2020 SGA Candidates
Bios for candidates for the 2020-2021 school year are forthcoming. Please return to this page for more information soon.
2019 SGA Candidates
Candidate: Melanie Glover
Year in school: Graduate Student
Past experience: I am currently the Chief of Staff for Student Government Association, I have been a Senator and Chief Justice for Student Government Association, I have been the Anti-Basileus, parliamentarian, chaplain,and Anti-Grammateus for Sigma Eta chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., I have been the Treasurer for Black Caucus, the Vice President of Justice Studies Club and a member of Black Heritage Committee.
Campaign Platform: Empowerment starts with you. Students voices matter, students needs matter and if student want change then they have to be that change.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? I believe the critical issues that NEIU students face are not being heard and not having the ability to live up to their full potential. NEIU students lack resources and mentorship.
How do you plan to address these issues? I plan to make sure administration knows what students needs are. I plan to make sure that students are the focal point of this university. I plan to make sure that students are involved in every decision made at this university.
What would be your first action once in office? My first plan would be to hold a rally for students, administration, faculty, and staff. This rally would be like one big cook out.
Candidate: Eric Winslow
Year in school: Senior
Past experience: Student government association: vice president; Black Caucus: President
Campaign Platform: Empowerment Starts With You!
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? Communication. Commitment. Inclusion.
How do you plan to address these issues? I plan to address these issues by continuing the work I have started in my roll as Vice President for the 2018-2019 school year. I’ve had discussion with students all over campus to to get idea of what students need and want. I’ve also, put my self in position to be student orientation leader so I can help the freshman class feel more welcome.
What would be your first action once in office? My first action in office would be to make sure as SGA we continue whatever legislation that been work on in the pass for the benefit of the students.
Candidate: Issalma Franco
Year in school: Senior
Past experience: SGA COC representative SGA Treasurer Vice President of Gamma Phi Omega
Campaign Platform: Helping all organization know the resources near them, and teaching them how to present to the council in a more effective way.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? A critical issue is we need to be more transparent with students and let them know the resources. In addition, to having more campus life and involvement.
How do you plan to address these issues? I plan to be more aware of what are students need and try to lead them with event or resources on campus.
What would be your first action once in office? My first action would be creating workshops to teach those clubs that do not know how to request for funding. In addition, to helping bring more student life involvement in campus.
Candidate: Trace Chase
Year in school: Senior
Past experience: During high school, I was voted Captain of the Varsity Volleyball & Basketball teams because of the way I was able to lead our teams through communication with my coaches, teammates, and officials as well as create a schedule for team dinners and bringing snack bags on the bus to away games. During my time at NEIU, I was elected secretary of H&PE Student Organization. In this role my ability to lead our student body is through communication, networking, and promotion of classes, fundraisers, and events.
Campaign Platform: My platform is to inform students of what free resources are offered to them such as health services, tutoring in the library, and a free gym membership at the PE complex.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? A critical issue facing NEIU students is lack of communication from campus administration. For example: events happening on campus, safety concerns, and consistency of information communicated to students.
How do you plan to address these issues? As a student representative, my first step is to bring my concerns to the attention of the other Student Government Association (SGA) representatives. In collaboration, we can plan to meet with University committees to discuss strategies to communicate important information to students.
What would be your first action once in office? My first action in office would be to meet with leaders of University committees and introduce myself and my role in SGA. During this meeting I would set up a schedule to meet, possibly biweekly, to discuss what information they would like to communicate to students and how we can begin delivering this information consistently.
Candidate: Destiny Davis - Not pictured, No bio
Candidate: Karen Fraid
Year in school: Senior
Past experience: I have served in many leadership capacities in my lifetime. I currently chair a CPS Local School Council, and am serving my 4th term. I have experience as a Girl Scout and Cub Scout Leader, Project Manager at work, PTA President and Treasurer, and I volunteer as a fine arts teacher with students of all ages and abilities. At Northeastern, I serve as one of the Vice Presidents of the University Honors Program Student Advisory Board.
Campaign Platform: I believe that NEIU students will be best served by transparency, so I promise to take detailed and accurate minutes that are submitted promptly for approval and digital publication online. I believe that our diverse student population often faces barriers to participation and inclusion in the governance of their school, and that these barriers can be broken down by outreach and communication. The vast majority of our students are unable to attend meetings, but these meetings can impact their education and well-being. By uploading minutes, one of the barriers to inclusion can be addressed directly.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? I believe that student retention is a serious concern, but I worry that marketing the school (while important) does little to address the underlying issues that cause students to leave school. Those students most in danger of leaving school are also least likely to have the extra time to go to a meeting about these issues, so there is a gap between those who need resources and those who could potentially provide them. We need to bridge that gap. We seem to be struggling to do that, though it is definitely not for lack of trying! We're just missing something. I think it is related to the issues that many students are having regarding either a lack of adequate advising or a lack of communication between students and the school regarding requirements and procedures. There is a communication gap--even though we often feel we are drowning in information!
