GPSA 2024-2025 Candidates

President/Vice President

Ajay Barman

Graduate School, Ph.D. Student

  • About Ajay

    I am Ajay Barman, running for the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) president in the General Elections of 2024 with Marwa Aly as my running mate for the Vice- president position. I am a seventh-year doctoral student at Washington State University (WSU), Pullman, and I have been a part of the GPSA executive board for the last three years. Marwa and I are currently advocating for graduate and professional students at the local, university, state, and federal levels as GPSA vice president and President, respectively.

    With the collective effort from GPSA, for the 2024-25 academic year, we plan to:

    1. State and federal funds: Advocate for graduate and professional students at the state capitol, Olympia, Washington, for state funds for a salary increase. GPSA will take a

    holistic approach by collaborating with the WSU Government Relations office at Olympia and the Coalition of Academic Student Employees (CASE), which will bring positive change for you. We will continue to advocate at the federal level in Washington, DC., for increased funding to higher education and funding for research, including agriculture, health science, and energy.

    1. Basic student needs: Continue advocating for basic needs at the university and state level, including mental health, food security, affordable housing, and childcare. GPSA will continue to support the Food Pantry and ensure graduate and professional student access. We will continue the successful collaboration with ASWSU and WSU Crop and Soil Grad Students on a food drive to ensure food for our student community during the winter
    2. Inclusive & safe campus: Work with the university and local authorities to keep the WSU campus safe, welcoming, and inclusive irrespective of gender, nationality, color, or religion, for people of all political ideologies during the 2024 US Presidential election. We will strongly advocate for our marginalized student community, including persons of color and the LGBTQ+ community.
    3. International student community: Continue collaborating with the International Program (IP) office to support our international student community. As an international student myself, I have faced and become aware of problems related to campus employment rules, English proficiency rules, Social Security Number (SSN) paperwork, cultural shock, and food insecurity.
    4. Registered Student Organization (RSO): We are going to implement a robust approach to ensure our RSO’s financial needs are met. We will continue to develop a close relationship with all the Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) related to graduate and professional students. We are always open to feedback and constructive criticism, which helps us to improve the system.
    5. Fundraising Reception: We started the GPSA fundraising initiative in 2024, and our special fundraising committee plans to organize a successful fundraising event for the upcoming year. We are committed to supporting our graduate and professional student community, and this fundraising will help us continue despite the significant budget cut from the Service & Activity (S&A) committee.

    Marwa and I are both experienced in the complicated WSU bureaucratic system. We are proven to be devoted to our position and making GPSA our top priority.

    During my tenure as President:

    • I served as a committee member in the S&A committee, which provides the annual budget for the I will be an asset in advocating for steady budget allocation to GPSA.
    • We successfully organized Coug Day at the capitol on Jan 22nd, 2024, where 80 WSU students, including nine graduate students, visited Olympia, Washington, to meet 90 The bills that we advocated for include:
      1. HB 2114: Rent stabilization (Max 5% annual increase)
      2. SB 6038: Remove licensing fees for childcare
      3. Basic Needs Proviso: $1.8M Provisio on the Basic Needs Act includes affordable housing, food security, and childcare.
      4. HB 1889: Undocumented Student Support
      5. WSU Native Scholarship Proviso: Advocating for $2.8M
    • GPSA organized advocacy at the Washington DC on Oct 17th, The key issues that we advocated for include:
    1. Funding for Core Programs & Research: Increased research funding, including agriculture, health science, and energy.
    2. Support for International Students: Extending on-campus job opportunities and allowing jobs for dependents visa-holder (F2).
      1. The College Transparency Act (CTA): Extending CTA to include graduate and professional student-specific data, and we support Framework for Accountability in Academic Research and Mentoring (FAARM).
      • GPSA worked with the WSU police to submit a $3.2M Federal fund proposal to install CCTV cameras across the WSU, including Graduate and Family housing.
      • We made changes to the travel grant application, which made it easier to apply. The selection process is now more objective, and students are no longer required to justify their research.

