Time To Choose New Student Leaders

Student Organization is holding its annual executive board election

Campus News > Time To Choose New Student Leaders
Time To Choose New Student Leaders
Sara Ridgway

The Student Organization (full-time undergraduate student government) of Kean University will be holding its annual election for executive board positions in the beginning of April.

Students in the election are running for executive board, senior class, junior class and sophomore class positions. Positions include president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and representatives.

The students running in the election and their respective positions are listed below:

Executive Board President: Damion Wilson

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Residential Student Services: resident assistant
  • Student Government: vice president of programming  for Men of Excellence
  • Leadership Institute: member
  • Student Organization: assistant coordinator

Bio: My name is Damion Wilson. I'm applying for the executive president position. I'm a transfer student from Dallas Fort Worth. In the time that I've been at Kean University I've managed to accomplish many different things, rather it's been work related or volunteer. I've been wanting to become executive president since I was a sophomore. I have a very strong relationship with the students in the residential community, and [am] in the process of building one with the commuters. My biggest goal is to help others, and that's the mission of this position, to be eyes, ears, and most importantly the voice of the students here at Kean University.

Executive Vice President: Francisco Reyes

Bio: My name is Francisco Reyes and I am applying for the executive vice president position. I am currently a sophomore here at Kean University with a major in communication studies for media and film. My dream is to one day become a sports anchor on ESPN. It is a career that I have envisioned myself pursuing since I was a little boy after falling in love with sports at a young age and enjoying how much fun the anchors had when they were surrounded by sports every single day. I'm just a young man from Atlantic City, New Jersey who was raised by a single mother who did everything for me to put me in the position I am today. I've witnessed too many people ruin their chance to succeed and I do not want to be that type of person. I want nothing more in life than to have the opportunity to make it out of my hometown and become someone that has the ability to make a change.

Vice President of Funded Groups: Kendra Clark

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Office of Student Organization: executive secretary
  • Office of Residential Services: resident assistant

Bio: My name is Kendra Clark and I am running for vice president of funded groups because I would like to be more active and connected with the student-run clubs on campus. I have had the opportunity to serve as the executive assistant secretary and the executive secretary where I was able to interact with the funded group and class secretaries. By potentially being the vice president of funded groups I will be able to further my interaction. As a student leader you must be prompt and efficient so I will end with one of my favorite quotes. "To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is unacceptable."

Vice President of Funded Groups: Susan Cabrera

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Vice president of Kean Safe Member of Criminal Justice
  • Club member of Theta Phi Alpha

Vice President of Programming: Delois Blackmon

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Student Government: executive treasurer from 2016 to 2017
  • Office of Student Conduct: Appeals Board Committee from 2016 to 2017
  • Student Government: junior class vice president from 2015 to 2016
  • Kean University Student Leadership Council: representative from 2016 to 2017

Bio: I, Delois Blackmon, am a senior studying psychology and public administration here at Kean University. I am applying for the vice president of programming position for Student Government. I currently hold the executive treasurer position for Student Government and have learned so much through this year's experience on the board. I am heavily involved on campus as well as off campus. Through my years of attending Kean [University] I have found that my true joy comes from impacting others in a positive way. In every position I hold, or every organization I am in, I am constantly striving to make things better for those around me, and the betterment of the organizations as a whole. Working with the current VP of programming this year has definitely shown me that I am ready to take on this position and make our campus community one to rave about. Through our previous programs we hold, I see the interactions of the students, and eagerness to be involved in all that we provide for them and it is an awesome thing to witness. I have so many great ideas for the next academic year and am excited to have the opportunity to run for this position.

