Hi everyone! It’s that time of year again, where we pass on the reigns to our future leaders of tomorrow. This year, there will be two parts to our elections process:

The first is our in-person speeches at 5-6PM on Wednesday April 2nd, 2014 in the Medical Sciences’ Building Room 3154. During this time, students will give a short blurb about themselves (MAX 2 minutes) along with answer any questions the student electorate may have about said applicant’s abilities to fulfill the role they are running for.

The second portion of our election process is that voting will be online beginning at 7PM running up to 11:59PM on the same day (April 2nd). We will be providing a voting link via our website and Facebook group for students to cast their ballots. There will only be one vote per student.

A few important things to note about voting:
1) Only students who are enrolled within the Human Biology Program can vote. We will be cross-referencing voters’ student numbers with our own student number database.

2) First year students who wish to vote must provide a screenshot of their ROSI account verifying that they are indeed enrolled within the life sciences. They will email this screen shot to hbsu.elections@gmail.com. Once we receive this verification we will then send them a temporary ID which they can input and use to vote. We will be keeping tabs on the amount of IDs that we will be distributing.

3) Unless it is a first year ID, any votes past our 11:59PM deadline will be considered spoiled. This is to compensate for any slow responses from our end to first years sending in their schedules.

4) There will only be one vote per student. If a student chooses more applicants than spots their vote will also be considered spoiled.

Thank you to everyone who applied and best of luck!!



Presidents (2 positions available)

Krystal Menezes
Hello, my name is Krystal, I have been an executive on HBSU for my past 3 year and I can confidently say that I am proud to be a part of such a great community. Throughout these years on HBSU I have been able to acquire many valuable skills essential for an HBSU president to have including communication, professionalism and most importantly, leadership skills. I thrive to promote teamwork and a sense of community and have put these skills to great use throughout my years on council. For example, to integrate the HMB community I was the one who ran and launched our first ever HBSU gear. I also aided in the planning of the FOUR research fair, and have helped organize our past three winter formals, our medical symposiums, and graduate school fairs. As president, one event which I have planned for next year includes a welcome back BBQ. This will provide HBSU with the opportunity to meet our HMB student base and spread awareness for our events. With my guidance, HBSU will become a fundamental outlet that provides students with the knowledge and opportunities required for success in any and all paths.

Shahnaz Fard
Briefly, my name is Anne Fard, and I am currently in Third Year majoring in HB: Health and Disease and Nutritional Sciences. I have been with HBSU since my very first year of undergrad, and was also involved in other groups at U of T What I wish to achieve with HBSU and what I think HBSU should be. I believe HBSU should have a re-established team. I believe that this would enable HBSU to have clarity, direction and a closer bond with one another. With regards to the events of HBSU, I truly believe that we can build on what the past presidents have done this year. We can reach more students and provide them with tools necessary to help them in their undergraduate and post-graduate goals. This year, we have not only reached undergraduates, but have also extended ourselves to high school students through the Head Start Program, and learnt from upper year students in Masters and Medicine. Also new this year, is the Research Fair that again provides students a chance to learn, grow and experience presenting.

Vice-Presidents (2 Positions Available)

Matthew Hyginus
The HBSU is, and should be, a community for students enrolled in HMB subject POSts. The role of the HBSU exec team is twofold: to provide quality resources to students in HMB as well as foster a sense of camaraderie among students. I think that the HBSU currently fulfills its requirement to provide quality resources to HMB students as it runs the IMSS, OMSS, graduate school fair, and research poster fair. Therefore, I would like to focus next year on the latter role: fostering community amongst students. Having served on HBSU for two years, I have seen a growth in interest and attendance of socials and I think that this trend can continue in the future. Having various social events such as a beginning of the year BBQ to board game nights to movie nights to a Holiday mixer will encourage students to get to know one another in informal environments. My past experience as an exec will help me implement this along with my fellow execs next year, and I look forward to serving another year as an HBSU exec. Thanks for your time!

