Blog - University of Melbourne | GSA Council Nominees 2017
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GSA Council Nominees 2017

GSA Council Nominees 2017

All registered graduates at The University of Melbourne are eligible to vote in GSA Council elections.

Voting opens on 24 April and closes at 10am on 12 May.

You will receive an email to your unimelb.edu.au email account detailing how to vote as soon as voting opens.


Full candidates list:

Click on the candidate’s name to view their statement, photograph and video (if provided).


Sareh Naji

I am a graduate research student in Infrastructure Engineering Department. Currently, I am serving as vice-president of Graduate Infrastructure Engineering Society. I also have been actively involved in forming a new society to connect graduate research students across the Faculty of Engineering.

My passion is to protect interests and well-being of graduate students, both in professional and social contexts. In particular, I am passionate about developing programs to provide useful knowledge on graduate students’ rights, skills of communication and stress management in professional environments, pursuing provision of comfortable work spaces for the research students especially in the Faculty of Engineering, and seeking support to assure accommodation and social integration of international graduate students.

 Recharge GSA! is a group of current councillors and first time candidates who have come together to fight for the following:

  • Campaign for Postgrad Public Transport Concessions
  • More Study Space for Engineering Students 
  • Students Rights at Work
  • Increase Grad Group Affiliations
  • Protect GSA’s Independence
  • Weekly Social Events
  • More Careers and Academic Skills Support Programs

If you think what we fight for is important, please vote for me and everyone else running to Recharge GSA!

Watch a video of Sareh speaking at our ‘Meet The Candidates’ session


Adele Guille

In 2017 I moved to Melbourne to commence post graduate studies in International Business, after practicing as a Physiotherapist for three years in public health in South Australia. I am running to be a representative of the GSA as I believe I can be a strong and compelling voice in supporting the experiences of the graduate student body on campus. I am a strong advocate for the LGBTIQ community, and proudly represented The University of Melbourne, as the banner holder for the Midsummer Pride march held in January. I believe in gender identity and expression, free from discrimination, and the right for students to express their sexual orientation openly. Furthermore, I value the full diversity of women, and am advocate of about gender equality across all platforms, particularly empowering women to stand up to economic and social injustices in society. I am passionate about equal opportunities for graduate students on campus, both socially and academically, and if elected will strive to support the unity of graduate students through orchestrating dynamic and exciting events


Jacob Rodrigo

My name is Jacob Rodrigo, and I’ve nominated for GSA Council to Recharge GSA! As a Juris Doctor student at the Melbourne Law School I am passionate about ensuring that every faculty, including the MLS, follows the University’s compulsory lecture recording policy. Graduate students have many responsibilities—from work, to family and internships. Our right to learn on our terms must be upheld. Recharge GSA! is a group of current councillors and first time candidates who have come together to fight for the issue graduate students care about: public transport concessions for postgrads, ensuring University anti-plagiarism software is fair and keeping the GSA independent. If you care about these issues please for vote me and everyone else running to Recharge GSA!

Watch a video of Jacob speaking at our ‘Meet The Candidates’ session


Phuong Nguyen

No photo or statement supplied


Xu Zhang (John)

John is currently studying Juris Doctor at Melbourne Law School. He is the Founder and President of Calligraphy Club as well as a committee member at Law Students’ Society. John has rich experience in planning and organising student activities, and he is always full of passion and friendliness for helping other students.

John is determined to enhance welfare system, which would ensure all graduate students, whether local or international, feel at ease to seek out GSA for help whenever necessary. Keeping to fight for public transportation concessions for graduate students is on John’s “Must accomplish” list. Simultaneously, John aims to provide a greater level of support to affiliated Graduate groups, encouraging Graduate groups to pursue their respective interests and make them feel supported by GSA consistently.

John is also determined to seek more career opportunities for graduate students through the collaboration with the career centre as well as career portfolios of other student societies & organisations. For instance, more CV & Cover Letter workshops, mock interviews and career panels would be organised to help graduate students with the aim of improving employability. Furthermore, John aims to partner with more external organisations to provide graduate students more access to career opportunities.

Watch a video of John speaking at our ‘Meet The Candidates’ session


Joseph Moore

I’m Joseph and I’ve nominated for the GSA council to Recharge GSA!

As a Masters of Education student, who also completed their undergrad and honours at Melbourne Uni, I’ve been around campus for some years, and been involved in several clubs and societies, including UMSU committees. I have a realistic sense of what student representatives at a range of levels can realistically achieve and how this can best be done.

This is the first year of the Melbourne Masters of Teaching where student representation can be effective over an extended timeframe. We have the opportunity to review our experiences over the first half of the course, and provide feedback to faculty. The new placement model, the scheduling of assessments, and opportunities to appeal onerous placements are all issues facing education students.

