Write’s note: The full candidate bios are available on the Illinois Tech Student Government Association (SGA) website at sga.iit.edu. Elections will also be available online at this same website from April 5 to April 11.
1. What leadership and team experiences have prepared you to take on this position?
2. Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?
3. What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from this packet alone?
Name: Maliq Hines-Hakande
- To start, in terms of team experiences I have been involved in various organizations from youth. My earliest being in a youth orchestra playing the violin. Various others during high/middle school include being a member of the debate club, National Honor society, football team, basketball team, soccer team, and cross country team, as well as being a daycare instructor, broadcasting camera operator, and yearbook team member. In college, I have been a part of the summer staff for the Exelon Summer Institute as a communications instructor. I had the pleasure to work with the Office of Institutional Advancement as a member of the stewardship and events team. As far as professional collaborations, I have participated as an aide to the MSBARC/37 Oaks Retail Consulting in hosting technology and community outreach initiatives. In terms of leadership, I am currently undertaking a minor in the field and will be awarded my certificate of leadership later this spring from the Leadership Academy. I have also lead and created a IPRO course during the summer of 2017.
- Last year I was nominated for this position, and at the time I knew I was not yet ready to hold such a position due to a lacking skill set and mostly a lack of knowledge of Illinois Tech. Over the course of the past year, I have gotten involved and built my personal capabilities to contribute; for example, I have helped curate a scholarship for the Stuart School of Business. I have built mutual respect relationships with the president and with various provosts and have been nominated to be student body representative in various functions for the school. One of these was being a speaker with the mayor for the Kaplan institute beam signing ceremony and another being a student rep for the Amazon bid. I already have experience with policy and education given my background as an advocate in my youth, which resulted in two state bills being passed and a $50,000 contribution towards program initiatives in Jackson public schools.
- One thing that you would not know about me from this packet is that I consider myself a Renaissance man; I like everything and like to learn anything, if not but to experience it. I love to learn about various cultures most, and I plan to pursue international entrepreneurship as a career. I like to tinker with various fields and bring “odd” narratives together. I enjoy music of various genres from various cultures. I do rap and am currently learning how to sing as well as be a lyricist. Most of all I am a people person, so if you have a story to tell, I am more than willing to listen.
Name: Eric Scott
Major: Mechanical engineering
- I was the captain of a cross-country team. I’ve been to more than a few “leadership” conferences and retreats. I’ve organized my fair share of events. I ran for SGA senator not long ago. I even won. But I’ve never been a “natural-born” leader. It’s always been hard for me. That’s the truth of it. I’ll never know all there is to being a leader. But from experience, I know quite a few things it isn’t. It’s not some title or being able to order people around. Nor is it having all of (or the best) ideas. There are no points won for the most critical opinions, or the loudest voice. For me today, it’s passion and humility, hard work, and sometimes stubbornness. Being ready to jump on any opportunity that presents itself - but also knowing about when not to get involved. It’s about taking credit for the failures, and making sure every victory is never yours. It’s about being the first one in the room, and the last to stop fighting. Leadership isn't about yourself. It’s about everyone else. I’m determined to put that wisdom to good use.
- SGA is a hard, time-consuming, and thankless task. SGA’s executive board is even worse. So, while there’ve been some truly brilliant people inside of SGA this past year, almost none of them want to come back to take up the mantel. Bureaucratic, obscure, and demanding, it isn’t uncommon to watch your grades slip away, not only as you try to manage all that you’ve got to do, but as you try to figure out what it is you’re doing in the first place. I’ve heard it described as “a black-box within a black-box within a black-box.” For those new to SGA, or even with a modicum of experience - their first half of the presidency is going to be spent running around, trying to do something without knowing what it is that actually needs to be done - and the second will be spent wondering where it all went wrong. So here I am. Too stubborn to give it up or too stupid to get out while I can, I’m hopelessly naive enough to still believe I can make a difference, and maybe - just maybe - I understand the blasted machine well enough to make it tick.
