University of California, RiversideUCR


GSA Elections  


GSA Positions (See 2016 Election Results)

President Candidates

Shawn Ragan

Shawn Ragan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History and is the current President of the GSA. Shawn has over three years of experience in the UCR GSA, serving as a department representative, the Academic Affairs Officer for CHASS, and as the Vice President of Academic Affairs before becoming President. As a constant advocate for graduate students, Shawn has worked on a range of issues, from lowering summer fees at the recreation center to keeping family housing affordable. He has worked to develop relationships between the GSA and other campus organizations and departments, which has enabled him to provide personal help to graduate students in need. He serves on numerous committees, on issues ranging from campus transportation and parking, campus art, and student recreation and wellness.


Executive Vice President Candidates

Maïko Le Lay

Maïko Le Lay is a French and Japanese PhD student in Critical Dance Studies. Le Lay holds a M.A in Cultural Studies from the University Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle (France) and a M.A in Political Sciences from the University Catholic of Louvain (Belgium). She currently acts as the GSA Executive Vice President (EVP). During her term as an EVP, Le Lay implemented the Grad R’Pantry. She concentrated her advocacy efforts in sustainability (in joint effort with her UCOP Carbon Neutral Initiative fellowship), food security, international students’ concerns, and art activism. She represented UCR Grad students’ voice at the UC Student Association and at the UCR Healthy Campus Initiative. In June 2016, she represented all UC students at the Capitol and the White House in Washington D.C. In 2015, she served as the GSA Campus Organizing Director, and the Dance Department’s mini-GSA’s representative.


Vice President of Academic Affairs Candidates

Nichole Ginnan

I am a third year PhD Candidate in the Plant Pathology program. I have sat on the GSA executive board since I started at UCR (31 months of experience). I served as the CNAS Academic Affairs officer for one year. Following that I was appointed as the Conference Travel Grant Coordinator for 1 ½ years. Since January, I have been the Vice President of Academic Affairs. I am seeking to continue in this role for next year. I am genuinely dedicated to improving individual graduate students’ training and career experiences here at UCR. This is what has led me to reapply for the VPAA position. Furthermore, I have served on two UCR Faculty Academic Senate Committees, I am the current Vice Chair of the Highlander Union Board of Governors, I am a City Ambassador on the City of Riverside’s Academic Forum, and I am an NSF Fellowship recipient. My involvement has given me a good understanding of graduate student needs across different fields/programs, and the experience on how to communicate concerns to faulty, administration, and at the city level. I hope to continue to connect with, represent, and empower graduate students as your GSA VPAA.


Finance Officer Candidates

Dejan Stekovic

Hello, my name is Dejan Stekovic, and I am currently a 3rd-year PhD Candidate in the department of Chemistry. I am applying for the position of GSA Finance Officer as I have always enjoyed finance and am interested in working with the GSA. I possess experience with the chemistry mini-GSA (helping set up events, volunteering for outreach opportunities, attending meetings etc.). My qualifications include experience with personal budgeting and knowledge of excel along with strong written and verbal communication skills.


Michael Bentel

Michael Bentel is a 2nd year graduate student working towards his PhD in chemical and environmental engineering. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Mike has recently joined the GSA as a mini-GSA representative for the Chemical & Environmental Engineering department, representing over 100 graduate students. His experiences with project management and finance include environmental health and safety program initiatives within the Chicago Transit Authority, executing capital projects upwards of $500,000 with SunCoke Energy, a metallurgical coking company, as well as lead start-up of a new water quality lab in the CEE department. Most recently, he successfully co-authored a GSA Green Grant to implement sustainable practices towards zero-waste events across the Bourns College of Engineering. Outside of research in the lab, which focuses on treating perfluorinated water contaminants, he enjoys bicycling, woodworking, and playing billiards with friends.



Jasmine Jafari

My name is Jasmine Jafari, and I am a Quidditch player, avid baker, and medical student who wants to be your next GSHIP Officer! Having been part of the UCR GSHIP and Student Health Advisory (SHAC) committees this past year, and having previously chaired UCLA’s SHAC in undergrad, I have three years of experience successfully advocating for and implementing improvements to both UC SHIP policies and our campus health and counseling centers. I’ve also spent two years as a voting member of the UC SHIP Executive Oversight Board, helping successfully achieve policy expansions like trans fertility treatment, free anonymous STI testing, off-campus mental health and bolstered dependent coverage all while decreasing my home campus’ annual premium. I believe my experience (linkedin.com/jasjafari), devotion and relentless enthusiasm make me a strong candidate for effectively addressing UCR’s specific health challenges. Choose me for effective and timely improvements while minimizing our high premiums!



Malika Ahuja

Malika Ahuja is an MBA student and serves as the Advisory Student Council Member for the Career Development Center at the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management. She is a computer science engineer who graduated with Bachelors in Technology and later interned in the Healthcare Department at Dell International Services. She then proceeded to work as Coordinator of IBMS at the TLC programming division for Discovery Communications Asia Pacific. After gaining further experience as an Operations Manager, she moved to California to pursue her MBA full-time. Passionate about networking, entrepreneurial management and public relations, she is currently committed to earning her Masters in Business Administration and graduating with a concentration in Marketing as a member of the class of June 2018. In her free time, Malika enjoys adventurous sports such as river rafting, horseback riding and paragliding apart from indulging in indoor activities like reading novels and writing from time to time.


More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Student Elections
202 Highlander Union

Tel: 951-827-3621
E-mail: asucrelections@ucr.edu