How do you plan to address these issues? I plan to address these issues that way that many of us in the interdisciplinary program do: by looking at the problem from not just ONE perspective, but from a variety of perspectives. Rather than seeking out interest groups, we need to find a way to get different kids of stakeholders and different kinds of experts into the same room (be it a physical or digital space). Sometimes, an economic problem has a sociological solution. Sometimes an academic problem has a mental health solution. Sometimes we can't see the big picture until we walk in each others' shoes. A practical application of this would be to include streaming options or social media question submissions or another accessible options when the administration or school organizations/departments hold stakeholder meetings so that students who cannot be on campus outside of class time can still participate. I will advocate for inclusive options that use modern technology as well as traditional means.
What would be your first action once in office? I will begin immediately to take and submit minutes of meetings and make public all documents that students and stakeholders have the right to access, following the bylaws and other applicable rules and regulations.
Chief of Staff
Candidate: Hector Estrada
Year in school: Junior
Past experience: I am currently serving as a Senator in the Student Government Association and a part of the Freshman Action Committee (Chair), Transfer Committee (Chair), and Student Life Committee.
Campaign Platform: I believe any form of government should strive to have three core values: Transparency, Accountability, Representation
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? One very critical Issue that needs to be addressed is the declining number of freshman students and the low retention rate of the freshman class that we do get. We should create some form of transparency between the students and the school many student do not know what is going on regarding there education nor do they know where to get said information. The student body needs to be aware of whats going on regarding their education.
How do you plan to address these issues? One solution is hearing from the students by hosting town halls or having suggestion boxes in all the campuses so that we can hear the voice of the students and advocate with their voice. Once we hear the voice of the students we can create coalitions to plan the changes. The final step would be that the Student Government advocate the needs of the students with the plans that were created by the students for the students.
What would be your first action once in office? My first action if elected is to hear as many student voices as I possibly can because my role is to represent the students through town halls or written suggestions or via email. Representing the students is the job description and in order for me to carry out my role I would need to hear the students concerns and the direction they would like to see their education taken.
Communication and Public Relations Director
Candidate: Kinza Kha - Not pictured, No bio
Candidate: John Rayburd - Not pictured, No bio
Candidate: Trudy Leong
Year in school: Masters in Political Science
Past experience: IBHE-SAC (Illinois Board of Higher Education-Student Advisory Committee) Northeastern Illinois University Representative Northeastern Illinois University Student Trustee, 2017-2018: Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce Senior Assistant, President SLAM Open Mic Poetry Club, Acting President Rotaract (Rotary International for Youth) Club of NEIU, Acting President Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Secretary NEIU Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization, PSA Director and Wizard WZRD Chicago, Fund raiser International Business Conference; 2017 Senior Editor, Poetry, SEEDS Literary & Visual Arts Journal; 2016 Orientation Leader
Campaign Platform: 1. The Pritzker administration indicated emphasis on equity and diversity, and getting more Latino students and not African-American students, enrolled. Page 23 of the printed 2018 Underrepresented Groups Report indicates that African-American enrollment decreased approximately 25.9% from 2013 to 2017, and Hispanic enrollment increased by 6%. I will advocate for Illinois resources to increase African-American student enrollment and for implementing one-to-one student peer support for increasing enrollment and retention. 2. Two of the goals as a result of the 2018 Underrepresented Groups Report are to encourage student success with employment and to have 65% or more of Illinois students with an employable credential by 2025. This helps explain my continued push over the past two years for more NEIU employer partnerships for internships and employment. I will continue this work to increase the percentage of students with an employable credential. 3. University of Illinois Springfield acquired a $50 million capital project grant to help expand Innovate Springfield, a business incubator in downtown Springfield which UIS acquired, and spur economic development in that downtown. I will work toward NEIU brainstorming and acquiring a grant in which NEIU contributes to the community or forwards economic development, too. 4. I plan to run for Voting Student Member on the IBHE.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? I believe a critical issue facing NEIU students to be the necessity for taking remedial courses that do not contribute to a degree, a significant expense which some students cannot afford. This contributes to low retention.We also need to increase internship and employment opportunities for students derived from their degree work in order to add value to our degrees. More internship and employment as a result of being enrolled at NEIU helps marketing to increase enrollment. More internship and employment as a result of being enrolled at NEIU also helps to increase retention and graduation. Gaining employment from a degree is students' top reason for enrollment.