- My mother makes fancy chairs in her free time. My sister goes to art school. My brother, he’s trying to be a rock star. My dad wants to write novels when he retires. I do art, too! I draw stuff. My friends say I’m getting pretty good at it. One day, maybe when I’m done working for good, I want to write and illustrate a graphic novel. It’ll be about some guy called Salt, and a girl called Avarice, and how much they hate each other. Action! Comedy! A warlord and part-time librarian hell-bent on the destruction of our heroes! All this and more! Anyway. If you want, you can check out my stuff here: https://imgur.com/a/IZC4r
Executive Vice President
Name: Monica Bhagavan
Major: Biomedical engineering
- Throughout the last few years, I have been engaged and leading a diverse range of activities. In high school I was varsity co-captain of the track and field team, and helped lead the team to winning 3rd place in the state championships. I also was on executive board of Model United Nations which taught debate skills. More importantly, at Illinois Tech I am on the executive board as Events Chair of the American Medical Students Association. My mission for this year was not only to provide a variety of innovative programming, but also to raise membership and student involvement. While working with the rest of the executive team, I learned valuable skills about managing executive boards, tasks, and workloads. Liking team dynamics, I joined the women’s track team my first year and Kappa Phi Delta. However, much of the preparation came from being an elected senator in SGA this year on the Events Committee. It was a privilege and an exciting experience to take part and represent students.
- Illinois Tech prides itself on the plethora of diversity of backgrounds, cultures, mindsets, perspectives, thought-processes, and opinions. Representing this diversity can only come from an individual who has been a part of the many sides of our university. From Greek life to athletics to student organizations to professional societies to SGA, I’ve experienced, engaged, and helped grow the diversity we love in each of these groups. My goals to promote SGA and lead senate to reach their levels of potential is unique. I know my experiences will help facilitate the thoughts of our senators and student body to implement real change. I am incredibly enthusiastic about SGA and how much of a positive impact. In terms of skill-set, I am well equipped to run for vice president as I will be able to run Senate productively and learn running finances as I am very organized, adaptable, and timely. My strive for transparency and approachability will connect SGA to students. Diverse and driven, I know I will find innovative ways to always benefit the student body.
- It was too hard to pick one so, I turned “most” into the acronym MOST . M: I’ve surprisingly got many nicknames my friends seem to call me - Mo, Mon, Moni, Moniibz, BMoney, Monday, etc. O: I’m overwhelmingly in love with cool printed socks, Thai food, collecting stickers, Pusheen, the soundtrack to “Interstellar,” and “Black Mirror.” S: My favorite season is spring time because of the lively colors and flower shows. T: My favorite poem is a “Dream within a Dream” by Edgar Allen Poe which is about the hopelessness of time. If you see me around campus, come say hi!
Finance Board Chair
Name: Jorge Morin
Major: Architectural engineering
- Currently at Illinois Tech, I have held a few positions that have prepared me to take on this position for Finance Board Chair. This includes serving as a Recorder for Finance Board on behalf of SGA, where I document all allocations of funds for all student organizations. Another position I currently hold is serving as treasurer for my student organization, which is the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) where I run our weekly budgets and spend accordingly based on what the allocation was intended for.
- I believe I am the best candidate for this position because I can offer motivation like no other. I can push people to limits they thought they were never capable of. If I become Finance Board Chair, it's my ultimate goal to ensure that student involvement on campus increases. I believe that SAF funds (Student Activities Fund) are a tool that is necessary to use to help reach across a student body that is full of diversity and is capable of doing amazing things.
- The most interesting thing about me that you wouldn't learn from this packet alone would have to be that I play some really top notch foosball. If you don't know what foosball is, in short, it's a table game with two soccer goals and players in it and the objective is to score more points than the other player to win the game. I would argue that I am probably the best Foosball player at Illinois Tech, and if anyone says otherwise, I would challenge them to a game. And this comes from playing for years on end in the Bog, often playing anyone that wanted to play for fun.
