Candidate Profiles

Below are the bios of all of the candidates standing for the GSS Executive elections.

Director of External Relations

Matthew McDonald

My name is Matthew McDonald and I’m running for the position of the Graduate Student Society’s Director of External Relations. I’m a third year PhD student in the Economics department, and I hope to be able to take part in the discussions, advocacy and decisions underway at the GSS.

I am not interested in holding this position just to get a CV line item. Metro Vancouver is in the midst of an affordability crisis that particularly affects graduate students at SFU, and the Director of External Relations role can and should be used to help address this crisis. Recently, I’ve been
actively organizing with the Tuition Freeze Now! campaign (which was endorsed by several student clubs and societies including the GSS and SFSS), fighting for tuition relief for graduate and undergraduate students alike. The Director of External Relations position offers many opportunities to further advocate for graduate students by increasing the resources and services available to them, and I intend to take full advantage of those opportunities. By reaching out to government representatives as well as other, similarly-minded student groups, I can help find solutions for tuition, housing, childcare, and mental health, all tailored to the lives and experiences of graduate students.

Thank you for considering me for this important position. If elected, you will be able to count on me as a steadfast advocate for the interests of SFU graduate students during these financially stressful times.

Daljot Singh

My motivation for running for the position of Director of External Relations is my vision for future. I wish to work with organizations such as the United Nations to work on strengthening the India-Pakistan-China relationships. As this role at GSS is primarily doing advocacy and
working with various levels of government, it would act as a foundation and open many avenues for me to do advocacy in future.

I have been a part of many technical and non-technical societies, organizations and groups and have served them at various positions. During my bachelor’s, I was the class coordinator for the government of India program—National Service Scheme. I was the editor of my college
magazine and have hosted many programs on the college community radio. In addition to that, I was privileged to represent my high school, and later college, at various university festivals in the literary events.

If I get selected for the role the role. I would be pushing with the U-Pass negotiations with minimum fees per month possible. Affordable housing for students is another issue. I would also strive to get more funding from Ministry of Advanced Education for students to conduct independent research. I would also be resisting the hike in fees especially the 4% increase for international students when they are already paying 3 times more than the Canadian nationals, I would also try to make united platform for all the students so that their collaborative demands can be put forwards with the university administration.


Director of Internal Relations:

Luciana Fortes

Hello everyone! My name is Luciana Fortes and I am running for the position of Director of Internal Relations. I am currently a Masters student at the School for Contemporary Arts, where I am studying performance, dance and clowning. I am extroverted, energetic, and love connecting with people. I am also from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but have lived in Calgary, Philadelphia, and Paris throughout different parts of my life. This makes me adaptable and versatile. I have a fair bit of experience as a director of an organization, and as a consequence I have developed strong proactivity, communication, and problem-solving skills. A proof for this is Aplica! – a college counseling enterprise I co-founded with a colleague, which we have been running since 2016. At SFU, I have been the Caucus secretary and TSSU Steward for my department for the past two terms. As Director of Internal Relations, I would be committed to enhancing the efficiency of the Caucuses and amplifying their resources within every department.Thanks for your consideration!

Director of Student Life:

Marina Khonina

What made you interested in this role?
The experience of being a graduate student can be both an exciting and a challenging time. Earlier this year, I joined the GSS Affordability Working Group because I saw myself and many other students struggle with the financial pressures of being in graduate school. This experience made me realize that getting involved and connecting with others can help us deal with the challenges we encounter. I also saw that for each of us there is a community of like-minded individuals out there. The role of Director of Student Life is a great opportunity to help graduate students at SFU to feel part of that larger community.
Why do you feel you are a good fit for this role?
Before coming to graduate school, I worked in community management and volunteer engagement. The skills I developed in these roles would be especially helpful in engaging SFU’s graduate student community and helping make graduate school a more positive experience for everyone. 
What would be some of the things you would focus on in this role?
Graduate student well-being and mental health are the one thing that consistently comes up in my conversations with other students. A top priority for me would be focusing on support and resources for graduate student well-being. I also believe it is very important that student life reflects the full diversity of the graduate student community at SFU and that everybody’s voices and needs are heard.