Matthew Johnson
Hello! My name is Matthew and I am a second year student at the University of Toronto. I am running for the position of Vice president because I feel like I can bring forth a lot of enthusiasm and hard work to the table as well as much needed commitment. The role of Vice president is a daunting task that I think I will excel at due to my commitment towards everything that I put myself up to. HBSU should be a group of students working together to bring the best university experience to students not only in the Human Biology department but also to all students in all of the life sciences. HBSU events have a great reputation of being inclusive, informative, and entertaining. To maintain this reputation, everyone on the council needs to work together to help make the events run as smoothly as possible. As second year rep, I helped plan, organize, and run many events that HBSU held which gives me a great understanding of how to go about these jobs. Overall, I think I would be a great fit for Vice president on HBSU and look forward to helping students have a great university experience!

Academic and Mentorship Directors (2 positions available)

Simon Spichak
My name is Simon Spichak and I was the first year representative for HBSU this year. I am running for Academic and Mentorship director. I have experience working with and directing a team as a Buskerfest captain where I was in charge of ten volunteers collecting donations. I loved helping out with the events this year and I want to have a greater role for next year. I want to raise more awareness about our university mentorship program so that we can get even more mentees. I want to ensure that the high school mentorship program runs smoothly again this year and try to recruit even more high school students. With great power comes great responsibility, and I am someone who is determined and dedicated to use my powers to try and improve HBSU. When you go to vote, vote for your friendly neighbourhood Simon.

Alan Nguyen
Hey, everyone. So, you’re probably here for 2 reasons, either your friends forced you or you’re here for the refreshments. For me, it’s the refreshments. Just kidding, I’m Alan Nguyen and I’m running for Academic and Mentorship Director. Truth be told, you probably don’t know me and I probably don’t know you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can have something good, something special. And this is what HMBSU should be. It should be an intimate relationship between student and council that bridges the gap between your voices and what should be done, allowing for your voices to be heard and your wishes to be carried out. Alright, maybe less on the intimate part. Now, you’re probably wondering why vote for me? Well, I was mentor for the First Year Learning Communities (FLC) allowing me to mentor a group of first years. I was on the Orientation Team and high school Student Council for 3 consecutive years, giving me much experience in leading and hosting events. Now if you vote for me, I can’t guarantee you’ll do well on your exams, but I can guarantee a great undergraduate fair, academic seminars and a great HeadStart mentorship program.

Ashima Agarwal
Hi, my name is Ashima Agarwal and I’m interested in being the Academic and Mentorship Director for 2014 – 2015. I want to organize seminars that are centered around the student’s interests, and really reflect their passions – whether it’s a discussion on the dopamine system in the brain, or inspiration to apply for an internship position they’ve secretly been eyeing. Additionally, mentorship is important to ensure that mentees are more comfortable and fully realize the extent of the opportunities available in the Human Biology Program. To fully develop mentorship for university and high school students, along with academic events and seminars (with a social touch!) that members could participate in is something I really want to be a part of. I think the HBSU should be able to connect proficiently with the students in the Human Biology Program, and additionally with students in other disciplines. To have engaging events distinct from other student organizations, and to offer academic and mentorship programs that are central to this student union would be a huge first step in establishing the HBSU as an association that everyone would love to be a part of.

Cristina Tassone
My name is Cristina Tassone and I am currently in my third year of studies in the Human Biology Program. I am applying for the position of the Academic and Mentorship Director. If I get elected into the HBSU, I aspire to efficiently run the Mentorship Program and to set up each interested first year student with a suitable upper year mentee who can share the experiences they have had as a first year and to offer guidance and support through the year. Through this I hope that the mentees will see how beneficial mentorship is and participate in the HeadStart high school mentorship program. I think the HBSU should be a place where the a love for science can be shared. It should bring together students in Life Sciences and at the University of Toronto. The HBSU should hold events for students in order to foster a community where students can meet new friends, and to share their experiences about life at U of T and as a student in the life sciences.

Jennifer Boateng
I am first year student in life science who is planning to major in biochemistry and African studies. During high school, I co-headed many activities such multicultural night, fashion show and science fair. These activities taught me great communication, interpersonal skills and listening skills. As first year rep of HBSU this academic year, I learned how many things especially how to be organize and run and event in a professional manner. I feel like past experiences from high school and this year has prepared me to handle the responsibilities of the academic coordinator. If elected for next year, I hope to extend the HeadStart program to more highschools. I also hope to promote our academic events extensively so that everyone in HBSU is aware of them.