Recharge GSA is a group of councillors and first time candidates who have come together to fight for a range of issues, including the campaign for postgrad public transport concessions, lobbying for a refurbishment of the grad space in the 1888 building, and better regulation of internships and other work experience programs.

If you care about these issues, please vote for me and everyone else running to Recharge GSA!


Mebrahtu Gebreyohannes Tedla

No photo/statement submitted


Bren Carruthers

Hi, I’m Bren, a Master of Journalism student and current GSA Councillor. I’m seeking re-election so I can continue my work in advocating for the health and welfare of graduate students.

I have already helped establish a Health and Welfare Officer position within the GSA, ensuring that it is one of the key goals of the organisation. I’m also in the process of building structures for more accessible and supportive systems and services for graduate students at risk of mental illness. Graduate research is often the most stressful period in a person’s life, but we should never accept mental illness as a necessary part of a higher degree – it should never be ‘survival of the fittest’. 

I have an extensive background in serving students at both Monash University and the University of Melbourne, including as the Founding Station Manager of Radio Fodder. My passions lay in the media, but my on-campus involvements have always been underpinned by a passion for serving students.

Whilst the government’s troubling proposed changes to higher education and the ongoing development of the University’s student precinct are also important issues to me, health advocacy remains my top priority. I would truly appreciate your vote.


Yali Zhao

Greetings fellow graduate students!

My name is Yali ZHAO. I’m an international female student doing PhD study in School of Computing and Information Systems (CIS). I’m currently chairing CIS Postgraduate Group and IEEE Women in Engineering Group and the lead ambassador for Victoria Google Girl Geek Coffee. I also committed at various positions in the past such as Google Student Ambassador for Australia and New Zealand.

As one of the international female students, I want our voices be heard. I also hope I can stand up on behalf of all other graduate students who face difficulties and need help. I’m eager and passionate to unite graduate students from different backgrounds in order to voice our concerns and fight for our rights. The voices of students need to be heard and actions required to be taken to help more students with all of your kind supports.

To contribute to student communities, with the help of many organizers and volunteers, we have organized a series meaningful and interesting events, such as: International Women’s Day Career Planning Seminars, Coding for Women Workshop, World’s Most Positive Countries Presentation Ceremony, Work Life Balance Talk, etc. I hope I could become the member of GSA Council/ over word limit 


Max Bergh

My name is Max Bergh and I’ve nominated for GSA council to Recharge GSA!

As a postgraduate law student serving on the incumbent council, I am passionate about and have been actively working towards:

  • Raising student awareness of our Fares Fair Campaign; and campaigning for postgraduate concession fares
  • Participating in Chancellery discussions to ensure changes occurring around University are fair and effects on students are considered
  • Working towards sustainability on campus: encouraging the use of Fair Trade products and organising the Fair Trade market

Encouraging student participation in, and fostering a sense of belonging to the GSA family through social events, such as this year’s Grad Fair

Recharge GSA! is a group of current councillors and first time candidates who have come together to fight for the following:

  •  Implementing more Careers and Academic Skills Support Programs;
  • Fighting for Students’ Rights at Work;
  • Increasing the Regulation of Internships;
  • Ensuring anti-plagiarism software is fair and equitable; and
  • Continuing to campaign for postgrad concession fares

If you care about these issues please for vote me, and everyone else running to Recharge GSA!


Yan Wu

Hello! This is Yan from China. As an International student, I am very interested in learning Australian culture and wish to be a part of this multicultural society. No matter you are a domestic or international student, I would love to speak for you and provide service as much as I can.


Rajiv Gupta

While talking to many international students, I came to know about the issues and problems they are facing day-to-day life. These problems are not only pertinent to the study, but mostly occur in their personal life. This motivates me to apply for the GSA counsellor position, where I would like to be helping hand to the needy irrespective of problem types. More specifically to the international students, who are continually seeking support from the one they know, and want to have chat with the individual who possess a good understanding in handling and tackling the problem. I have also observed that most of the international students hesitate to talk to support section of the university, as a counsellor, I would may help to bridge the gap between the students and university authority. At last but not the least, If I would get appointed as a counsellor, I would be happy and would put every effort to assist students irrespective of matters, students can contact me without any hesitation at any time.


Rezhan Zhang

No photo or statement supplied


Simon Windley

No photo or statement supplied


Gopen Raval

No photo or statement supplied

Watch a video of Gopen speaking at our ‘Meet The Canidates’ session


Meltem Bayrak

No photo or statement supplied


Deniz Tuncer

Hi my name is Deniz Tuncer, I am a first year medical student and I am running for GSA Committee. I am running because I want to help assist in the running and coordination of events for the GSA, as well as for advocating on behalf of GSA for postgraduate-specific issues, for both locals and international students.

