ESA 2024-25 Executive Candidates – Vote for your new ESA Exec Team!

ESA members, please vote for the election candidates you support here: https://ca.cglink.me/2fM/s51060. Our voting form closes tonight, April 9th and our newly elected team will be introduced at our General Meeting on April 10th in Buchanan 323 from 12:30-2pm.

Our candidate bios are listed below.

Srijaa Chatterjee (Nominated for President, Honours Representative and VP Academic Programming) – I’m a third year student in the English Literature Honours program, complemented by a minor in Creative Writing. I’m interested in running for the role of President as I believe this is a position I am equipped for, and can do justice to. I have been involved in almost every facet of writing at UBC, while also being a co-founder of Political Pandora, a political website aimed towards younger age groups. The balance between working for organizations here at university and simultaneously heading my own endeavour showcases both my organizational and leadership abilities. I have been a Staff Writer at The Ubyssey for close to a year, a writer with Campus Nutrition, a book reviewer for Young Adulting, and recently, I was one of 13 students accepted into the Climate Storytelling Fellowship with UBC and Tilburg University. Moreover, I had the opportunity to develop my communication and social skills as a Peer Mentor and Event Staff Member at Best Buddies UBC, combined with my role as Media Executive at Dance Horizons. These positions prepared me for leadership roles, while also improving my organizational skills. Furthermore, I was fortunate enough to intern at Bloomsbury Publishing House over the summer, which taught me editing and writing skills specific to the field of literature and how to balance numerous projects at the same time. During the summer, I completed an internship with a college counseling firm as well, tasked with mentoring high school students and aiding them with essay writing, editing, and preparing them for interviews. This experience allowed me to be offered Lead Mentor at The Uplift Fellowship, a college counseling endeavour affiliated with Columbia University, in which I lead a team of mentors who work closely with high school students and create educational curriculums targeting scholarships and college applications, as I did over the summer. My professional experience has prepared me for a leadership role, and I endeavour to use those to give back to the English community at UBC, that made all of this possible. It would be an amazing opportunity to work with others, those with different experiences, as I believe one can always keep growing. I have a long way to go, and being a part of the English Student’s Association ensures that I can be an active member and help out, while growing as an individual.

Armaana Thapar (Nominated for Treasurer, VP Marketing, President, VP Operations, VP Social Programming, VP Academic Programming, Honours Representative and AUS Representative) – Hello, my name is Armaana and I am an English Literature student who is as passionate about graphic design and marketing psychology as I am about literature. Since I was young, I have been obsessed with all forms of art. I even applied to (and got accepted into) Emily Carr School of Art and Design, though I ended up choosing UBC in the end. As a self-taught graphic designer, I can comfortably use Photoshop, Canva, PicMonkey and more softwares to create compelling posters and designs that utilize my understanding of human psychology. For instance, for a mock women’s clothing brand named “Always Forever,” I incorporated the social dichotomy that women face of having to be innocent, yet sexual at the same time into a design of a teddy bear with pouty lips. Some of my designs are available to view here: https://armaanaportfolio.weebly.com/art-portfolio.html. Furthermore, I have been using social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Tumblr, etc) since I was very young and combining this experience with my art skill will make me the perfect fit for this role.

Dhruv Singh (Nominated for Treasurer) – I’m a second year Bachelor of Commerce student at the UBC Sauder School of Business who’s passionate about the vast world of finance. Being an avid mountaineer, I’ve always been compelled to apply the mountaineering mindset of consistency and management to the financial world and the role of Treasurer for the ESA will be an honourable opportunity for the same. I’ve been fortunate to get experience in the financial services field and business administration with finances, which would be directly applicable to this role. Working as an intern with the Chartered Market Technicians Association, I was able to bolster my analytical skills in developing deliverables that were quantitative – Excel reports that provided costing to expand to new institutional partners and new market opportunities (buyside firms) with respect to CMT’s budgeted income statement and balance sheet; and skills that were qualitative — developing outreach strategies for firms and institutional partners with the most likely rate of response and to portray CMT’s goals in the best manner. I was able to expand CMT’s outreach to 100 new institutional partners in the U.S. and expand buyside market segmentation by 10%. Reporting to C-suite management, too, heightened my communication skills with the team. With this experience and dedication to manage costing and expansion projects, I’m confident that I have prepared well to provide value to the ESA. My role as an incoming Summer Analyst Intern at Futures First, a Trading and Market Research firm, this Summer will also help in analyzing complex financial models and transferring skills to the Treasurer position. Most of all, I would be honoured to learn through the experience and bring the most value I can to the ESA, optimizing operations to the best of my abilities.