Vice President of Kean Ocean: Samantha Toll

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Kean Ocean Criminal Justice Club: treasurer 

Bio: My name is Samantha Toll and I am applying for the vice president of Kean Ocean position. I am currently a third year student pursuing my degree in accounting with a minor in psychology and work as a student assistant at the Kean Ocean Administrative Office. Working closely with fellow students has always brought me a great deal of happiness, before working at Kean Ocean I was an accounting tutor for Ocean County College and held the executive positions of treasurer/historian and vice president for the OCC NJ STARS Club. These positions gave me the experience of working productively in a team as well as working individually on tasks that allowed me to succeed in my internship at the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office with the Economic Crimes Unit. During the internship, I had to handle multiple cases of Superstorm Sandy contractor frauds while also performing background checks on various suspects, attending case and unit meetings, and assisting the detectives with their reports. My previous jobs and internships showed me that working with others through face-to-face interaction is what gives me the greatest joy and I thoroughly enjoy working for Kean University. I know that this new position is an opportunity that can bring me the personal satisfaction that I desire in both my career and education.

Assistant Secretary: Evrim Akman

Bio: In the fall of 2017, I will be a junior here at Kean University. I am majoring in speech language hearing sciences and minoring in American Sign Language and psychology. I am from Old Bridge, New Jersey. I am a part of the Speech Language Hearing Sciences Club, American Sign Language Club, and a Silver member at the Leadership Institute. I am applying for a assistant secretary position. I have a great sense at time management, while being able to juggle working, being active on campus, taking 18 credits in a semester, and trying to have a social life. I am very into time management and can easily balance the time I spend on my tasks.

Assistant Secretary: Irene Medina

Bio: I am 19 years old. I am a sophomore at Kean University. I love to be on my feet and help others. I've done marching band in high school, and I did martial arts as a hobby. I love to get involved in blood drives and any type of volunteer work. I am very professional for the most part and reliable. I'm neat and organized and super responsible with the task I am given.

Senior Class President: Tahjane Whitsett

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Student Organization: junior class president 

Bio: My name is Tahjane "Tahj" Whitsett and I am pursuing a B.S. degree in Business Management. I am currently a junior here at Kean University. I am from Colonia, NJ and I graduated from Colonia High School. I am running to be your senior class president. I have been a part of Student Government for the past three years. I served as freshman vice president, sophomore and junior class president. I joined Student Government as an eager freshman ready to make a change. I am very passionate about volunteerism and just making Kean (University) the best campus. My goal is to ultimately make a positive impact on our campus and empower others to voice their opinions. I also want to enhance the social and academic atmosphere here at Kean University.

Senior Class Vice President: Giulia Catalano

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Student Government: vice president from 2016 to 2017
  • Student Government: treasurer from 2015 to 2016
  • Student Government: representative from 2014 to 2015

Bio: As current junior class vice president, I would love to continue my services as senior class vice president next year. I am an education major (K-5) (6-8) with a content area in mathematics, therefore I believe that being vice president is the perfect position for me! I personally feel that most students, especially commuters, feel as if there are not enough activities and or events to attend/participate in on campus. Therefore, I aspire to plan more events off campus, such as bus tours and outings to the city, at a price that is feasible for all students. Additionally, I would love to host more weekend social gatherings for all students to participate in. With more events planned, students will then be more involved with our campus. Running for vice president to me means creating new events that will bring students together to create a community. In a few years from now, I see Student Government creating a sense of school unity on a daily basis, with students being more involved in events and activities than ever. With all that I have done as a junior class vice president, I would love to continue my services as senior class vice president here, at Kean University.

Senior Class Representative: Kevin Macalos

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Marist Young Adult Advisory Committee: New Jersey's representative 
  • Kean University's P.A.C.K. (Portuguese American Club of Kean): member

Bio: Kevin-Roenian Macalos is a Kean University student who is pursuing in a degree in accounting while also pursuing in a concentration in finance. This hard working student has high goals in graduating in May of 2018 with the honor of summa cum laude, while also entering graduate school. For the last two years, Kevin has worked as a General Education mentor in the School of General Studies at Kean University, serving as a leader to the underclassmen. While serving as a mentor to underclassmen, Kevin has been involved with Kean University events like Relay for Life, serving as co-captain to last year’s Relay for Life team with the most donations. This leader has also been involved outside of campus serving as New Jersey representative in the Marist Young Adult Advisory Committee. Kevin has acquired other leadership roles before entering college, serving as president of his senior class in high school.

