Student Government Association Senate Elections: Candidate Briefs

Voting available through The Nest from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on September 23. Results announced 10 p.m. on @catholicsga Instagram Live.

Class of 2021 

Alexander Dumm 

Hello, my name is Alexander (Alex) Dumm and I am a politics major with minors in philosophy, history, and Islamic world studies from Frederick, Maryland. 

“I am running on a platform of accountability and the sustainable development of our campus. I am running to represent the class of 2021 so I can continue fighting for the needs of our students now and in the future. I envision a greener campus with more recreational areas for students that also ensures our University has a less detrimental environmental impact. Having served as the Senator for the class of 2021 previously, I have a proven record of working to improve our campus community. Last year as Senator for the class of 2021, I drafted a resolution calling on the University to create new green spaces and improve those already in existence. I also proposed limiting construction inefficiencies by increasing regulatory oversight to improve our campus community. I am running to continue my work to establish Catholic University as a leader in sustainable development that will not only benefit our campus but will also benefit the local community. A vote for Alexander Dumm is a vote for accountability, proven leadership, and a greener future. 

My campaign slogan is ‘Dumm is the smart choice.’” 

Alexandra Kilgore

Hello, my name is Alexandra (Ally) Kilgore and I am a philosophy major on the pre-law track with minors in politics and theology from Kent Island, Maryland. 

“I’ve been involved with SGA since the fall semester of my freshman year, but we’ve never faced a semester like this, and SGA’s work is more important now than ever. My goal is to communicate the concerns, questions, and opinions of the class of 2021 to the University administration via the SGA apparatus so that we can work collaboratively to preserve all the traditions and milestones of senior year as well as possible under the circumstances. Obviously the number-one priority for all seniors, myself included, is a safe return to campus for us in the spring for in-person classes. I am currently living on campus as a Student Minister for the first-years, so I see firsthand what’s working well and what could be improved before any more students return. I can’t give the University a vaccine for coronavirus (I wish!), but I can promise the class of 2021 that my years of experience with the Senate have more than prepared me to use our resources, connections, and legislative efforts in the most effective way possible.”

Daniel Paviglianiti

Hello, my name is Daniel Paviglianiti and I am a politics major with a minor in History and Certificates in Islamic World Studies and Intelligence Studies from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“Besides SGA, I am entering my third year as a Resident Assistant and currently serve as Vice President for the Arabic Club. If elected, I will immediately create legislation to reform the Executive budget process to hold SGA to the same standards as the other on-campus organizations that must apply for funding through the Treasury Board. I will help improve University communication with off-campus students, and I will find ways to keep the senior class’s concerns relevant to campus dialogue.”

Class of 2022

Sophia Marsden 

Hello, my name is Sophia Marsden and I am a world politics and cultural anthropology double major with a concentration in Arabic and Islamic world studies from Lowell, Massachusetts.

“We’re running this race for you on two words: equity and advocacy. Our students need equitable policy, and that means to have their experiences not just recognized, but that their needs for support and empowerment be met. Additionally, every person in our CatholicU community deserves to have their interests not just heard, but fought for. I’m so excited for this opportunity to serve you… now let’s get to work!”

Philip Anhearn 

Hello, my name is Philip Ahearn and I am a politics major from the Bronx, New York. 

“As a senator for my class, my priority will be ensuring the active representation and inclusion of students – those on campus and those not – in the discussions concerning the undergraduate student body. This is an unprecedented time for our university and its students, and more than ever our students need to feel as though they are valued members of the community; this will be at the forefront of my work as a senator for the class of 2022.”

Class of 2023

Dominic Decker 

Hello, my name is Dominic Decker and I am a management major from Marlton, New Jersey. 

“My goals are to increase communication, address real and current issues, and advocate for all students (on and off campus). During this time of uncertainty, it is still important to encourage change for the better. The best kind of leader is one who sticks up for those who can not, makes those around them better, and fights for what they believe in. This is the kind of leader I am and what I stand for. I will fight for the betterment of all students!”

Maura Schlee

Hello, my name is Maura Schlee and I am a politics major from Baltimore, Maryland.

“I hope to continue representing the class of 2023 in student government by improving the conditions of student life under our current circumstances while planning for a stronger future on campus. Vote SCHLEE for ’23!”

John Desordi

Hello, my name is John Desordi and I am a politics major from Newtown, New Jersey. 

“I am running for a Senate seat representing the class of 2023. I live in Newton, New Jersey and was president of my junior and senior class at Kittatinny High School. My goals and platform will align with my class and their interests. As a result of being an active part of the CUA community for quite a while now, I have observed their hopes, wishes, and ideas for our great university. I would like to get school subsidized metro cards, create a State of the University Address, which would highlight key university issues and more ways to increase the transparency of the Treasury Board. Be sure to let me know your ideas, concerns and aspirations for the great class of 2023- My job is to be the voice of all of you.