Grace Zhang (Nominated for VP Operations, VP Social Programming and Honours Rep) – Hey fellow English students! I’m Grace and I am currently an Honours English lit and lang student. I’m running for VP Operations, VP Social Programming, and Honours Representative because I would love to be part of a team that hosts exciting social events for English students to bond over, especially in a campus as vast as ours. As an ESA executive, my goals would include promoting the sense of community within the English department, and increasing engagement with students by expanding publicity and facilitating unique events. My roles as VP Communications and Run/Event Lead at the UBC Running Club, and Assistant Event Coordinator at the UBC Book Club, enables me to bring to the ESA event coordinating skills and familiarity with UBC club logistics. Moreover, my diverse work experience as an English and Math teacher, and barista also demonstrates my ability to operate proactively, adaptively, and dynamically within a professional, team-building environment. All in all, my desire to be part of the ESA team stems from my own experience as an undergraduate who wishes that I had reached out to clubs and associations on campus earlier, and the realization that clubs such as the ESA are what richly enhance our experience as university students.

Jessica Yeung (Nominated for VP Operations, VP Social Programming and Honours Representative) – Hello everyone! I’m Jessica Yeung and I’m running to be your VP of Operations. I’m heading into third year with the Honours program and would love to be more involved with the association. In my free time I dabble in fashion and study the (Japanese) blade. As VP Operations, I would be in charge of making a few events happen (creative conference, short story competition), and generally assisting with the others. I’m confident that with my experience leading other school club events in the past, along with my ongoing role facilitating large scale events of over 1500 guests at Science World, I will be adept at ensuring that the annual ESA events run smoothly, both big and small. In addition, I’m excited to run the ESA website, and will commit to (at minimum) monthly updates for the Association. I will also continue providing space for members to be published on the blog, curating an archive that celebrates our various voices and works. In doing so, I hope to contribute to building a student culture for the language arts. I look forward to your vote and working with the other executives in creating an unforgettable literary experience for you.

KaraLee Kent Aldrich (Nominated for VP Social Programming and VP Marketing) – Hi, my name’s Kara and I am a second year, English Literature student. I have a passion for reading and writing, as well as providing safe, and inclusive spaces for people. These passions, along with my background in event planning as a First Year Residence Council Member at UBC, are why I am interested in the VP Social Programming role with the ESA. I would love to be a part of an association dedicated to providing an educational, and social community for English Students who share a passion for English.

Mara Armanca (Nominated for VP Social Programming and VP Academic Programming) – I would love to assist the ESA to run more events to maintain a community within the English department! I’d love to host more social program events that would include collaborations with other student associations as well as trivia nights, pub nights, craft nights. If I am elected in the Academic Programming role, I would love to work on inviting guest lecturers to discuss their work, especially researchers or authors outside of our academic community in UBC. I believe in the value of workshops to help us as students learn about life after our undergrad degrees, and would love to have more of those (such as this years Master your MA event) and workshops to help students plan their current undergrad degree.

Sally Elhennawy (Nominated for VP Academic Programming and VP Social Programming) – As I go into my fifth year here at UBC, I feel that it is time to transform my experience being an active member of the community towards fostering connection that lasts through the years to come – I have many visions and ideas for how to leverage the role of VP Academic Programming to put on events that allow English students to showcase their talent and passion when it comes to this discipline. From the sidelines, I have observed and taken note of what has worked well and what still contains room for improvement, and I am more than ready to work towards creating a lasting community within the English department that extends beyond students’ time at UBC and allows them to envision the limitless possibilities the future holds. As VP Academic Programming, I would work towards hosting events and workshops that allow English students to gain more clarity on the progression of their degree (including looking beyond graduation), spotlighting external publication opportunities for students, increasing points of contact with English department faculty, and more. I would also commit to working closely with the other members of the executive team (especially VP Social Programming) to ensure all students’ needs are being met, and to create a forward-facing ESA whose presence students are aware of, and that they feel safe and comfortable approaching. I also would like to increase dialogue with the Creative Writing Department to collaborate on holding events in service of reframing “Academic Programming” so that it offers the space to embrace creative work alongside the arena of scholarly work. In the past, I have done my fair share of community event planning; however, what qualifies me most for this role is not my relevant work experience, but my passion for the UBC English community and my desire to see its constituents flourish, in the academic sphere and beyond.

Diana Andrews (Nominated for VP Academic Programming) – Hi everyone, my name is Diana and I’m running for the ESA’s VP Academic Programming! I will be entering my 4th year of the English Honours program this fall, when I hope to write my graduating essay on Gothic intersections between ecocriticism and disability studies. I have two years of professional experience with event planning and academic programming. By September, I also will have helped organize two academic conferences and presented at four, so I am confident in my ability to organize annual events like the colloquium and faculty information panels. In addition to these events, I plan to prioritize opportunities for students to learn about other forms of career development – both within and outside of the academy – such as how to create open access and public-facing scholarship, write conference proposals, and prepare work for publication.