Jing Bian
Hello! My name is Jing Bian and I am running to be your HBSU academic director. I am in my 2nd year, studying Health and Disease and Genetics. The reason I’m running for this position is to enhance the connection between all HMB students as well as 1st year and high school students. In particular, I want improve the connections in the following ways. One is providing transparencies for both mentors and mentees on their responsibility as participants of the mentorship program. Next, I want to provide high school students with the opportunity to ask current HMB students about HMB programs and UofT in general through High School Outreach. Finally, I aim to collaborate with student organizations affiliated with any HMB POSTs on connecting students with meaningful academic seminars. My past experiences include serving on the executive team of HH symphonic band, mentoring for UTISA, and being a past frosh leader. I am someone who is committed, meticulous, and a good listener. On April 2nd, vote Jing Bian to be your academic director, thank you.

Lily Wang
Hi, my name is Lily and I’m running for the position of academic and mentorship director. I’ll be going into second year and majoring in human bio. I’m running for this position because I genuinely enjoy attending all the HBSU events. HBSU should be a community where people can have fun while learning new things and both providing and receiving answers to their questions, academic or otherwise. The events hosted this year have provided this environment and have not only fun and interesting but also helpful and informative – from the two mentorship programs to the formal and symposium. I want to help the HBSU continue to host these events next year and possibly add more events as well because I really do think they’re beneficial. I am a hard-working, responsible individual who likes working with other people and would really like to make a positive contribution to the team next year. Thanks!

Saba Shahab
Hi HBSU members, I will passionately begin my passionate speech by talking about my passion! I am very passionate about bringing science to high-school students to help them find their interests early in life. And yes, this is where my desire to apply for this position stems from! Right now, I volunteer for the Brain Day Association, Mount Sinai’s SciHigh program and Toronto Rehab’s Idapt Young Innovators Program. All of these programs are geared towards showing middle/high-school students how awesome science is! I have also been a part of Woodsworth’s Mentorship Program for 2 years. Besides these activities, I currently work at 2 research labs and can easily juggle all these activities alongside my academics. So you can be assured that I will be able to dedicate my time and make sure that next year’s mentorship programs are better than they have ever been before! One of my goals is to reach out to more high-schools so that more students can benefit from HBSU’s mentorship program. I am confident that I have the skills and interests that you would like to see in your Academic and Mentorship Director! And if you feel the same, go ahead and vote for me!

Shreya Batra
Hey everyone, My name is Shreya and I’m running to be your academic and mentorship director for next year. I am a Health and Disease specialist in my third year at UofT. The Human Biology program is one of the most well-known life-science programs at UofT with students coming from various backgrounds and experiences. HBSU makes it possible for all these students to come together as one community to share, learn and communicate with their fellow peers and mentors. We all know that UofT is tough at times, and we all wish that there was someone there to guide us along the way. As an academic and mentorship director, I hope to get many upper-year students, who are eager to pass on their experience and to provide support for the incoming students, involved with the mentorship program. Also, through academic information sessions, I hope to provide information and inspiration about opportunities that are not limited to the walls of Con-Hall, such as clubs, volunteering, research and much more. There is definitely more to UofT than just the library, and as your academic and mentorship director, I’d like to share boundless ideas, opportunities and experiences. Thank you.

Lily Huang
My name is Lily, and I am in second year going into third. The position I am running for is Academic and Mentorship Director. The reason for this is that I truly believe in the mentorship program and the guidance it can bring to new and lost students. Especially in such a big university it isn’t hard to just get lost and forgotten in the crowd. I believe that I would focus trying to improve this program and increase the mentorship bonds between upper years and lower years, because knowing from experience it is nice to have an opinion from upper years and what they have been through. I believe that HBSU should support their students and be as much of a guide as possible. This isn’t the first time I have participated in a mentorship program, for 5 years I was volunteering with the library mentoring children and improving their literacy skills. From that program I understood how guidance could play such a significant role, in anyone’s life. If you guys give me the chance, I will do my best to make this program awesome. I am dedicated and willing to work hard for what I believe in.