Vice President of Academic Affairs
Name: Aaditya Mittal
Major: Mechanical engineering
- Over the duration of last 3 semesters, I have worked with a number of remarkable campus organizations that have not only given me required skills to take on this position, but have also given me the invaluable experience of working with people across varying cultures and backgrounds, that I feel will be very useful in this position. Some of my previous/current positions are the following: SGA senator, programming chair for the Residence Hall Association, media representative for the President’s Student Advisory Council, tech support for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, programmer for the Indian Student Association, programmer for Union Board’s MTCC Late NIITe 2018, and member of the Galvin Library’s Student Advisory Committee. Now it may feel that I may have bitten more than I chew more but it was solely aimed at gaining the maximum experience while having easier classes in the first 2 years of my undergraduate program.
- This is one of the trickiest questions but I will try to answer it in the best way possible. I feel that I am the best person for this position because of the invaluable experience that I bring along, having worked with a plethora of organizations on campus in my relatively short stay of 3 semesters. Along with that, the skills that I possess make this position a perfect opportunity for them to be used in the most effective way possible, impacting as many lives positively as possible, which is kind of my aim.
- The most interesting thing about me, I feel, is that I have been to Germany for 9 months in an exchange program after my sophomore year of high school.
Name: Erin Nelson
- I have many! I participate as a leader and general body member in many organizations on campus, currently. I am a general body member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the President of the Residence Hal Association, a general body member and secretary of SGA currently while also being a member of the women's cross country, basketball and track teams. SGA has prepared me for this role because I know the kind of members I would be leading as a vice president, and I also know how the executive board works and would run. I work closely with the current vice president in two different settings - as a peer and a member of her committee learning the ropes of the position. This is a representation of how I know how to work well as a member of a team while also knowing how to lead a team. I work very well with others based off the things I have learned while being a part of these groups and this would be what I take away most into this position.
- I think I am the best candidate for this position because I think that any vice president needs to be a listener and a leader. It is not only about what ideas I have but the ones that I listen to. I am very good at going around and hearing what others have to say about the academics at the school and making sure that their voice is heard. As a vice president, I would also lead a committee of senators through projects, and this is where I am the right leader for the job. I have been a senator two years now and a part of the executive board for one already and know how to be the leader some of the senators need to make sure tasks are getting done. By being a better leader to these senators, I hope that it will encourage a constant flow and accomplishment of goals and improvements in academics at the school!
- I am an energetic person! Interpret that as crazy, dedicated, fun, friendly, or what have you because I am ALL OF IT. I come from a big, crazy family. I am one of five kids (I have all younger brothers) and my parents are one of five on each side. I value a good time with people I love, whether that be friends or family! A lot of my free time is spent with other people and most of the time, I am still doing something student organization related when I am just with friends. I am just looking forward to making SGA a more credible place to turn to for help in the student community while also meeting new people and making new experiences.
Vice President of Communications
Name: Narkis Anthony Garcia
Major: Business administration
- As the sole SGA senator for the Stuart School of Business (and a prominent member of the Communications Committee and loyal servant to Nathan Cooper Jones), I am frequently tasked with maintaining communications between students, student executives, and administration on campus regarding a wide range of projects we take on. I am also in charge of running most of SGA’s social media accounts, including Twitter and Snapchat, where I have to be able to successfully communicate ideas and events to the general student body regularly. In running these accounts, I am forced to communicate with multiple parties interested in promoting their respective events. I believe all of these experiences combined with my time here at the Illinois Institute of Technology (the most social school on the planet) have properly prepared me to interact as a leader and team member as vice president of communications.
- Throughout my time as an SGA senator, I have worked closely with the current (very fast) Vice President of Communications Nathan Cooper Jones. This experience has been invaluable, gifting me with experience that will be directly applicable to the position. Pair this with plenty of leadership experience and a lot of great ideas, and you have the best candidate for the position.
