GSA Candidate Statements

Candidate for President

Kyle Van Dolah, 1st year Ph.D., Department of Biology

My name is Kyle Van Dolah; I am a first year Ph.D. student in the Biology department. Although I am new to UCR and the GSA, my years of leadership experience and often extreme organizational skills qualify me for the office of President. During high school I was President of the local chapter of the United States Pony Club and an active member of Link Crew (a division of the student government). As an undergraduate I was Vice President of the Biology Club and the Omicron Lambda chapter of Tri-Beta (the national biological honor society). In addition to these positions, I was the student liaison to the Biology department faculty, helping to bring the issues and concerns of each group to the attention of the other. I also have familiarity with the workings of both the GSA and the mini GSA of the Biology department (the BGSA).

As President of the GSA I hope to increase the involvement of some of the under-represented departments on campus. I feel that the scope of the GSA and its benefit to graduate students can only be increased through greater representation. We need to hear more voices and their individual points of view to enhance the clout of our organization.



Candidate for Executive Vice President

Louise Hendrickson, 1st year Ph.D., Department of Political Science

I am running for the position of the Executive Vice President for the Graduate Student Association (GSA) at the University of California, Riverside 2006-2007 for several reasons.
The first is that I want to become move involved with GSA in order to help my fellow graduate students in having a voice on campus and being active members of the University Community. I intend to do that by keeping the graduate students informed of the activities of the University of California Student Association, of bills or legislation that affects graduate students, and by motivating graduate students to participate in the various conferences and lobbying opportunities that arise throughout the year.

Secondly, I have experience with student government as I founded the Political Science Graduate Students Union (GSPSU) at San Francisco State University and served as the first co-chair. As the chair of GSPSU, I represented our organization with the University Board of Directors, dealt with issues that arose with the Dean of the School of Behavioral Science, planned events for GSPSU, balanced the GSPSU budget, maintained office hours and wrote the original GSPSU Constitution.

The third is that I can bring much to this position as I have already attended a lobbying conference with GSA, and have an understanding of what will be required of me when I coordinate the lobbying visits for next year. I also hope to extend GSA Lobbying for pertinent bills beyond in-district and State Capital Lobby visits to visiting the National Capital in Washington D.C.

Finally, I have the drive and willingness to dedicate the large amounts of time to GSA and the office of Executive Vice President that are needed. As a Political Science PhD student and teacher’s assistant, I am capable of managing my time effectively and efficiently.

I hope I am given the opportunity to serve GSA in this official capacity.



Candidate for Vice President of Academic Affairs

Beth Silverstein, 2nd year Ph.D., Department of Philosophy




Candidate for Public Relations Officer

Amita Nijhawan, 4th year Ph.D., Department of Dance

I have held this position for the year 2005-06. I have hosted Grad Bash and Coffee Socials each quarter, all of which have been packed with grad students! So far, I am managing the party finances so that we are actually under budget. I have also been to every orientation on campus to talk about the GSA. I have interviewed and appointed the International Student Affairs Officer for 2005-06, and have negotiated with the International Services Office to increase his responsibilities. I would continue to host fantastic parties, and invite more grad students to attend.



Candidates for Health Insurance Committee Chair

Jenni Keys, 3rd year Ph.D., Department of English

Here at UCR we have one of the best comprehensive health plans in the UC system. I want to keep it that way. As a member of the 03-04 GSHIP committee and this year’s Chair, I am intimately familiar with the workings of the GSHIP program. I have also developed good working relations with Administration and Health Center officials. Additionally, prior to entering the graduate program, I worked with PPOs, HMOs, and IPAs in claims adjudication, customer service, and claims utilization. I bring 20 years experience working with customers, insurance administrators, and health center administrators to this position.

I am concerned that the Administration’s need to balance a budget and the astronomical annual increases in health care premiums have the potential to erode our health plan. I supported the 2004 GSHIP referendum passed by the graduate student body, now incorporated into GSA bylaws, and I have worked hard to be an advocate for graduate students’ interests. I would like the opportunity to continue the work begun this year and to re-implement the GSHELF program, a short-term loan available to grad students to help defray the health care costs.


Karla Pliego, 3rd year Ph.D., Department of Environmental Toxicology

I would like to be involved in graduate student health insurance issues because as a graduate student I understand the importance of affordable and adequate health care. I strongly support health policies not being modified to disadvantage and inconvenience the students. I am a strong negotiator and understand the relationship between the economic capabilities of students and what is fair for health care providers. Some beneficial changes I would like to develop as a committee member would involve additional physical and chiropractic therapy while trying to keep co-pays at minimum. Now that my research is finally well established I would like to become more involved with campus issues and health care to me is an important issue to deal with. Finally, I would like my current studies in environmental toxicology to eventually lead to advising in the health care profession.

















Last Modified: 4/27/18