Peter Mai
NAUS Social Committee for 2012, check. NAUS 3rd year Representative for 2013, check. NAUS President for 2014, unchecked and that’s why I’m here – because HBSU is the best! Good afternoon colleagues, my name is Peter Mai and I am interested in running for the position of Academic and Mentorship Director. While it may look like I am trying to get back at NAUS after losing, it does demonstrate that I endorse adaptation and growth, 2 things that should be enabled by the AMD. With HBSU, I would like to bring my passion of enabling, whether it is from volunteering with Autistic children and finding ways to communicate or with geriatrics and determining how to keep the mind sharp. I am driven to empower, someone who wants to provide eager young stem cells with the proper environmental cues to flourish. HBSU should be as supportive as the skeletal system, protective as the immune system, guiding as the nervous and endocrine systems, empowering as the muscular system but most importantly, to be a body of executives that serves the needs, doubts and curiosities of all human biology students. As AMD, I would like to learn and grow with the students. Every day, you learn something new. Like how I just learned that HBSU was hosting an election 2 days ago.

Secretary (1 position available)

Theresa Hoang
My name is Theresa Hoang and I am a hopeful candidate running for the position of Secretary. I am a first year student in the Life Sciences Program at UofT and I would like to major in, you guessed it, human bio! In high school, I was actively involved with student council and I love working with and meeting new people.As HBSU’s secretary, there are things I wish to achieve: The first would be to foster a sense of community within and around those studying human biology. I find it so important to incorporate student life into anything we do so just by spreading the word or bringing a friend to HBSU events would make a difference.Secondly, I would want to reduce the stigma associated with UofT being strictly academic-oriented and nothing else. Academics are important, but with the involvement of HBSU, there is more to the university than just lectures, tutorials, readings, sleep, and repeat.HBSU is a channel connecting the student life here at the university with an interest in this strand of study. I hope that I am elected into HBSU because I will work hard and be a great addition to the team!

Adriana Rezai-Stevens
During my time at HBSU this year, I’d like to become more involved with my program of study. I’d love to meet new people in my program and help HBSU keep organized and stay on top of things. I am punctual, organized, reliable and hard-working which is exactly what this position requires. I didn’t get a chance to get involved with any community at the University of Toronto last year and I really regret that. I’m extremely excited and determined to do become actively involved this year. HBSU should be about bringing together bright minds to form a community where people feel comfortable and accepted. It should be about meeting people that share common interests and enhancing the student experience at the University of Toronto. This is a great school and Human Biology is an exceptional program which should be thoroughly enjoyed by those in the program. Having an organized student union is key for its success, and I look forward to helping HBSU continue to grow through being Secretary.

Social and Event Coordinator (1 position available)

Anna Yamashita
Do you want fun informative seminars on research, medical school, how to approach professors, and other life science things? Do you want to go to socials with free food, and interesting people? Well I want to make that happen for you! I am Anna Yamashita and I am running for Social and Event Coordinator for the HBSU. I think studying can easily bog down life science students, but it is important to introduce some balance. I want to create opportunities for HMB students to network, attend lecture series, get information, and meet professors. I think that a balanced life is a happy life, which means that you have to balance a social life with your academics, and next year I want to help you out with that! I was on the HBSU this year as a 2nd year representative and I helped in planning and facilitating the different events, socials, and information seminars. I have planned many events and I look forward to hopefully planning many more next year! Vote for me, Anna Yamashita, for Social and Event Coordinator, and I promise to do my best to fill next year awesome events and opportunities to meet new people!

Mariam Rafo
My first year of university has been amazing but I feel that there has been something missing in my university life. I look back at my high school experience and I was very interested in student life and when I came to U of T, I felt I needed to step back and focus on my academics. This mistake led me to realize my passion for student leadership is what drives my academic passion for learning. I have been in many leadership positions, such as representing Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board as Student Trustee, representing DECA as a Provincial Officer, and founding two organizations PATH (Peel’s Action Team for Health) and TEDxYouth@Brampton. If elected as the Social and Event Coordinator for the HBSU, I am very motivated to improve the current events and work on new projects with the executive team. The HBSU is a group of students who are willing to devote their time and engage their peers so that they’re not sitting in their desks all day studying the differences between mitosis and meiosis or memorizing the components of the phospholipid bilayer. To end this small introduction on a light maybe even funny tone; what did one sister chromatid say to the other one? I know you want to copy me because I’m voting Mariam Rafo as the next Social and Event Coordinator!