      Advocating for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is very important to me. Born in a lower caste family in India, I experienced social injustice where poverty was integral to life. I want to support other underserved minority communities the best way I can. As a first-generation college student, I understand imposter syndrome and want everyone to feel they belong and deserve to be here. My role as an executive board member of GPSA (2021-22), VPLA of GPSA (2022-23), and President (2023-24) gave me a platform to advocate for students and social justice. All the positions gave me first-hand information on the student’s basic needs, including student-specific problems. My three years of experience within GPSA helped me understand the GPSA system and the complex WSU bureaucracy, which will give me a running start when I continue as President. Continuing as President will allow me to work toward solving the issues WSU graduates and professional students face.

      My role as a president would be to unite our efforts so that GPSA will be on the right path to achieving its goals.

      Thank you for taking your valuable time to read my candidate statement. If you believe Marwa and I are the right team to advocate for graduate & professional students as the President and VP of GPSA, please vote for us for the GPSA 2024 general election.


Marwa Aly

VCEA, Ph.D. Student

  • About Marwa

    My name is Marwa Aly. I am a fifth-year Violand School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering graduate student. I am a first-generation graduate student in my family. I serve as a vice president for the executive board, a budget chair for the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) at WSU, and a vice president for the graduate and professional body at the Washington Student Association (WSA). Both organizations care about humanity and equity for graduates.

    I have experience working under stress, managing time, and showing responsibility, a positive attitude, trustworthiness, flexibility, adaptability, and leadership. I always care about graduate students' experiences at WSU. I work hard to make changes to make better choices. I used to hear students` concerns and bridge the communication gap between the student community and the leaders at the school and university levels. As a GPSA leader, I addressed basic needs, e.g., the stipend, housing, health care, food insecurity, and Childcare issues. I was a team member who met with transit managers, discussed transportation problems, and found a solution for transportation issues. In 2022 and 2023, I went to Olympia and participated in the Coug Day to lobby for students. We advocated for four bills: childcare, undocumented students, housing, and basic needs. At the Washington State level, I meet with graduate student representatives and discuss the students' issues at the state level. We plan to contact the student and share emails with their legislators to support the bills. We plan to organize a graduate students' lobby day for next year.

    I was pleased to initiate the after-school program for graduate students` kids at WSU with a partnership between GPSA and the YMCA at Palouse. GPSA offered childcare reimbursement this year and partnered with WSU Children Center to open an after-school program. As a GPSA budget chair, I facilitate the purchases, offer affiliated funds for around 40 RSOs, adjust the academic year budget to accommodate all the activities to benefit graduate and professional students and submit the budget request for the following year. As a senator chair, I prepare the senate meeting agenda and lead the senate meetings. As a GPSA executive member, I work with the team and am familiar with the GPSA bylaws.

    I am an active member of several WSU committees, such as the President's Employee Excellence Award committee, Fee Committee, Cub Advisor Board, ACE Internationalization Sub-Committee on Mobility & Partnerships, Student Health Insurance Advisory Board, and community committees in Pullman, such as the health advisory board for the Childcare Community Center and the Head Start agency policy council. I received The Worthy, DePauw & Wang Service Leadership Award in April 2022; the President's Award for Leadership in April 2023; the WSU Women of Distinction in April 2023; and MLK Spirit Award: Elson and Carmen to Floyd & William and Felicia Gaskins Social Advocates of the Year, 2023.

    I am interested in joining the GPSA Executive Board because I want to serve the graduate and professional students at WSU and advocate for them to receive a better life at WSU. I believe that joining the GPSA executive board will allow me to make critical decisions essential to graduate and professional students and

    advocate with the WSU administration on critical issues like healthcare, food insecurity, housing, childcare, and the cost of living for graduate students. I will work with the president and the executive members to promote transparency and advocate for GPSA members.