- Follow me @NarkisAnthony on Twitter and Instagram to learn more.
Vice President of Student Life
Name: Lin Abu-Amara
Major: Computer engineering
- I have been an advancement ambassador since my freshman year in college and it's been such an enlightening experience. It has given me the opportunity to network with inspiring Illinois Tech Alumni who became leaders in their fields. This unique job helped me polish my communication skills, art of persuasion, and the ability to multitask. The associate director decided to challenge me by promoting me to a leadership position that is usually given to older students. I now supervise student workers and handle the data aspects. A big part of the job is to tackle workplace issues and listen to my fellow coworkers' comments, concerns and feedback. I believe that the skills that I have acquired from this leadership position will help me through my time as your next vice president of student life. Earlier this semester, I decided that I wanted to give back to Illinois Tech's student community by running for senate. I got the opportunity to represent Armour College of Engineering as a senator in the Communications Committee.
- To begin with, I have the unique advantage of representing multiple groups on campus since I'm a commuting international student. I believe that this position requires someone who will go above and beyond in including and reaching out to all students on campus to improve their life and college experience. When it comes to the positions I hold in student organizations, I am very determined and known for being a woman of my word. I believe that being an executive board member of SGA is a bigger responsibility, since this position is the bridge between students and administration. Having acquired interpersonal and workplace communications skills throughout being an advancement ambassador at the Office of Institutional Advancements gives me the benefit of knowing how to accurately relay information between the student body, administration and SGA. In addition, my involvement with alumni will bring alumni engagement to the table where alumni could also get involved in SGA to create a better campus life.
- I am known for the level of dedication that I hold for all the positions I have and have had in the past. I live by my 110% effort rule, and I am a very committed person who puts others first. Anyone who knows me could attest to my love and pride for this university and my passion for SGA. My family's legacy at Illinois Tech makes it feel like it's truly my home away from home. I love to talk about what I do in the organizations that I am a member of to bring more light to the importance of being involved on campus. The only way to bring our ideas to life is to use the platforms that we've been given and become more aware of the matters and decisions concerning our campus. It is a great way to not only give back to the community but to keep ourselves accountable as well. Through assisting the Communications Committee and attending senate meetings, I have learned a lot about SGA and its power to create an impact on campus, especially on student life. That is exactly what my mission is in Illinois Tech SGA.
Name: Katja Berthold
Major: Mechanical engineering
- Throughout high school, I was part of many clubs and took on leadership roles. I was a tour guide for several years and a physics teaching assistant my junior and senior year. I also co-founded the "MIT Launch Club" which followed the MIT curriculum on entrepreneurship and created and ran a drop-in, student-run tutoring center on campus that helped students from grades nine through 12 in STEM subjects. I was also part of the girls’ varsity wrestling team for 4 years where I learned the importance of being a team player. Currently, I am a student ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and take on leadership positions at several events. I am also a team flight-line player in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, helping to build a modular plane we will compete in a competition in Kansas in April.
- Technically speaking, I am a very organized person and love to schedule events. I will be able to not only pitch new ideas, but I will do whatever's in my power to execute those plans. One of the reasons I chose Illinois was because of the potential I saw, not only in myself as a student, but in others as well. Illinois Tech is a small campus, but it's located in a very central area, surrounded by resources that are at our fingertips. I think it's time we try something new and start utilizing the opportunities around us.
- When I eat Fruit Loops, I must eat them in the color order of the rainbow.
Name: Thomas Doyle
Major: Chemical engineering
- From the beginning of my high school career, I viewed myself as a leader. Whether it was athletics, academics, or even community service, I always challenged myself to take things one step higher. While my high school career was filled with many great experiences, not until entering college had I truly begun to showcase my leadership potential that I had been building all of my life. I will admit it, I was scared at first to step up to the plate and become a senator of SGA, much in the same manner to become an executive board member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. However, I learned that what I feared most, even more than failure, was to pass up a perfect opportunity to be involved in something challenging, yet infinitely rewarding. My experience as a senator, an executive board member, and an athlete here at Illinois Tech has truly shaped who I am today, giving me the necessary leadership and teamwork skills to be beyond successful in this position.