VOTE JD FOR ’23!”

Class of 2024

Keenan Green

Hello, my name is Keenan Green and I am a politics major from Melrose, Massachusetts. 

“I am running because I want to serve my fellow classmates by representing them in the SGA Senate. I have always been a natural leader, and I want to bring that passion to CUA by serving in the student government. If elected, I will advocate for improvements in three general areas of life – Community, Student Life, and Technology Accessibility. I believe online activities like Playfair are a great way to have fun and meet new people. As a senator, to help foster a better sense of community, I will push for more campus-wide activities, both over Zoom and in person. 

As for student life, I will advocate for improvements to the Mailroom – including ways to check PO Box combinations, wait times, and package statuses. I will also push for a system to pick packages up curbside. Beyond the mailroom, the Pryz’s hours of operation are far too restrictive. Many students are too busy to eat dinner before 8:00 p.m. I will make it a central objective of mine to get the Pryz to close later so no student goes to sleep hungry.

Finally, I will make our technology more accessible by pushing for a major upgrade to the on-campus Wi-Fi. Far too often, our internet connection slows to a crawl, and I have repeatedly witnessed, or fallen victim to, internet lapses kicking people out of Zoom meetings.

Besides Wi-Fi, we are severely lacking convenient places to charge our devices. With classes and life and general increasingly done online, having a place to plug in is more essential than ever. As a senator, I will push for the installation of new outlets across campus – both inside and outside.

Thank you for your time, and I hope I can count on your support come September 23.”

Jamie Besendorfer

Hello, my name is Jamie Besendorfer and I am a marketing major from Garden City, New York.

“I’m interested in representing the class of 2024 as a Senator because I enjoy being an active member of my community. I’m from Garden City, New York where I was involved in student government throughout high school; I served as Student Council President and also held leadership roles in other community organizations, including President of charitable group Heart to Heart, Student Ambassador to my local Homeowners Association. My senior year I was selected to serve on the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee. I also managed and played on the varsity lacrosse team.

These experiences have taught me the importance of being involved in setting the agenda; serving on the Senate means being part of deciding which issues to prioritize and designing the strategy to pursue these goals. I love collaborating in a group and advocating for my peers. I’m open-minded and accessible to my classmates and understand my job to serve as their class representative. As a freshman, I’m just learning my way around Catholic. I’m still formulating my goals based on what I am learning through observation and discussions with new friends. Obviously dealing with COVID-19 is a big issue right now, and balancing our desire to remain on campus with health risk is important. I’m committed to finding workable solutions so that we remain in live classrooms.

Lots of my perspective and leadership experience comes from being the oldest of five children. I’m accustomed to breaking new ground and being a strong advocate for my siblings and peers! As one of the oldest of 13 cousins, I’ve always been the organizer and leader of our family posse. 

I am the only female candidate for the class of 2024, and I think it is important to make sure that our voice is heard. Women face different challenges on a college campus and I’d like to make sure that I am part of the governing process if related matters arise.”

Correy Crawford

Hello, my name is Correy Crawford and I am running to represent the class of 2024 in the SGA Senate. 

“We live in an unprecedented time. As we all struggle with the tightrope walk that is reopening combined with social distancing, we are forced to reckon with what exactly it is that keeps us together as a student body. Yet still our school spirit is strong.

However, unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions. As a candidate and as your Senator, I promise you I will rise to meet this moment. We simply cannot settle for more of the same waffling that has come as a result of a student government that fails to listen. We cannot accept policies that hurt students, in whatever form, just because we don’t have the courage to stand up to our school’s administration.

We’ve faced struggles before, and we’ve overcome them. As a student body, we cannot shy away from these fights. Instead, we need to organize, and win them. No matter if it’s poor policy or a global pandemic, we as students can win, and we will win, so long as we are not afraid to lose. 

I spent my high school career fighting for the interests of students. I haven’t been afraid to take on battles that I’ve been told can’t be won. I have seen, firsthand, the value of listening as the first step in governing.

Our school’s slogan, “deus lux mea est” translates to “God is my light”. While the path ahead of us may be foggy, what we need to do as students is clear. When united together, with each other as our rock and God as our beacon, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

Let’s do this.”

Kyle Holcomb

Hello, my name is Kyle Holcomb and I am a musical theater major from Houston, Texas. 

“I am running for this position because I am passionate about making sure that everyone feels valid and that their voice is heard. A key focus of my platform is safety – I want to ensure that we can all enjoy our first year at Catholic while also keeping ourselves, our classmates, and all of the great faculty and staff here healthy and at ease walking around our campus. With this, I would like to help facilitate the restart of on-campus clubs and activities. I believe that a big part of the college experience is getting to attend these events where you have the opportunities to meet new people, try new things, and relieve the stress of classes. I am confident that we can work to have these groups meeting together in person while also monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and ensuring the safety of others. Besides this, I am always open to hearing your thoughts on changes or ideas you would like to see discussed. I believe that communication is an important factor of good leadership, and I always strive to be a very approachable, open-minded individual. My main mission is to advocate for you, so never be afraid to reach out to me! I hope you will consider voting for me to become one of your senators. Thank you, and Roll Cards!”