How do you plan to address these issues? I plan to continue and expand upon my work to increase internship and employment opportunities for NEIU students. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Daniel Lopez for meeting with me and recently hiring three additional staff for Career Services.I will continue discussing with Dr. Gibson and work with Enrollment Services about beginning a program for student volunteers to follow up with potential students, as Ivy League schools do to increase enrollment.
What would be your first action once in office? My first action in office would be to contact Emily, the current voting Student Member on the IBHE for advice and insight about serving on the IBHE to ascertain what the IBHE can do besides approving and ending university programs, doing research, and advising the legislature and the Governor, then create my platform for running for the one Student Member seat on the IBHE at the June IBHE-SAC meeting.
Candidate: Marion Tellez
Year in school: Senior
Past experience: I have had opportunities that have helped build my leadership. I have had the opportunity to serve at Triton Community College as the President of Latin American Student Organization (L.A.S.O.) During my term as President in L.A.S.O. we advocated and challenged the institution to better serve our minority students and undocumented student population to provide more academic resources and better structure their advising and admissions. In addition, we have led fundraisers to secure funding for other student clubs and host events to promote diversity and empowerment. At the moment at Northeastern Illinois University, I currently serve as the Academic Officer Chair for Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc. Also, I am part of the Council of Clubs.
Campaign Platform: My focus is to be able to be that voice for the students and being able to report back and hear what our students needs. Also, being able to help at the state level.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? Some issues are being able to communicate to the University as a whole.
How do you plan to address these issues? My plan to address these is to be transparent to all the students. I want to hear them out and be their voice to make a change.
What would be your first action once in office? Once in office, an action will be to find a good way to report to the university and incorporate different ideas so the University can grow.
Candidate: Ashlei Ross
Year in school: Senior
Past experience: SGA: President 2 yearsPresident Justice StudiesPresident Pre LawFounding President National Council of Negro Women Secretary of ASWVice President of UGC Vice President of order of omega
Campaign Platform: Empower startes with you!Integrity Transparent leaderExperiencePersistentAdvocates for students Pushing the board Provide not raise to tuition
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? Transparency
How do you plan to address these issues? I plan to do this by being the voice of student and using my connections to get the best outcome.
What would be your first action once in office? Trying to push the retention rate back to excellent standing.
Candidate: Fatima Siddiqua
Year in school: Junior
Past experience: Leadership is setting a vision and cultivating an environment where people are encouraged to share their ideas. As a Peer Mentor in the First Year Experience program, I guide students in taking personal leadership and advocating for themselves. I am also a Senator in Student Government Association where I sit on the Charter Oversight and Regulations Committee. I am also a Pedroso Center intern; I am involved in the planning or administering of our events -- and most importantly, conveying the interests of the student body. In this role, I engage clubs and campus agencies to collaborate and create events and programs that enrich the NEIU experience. My most recent leadership experience was as a trip leader for the Alternative Spring Break Georgia team focusing on refugee resettlement; I managed fundraising and trip details for our group of 11 students during this spring semester.
Campaign Platform: Transparency, student engagement, and student retention. As a peer mentor, I engage students who may be struggling in school or students that cannot afford to be in clubs because of their work obligations. These students are speaking to mentors like me; this vital knowledge and insight is not connected with the upper levels of decision-making and the people who are taking action on their behalf. Though I am only one person, I am your advocate -- my duty is to represent you, your concerns, and your interests. My commitment to helping students stay in school and enriching their experience has underpinned all of my student engagements professionally, academically, and socially. I also recognize the dire need for transparency in our processes; decisions made by the Board of Trustees rarely finds its way to the general student body. I am equipped with a vast network of mentors, mentees, and campus agencies; my priority is to make sure information is disseminated, and students are actively engaged in the process.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? The biggest issue I have found is student retention and enrollment. The harsh truth is that enrollment has steadily been declining since the budget impasse, and that is reflected in the amount of aid we receive and our tuition cost. From the first class I mentored, less than half are still in school -- this is alarming especially because a large part of our student body is minority students. When enrollment and retention go down, the school loses revenue and as a result, tuition is raised. This vicious cycle hurts students the most, that is why it is critical for us to be engaged and informed in the decision making process.
How do you plan to address these issues? I have been working on retention since I entered NEIU. As a Peer Mentor, I guided students academically and professionally; I would lead them to their financial aid adviser, discuss their 4-year plan for school, or advise them in their personal life. This expanded in my work in the Pedroso Center: I worked to create events and programs that would keep students emotionally and socially invested in school. I intend to take this to the next level as a Student Trustee; my influence in the decisions will reflect my goal to help students stay in school, and invite students to our university. This means funding our First Year Experience Program, our initiatives towards increasing enrollment, and the clubs and extracurricular activities that are vital to a holistic NEIU experience.