    My experiences strengthen my capabilities to manage responsibilities and track my weaknesses. I was the graduate students' voice for critical decisions for students' health and living situations. Working with a strong senate body and administration is a great learning platform that strengthens my communication and management skills and will help me succeed in this position.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my statement. I hope you find me a good fit for the vice president position and vote for me to work together and continuing advocate for the graduate and professional community at WSU.

Vice President of Legislative Affairs (VPLA)

Pal Tathagata

College of Arts & Sciences, Ph.D. Student

  • About Pal

    Dear All,

    I am Tathagata Pal (I go by Pal). I am currently a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the WSU, Pullman and the Vice President of Legislative Affairs (VPLA) for the WSU GPSA.

    I have been associated with WSU GPSA for last 3 years now. I was elected the GPSA Senator for the Department of Biological Sciences in 2021 for one year. As a Senator, I brought forward the graduate students’ issues to GPSA and urged the leadership team to take actions. I fostered a feeling of togetherness among the graduate students and made them feel inclusive by connecting them with the larger graduate and professional student community represented by the GPSA. I was a part of the GPSA Awards and Scholarships Committee and carried on all the committee tasks with efficiency and sincerity as well.

    During the academic year 2022-23, I was elected as the GPSA College Representative for the WSU College of Arts & Science (CAS). I also served as the Chair of GPSA Awards and Scholarships Committee during that time. As a college representative, I always made sure that students’ voices are heard and pragmatic solutions are reached for any of their problems. I along with my team was able to secure a funding of $5000 from the CAS Dean’s Office for the cougar food pantry. As the chair of GPSA awards and scholarships committee, I led a team of eight people. The team was tasked to look over all the GPSA awards for the students. Me and my team worked with the WSU Academic Showcase team to organize the WSU Research Exposition, 2023 and also worked with the WSU Graduate School for organizing the Graduate Student Evening of Excellence.

    My reputation as a leader helped me get elected for the position of GPSA VPLA for the year 2023-24. GPSA VPLA is tasked with student advocacy at University, city state, and federal level. As the VPLA, I also chair the GPSA Legislative Affairs Committee (LAC). At the Pullman city level, me and my team are working hard to solve some of the students’ transportation issues. I am working with the Pullman City Council to make graduate students a part of the council’s decision making process.

    I am proud to share that I represented all the WSU graduate and professional students in Washington D.C. during my meeting with the US Congress Delegates on behalf of WSU GPSA. I had meetings with US Senator Patty Murray and US Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers during my visit to D.C. and I actively lobbied for some of the students’ issues at the highest level of government.

    At the State level, I am working as the Legislative Liaison for WSU GPSA representing all the WSU graduate and professional students in Olympia, WA for the 2024 legislative session. I am currently staying in Olympia and advocating for students’ issues regarding childcare and housing. We have already made progress on the GPSA endorsed bills SB6038 (for increasing childcare support) and HB2114 (for having rent stabilization). I was also a part of organization team for the WSU Coug Day, 2024. My organizational skills and the ability to work as a team have resulted in a successful Coug Day with 95 meetings with legislators for 85 WSU students from different WSU campuses. Me and my LAC team are trying to have one of the most fruitful years in terms of legislative actions in the history of the WSU GPSA. I also met with WSU President Kirk Schulz during my stay in Olympia and lobbying on behalf of students to ask for the State’s support for the agreement reached between WSU CASE and the University.

    I am very glad to share with all of you that I have been appointed as the Graduate Student Representative in the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) by the WA Governor Jay Inslee. In this position, I’ll be able to more actively lobby for students’ rights at the state level.

    Apart from the works mentioned above, I have also been involved with a number of volunteer works in the WSU system. My involvement with the GPSA Fundraising Event Committee has been imperative in smooth functioning of the committee. I have also been working voluntarily with a number of WSU University Committees. During my time as the GPSA college representative, I worked in the WSU Driver’s Safety Committee and ensured that all the student drivers are driving safely in and around Pullman. I represented graduate students in the university housing committee (which is called the Living on Campus Committee) and always had the best interests of our graduate and professional students in mind when voting on any important decisions.

