New Student Government Association officers were elected at all eight campuses on April 14 for the 2011-12 academic school year. Students were able to vote from April 11-13.
Each campus has a student body elected president and vice president. While the choosing of other positions such as secretary, treasurer, historian and public relations director and governmental relations director vary by campus.
Kendall Campus’ SGA Executive Board appointed new positions to their board adding Director of Internal Affairs, Senate Pro-Tempore, Chief Justice, and Chief of Staff.
Biographical information was submitted to The Reporter by SGA members, who also included what their intentions during their term in office. Submitted content was edited for brevity and clarity.
MEDICAL CENTER CAMPUS
President: Emily Ibanez enrolled at Miami Dade College’s Medical Center Campus in August 2010. She soon became an active member of SGA, as a senator. She attended the FJCCSGA, where she discussed issues like Bright Futures, budget cuts and the DREAM Act.
Promises: “I want to represent the campus and be the voice of the students…I want every voice and idea to be heard.”
Vice President: Kamamori Gonzalez began attending Miami Dade College’s Medical Center Campus in fall 2009, after being accepted into the licensed practical nurse program. He is currently enrolled in the Associate of Science registered nursing program, and he plans to complete his bachelor’s degree at MDC.
Promises: “I will organize effective and helpful community service projects, assist the Legislative Liaison, and always place what is best for the student body first.”
Secretary: Theda Sturrup, originally from the Bahamas, is currently enrolled in the dental hygiene program at Miami Dade College’s Medical Center Campus. She has been a part of the SGA for the past year.
Promises: “United we stand together. I know we can and will be able to help the student’s voice be heard and also help those throughout our communities.”
Government /Public Relations: Thaysha Dutes is a full-time nursing student with past presidential experiences, having previously held executive leadership positions in various organizations.
Promises:“I plan to create an effective link between the student body and the college’s administration, faculty, and staff members.”
President: Naggine Georges—a nursing major at Miami Dade College’s North Campus—is a member of various campus organizations. She served as an SGA senator this past year. While in high school, she volunteered at Ojus Elementary and served as the team manager for North Miami Beach Senior High’s softball team.
Promises: “I will strive for unity by giving students and organizations the opportunity to communicate openly with the E-board because we should be united as one.”
Vice President: Jamie Harris—an oceanography major—was born in Miami, but grew up in Antigua. Since joining SGA, she has contributed to activities and attended local and regional conferences.
Promises: “I will try and bring more awareness about events and activities that are happening and I will listen to the issues of the students.”
Secretary: Beilin Diaz—former SGA secretary at Miami Central Senior High—has held leadership roles in the Information Technology Club and Future Business Leaders of America
Promises: “I will strive to do my best by preparing myself for the challenges placed before me; whether it is minor questions or major concerns.”
Treasurer: Michael Ward Jr. recently attended the Rally in Tally, where he met with numerous representatives and advocated the legislative issues that affects MDC.
Promises: “I have the precision and diligence to manage SGA financial assets.”
Governmental Relations Director: Rajaun Ralph Ellis was born in the garden parish of St. Ann, Jamaica. While in high school, he received accolades and prizes for academic excellence and was the president of the Environmental Club.
Promises: “I aim to communicate effectively to the students about their legislative issues. I also aim to develop personal relationships with students to become aware of their needs so I will be able to represent them successfully.”
Public Relations Director: Geoffrey Evans, an SGA member since fall 2010, served as historian for the Future Business Leaders of America and The Skills USA organizations while in high school.
Promises: “I plan to assist the president in executing specific plans and actions, exchanging views and ideas between other student organizations.”
President: Bianca Gomez—an Honors College student—joined SGA in fall 2010, eventually becoming a senator and then a recruiter for the cabinet.
Promises: “My plan for SGA next year is to improve communication in SGA, between executive board, cabinet, senators and members and between SGA and you.”
Vice President: Daniela Galofre, recently completed her first year at the Wolfson Campus while also participating in SGA.
Promises: “…help your voice be heard through the masses for the collective good of students…I am ready to take on it’s load, make your ideas be heard, and possibly be able to make them reality.”