- What sets me apart from many other individuals are my well-rounded characteristics. A certain degree of well-roundedness is required in order to be successful in this position, and my experience as an athlete, an executive board member, and a senator has pushed me well beyond this degree. In addition, communication and teamwork are also two very important aspects of this position. I am certain that I have learned more about teamwork than what is required for this position, especially being an athlete my whole life. Regarding communication, although this was not an easy task for me to do, I have prepared myself to be comfortable in situations requiring high levels of both oral and written communication, and I attribute these accomplishments to my involvement at this university. Finally, above all else, I have a passion to make this university a better place, and I would be inspired beyond words to lead a team of brilliant individuals who will work together to do the same.
- What’s interesting about me is not so much the leader I am today, but rather, the person that I was prior to being a leader. Many people believe that a leader is someone who is naturally smart, someone who is not afraid to make mistakes, and someone who does not need to challenge themselves because life comes easy to them. For me, this was never the case. Prior to high school, I was a year behind in mathematics, and I was even placed into classes that moved at very slow paces for kids with substantially low reading scores. In addition, I was afraid to challenge myself, because at the time I was too scared of failure. But after a while, I got tired of being this type of person, and I decided to change. I did so by taking a summer class to place me into honors algebra my freshman year, and after succeeding in this course, I began to understand the true value of a conquered challenge. From my freshman year on, I grew exponentially, and today I am someone who is motivated beyond any individual to keep pushing myself to higher limits.
Name: Yuehan Guo
Major: Applied mathematics
- I was part of TEDxIIT for the past two years and was the executive secretary at TEDxIIT 2017. I worked as the team leader of a group of 12 my colleagues during the summer of 2017 at China Resources.
- I have an international student background myself. While I had 4 years of high school in Connecticut, I knew what the international student needed, and I have a great understanding of the local culture. I always like to talk to people and make new friends, and being in this position will be beneficial in both ways.
- I am very cell phone-addicted, so I am well known for replying to things quickly, which always makes me reachable when something happens. I am almost always the first person that my friends trying to reach when they got in trouble.
Name: Tapishwar Singh
Major: Computer science
- A leader cannot be successful until they learn to allocate the resources present to the right people at the right time. I have learned to be a leader not only professionally but on a personal front as well, starting from leading small group of friends in book clubs at local libraries to leading a whole section of a class as class representative for five consecutive years from middle school through high school. I learned a lot of positives and negatives about myself. But more than anything that I have learned, I believe my father, who is a leader of a school himself, has taught me the best qualities while I was appointed as the head boy of my school. Those qualities include patience, determination and perseverance. All these qualities, I believe, have resulted in me gaining the confidence to apply for a leadership post in a country where I'm fairly new.
- As discussed above, I take pride in saying that I have been taught to be a leader on both the professional and personal front. I have indicated that my strengths are patience, determination and perseverance, which reflect my presence anywhere I go. I'm confident that I'm a person who leaves a positive mark by using my strengths at different levels with an intensity that is suitable for the situation. I believe I'm a good listener, a confident leader who doesn't fear to make decisions if need be, and a friendly person promoting direct communication. I can't comment on my competitors' strengths, but all I can say is that these qualities bring me up to par with the best candidate you might have.
- Something that you wouldn't know about me from this application would be my sense of humor, especially my ability to make people laugh just with my laughter or even a tiny smile. Another interesting thing I would like to mention is that I love to match my turbans with the outfits I wear, which would interestingly give you a very high number and colors of turbans that I have. Interestingly, I know the difference between fuchsia pink and blush pink.