Senior Class Representative: Yasmean Davis

Bio: Yasmean Davis is a young lady from a small town named Metuchen located in New Jersey. She lives with her parents and her younger sister. She has a small Yorkie with the big name of Soldier. God is number one in her life and family is next in line. Something she likes to do is play spades with her family but she is ready to meet some new players. She would love to have the opportunity to become one of the senior class representatives for the 2017-2018 school year. She is the type of person that loves to help people and knowing that she can help the students at Kean [University] by being a voice for them would be an amazing accomplishment for her. Being that next year is her last year at Kean [University] she really wants to make a difference. Yasmean has a major in management and a minor in marketing with a 3.0 GPA and made the Dean’s List for the fall 2016 semester. Her work experience as a camp unit leader and waitress has equipped her with great leadership and communication skills. She is ready to take on this job and all of its responsibilities.

Junior Class President: Joanna Pepino

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Student Government: sophomore class president
  • Leadership Institute: member
  • Student Occupational Therapy Association

Bio: My name is Joanna Pepino and  I am running for junior class president. This past semester, I had the privilege to fill the vacancy of sophomore class president, where I gained lots of insight on the ins and outs of the being the president of a class. During my term, we were able to bring events such as bubble soccer, the Immigration Panel Discussion and a LinkedIn workshop. With my experience as a class president and commitment to the students and the school, I believe I am best fit to serve as the junior class president.

Junior Class Vice President: Irvin LopezCruz

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Kean Safe: member
  • Pre-Law Society: member
  • Criminal Justice Club: member

Bio: My name is Irvin Lopez-Cruz and I am from New Brunswick, New Jersey. As a Kean University student I believe I would be able to become a more well-rounded person. To prove and enhance my leadership skills as junior class vice president. I am a good student and believe in dedication and hard work in every aspect of my life. I have always wanted to serve a position like this in school and I look forward to being a more active member of the Kean community.

Junior Class Vice President: Qianah MuwakkilHeaven

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Leadership Institute: Silver leader
  • Student Government: vice president
  • Office of Admissions: student ambassador

Bio: I am Qianah Heaven a sophomore at Kean University applying for junior class vice president. I am currently a Silver leader with the Leadership Institute. I am in various organizations on campus. I am now currently vice president of the sophomore class. I am also a student ambassador here on campus. I am an innovative, creative, and determined individual here on campus.

Junior Class Representative: Rahil Ninche

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Leadership Institute: Bronze and Silver member
  • WKNJ Kean Radio Station: music director
  • African Student Association: member

Bio: My name is Rahil Ninche and I am applying to be a junior class representative. I am a communication studies major with the hopes of getting a career in a media related field.

Junior Class Representative: Alysha Wilson

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Leadership Institute: Silver member
  • Residential Student Services: residential assistant

Bio: Hello my name is Alysha Wilson. I am applying for class representative of the upcoming junior class, for next year. I am a resident assistant in New Freshman Residence Hall. I am also a member of [the] Leadership [Institute], Sliver level. I have been in student government in high school for three years, I have planned, organized, and supervised many events. Those events consisted of a 24 hour famine, local trips to the food bank, and conducting community service hours for the school. I would like to apply for Student Gov[ernment], because it has always been a passion for me, and I love being involved with the community, and help making positive changes happen. Becoming a class representative is a position that I really want to earn because I will be very beneficial to my class, but for the entire Kean community too. I love making others voices feel important, and making the community great environment to be a part of.

Junior Class Representative: Khamayah McClain

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Accounting Club: secretary

Bio: Finishing up my year as a sophomore at Kean [University], I seek to become more involved with the development of student activities. If chosen as a class representative, I can provide the enthusiasm and determination necessary for implementing the ideas and concerns of students of the junior class to be heard. I am currently a member of the Change, the Silver Leadership Program with the Center [for] Leadership and Service, and the secretary of Kean University’s Accounting Club. Here at Kean, my various leadership roles on campus have impressed upon me the importance of reliability and collaboration. I understand that when working with others, having confidence in each other skills and dependability is needed to ensure productivity. It is my hope to become a part of the junior class student council and to assist the executive board with any endeavors for the upcoming academic year.