What would be your first action once in office? My first action would be preparing reports on the activities of the Board to disseminate to the student body through various channels. I will establish regular open meetings for students to address their needs and evaluate my representation of them in the Board. This will increase student engagement and give transparency to the student government process.
Candidate: Natalia Borowska
Year in school: Sophomore
Past experience: Since my time at Northeastern, I have been very fortunate to be selected as a FYE Peer Mentor for the university's freshmen students. I have also been elected to serve as the Sophomore representative for the University Honors Program Student Advisory Board.
Campaign Platform: Working to improve community and engagement at NEIU.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? One major issue I have heard from my fellow students, as well as can vouch for myself, is that many students have difficulty learning about and utilizing the perks and resources given to them as NEIU students. Campus involvement, networking, internships, and work opportunities are all particularly difficult to obtain. To make the most of students' time here at NEIU, I believe it is crucial for it to be made easier for students to get involved in the university.
How do you plan to address these issues? If elected, I will implement tools to improve the sense of community within NEIU students. This means starting at freshmen orientations, and stretching all the way to students' graduation. That way, students can feel more comfortable combating their issues through the university, as well as enhance their college experience.
What would be your first action once in office? My first course of action in office would be reaching out to the various groups of students at NEIU (freshmen, first-generation, immigrant, transfer, undergraduate, graduate, greek life, etc.) to hear everyone's concerns at the university. I want to hear from everyone what they want to see change at NEIU, so that I cater to everyone's needs throughout my time as Senator.
Candidate: Isaac Espinoza
Year in school: Junior
Past experience: I volunteered to be a team leader for multiple group projects, and I'm glad to be able to say for each team I've led we've succeeded.
Campaign Platform: The voice of the students can be heard by all when we speak. When we take action mountains can be moved, destroyed, and created. The unity of the students is a top priority.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? Some students have many friends, others have few, and many others have none. Our groups of friends are divided from one another. It's time we as a community open not only our inner circles with one another but ourselves. The stronger the student bond is the more change can be made.
How do you plan to address these issues? As a senator, I will promote student interaction. The goal is to reach out to each other and build new friendships. The stronger the bond of the students the more we are heard.
What would be your first action once in office? I will promote student events that will allow students to mingle. I want to connect different social circles with one another so the unity of the student body can grow.
Candidate: Devin K. Foster
Year in school: Junior
Past experience: SGA Senator in Spring 2019, Band Leader, Bass Instructor, and former Baseball Coach
Campaign Platform: Empowerment Starts With You Build Community to Achieve Collaboration not Competition
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? The most critical would be that many students face financial difficulties, adding to stress that might stand in the way of getting the most out of education at NEIU. Our Empowerment Starts With You campaign is all about finding ways to empower students to help us make decisions that could influence students' lives for the better.
How do you plan to address these issues? Work to raise funds for more scholarship opportunities for students, looking into sponsors and possible outside organizations that can help, as well as begin to advocate (with other students and administrators) for more state funding.
What would be your first action once in office? Dialogue with different students and fellow representatives about what actions should be taken that would positively affect student life, and concurrently begin meetings to address financial issues faced by students and the school.
Candidate: Nida Kidwai
Candidate: Magdelene Thebaud
Year in school: Junior
Past experience: My contribution to the community thus far has been volunteering experience in the transitional housing unit, A Safe Haven Foundation and as an ESL tutor at Albany Park Community Center. My first year at NEIU has prepared me to become a participant in the McNair Scholars Program, Order of Omega and the Honors Program. I believe these programs give me the characteristics of a more qualified candidate as Senator of Student Government Association. I have used these experiences as a stepping stone to become a better leader in academics by becoming the Academic Chair of the Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, Inc. and a Resident Assistant at the Nest fostering a community of academic success for all students.
Campaign Platform: The platform of my campaign is “Empowerment Starts With You.” I recognize that self-determination and autonomy are essential means in enabling a stronger and resourceful academic environment.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? I believe that there are some intersecting inequalities in NEIU that need to be addressed. We are facing a low retention rate of the black student population. Recruitment and retainment of black graduates is a dire concern on this campus.
How do you plan to address these issues? I plan to address this obstacle by examining the allocation of funds for scholarships (living and tuition) based off of academic achievements. Providing more black mentors for students of color will serve students of color an example of what educational attainment might look like. The recruitment and attainment of more professors of color is what I would like to arrange. Implementing more opportunities for students of different backgrounds to engage with one another is vital to the NEIU community. Furthermore, I would like to propose more college readiness programs to create more positive trends in our academic success rates.