Raphael Gabriel Toto

Hello, my name is Rapheal Gabriel Toto and I am a politics major from Monroe, New Jersey. 

“I’m running for a Senate seat for the class of 2024 because I believe I can be a sincere leader in these unprecedented times. Prior to running for this seat, I worked in my local Monroe government, running the social media for a campaign for mayor and town council. Along the way, I got an inside look into local government, not too dissimilar from the CUA Senate. I’m also a proud Third Degree Knight of Columbus, and being a Knight gave me so many opportunities to serve my town through community events that we hosted. I believe I can harness these experiences to be a great senator for the class of 2024. My campaign is focused on three main goals; maintaining necessary COVID-19 safety measures, encouraging club involvement and extracurricular activities on campus and on Zoom, and ensuring that online learning is just as effective as in-person learning. 

The coronavirus has forced all of us to take precautions to protect ourselves and our peers. As senator, I would make sure that these safety procedures are kept in place, and altered when it is best for the community. Though we may sometimes get annoyed with these measures (myself included), we must remain vigilant. The safer we are now, the sooner this pandemic will end. 

Just because we’re in a pandemic doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun. As senator, I would encourage clubs and extracurricular activities so that everyone can have a chance to pursue something they love, and so we can foster a happy and inclusive community here at Catholic. 

Remote learning, much like the times we currently are in, is an abnormal thing. We’re all trying our best with it, and the amazing faculty at Catholic have made the best of our current circumstances. As senator, I would work with this amazing faculty to ensure that online learning is just as efficient and effective as in-person learning. I want my peers, on and off campus, to have the full benefits of CUA’s phenomenal education.”

Luis Garcia Abundis

Hello, my name is Luis Garcia and I am a prospective chemistry major on the pre-med track with a certificate in Spanish for health care from North Carolina. 

“Why am I running for the Senate? I want to represent YOU and our class during our time here at Catholic. The world we face right now is unlike any other, but even throughout this pandemic, I want to make our college experience even more unforgettable. I plan on enhancing the student life involvement, starting clubs back up in a safe manner, and growing the student government administration. 

What experience do I have? I have held tons of leadership roles throughout my high school career. I was Student Body Vice-President, National Honor Society Vice-President, Marching Band Visual Captain, and held leadership roles in other community organizations. Each of these leadership roles has equipped me with confidence and enabled me to be a more competent individual. 

I promise to be open-minded and accessible as your senator and to advocate for change at our institution. 

I promise to work as diligently and tirelessly to get as many bills passed to fulfill your aspirations; to be a senator who will demonstrate integrity, and who will be a voice for YOU, our class.” 

William Schulz 

N/A

Michael Pikarski

N/A

School of Philosophy

Abigail Treacy

Hello, my name is Abigail Treacy and I am a philosophy major from Canton, CT. 

“I was one of the School of Philosophy senators last spring and would love the opportunity to continue to work as a liaison between all of you and the rest of the Senate this academic year. Please consider voting for me so I can continue to voice all of your concerns and effect change accordingly!”

Melissa Zentz 

My name is Melissa Zentz and I am a philosophy and politics double major from Pittsburgh, PA. 

“I am running for the School of Philosophy senator seat because I am passionate and eager to advocate for you. I was a senator for the School of Philosophy in 2017-2018, 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. Additionally, in 2019-2020, I was the Committee Chair for Academic Affairs. Through those years, I have sponsored legislation which positively impacted the CatholicU students. My experience, passion, commitment, professionalism, and connections within the university make me an ideal candidate. I know I can help bring positive change to the greater University. The students’ opinions, needs and desires not only need to be heard and brought forward to the administration and faculty, but they need to be acted upon and implemented. I will be an active liaison between the students and faculty. I promise that through me, your desires will be pursued and made possible.”

School of Theology

Jonathan Harrison

Hello, my name is Jonathan Harrison and I am a biochemistry and theology and religious studies double major with a minor in mathematics and certificate in pastoral ministry from Elkridge, Maryland.

“I am running for the Senate again this year to continue listening to and advocating for students in the School of Theology and Religious Studies (STRS). I will continue to be an active presence in the Senate, having my actions led by what I hear from my fellow TRS majors. Last year I listened to the needs of TRS students to help increase the library hours and to pass two pieces of legislation helping reform CACS. This year I will listen to and act on the concerns, both academic and extracurricular, of students in the STRS.”