    I want to run for this position because I want to continue advocating for students' rights at the city, state, and Federal level. As you may know legislative processes takes time and continued effort is needed to see any fruitful outcome. I firmly believe that with the amount of experience that I gathered over last one year, I'll be able to make better progress for the upcoming year. Specifically, in terms of childcare support, I have already started working with Rep. Greg Nance and Sen. June Robinson in the WA state and this will continue after the session. With your vote, if I am elected in this position for the next term, I'll be able to continue working in this front during the 2025 legislative session. Also, at the Federal level, I'll again engage in student advocacy to bolster GPSA's relationship at the highest level of government.

    Thank you so much for going over my testimonial for the GPSA VPLA 2024-25 position. I strongly believe that with all of your support I'll be able to do justice to this position. Thank you and Go Cougs!

    Best Pal

College Representative for the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS)

Madison Hönig

College of Arts and Sciences, Ph.D. Student

  • About Madison

    I have served as the GPSA Senator for the Anthropology Department for two years and as the Chair of Community Affairs for the past year. In that time I have been involved with chairing the Special Committee for Food Security and been an active member of the Senate. As an international student, I have first hand experience understanding the unique situations of graduate students who face additional concerns about visas, taxes and finding summer work. I also have served as the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee chair in the Anthropology Department where I relaunched and helped distribute funds from the Mutual Aid Fund which has supplied over 25 students with emergency expenses.

    GPSA is uniquely poised at this time to re-invent our role by working collaboratively with our newly established union. By coordinating efforts, we can address key issues using a multi-pronged approach to accomplish our goals. In my role, I prioritize both long-term and short-term solutions to provide actionable transition information so that advocacy efforts can continue beyond my tenure. In my role, the Food Security committee, the annual Lend a Hand, Give a Can Drive and running the referendum question for a fee to support to the Cougar Food Pantry are long-term solutions to address food security on campus.

    My priorities would be to advocate for the health and well-being of graduate students to ensure that basic needs are met and that they are given the tools to succeed in graduate school. I will continue to support and advocate for issues of food security, community safety, and sustainability within and beyond the WSU community.

Nazua Idris

College of Arts and Sciences, Ph.D. Student

  • About Nazua

    My name is Nazua Idris. I am a PhD Candidate in Literary Studies in the Department of English. While doing my MA at WSU, I fell in love with its diverse and inclusive academic and professional environment and decided to pursue my doctoral studies in the same department. WSU has become a second home for me because of the exceptional love, kindness, and support I received here. I am applying for the position of the GPSA College Representative for the College of Arts and Sciences so that I can give back to WSU community and continue its legacy of love, kindness, and camaraderie.

    I have served as GPSA Senator for the last two years. As a Senator, I have served on Professional Development Initiative (PDI), Graduate Studies Committee, Research and Arts Committee, and Food Security Committee. I have recently been appointed a member of the WSU Hearing Boards. Serving in all these capacities as a Senator has inspired me to get involved in the GPSA Executive Board so that I can use my learning and experiences to further contribute to the welfare of my colleagues.

    In addition to serving as a Senator, I have been actively involved in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) of the Department of English. In addition to coordinating the activities of this committee and facilitating the meetings, I have been advocating for giving equal opportunities to all graduate students in the department to get involved in DEI work.

    As the Graduate Research Assistant of the David G. Pollart Center for Arts and Humanities, I spearheaded several initiatives to serve WSU community and beyond. Since last Spring, I have been organizing a seminar series for first-generation graduate students. This program provides first-gen graduate students with a space to share the challenges that they face in graduate school and receive mentorship from faculty members who were first-gen grad students. This year, I advocated for opening this seminar series to first- gen graduate students across disciplines so that we can break away from the disciplinary silos and foster cross-disciplinary community and collaboration.

