thanks to Caitlyn McCrone, Vahid Jahangiri, and Shauna Aron for providing initial suggestions.
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Irena Grizelj
Irena Grizelj

Irena Grizelj

Why would I like to represent the SAIS student body? The diversity of the SAIS student body is undeniable and one of the best assets of coming to SAIS. Like many of you, I have spent my life travelling the world: having been born in Bosnia, I grew up in Malaysia and then England, learning to embrace the beauty and frustrations of understanding new cultures and people. As part of the Student Government, I’d like to capture our diverging perspectives and channel them into making SAIS Bologna a more enriching, constructive and efficient place for us – and future SAIS alumni. My belief is that there is always room for improvement, and the simplest idea can make the biggest change. For those of you who have met me, you’ll have noticed I’m an extrovert and a very open person. I like to engage and communicate on a personal level, and I’m a lover of listening to others to drive positive change. People and harmony have always been a priority in previous leadership positions. Nonetheless, I have a strong analytical and objective side which I think is important when liaising between a student body and administration team on challenging topics. I’m an ‘initiative-taker’ and I get satisfaction from getting things done. This year, for example, there has been confusion around the SAIS platforms, issues with concentration requirements, and the administration providing important information to the student body at late notice. My highest aim will be to help improve SAIS Bologna and make this year as comfortable, fulfilling and successful as we deserve our second home to be!

Kristo Kendala
Kristo Kendala

Kristo Kendala

For the past years, I have been very fortunate to work as a liaison between different parties. Whether for students or Ministers, I’ve always successfully been able to represent and mediate the interests of a group. I hope to do so once again here at Johns Hopkins. Undoubtedly the five students elected to the SGA will be outstanding individuals, with personal qualities that will strengthen this body and ensure that the students’ interests are promoted within SAIS, and the schools relationships with outside actors in Bologna and elsewhere are developed positively. For my part, I know that I have the necessary experience, leadership skills and ability to work efficiently in a team to make sure this will happen. In addition to the everyday small things I’m looking forward to adjusting in order to facilitate our studying, I see a lot of untapped potential in the alumni network that would be beneficial for the students. Last but not least, the SGA has a vital role in stimulating social gatherings and partying in SAIS, and I believe closer cooperation with the University of Bologna should definitely be one of the central pillars in the SGA partying strategy. On the contrary to what this excessively formal paragraph might let you believe, I’m proficient in this area as well and will do my best to make sure that the overall effort of the SGA is a balanced mix between business and pleasure.

Jared Lennon
Jared Lennon

Jared Lennon

You might have met me, you might not have met me, or you might have met me but don’t remember me. In any case, I’d be happy to let you know who I am and why I want to be on Student Government. First, my name is Jared Lennon and I come from North Dakota, a rather unpopulated area of the United States. My main motive for pursuing Student Government is derived from the incredibly positive experiences I’ve had with other student governments and organizations. All in all, I’ve served on about 5 student governments. My most memorable experience was during my study abroad year in Norway, when I served as Academic and Political Affairs Minister for the International Students’ Union at the University of Oslo. As Academic and Political Affairs Minister, I served as a liaison between international students, the Norwegian Student Parliament, and the administration of the university. When international students experienced problems or had complaints, I communicated and collaborated with these administrative bodies. Through our collaboration, we were able to remedy problems and improve the experiences of international students. The chance to play a positive role in the lives of my fellow students, and to meet and befriend people of diverse backgrounds, was truly rewarding. If you’ll have me, I’d be honored to do so again as a member of our Student Government here at SAIS Bologna.

Roy Martin
Roy Martin

Roy Martin

Like Jay-Z and Director Keller, I am proud to be from Brooklyn, New York, where I grew up eating bagels on fire escapes and attending bar mitzvahs. After graduating from Carleton College in 2010, I went on to join the Peace Corps in Honduras, where I worked on environmental preservation projects, coached a women’s basketball team and perfected my salsa dancing skills. The Peace Corps taught me not only how to hand-make fantastic tortillas, but more importantly, how to listen closely to people and ensure that everybody has a voice in the decision making process. These are skills which I am confident will be critical in communicating your ideas to the administration and to making our year as exciting and productive as I can.

Serving on the Student Government Association would provide me with the ideal opportunity to become more deeply involved in the SAIS community, a goal which is important to me. I also believe that my past leadership experiences on athletic teams, at school and in a professional environment make me well suited to this position. I truly believe that inclusive, tight-knit communities like ours at SAIS Europe provide limitless creative potential, and I hope to be able to serve as one of the representatives to help facilitate, and realize, that potential. Thank you for considering me.

Giulia Motolese
Giulia Motolese

Giulia Motolese

I was born and raised a few kilometres away from here, so I feel extremely excited and happy to be here at SAIS in Bologna after spending several years in the UK.