Stella Griffin (Nominated for VP Marketing) – I am an honours English literature student with a creative writing minor, who loves reading 20th-century novels at JJ Bean or writing short stories in my living room while a spinach goat cheese quiche bakes in the oven. I am interested in running for the VP Marketing role at the ESA because I adore our community of students interested in English literature and language, especially hearing their perspectives and outlooks on today’s world. I believe their opinions and ideas should be shared with our UBC community. I am a Writer and Marketing Coordinator for Campus Nutrition, a blog that strives to spread awareness about food insecurity on campus, providing resources and up-to-date information to help reduce the food gap. I accomplish this by producing articles, designing social media content, writing social media captions, and photographing subjects for publication in articles and posts. Additionally, I am a Senior Staff Writer for The Ubyssey Publications Society, where I write about and interview subjects to spotlight inspiring creatives and their unique standpoints.

Anika Islam (Nominated for VP Marketing and AUS Representative) – I’m very passionate about English literature, and I would love nothing more than to share that love on the club’s Instagram. In the past, during my years of high school, I was the head of social media and marketing for four different clubs, all at once. This means I managed their social media accounts, designed and distributed flyers and posters, and would regularly get on the school intercom to advertise events and fundraisers. That’s where marketing applies. I’ve also demonstrated the necessary level of communication a position like this requires when I had to reach out to several organizations after having created a book sale and drive fundraiser with my friend. I communicated via email with an international charity dedicated to providing emergency on-ground healthcare in the global south, as well as a local charity that takes in used books and distributes them to community centres for children whose families don’t have access to buying books. This fundraiser took an extensive marketing campaign to be successful, and required so much dialogue and communication with outside organizations, but (of course with the help of the rest of the team) I was able to pull it off, and now the fundraiser has become an annual thing back at my school. For my dedication to community service, I was given the Mary McIntyre award for Outstanding Service. I believe that my experience therefore demonstrates my dedication to putting in the hard work collaborating with a team to get things up and running, and in my case, how useful I would be in the position of heading marketing. When it comes to marketing, I want to present this club not just as a place for events for the community, but a hub of learning as well. I want to use the club’s social media to make things fun and promote our discipline. I believe that a more active social media presence that takes a more fun and engaging approach would have the potential to grow our community. Our Instagram would get more views, which means anytime we advertise for events, we could get more turnout. Along with posts marketing our events, I would like to put up stories and posts of weekly literature recommendations, weekly film and television recommendations that English students would find interesting, fun facts and trivia of songs that have literary references, polls on whether a film/television adaption of a novel is worth it, and more, keeping up with suggestions from the rest of the team—things that increase our following and engagement on our social media. In my free time, I’ve started my own literature blog, and I think that shows my dedication to sharing a love for literature—it is a type of advertising, after all.

Nandita Menon – Hi everyone, I’m Nandita, a 3rd-year English Major with a minor in Commerce. I’m thrilled to be running for the VP Marketing role! Through my Commerce minor at the Sauder School of Business, I’ve taken courses in marketing management, where I’ve learned about consumer behaviors and effective techniques that I’m eager to apply in this role. Moreover, this past year, I served as VP Academic Programming with the ESA, where I successfully marketed events such as “Meet Your Prof” and the Colloquium. I’m excited about the opportunity to extend my marketing skills to promote future ESA events to English students at UBC, bringing greater awareness and exposure to all the hard work the ESA does!

Kevin Lem (Nominated for Honours Representative, VP Operations, VP Social Programming and VP Academic Programming) – I am currently a fourth-year English Honours student who loves to read and do creative writing in my spare time. I also work as a barista outside of class. I believe that being a part of the ESA means fostering a welcoming environment to both current and prospective students. Being able to take part in the process of creating a community is something I would like to do for the department. The Honours Program is a community that continues to grow. By being the Honours Representative, I intend to help everyone in the program to get to know one another and develop long-lasting memories during their degree, whether through Honours socials and/or workshops. I am also committed to continuing the promotion of the Honours program to prospective students by being a part of the ESA. Regarding experience/qualifications, I am great at time-management, efficiency, and leadership skills, and I plan social events and dinners at my current workplace.

Alexei L. Villareal (Nominated for AUS Representative and Honours Rep) – Alexei L. Villareal (he/him) is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Honours English Literature with a minor in history. This year, he will primarily be running to take on the role of AUS Representative or Honours Representative. With his previous experience as the Secretary for the Arts One Student Council (2021/22), the Arts One Representative for the AUS First-Year Committee (2021/22), BIPOC Research Coordinator for the AUS Equity & Inclusion Department (2022/23), and as a Sustainability Ambassador and Associate Vice President Administration in the AUS Sustainability Department this year, Alexei feels that he has the knowledge and skills necessary to liaise between the English Students’ Association and the Arts Undergraduate Society and ensure clear communication between the two student groups. In addition, he is a passionate supporter of the English program at UBC and is always willing to speak to the importance of a degree in English, and the humanities more generally.

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