What would be your first action once in office? Part of my various jobs is creating environments where students can feel supported. I am confident that my first action, given the opportunity to be part of SGA, would be to actively listen to what the student body has to say and advocate for my peers by presenting vital conversations to higher education administrators in order to promote positive change on campus.
Candidate: Anjell E. Williams
Year in school: Senior
Past experience: SGA Chair for CCICS, Peer coach for women in recovery, mentoring youth, role model, Honor student, mother of three, grandmother of eight.
Campaign Platform: Currently a senator, volunteered with various political figures from Jesse White to Alderman Burnett.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? Having significant guidance for students when they are enrolling and completing difficult documents. Also assisting them in staying on course once they have chosen a major.
How do you plan to address these issues? I can help to be a Servant and seek others to assist. Create a program that would provide this assistance.
What would be your first action once in office? Reach out to the SGA an as a whole reach out to people in authority to see what needs to be done to put these programs into play during enrollment.
Candidate: Jessica Marie Beltran
Year in school: Senior
Past experience: I usually find myself being the leader of group projects within my school and community. I have been a summer recreational leader for Chicago Park Districts. I also hold the head position of female fighters in my mma gym, Hybrid Martial Arts and Fitness. This involves motivating and drawing in more females to mixed martial arts and Muay Thai. I have been a nanny for the last 5 years and have gotten to know the neighborhood kids pretty well. Usually in the summer time organize group activities and games for like 15-10 kids at the park. They look to me as a mentor and a fun young adult.
Campaign Platform: I am studying to be a Bilingual/ Bicultural Elementary School Teacher with an emphasis on Math and Science, and I plan to work for Chicago Public Schools. In order for me to be a great teacher I need to be experienced and knowledgeable of the vast interests and experiences the students offer to teach my future students. NEIU is the most diverse university with a wide range of backgrounds of students. I believe everyone I meet has something valuable to teach me. That is why I am interested in becoming Council of Clubs. I want to get to know every single one of you guys to enrich my knowledge and help the clubs with funding or anything they need.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? An issue I see in clubs is how funds are spread out. I will use my math background to best spread funds. I also have never really been involved in school so I do not know much about the clubs, which means I hold no bias. If elected I will continue my research to better know the resources and opportunities NEIU has to offer and share them with you.
How do you plan to address these issues? I will use my unbiased to spread funds. Also research deeper to make the best decision possible.
What would be your first action once in office? I plan to meet each club individually and attend their events. I am the people's person and will not just write up numbers I strive to be involved. You all enrich me and I will do my best to enrich you.
Candidate: Mariah Ford - Not pictured, No bio
Candidate: Sara Galvan Orozco
Year in school: Senior
Past experience: President of ChiMexLAEIC of QOS Magazine First Year Experience Peer MentorCo-Chair of Council of ClubsURO Member
Campaign Platform: I am dedicated to making sure our student activity fee is used effectively and that it is for the students and that promotes community engagement and community awareness.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? Retention
How do you plan to address these issues? Communicating with incoming students about the events and activities they would support. This will allow me to know whether events are aligning with students needs.
What would be your first action once in office? I will make sure that COC representatives are well informed and trained to ask questions and fund events.
Candidate: Gabriel Salceda
Year in school: Freshman
Past experience: Freshman Navigator at NEIU, Treasurer and fundraiser chair for Omega Delta Phi Fraternity Beta Alpha chapter, Council of Clubs Rep, Vice President for my high school Orchestra
Campaign Platform: Some of the main issues concerning students is the lack of information of events going on at school. Some students that I’ve met have full time jobs so they come to school and leave right when their classes are done. They are in such a rush that often times they don’t even see new flyers on bulletin boards, so when they do happen to have a day off they have no clue if there are events going on or workshops that they would enjoy. I want all SGA members to make announcements before or after class, or on days when there’s a microphone in the cafeteria to have a reminder that way everyone can hear.
What do you believe to be the critical issues facing NEIU students? Some of the issues that I feel are critical issues facing NEIU student are the lack of information to events and workshops available in campus.
How do you plan to address these issues? Currently I already do my best to promote things on my social media accounts but will do a better job to announce it before my classes start and making announcements in the lunch room when there is a microphone available.
What would be your first action once in office? As COC rep I suppose the first action would be to get together with my fellow reps and discuss a way to be fair to every organization that request funding and to have a distinct guideline for events in campus, out of campus, and conferences.
Candidate: Tierra Tucker - Not pictured, No bio