Treasurer: Darryl Arcales will serve as the Wolfson Campus treasurer. Arcales is a new comer to the Wolfson Campus SGA, but he looks forward to assisting the campuses’ more than 20,000 students during the 2011-2012 school year.
Promises: “I promise to do right with the money invested by the students through conscious financial planning with the student lifestyle in mind.”
Secretary: Rosa Villa—originally from Cuba—has been previously involved with The Florida Breast Health Initiative, The Global Medical Brigades, the Psychology Club and Phi Theta Kappa.
Promises: “…to become more involved and participate more in causes that will directly enable this organization to progress; particularly by providing new community service options, and offering fundraising and advertising ideas for the clubs image.”
President: Andres Barreto—a business administration and graphic art major—has been part of SGA for a year. He has participated in trips to Tallahassee, and has spoken to senators and representatives about issues the college faces.
Promises: “It is my main duty to voice the concerns of the student body…I want [the Hialeah Campus] to feel like home for the student body.”
Vice President: Jonathan Vanegas—also known as “Kirby”—is a pharmacy major at the Hialeah Campus.
Promises: “As your vice-president, I will represent the student body and listen to any concerns that the students of this campus may have. Supporting the president in any way possible is another aspect of my duties.”
Treasurer: Michelle Vargas is a mass communications major and journalism minor. She has been an SGA member since 2010.
Promises: “My plans for Miami Dade College as treasurer would be to maintain a stable count of the money [flowing] in and out of both SGA and other clubs.”
Secretary: Janette Viera is an accounting major who hopes to increase the involvement of the students in this campus.
Promises: “To inform our students about the activities that we have on campus so they can be more involved and have fun while they still go to college.”
President: Ruben Gomez is originally from Nicaragua. He is double majoring in political science and international relations. He aspires to become a lawyer and to travel around the world advocating
for human rights as a diplomatic ambassador.
Promises: “I will devote myself to resolve parking issues, campus unity, and beautification of our campus with green projects. Furthermore, I’ll work to improve academic and financial aid advisement, and any other concerns you want addressed.”
Vice President: Jessica Alpizar is currently a freshman at Miami Dade College’s Kendall Campus majoring in psychology. She believes in advocating for the rights of the Student Body. In high school she was part of a team of students, who led various functions such as prom, homecoming, and pep rallies. As treasurer and the districts Legislative Liaison I, she promises to strive to educate and fight for what the students want the most.
Promises: “As your Vice President I intend to continue to improve issues such as, parking, advisement, financial aid and more on Kendall Campus. At the end of day when we face hard times, our voices can be unified and heard louder.”
Senate Pro-Tempore: Fernanda Ponce, a sophomore at Honors College is majoring in biology, joined SGA spring 2011 with hopes of creating student unity among students. Ponce is a Phi Thea Kappa member and also hopes to bring a new program to Miami Dade College called Alternative Breaks.
Promises: “Some of the goals I have for my position are to create a scholarship committee to further help MDC students with financing their education and to create a social networking committee to further unify our students.”
Chief of Staff: Jannelle Hernandez a sophomore Honors College student majoring in biology joined SGA in spring 2011 semester with hopes of representing the student body. Hernandez is also a Phi Thea Kappa member.
Promises: “The future of SGA is significant and I will do everything I can possibly do to make SGA the best it can be.”
Chief Justice: Monica Cabrera a pre-dental major joined SGA spring 2011 to give a voice to the students. Cabrera is a sophomore.
Promises: “My goal is not only to fulfill the duties of my position, but also to exceed all expectations. I am eager to leave a legacy on SGA so that it be a fair, ethical, and professional association. I hope that this year we can reach out to the students even more, to let them know that they truly have a voice and can make a difference.”
Director of Internal Affairs: Branden Mendez is a business administration major at Miami Dade College who joined SGA spring 2011 to better student life on campus. In high school Branden was a member of FBLA and Key Club.
Promises: “I want to work to create new structures and initiatives to help SGA and Miami Dade College in things they do around campus. I came in with a goal to make sure the student’s needs are met and I won’t stop till it’s done.”