Outreach Director (1 Position Available)

Christina Contanas
Hi, my name is Christina Contanas and I would like to be the Outreach Coordinator for the Human Biology Students Union for the 2014-2015 academic year. The HBSU has so many opportunities for students; from academic seminars, to social events, to informational fairs. But it’s so easy for this information to get lost in the multitude of emails and Facebook posts. As the outreach coordinator, I would do my best to ensure that students in the Human Biology program are well aware of all the events that the HBSU hosts throughout the year. Also, I would try to reach out to other Human Biology major and specialist students, and encourage them to get involved in the different opportunities that are available. So please vote Christina Contanas for Outreach Coordinator, and thank you for your time.

Agnes Sebastian
Did you know HBSU could help you find a job or a research position, for free, with free food provided? How about give you an excuse to stop studying and let you get down and dance? As your Outreach Coordinator, I will make sure that you know about all of the fine opportunities we provide at HBSU. I want to go beyond what we’ve achieved this year and include you by expanding our career development events and creating more volunteer opportunities for HBSU ​members. Together let’s save money by implementing the first Human Biology Textbook Exchange, and get to know our professors better through informal meet-and-greets directed specifically at you! What are your suggestions for making the most of 2014/15? Let me know, and through my passion, creativity, dedication, and executive experience with HBSU, I will make them happen. Most of all, I would love to meet you. If you can relate to my ideas, please vote for me as your next Outreach Coordinator! –Sincerely, Agnes Sebastian (Genes, Genetics, Biotechnology & French)

Parama Talukder
I am currently a second year undergraduate student with a major in Health and Disease. This year, my first official year into my major, I gained more exposure to the HMB department. I have met inspiring faculty members and staff, as well as like-minded peers and upper year students who have a lot of useful advice to offer. I hope to be an active member in the HMB department during my time as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto, and I think I can best accomplish this goal by being a member of HBSU. As a union that serves a very large department, I think HBSU strives to broaden the sense of community within the department, especially for incoming students. Additionally, I think HBSU should be a committee that works to bring opportunities for all students within the Human Biology programs, whether through the already established research fairs, or luncheons to introduce faculty members to students. As a hopeful member of HBSU, I hope to not only assist in organizing and running annual events, but to also to expand my network and make friends within the program by working closely with peers and staff members in the department.

Yasser Abouelkheer
I believe that my potential skills and previous experience complement the role of an outreach coordinator. Through my activities with Peacework, I personally manage and guide many events and in charge of production and distribution of a variety of merchandise. Significant experience such as personal contacts, special offers, outlets and distribution strategies will serve my position at the HBSU. The HBSU can also benefit my utilizing my skills to reach a larger segment of students across campus and spread information to a wide variety of groups.

Web Administrator and Graphics Designer (1 Position Available)

Angeline Yasodhara
This past year, I have been coming to most of the HBSU events and I am really grateful that such a student union exists, since the events have been very helpful and informative. Therefore, I would like to contribute more to the HBSU by applying as the Web Administrator and Graphics Designer, due to my previous experience in working with Adobe Photoshop, Blogger, WordPress, etc. With HBSU, I would like to make the Human Biology program feel more like a community for all of us.

Gnanushan Krishnapalli
Good afternoon! Or if you’re reading this online good morning/afternoon/evening/night. My name is Gnanushan Krishnapillai and I’m running for the position of Webmaster for the HBSU.  I’ve been a part of the HBSU for the past three years, and I’ve noticed that not a lot of people come to our office hours…probably because they go on our website. So I want to ensure that our website, which is hbsu.wordpress.com in case you didn’t know, is your go-to source for HBSU updates. (We’ll still be at our office hours though if you want to come keep us company.) It is the webmaster’s job to ensure that the website contains clear and up-to-date HBSU information and valuable resources for students in the HMB program. I want to make sure you’ve got hbsu.wordpress.com in your bookmarks. I want to make sure it’s your top visited site on Google Chrome. Not only do I have the experience to know what info HMB students are looking for, I also have experience with HTML and Photoshop and spend 90% of my waking hours on the internet so I can ensure you, I will be extremely available and reliable. Thanks for listening or reading this!




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