Sophomore Class President: Galaxistar Douglas

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Leadership Institute: Bronze leader
  • Student Government: freshman class president

Bio: Hello everyone. My name is Galaxistar Douglas, your freshman class president, and I am running as your sophomore president for the 2017-2018 academic year. I would be delighted to serve as your president for yet another year to see the growth and success that our class has formed this past year. I am a cellular and molecular biology major who plans to be a pathologist in the future in order to help our nation's disease epidemic. I am also a part of many co-curricular activities here at Kean University like Bronze Leadership [Institute] and Biotechnology Club. Moreover vote "Galaxistar Douglas" for president and the next three years of your life will be a blast.

Sophomore Class Vice President: Mary Linen

No Response

Sophomore Class Vice President: Yona Downes

Past/Current Leadership roles:

  • Operations Manager

Bio: I am Yona Downes and I would like to share my views for my sophomore class in the upcoming academic year. I would like to be more involved in funding, volunteering, and choices being made for Kean [University] students. I chose athletic training as my major because I want to help people in any way possible through activity, inspiration, and intelligence. I am applying for sophomore vice president to make a difference by getting involved.

Sophomore Class Treasurer: Dihzae Bailey

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Leadership Institute: Bronze member
  • Student Government: freshman class treasurer
  • K-Labs: project manager for East Campus Development

Bio: Hello, to all of my fellow rising sophomore classmates/scholars. My name is Dihzae K. Bailey an architecture student at the Michael Graves School of Public Architecture. I am a part of several different internal programs such as K-Labs, AIAS, Bronze Leadership program and also Student Government. I like talking to people to gain an understanding of others' views and also that diversity is the spice of life. Also, risk is something that I love to take especially with the game of chess. As well as a voice that will tell you how I really feel within a heated topic or discussions. "An unexamined life is not worth living." By Socrates is the perfect quote to reflect on my first term of being you freshman class treasurer. I took on a busy schedule and a great enough workload to advance myself and learn the ropes of the position for the first time. Now trying to become your treasurer for the second year with more experience faster paper work skills that with you guys votes and voices. We can improve and create a Kean university that will be fun and also enlighten.

Sophomore Class Treasurer: Arly Rubens

No Response

Sophomore Class Secretary: Isaac Taylor

Past/Current Leadership Positions:

  • Student Government: freshman class secretary from 2016 to 2017
  • Leadership Institute: Bronze member from 2016 to 2017

Bio: Hello everyone. My name is Isaac Taylor and I am campaigning to run for the position of student secretary of our sophomore class. I have held this position steadily and faithful throughout our freshman year together and would be more than eager to serve you again. I am a Ccell and molecular bio major with a, (hopefully) criminal justice major. I am involved in many co-curricular here at Kean [University] like Bronze Leadership [Institute], Biology Club, Criminal Justice Club and many more. Even though I am spread out everywhere across this campus I will still make my time for you, the students, and make sure your every needs are satisfied.

Sophomore Class Secretary: Ashanti Lyking

Past/Current Leadership roles:

  • Office of Admissions: student ambassador
  • Student Government: freshman class representative
  • Leadership Institute: Bronze member
  • Physical Therapy Club: scholar member

Bio: My name is Ashanti Lyking and I am from Brooklyn, New York. I am currently a biology major, in hopes of becoming a physical therapist. I am running for the position of sophomore class secretary. I pride myself in being someone who enjoys being involved in a multitude of things. So far, college has become a place where I can spread myself and my talents throughout many organizations and clubs. I am someone who has no problem taking charge when I see fit, but I also know when to step back and simply listen. This is why I think I would be a great candidate for sophomore class secretary. From my experience as class representative, communication with both our peers and their president was essential. Now, I would be the glue that kept the executive board and council of the sophomore class together. As secretary, I would make myself accessible to my peers, and making sure everything ran smoothly while bringing my bubbly yet slightly sarcastic personality to the table. If I am elected for my desired position, I will deliver fresh ideas, events and ways to fundraise for our class. I will not fail to aid in the success of the sophomore class this year.