President: Rolanda Schand was born on June 7, 1985 in Queens, NY. Before entering Miami Dade College, she was involved in clubs such as Future Educators of America and The Academy of Finance, where she was later nominated for “Most Likely to Succeed” and “Best Personality”. In February 2010 she enrolled at MDC and by June 2010 she was on the list to receive the Gold Presidential Scholar Award. She currently has a 4.0 GPA.
Promises: “I want to show students that you can be a full-time mother, a full- time student, work and still make a difference in your school and community. I want to branch out within the community and get more involved. I want to advocate for the students who can’t speak for themselves. My goals this year are relating the students to real life issues through global networking and communication.”
Vice President: Jenny Normil is from from New York City, and is the daughter of Haitian immigrants. She has been an active member of SGA since the fall 2010, when she served as sergeant at arms.
Promises: “I care a great deal about MDC and its student body. Education should not be about survival with high tuition costs, it should be about academics. As vice-president it [will] be my absolute mission to do everything in my power to be the voice of the students at the Homestead Campus.”
Biographical information was not provided on time for the following three candidates:
Crystal Brooke Coronel—Treasurer
President: Alain Suarez—a political science major—was born in Havana, Cuba; however, he was raised in Venezuela and moved to Miami in 2004. He started as a Senator in SGA, and went on to serve as Membership Director and Secretary for the organization.
Promises: “I want to continue to fight for student rights [and] make Miami Dade College InterAmerican campus a better place.”
Vice President: Fereda Frazer—a nursing major—was born and raised in Jamaica and moved to Miami in 2005, where she attended South Miami Senior High. She was involved in organizations such as Best Buddies, Interact Club, and Magnet Chorus. She the F.J.C.C.S.G.A District One Secretary and has been a part of Student Government since 2010.
Promises: “I hope to expand our senate, create more awareness on campus about health issues that are increasingly affecting our community and adhere to this year’s theme of Giving A Hand to those in need.”
Secretary: Rachel Rodriguez was born in Guantanamo, Cuba and moved to the United States in 2007. The South Miami Senior High graduate volunteered at Coral Gables Hospital and was a part of Project Ryse. Previously, she was an SGA senator.
Promises: “My goal is to represent the student body…to the best of my ability and motivate our campus to [achieve our] community fundraising goals.”
Treasurer: Edwin Alexander Ramos—a former platoon leader at Miami Senior High’s JROTC—was born and raised in Miami.
Promises: “My goal for the upcoming academic year is to make a difference in our
President: Mayra Medina was born in Bogotá, Colombia and moved to Miami with her family when she was 7. She graduated from Ronald W. Reagan/ Doral Sr. High School where she completed more than 900 hours of community service. She is doing a double major in sociology and international affairs.
Promises: “I look forward to being the main contact between the student body and the administration at
West to help best address any student issue and concern. Another of my goals is to provide
accurate information on how the students at West can create and join different organizations
and clubs, helping them to become an involved student. I hope to transfer to the University
of Florida. My goals for the future are set high and I would like to be able to work for United
Nations advocating for human rights.”
Vice President: Maria Echeverri will serve as the 2011-2012 Student Government Association Vice-
President at West Campus. She is a psychology major hoping to transfer to the University of Florida after graduation.
Promises: “My goals for this year as Vice President are to make sure that the students are aware of
everything occurring on campus; whether it is an activity or changes in policies. I also look
forward to educating them on legislative issues that affect us all. I want to make sure that
SGA is involved in as many community projects as possible. We are here to give back to the
Treasurer: Stephanie Salazar is majoring in criminal justice. Upon completion of her associate in arts degree, she plans to transfer to FIU to complete a bachelor’s degree in criminology. Salazar hopes to become an FBI agent.
Promises: “I would like to take part in more service learning projects involving more earth friendly acts. I’d really like to concentrate on helping clean parks, help animal shelters, and plant trees in our community.”
Secretary: Milena Viveros will serve as secretary for the 2011-2012 Miami Dade College West Campus
Promises: “I want to be someone the students can come to with any concern they may have and I want to
make sure they know what we do for them. I am very excited for this year. I know it is going to
be unforgettable. I love my position and I will always strive for the best.”