    If given the opportunity to serve in the GPSA Executive Board, I will continue my commitment to supporting and advocating for graduate students. Particularly, I will work on expanding the seminar series for the first- gen students to make it more accessible and available to all first-gen graduate students at WSU. Also, I will work toward ensuring food security, mental health support, and equitable and accessible distribution of available resources and opportunities for the graduate students.

    As an international Muslim female student of color, I bring unique perspectives and lived experiences regarding the challenges of navigating academic and professional environments in diverse contexts. In my research and teaching, I am committed to creating inclusive and equitable academic environments and will nurture the same commitment if I get the opportunity to serve as a GPSA College Representative for CAS.

    Thank you very much for your kind consideration.

College Representative for the College of Veterinary Medicine 

Augustine Attah

College of Veterinary Medicine, Ph.D. Student

  • About Augustine

    I was a senatorial member of GPSA who worked with the travel grants committee for one year. After that, I was nominated as the Chair of travel grants. This is my second semester serving as the Chair of travel grants. I have had the privilege of working with four amazing senators, who work tirelessly and timely to evaluate applications and provide feedback during meetings. I have been consistent in my service, and have maintained a high integrity as the Chair of travel grants. I have a long history with the GPSA travel grants committee and have helped reshape the application review process such as removing subjective questions and removing name retractions in the application process. I have also been able to handle conflicts with both students and staff who had their applications denied. I have researched and provided information to both students and staff who needed my help with the GPSA travel grant process. I would occasionally work with my department’s travel manager to provide answers and solutions to staff and students. I think I would succeed in this position because of my experience, as well as my passion for this role. The Travel Grants Committee provides valuable service and support to students and professionals at WSU, and I am more than honored to be part of it.

College Representative for the Murrow College of Communication

Andrew Sutherland

Communication, Ph.D. Student

  • About Andrew

    During the 2023-2024 semester, I served as the College Representative for Murrow College of Communication. I was the communication director of GPSA, and I decided to continue to serve the graduate and professional students of Murrow College of Communication. Over the past year, as the communication director of GPSA, I maintained GPSA Senate and Executive meeting minutes. I maintained GPSA communication with the graduate and professional student body, specifically through social media, the Daily Evergreen, and SLATE announcements. One of the major tasks I handled the last year was maintaining and editing the GPSA website. I also became ADA-trained to ensure our GPSA website follows ADA compliance. While making sure the website was up-to-date and making sure all of the links were working, I also helped expand various resources on the GPSA website, such as expanding student resources, updating financial resources and the research expo, and creating a webpage to promote the GPSA legislative affairs agenda at the local, state, and federal level.

    If elected as the college representative, I will continue to serve as the Murrow Representative and continue with my current tasks but expand on current projects. One project I started was working with Cable8 and the KUGR radio station on ways to promote graduation. More specifically, I want to develop a means to work with student media organizations to help graduate and professional students gain media experience and help build up opportunities to promote science literacy to the public. I am currently for the 2023-2024 semester with KUGR to set up a radio/podcast focusing on graduate and professional students to discuss their research, teaching experience, or service. More importantly, this can serve as an opportunity to inform the public more about the research process and educate the public about essential research impacts. I plan to continue developing this show, and once we have developed it consistently, the show could be quickly passed down to future communication directors. A second goal for the 2024-2025 school year is to continue to edit the GPSA website to incorporate more resources that would benefit graduate and professional students. I want to treat the GPSA website as a form of a hub of information that would benefit graduate students. During the 2023-2024 semester, I began this project by helping develop a webpage dedicated to mental health services for graduate and professional students. I started this with food security resources, but that page was added to a future-developed WSU Care page. If elected, I will continue this project by incorporating legal services that could benefit graduate and professional students. My final goal is to develop a more direct messaging system where graduate and professional students can offer insight into GPSA's general concerns or what else GPSA can do to add to our website.