Sophomore Class Representative: Racheleann Cort

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • American Institute of Architecture: secretary 
  • Students Outdoor Adventure and Recreation Club: member
  • Student Government: LSAMP affiliate freshman representative
  • Parking Services: ticket appeals at Campus Police
  • General Education mentor (application in process)

Bio: Hello, my name is Rachele Cort, and I am here on behalf of serving my duties as a sophomore class representative. I was elected last December of 2016 and would like to continue my position in the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. I am a very well-rounded student that portrays many beneficial factors that could help the growth of Kean University's Student Government. I am organized, clean, neat, and on time person. I never fail those around me in progressing the nature around us. As of the past two semesters of my freshmen year at Kean [University], I have become more involved in an immense amount of studies, clubs, and any other school functions as well. This includes my most recent application in becoming a General Education mentor at the School of General Studies AND running for class secretary for the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) under my aspiring major. I am currently involved in other things, such as Outdoor Adventure [and] Recreation Club, LSAMP, AIAS, and Student Government. Additionally, I work at Campus Police for Parking Services. With these achievements and hopefully more to come, I hope it is of your best interest to accept me into the Office of Student Government once again. I have diligently and respectful follow orders and as a person, am responsible for any task that comes my way.

Sophomore Class Representative: Justin Quaglieri

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Current Student Council representative since 2016

Bio: Hello, my name is Justin Quaglieri and I would love to continue being a member of Kean [University]’s student council sophomore class. Throughout my life I have always been involved in student government and look forward to continuing this tradition. My first semester as a representative, I was able to listen to the voice of the students and hear some of their concerns on campus. This position made me feel connected to the school as I care deeply for it. Aside from this past semester I spent four years as a council representative at the competitive John P. Stevens High School as well as a student mentor for underclassmen. Even though I am a commuter I am always on campus doing work, talking with friends or working at OCIS. While I'm working I enjoy talking to people about anything. When I'm not at school I enjoy playing video games, sleeping, fencing, and reading. I hope to remain part of student council so that I can voice the concerns of the students and feel connected to the school.

Sophomore Class Representative: Maurizia DePalma

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • Pep Band
  • Earth Science Club
  • Research Aligned and Mentorship (RAM)

Bio: Hey! My name is Maura and I am from Parsippany, New Jersey. I am a bubbly individual who loves to make everyone smile and laugh. I am really passionate about the environment and do what I can to try to give back and help save it from further damage. I have been playing both the alto and tenor saxophone for almost ten years so I love to play and listen to music. I can speak Italian and my plan is to one day travel to Italy and further enrich myself in the culture and the language.

Sophomore Class Representative: Evan Wilson

Past/Current Leadership Roles:

  • STEM Educators Biotechnology Club
  • WKNJ Radio

Bio: Hey! My name is Evan, I am a very friendly, bright individual who loves to talk and meet new people. I have many hobbies. I am a huge fan of music especially Frank Sinatra. I am an obsessed comic book/sci-fi enthusiast. I love Marvel Films. I am a musician, I have been playing guitar for 6 years. I enjoy speaking Spanish and plan to travel the world. I make YouTube videos/vlogs on the side. Lastly, the one thing I love the most in the world is making anyone smile and laugh.

Each candidate has their own unique experiences and skills that they will bring into the positions they are running for. Now it is up to the student body to elect who will be representing the full-time undergraduate Student Organization of Kean University. 

about the author

Sara Ridgway is double majoring in a marketing and communication with a concentration in media and film. She works as a Staff Writer for The Cougar’s Byte. Now entering her junior year at Kean University, Ridgway is currently honing her skills as she prepares for a career as a reporter upon graduation. In addition to being a well-rounded student, Ridgway has a variety of interests outside of the classroom. Ridgway plays for the Kean University women's volleyball team and also enjoys snowboarding, photography and other outdoor activities. She also has aspirations of travelling the world and working as a reporter abroad.