I am particularly interested in conducting more GSA barbecues and events (with more free food!), creating more accessible graduate study spaces around campus and improving 1888 Building facilities. In addition, I have a strong interest in attracting more professional development workshops and hosting more career fairs at the university, as well as in building stronger connections and relations between the GSA and Industry.

I am quite passionate about changing the status quo regarding Victoria’s lack of post-graduate concession cards and would like to continue and increase GSA’s lobbying efforts. Including through the #FaresFairPTV Campaign as well as practicing higher levels of outreach together with common-sense backed arguments to try persuade the state government to start issuing post-graduate concession cards.


(Aaron) Yue Sun

Hi, my name is Aaron (Yue Sun). I am a second- year master student of management of finance and accounting in business school. I am a international student from China. I studied my undergraduate course in Peking University China. Now I am running for the position of member of the GSA council. I, as one of the thousands of international students in the university, am proud of it. I would be more willing to take up the duty belonging to me to fight more rights of us.

There are main qualities that I think I am qualified for this position. My background assists me to have easy access to know what international students specially Chinese students want or need in their life in graduate study period. Also,  I have a firm belief with sacrifice and willing to make up the gap between individuals.

If I were elected the member of the GSA council, I will try my best to serve all the graduate students in our university. I hope that you can support me and I really appreciate your vote.


Shirley Jackson

My name is Shirley Jackson, and I’ve nominated for GSA council to Recharge GSA!

As a PhD candidate at the Youth Research Centre in the MGSE coming off the back of doing a Masters in International Relations (career studentism FTW), I know how difficult postgrad life can be.  The pressures we are faced with, the lack of governmental support, and trying to balance our study with our work and, for some of us, our family commitments are making it harder and harder to get ahead.

I am passionate about youth advocacy, having worked in a youth work rights not-for-profit and I want to bring this passion for youth voice to the GSA.  I will work with the postgrad student community and help make your voices heard where it counts.

Recharge GSA! is a group of current councillors and first time candidates who have come together to fight for better Careers and Academic Skills support programs for post grads, better regulation of internships, to improve student rights at work and continue to campaign for postgrad public transport concessions.  If you care about these issues please for vote me and everyone else running to Recharge GSA!


Madhumathi Ragunathan

No photo or statement supplied 


Emadeddin Nematollah Farahzadi

No photo or statement supplied

Watch a video of Emaddedin speaking at our ‘Meet The Canidates’ session


Tiyana Jones

No photo or statement supplied 


Novatus Kwe

I am Novatus Kwe and I’m asking for you to bestow the honor of being a Councilor in the Graduate Student Association. I am unbelievably happy to be at Melbourne but I would like to take a greater, more active, role. I want apply my passion and ability to helping support the growth of a legacy that will help students far after I graduate.

As a major recipient of the SSAF I believe the Association has a duty to the Graduate study body. After all, we are at University not jut for academics and one’s out-of-class experience is not less important. One area I desperately want to change is Mental Health; as a graduate nursing student myself I can definitely sympathise if not empathise.

I believe depression and anxiety can have crippling effects on students. Worse yet, due to lack of information available, their peers may not understand, or worse, stereotype. As a councilor I see myself coordinating with students, staff, and the community to organise students who would like to seek help a clear avenue for support.

Thank you for considering my application and look forward to the opportunity to be part of such a great organisation.

Watch a video of Novatus speaking at our ‘Meet The Candidates’ session


Jennifer Feinstein

Jennifer is a driven and energetic individual with a passion for leadership and service. Her involvement during her undergraduate career (i.e. founding and leading a student club, coordinating volunteer programs and partnering with the sustainability manager) was her way of bringing about change to the campus and representing her fellow students. She wishes to bring this knowledge into her position within the Graduate Student Association. In addition, being from the United States, she wishes to act as a voice for other international students. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and is currently enrolled in the Master of Environment program. She is determined to leave the University of Melbourne better than she found it for future students. 

Watch a video of Jennifer speaking at our ‘Meet The Candidates’ session


Smriti Ghimire

I’m a second year PhD student in the Department of Infrastructure Engineering and currently a GSA councillor and Family Officer. I am also a grad representative for Child Care Management Advisory Committee (CCMAC). Previously, I have worked as the president of Melbourne University Nepalese Students Society (MUNSS), secretary of Graduate Infrastructure Engineering Society (GIES) and RHD representative in Education Committee of Department of Infrastructure Engineering, which speaks for my commitment to student representation. Experiences in these roles have been enlightening to understand the importance of representing and safeguarding our interests and welfare around University’s changing policies. Having worked as GSA’s Family Officer, I’m also passionate about accessible childcare services for graduate students with young children.

