2018 Presidential Election Candidate Information

Here is some information regarding the two tickets for Graduate SGA President & Executive Vice President this year!

Andrew Cox & Renee Shelby:

Hey everyone! I’m a PhD student in the Aerospace Systems Design Lab and I’m running for Graduate SGA President. Renee and I are committed to pushing for initiatives at a campus-wide level that are beneficial for the graduate body, such as increasing mental health services on campus, evaluating stipend levels across campus compared to Atlanta’s cost of living, and expanding career services for graduate students. Student stipend levels are always a hot topic and it’s Renee’s belief as well as mine that students conducting Georgia Tech’s world class research shouldn’t be put in a position where they need to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. I also want to partner with departments on campus such as the Division of Student Life to provide the option of a graduate orientation for incoming students, especially those coming from outside of the US, to ease them into life at Georgia Tech. This would include information about Atlanta and its surroundings, as well as how to navigate the resources, academic and otherwise, available to our graduate student population. As graduate students of Georgia Tech, we have a vested interest in seeing our university succeed, but we need to make sure that the university these provides resources for our success as well.

I’m already heavily involved in student government as a senator for Aerospace Engineering. As a senator, I’ve served on multiple conference committees to collaborate with the Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR) to ensure the student activity fee is being spent responsibly. Additionally, I serve as the Chair of the Mental Health Joint Allocation Committee which oversees $1 million in funding for mental health initiatives across campus and collaborates with mental health professionals to fill gaps in Georgia Tech’s services. I’m also SGA’s Graduate Coordinator, which means I work closely with the UHR and the Undergraduate Executive Branch as a liaison between the undergraduate and graduate bodies.

Our job as members of the Graduate SGA is ultimately to echo your voices on campus. This is often done at the administrative level, but it is also important for us to advocate for graduate interests at the highest levels of government. With other senators, I coordinated with our Government Relations office to advocate for the removal of a stipulation in last year’s tax bill that would have taxed graduate tuition waivers and financially devastated many fellow students. I have and will continue to advocate for graduate issues through work in the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students and other groups advocating in the interest of higher education.

Renee and I are the best choice for the Graduate SGA Executive ticket. We both love this campus and look forward to serving the graduate population in our mission to improve graduate life at Georgia Tech.

Vice President:

I’m a PhD candidate in the School of History and Sociology (HSOC) and an applied sociologist with research experience in gender violence, technology, and law. I’m running with Andrew to advocate for the needs and values of Tech grads--and especially to improve the experiences of underrepresented groups, organizations, and programs. We believe SGA is our access to a collective voice, and our priority is to ensure SGA represents and engages with those voices in a meaningful way. We are deeply committed to improving campus leisure, academic life, and reforming how our mandatory fees are spent to benefit the grad body. Most importantly, we believe Tech students should receive adequate stipends that allow them to focus on their research without sacrificing their health to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

Throughout my time at Tech, I’ve been committed to improving the grad experience by working closely with a diverse range of organizations on and off campus. Within SGA, I am the HSOC senator and serve on the Grad Life and Mental Health Joint Action Committees working to make necessary structural changes on campus, especially in terms of health and well-being initiatives. I also chair the Restructuring Committee, whose goal is to self-evaluate and reform the policy and practices of SGA in collaboration with other graduate and undergraduate leaders. In addition to SGA, I am a representative on the Ivan Allen College Graduate Advisory Board, and for two years, have been a leader for the newly formed Grad Groups program in the Office of Graduate Studies that offers first year students an extended orientation to make deeper connections on and across campus and make the most out of their grad careers. I am the internal graduate representative in HSOC, where I work closely with the Director of Graduate Studies and serve as the ‘voice of the grads’ on the faculty graduate committee. As part of my commitment to social justice, I am also a member of the Statewide Human Trafficking Taskforce and conduct research for gender violence advocacy groups, non-profits, and foundations throughout the East coast.

Andrew and I are the right choice for Graduate SGA President and Vice President. We are deeply committed to improving all aspects of grad life at Tech, and look forward to serving our community.

David Giles and Elorm Agra:

My name is David Giles, and I am a second-year PhD student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Georgia Tech.

The crux of my platform is this: I want every grad student's voice to be heard, and I want every grad student to have easy, up-to-date, and understandable access to what the Grad Student Government is doing on their behalf.

I'm running for Graduate Student Government President because I love this community, and I want to do everything I can to help it flourish and grow. I've been at Tech for a long time -- I did my undergraduate degree here from 2007 to 2010, and my Master's from 2010 to 2013. Tech is my home.

In that time, I've learned that Tech is a place of change. I've seen parking lots disappear and shining new buildings and green spaces arise, but, more importantly, I've witnessed with joy the dramatic evolution of our campus culture. And, thanks to my year-long term as the Secretary of the Graduate Student Senate and experience as a Senator myself in the year before that, I've learned that the Grad Student Government is not only a key interface between students and the Institute, but also a critical nexus for collaboration among students.

Together with Elorm, I look forward to helping make Georgia Tech an even better place for graduate students to live and grow!

Vice President:

Hello! My name is Elorm J. Agra and I would like to serve as the executive vice president of the graduate student government for the 2018/2019 academic year. 

I am a third year MD/PhD student at Emory University School of Medicine and I am finishing up my first year as a graduate student in the joint Biomedical Engineering Department between Georgia Tech and Emory. I hope to practice as a cardiothoracic surgeon and create innovative therapies for cardiovascular disease. I'm originally from Leklebi. It's a small village in Ghana, West Africa, but I grew up in Accra, the capital. I studied Biochemistry and some Math at Temple University before coming to GT/Emory.

In my first year at Tech, I have been privileged to serve as an elected senator representing the voice of the Biomedical Engineering students on the graduate student senate. In my short experience, I have realized a few things. There is great opportunity for graduate students to bring their varied perspectives and brainpower to effect sustainable and relevant change in our community. However, most graduate students are busy (and rightly so) and do not know how to get involved in a meaningful way without wasting precious hours.

As executive vice president, I hope to bring my varied experiences and international perspective to help build a stronger and healthier graduate community at Georgia Tech. My primary goal will be to find creative and more efficient ways to get regular graduate students like myself more involved in making decisions that affect us.

Join David and me so we can connect, inspire and empower graduate students at Georgia Tech!