Having worked as a lobbyist in Brussels and London, I know it is crucial to get all players together to reconcile views in a constructive way in order to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone involved, and this is what I would like to do here at SAIS. The diversity of us, the student body, is one of our community’s greatest assets, but also a great challenge. As a member of the SGA, I would stress the importance of transparency and communication to encourage everyone’s involvement, as I believe that each student’s input is essential to bring new ideas to the programmes and the school. As a local, I am also extremely keen to show that this country has a lot to offer and would love to share this with every single one of you.
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Meredith Peters
Meredith Peters

Meredith Peters

Student government is the key instrument for communication between the student body, SAIS faculty, SAIS DC, and Bologna. I believe that my experience and drive make me an ideal candidate for this governing board. As an undergraduate at Boston University, I was a member of the university-wide student government and was the Vice-President of my resident hall’s student government. Through this experience I have learned how best to work with university bureaucracy and create solutions that maximize student benefits. I am very proud of the achievements our student government was able to accomplish, such as improving access to academic resources by creating a new study and printing center and also enhancing student life by providing small but crucial luxuries such as free Dunkin Donuts coffee and pastries. I plan to use this experience in order to bring about similar accomplishments at SAIS Europe. My objectives for this year are both academic and social, including but not limited to: fixing the printing problem, getting a communal microwave, creating more opportunities for interaction between SAIS students and local Bolognese, and working with the faculty so they can better understand students interests and provide courses more aligned with these topics so that next year’s student body will not experience bidding issues. I would greatly appreciate your feedback and suggestions. I am confident that with your support, I can achieve these and many more goals during the coming academic year.

Amaury Munoz
Amaury Munoz

Amaury Munoz

Dear Class of 2014 – Thank you for taking the time to consider my candidacy. I am thrilled by the opportunity and prospect of representing you in this year’s SGA. By this point you have noticed that there is a clear divide between the campuses academically, socially and administratively-this divide being that we are limited in what we can do and access based on what campus we attend. Students should be able to enjoy the full benefits of a SAIS education regardless of campus. I am running on one main idea and that is integration: integration of our three campuses and integration of our resources (both human and otherwise). If elected I will work to bridge those gaps. I will work with the SAIS Europe and SAIS DC administrations to ensure that students have the ability to do research, assistantships and build relationships with professors remotely. Students should also have the ability to be engaged with their DC-based programs more actively via Skype and other methods. It is not enough to receive an invitation about the exciting programming taking place in DC. Our peers in SAIS Europe should be able to partake in those programs as any other student. I hope you will lend me a hand in achieving these very important objectives. If you would like to learn more about me or my candidacy please visit my facebook page.

Philip Schnattinger
Philip Schnattinger

Philip Schnattinger

Hey everyone!

Most of you probably know me as that nutcase that posts on playing football every now and then in the SAIS Facebook group. I admit that I do enjoy playing soccer, but I generally also enjoy group activities and am happy when they work out and we are having a good time. I guess this can be seen as a job application. In this case I would say that I have had fun organizing all kinds of events with my fellow students throughout my undergrad, although I never had to face elections to do so, so this is something new for me.

I am really happy with the facilities, degree of organization and communication at SAIS but of course things can always be improved at the school.

However, the main task of the SGA should be to open a window in that SAIS bubble and get us connected with what is happening in the city and further around. Be it more serious things like charity work or connecting with the students outside or cooking classes, sport and trips. This is what I like to do and why I decided to run.

We are a really cool class and we should live this year up to our standards.

Samuel "Sammy" Semwangu
Samuel “Sammy” Semwangu

Samuel “Sammy” Semwangu

My vision for the Student Government Association (SGA) is for it to serve the career aspirations of its fellow students.

I believe one of SGA’s primary missions should be to ensure that students here in Bologna have the resources to not only pursue but also realize their career goals. To that end, I want to be a member of SGA so that I can advocate on behalf of the vision you have for yourself.

Since arriving to Bologna over a month ago, I have had countless conversations with fellow students about both their career aspirations and anxieties — ranging from students who know exactly what they want, to many who, through no fault of their own, do not even know where to start.

From those conversations, I found that within the student body, there exists a huge range of career interests and professional development needs. As such, I want SGA to play a positive and substantive role in helping its fellow students explore those career interests and address those professional development needs.

To achieve this, SGA can — in addition to its traditional community-building role — serve as a force multiplier for the Career Services office by not only strengthening the impact of their many initiatives, but also ensuring that Career Services and the Administration are providing the requisite support to your professional aspirations.

It is my sincere hope that by teaming with the Career Services office, the Administration, as well as the student career clubs, SGA can give you a tangible boost to that next career stepping-stone.

Marco Steecker
Marco Steecker

Marco Steecker

I would like to be a member of Student Government because I strongly believe that our ideas and suggestions should be heard by the administration. The student body here is one of the most diverse and dynamic ones I have ever had the pleasure to join. There is so much potential waiting to be tapped and, together, we can turn that potential into actual improvements for SAIS Europe. I wish to be a leader and to help facilitate the type of action that brings about positive change. When someone has a problem or an issue they would to discuss with administration, I want to be the person that they rely on to provide help. I cherish the responsibility and know that I would excel as a member of Student Government.

I have been class representative in high school and social secretary of the photography society at the University of Bath, where I graduated, and I also organised events, conferences and meetings throughout my work experiences. I believe I could make a valuable contribution to the SGA to guarantee the smooth running of student life on campus and ensure that every student gets the most out of this year in Bologna.