I’ve nominated for GSA council this year to Recharge GSA! Some of the programs we would be passionately advocating for includes more campaigns on myki concession for grad students in public transport, access to more study spaces within the departments, ensure compliance of UOM’s lecture recording policy across all faculties, better representation of GSA on non-Parkville campuses, better regulation of internships and of course, more social events! 

If you support these issues, please vote for me and everyone else running to Recharge GSA.

Watch a video of Smriti speaking at our ‘Meet The Candidates’ session


Travis Hughes

As a Masters of International Relations student I have recently founded the Postgraduate International Relations Organisation. I want to use this and the council to advocate for better regulation of internships, more study space for postgrads and more weekly socials.

I am also passionate about students’ rights at work. I will oppose any government attempts to deregulate or defund universities and the creation of a two tiered system.

Recharge GSA! is a group of current councillors and first time candidates who have come together to continue the fight for Postgrad Public Transport Concessions and advocate for more Careers and Academic Skills support programs.

If you care about these issues please give me your vote and to everyone else running to Recharge GSA!

Watch a video of Travis speaking at our ‘Meet The Candidates’ session


Winston Yong Dzau

My name is Winston and it would be an honour to serve on your GSA council to Recharge GSA!

As a medical student, I am passionate about improving the accessibility of university mental health and wellbeing services and student groups to build a supportive community and guide our peers through challenging times.  As an off campus student, I understand the frustration and difficulty of communicating student feedback towards university policy adjustment. Thus, I would seek to improve representation of non-Parkville students. I would also like to expand faculty specific training sessions, including workshops specific for international students, to polish interview and job application technique to smoothen our transition to professional practice.

My fellow Recharge GSA councillors and candidates are committed to policy which ensure fair and equitable treatment of students through informed representation, provides career and academic support programs and networking events to improve cohort unity.  Recharge GSA are united in our vision to campaign for public transport concession for graduate students, improved internship regulation, expansion of faculty specific study spaces and compliance of the compulsory lecture recording policy.

If you too are passionate about these issues or would like your voice to be heard, please show your support for /overword length


Peng Kuang

I will make efforts to improve the study experience of international students and help boost their employability. In particular, I will endeavour to help and support the students who feel they are underrepresented and hard to find a community in the university. Students bearing such characteristics should feel welcomed and supported in the university. The university has the responsibility to give concern to all students and provide them support accordingly. This is especially important to those students who are experiencing difficulties in their study or life.


Tessa Gould

No photo or statement supplied


Margi Patel

No photo or statement supplied


Xavier Boffa

The GSA is an incredibly important student body, responsible for a $2 million annual budget (14% of the SSAF). If elected, my priorities would be to see more funding go to Graduate Groups like the LSS, MBSSA and UMMSS (currently only 7% of the GSA budget goes to Graduate Groups), to support the #FARESFAIRPTV campaign with a direct political lobbying strategy, and to encourage greater engagement by students in GSA Policy development. 

I am very supportive of the current proposal to lobby for the SSAF to be made pro-rata with periods of enrolment and hope that the GSA will adopt this as official policy. Ideas like this and our campaign to extend existing public transport concessions to graduate students can make a real meaningful difference for students, and I would encourage greater emphasis on the development of sensible policies like these. I also believe that further funding from the GSA budget can be made available to encourage and facilitate the creation and expansion of Graduate Groups.  

The GSA needs professional, dedicated leadership for all students. That’s why I’m standing for GSA Council, to be someone who listens to and engages with students to ensure that their GSA delivers for them.


Arshita Bhargava

No photo or statement supplied


Kehzan Zhang

Bring your voice back! My name is Kezhan (Jessica) Zhang. It’s my aim to bring accountability to the GSA as a progressive female voice from international students.

My main role I believe is to ensure “our” money is utilized accurately and efficiently. I support that information regarding academics and career is readily available to the students in addition to encouraging interaction between graduate students and the departments of University.

Like most international students here, I started my university life without the companion of family. I intend to stand up on behalf of international students, especially female students. I delicate myself to multicultural conditions for different opinions, networking opportunities and delightful dialogues that allow mutual education to take place.

I hope to utilize my communication, organizational and leadership skills, attained by my experience involved in several student clubs in the media and business area, will be invaluable to me in the representation of GSA students.

At last, our years here at Melbourne University should be one of the best times of our lives. I will make it my duty to be sure this is achieved, incorporating your ideas, to bring your enriching experience. Vote For Your Voice!

Returning Officer

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