College Representative for the College of Education

Golrokh Maleki

College of Education, Ph.D. Student

  • About Golrokh

    As a passionate advocate for graduate and professional students and a dedicated student, I am thrilled to apply for the position of College Representative for the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) at Washington State University. My commitment to fostering a supportive academic environment and my experience in leadership roles make me a strong candidate for this position.

    First and foremost, I am applying for this role because I believe in the power of advocacy to transform lives. As a student within the College of Education, I have witnessed firsthand the challenges and opportunities that graduate and professional students encounter. I am eager to represent the voices and interests of my fellow students, ensuring that their needs are heard and addressed within the larger university community.

    My background as the Chair of University Affairs for two consecutive years has equipped me well for the responsibilities of this role, through which I had the privilege to apply leadership skills such as effective communication, organization, and collaboration. I understand the importance of listening to diverse perspectives and working collaboratively to achieve common goals. Additionally, my ability to remain composed under pressure and to adapt to changing circumstances will be invaluable in representing the College of Education within the GPSA.

    In terms of specific leadership skills, I excel in communication and advocacy. These skills helped me a lot as the chair of the Student and university affairs to bring Native Americans, veterans, and active-duty students’ voices to what we already have on the table so that we can benefit from their fund of knowledge and make a more inclusive environment for everyone. It was through all the volunteers we could have at university committees that we could have students’ voices and representation in all university-wide committees that can have an effect on graduate and professional students’ lives.

    In this role, I intend to be a proactive and approachable advocate for my fellow students. I will actively seek out feedback and input from students within the College of Education to bring more equity to everyday practices, ensuring that their concerns are addressed within the GPSA. Additionally, I will work closely with other members of the GPSA to develop initiatives and programs that support the academic and professional development of graduate and professional students within our college.

    Overall, I am deeply committed to serving as a voice for the students of the College of Education within the GPSA. With my leadership skills, passion for education, and dedication to student advocacy, I am confident that I can make a meaningful contribution to this position and represent our college effectively.

College Representative for the Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture (VCEA)

Sajjad Uddin Mahmud

VCEA, Ph.D. Student

  • About Sajjad

    My name is Sajjad Uddin Mahmud, and I am currently the college representative of VCEA for the academic year 2023-2024. I am applying for the same position again for the upcoming academic year (2024-2025). I am now in the third year of my PhD program at the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. After beginning my studies as a graduate student at WSU in the spring of 2022, I joined GPSA and was appointed to the Budget committee as a senator-at-large. My responsibilities included working on the RSO approval and their budget, recording their spending, and assisting with the presentation of the GPSA yearly budget. I became a member of the EECS Senate in the fall of 2022 and served as a member of the committee for the Professional Development Initiative (PDI). I successfully conducted events organized by PDI that year. Later, I was elected as the chair of PDI for academic year 2023-2024. During Fall 2023, we successfully organized 8 events and we have 13 events in the Spring 2024. We also provide grammarly account to 150+ students. Before I moved to the United States, I had six years of experience working in a variety of industries, including industry, academia, and corporate. I was able to effectively complete a broad range of projects around the country as a team leader. During my time as a faculty member, I also served as a mentor for more than one hundred different students. All these experiences have provided me with invaluable lessons in leadership, helped me to improve my communication abilities, and strengthened my confidence to take on any new challenges. My interest in learning more about the present GPSA policies and working to improve them for the benefit of the students has grown over the last year. Because I am a first- generation foreign graduate student, I have had to overcome a great deal of adversity, which has given me insight into the ways in which GPSA can considerably make a beneficial effect on the lives of graduate students. As a current college representative for VCEA, I met with the Dean several times to talk about the essential needs of graduate students like stipend, common rooms, food security etc. If I get elected as the college representative for VCEA again, I will continue my work to keep communicating the challenges that graduate students are facing and the needs they have to the appropriate authorities via GPSA and achieve those. I believe that the best way to fix our problems and make our lives simpler is for all of us to work together. Please consider giving your important vote to me if you feel that I am the one who has the potential to serve as the spokesperson for all the graduate and professional students. Thank you for your valuable time.