John Scott 

N/A

School of Social Service:

Vacant

Vacant

The Conway School of Nursing:

Catherine Churilla 

N/A

Christina Hermann 

N/A

School of Engineering: 

Kaitlyn Caple 

N/A

Vacant

Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art

William Lucardi

Hello, my name is William Lucardi and I am a world politics and organ performance double major from Russell, Massachusetts. 

“My platform is simple: Establish consistency, transparency, and effective communication between the administration and the student body. One of the most important aspects of an educational experience is a healthy level of communication and transparency between the students and the administrative body of their university. The experiences that I, along with many of my classmates have had in dealing with the various offices at Catholic University all proved that we needed better communication and more transparency. During my previous term in the SGA Senate, I wrote a resolution with these themes in mind asking Catholic University to publish the names of the financial aid counselors along with the students to whom they were assigned. The goal of this resolution, which passed the Senate unanimously, was to establish consistency from year to year for students and their families as they decipher how to handle such a monumental financial endeavor. I would like to continue this project with a series of other resolutions inspired by my own ideas and those of my constituency. As we continue to deal with the stress and complications that COVID-19 has imposed on our educational experiences, consistency, transparency, and effective communication become even more important. The Students of the Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art deserve this, at the very least. As their instrument of representation, I will do everything I can to make sure they are heard!”

Sophia Pelekasis 

N/A

Cecilia Bracey

N/A 

Alyssa Reed 

N/A

School of Arts and Sciences

Zoriana Moulton

Hello, my name is Zoriana Moulton I am a politics major on the pre-law track with minors in Hispanic studies and social work from Clifton Park, New York.

“One of my biggest initiatives is keeping all Cardinals, those on campus, in Washington D.C., and across the world, involved and heard within their community. The CUA community has always felt like home to me and my goal is to make everyone feel at home whether they are sitting in Murphy’s Lounge or zooming at home. Specific to the School of Arts and Sciences, my goal is to work to make the students of the largest school on campus heard, and their issues are resolved in the best way possible. With a diversity of majors, it is important to me that each major is advocated for within SGA this year. Evidently, this is an unprecedented time, with unprecedented concerns. The best way to get through it and come out stronger is with a strong and passionate leadership team fighting for the diverse and enthusiastic students of CUA. I know that I can be one of the driven and persistent leaders that will help the CUA community come out stronger than ever before. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to run to represent the amazing students of The Catholic University of America.”

Allison Sijgers

Hello, my name Allison Sijgers and I am a politics and Spanish double major from Richland, WA. 

“I am running for decisive leadership and improved administration in the School of Arts and Sciences. As many students in Arts and Sciences know, planning courses is one of the most complicated things we do at Catholic. We have so many opportunities to double major or minor, but are blocked by limited courses and times. I want to make it easier for Arts and Science students to double major, minor, and take all the courses they want through requesting improved communication between departments and flexible scheduling. As the largest school at Catholic, we should have an assertive and confident voice representing our needs, and I am prepared to be that voice.

I also want to be a voice of reason and accountability for any debates that the Senate has on COVID-19 policies, procedures, and decisions. I think there has been a lack of student input on University decisions regarding COVID-19, and it will be necessary to have senators prepared to advocate for students. To have more students on campus in the Spring we will need safe and well thought out plans. At the forefront of all these decisions, input from current students living on and off campus, and in and out of the DC area should be considered and sought out. I will seek out those perspectives to make sure that any decisions being made are considering the varied challenges of all Catholic students.

While COVID-19 has brought many challenges, it has also brought many opportunities. Having a representative for Arts and Sciences that is prepared to ask tough questions and make themselves known will be vital if we want to learn from this time to create effective change.”

Garrett Farrell

Hello, my name is Garrett Farrell and I am a mathematics major with a minor in computer science from Bethlehem, PA. 

“I am running for a seat in the Senate for the School of Arts and Sciences because I feel that I can enact meaningful policies that are helpful to current students, and the generations of students who will attend CUA after we are gone. Nothing is more important to me than bettering the school as a whole and passionately serving the students in the school of Arts and Sciences. I have three main policy initiatives that I am particularly excited for right now: Increasing the number of free sessions at the counseling center from 45-60, creating more outdoor meeting spaces on campus, and making Mullen Library open 24/7 on weekdays. Each of these initiatives benefits the students at Catholic in a unique way; the increase of free sessions will help student’s mental health, and in the era of COVID-19, the importance of a student’s mental health cannot be understated. Making Mullen Library open 24/7 will aid in students’ studies. I know the burden of limited hours in Mullen; its third floor has always been where I am most productive, and getting kicked out at 11 p.m. took me away from where I could be most successful. As for creating more outdoor spaces on campus, this initiative will help students’ mental health, as they will be able to find more peaceful spots on campus where they can take a break from whatever is stressing them out, and it will give students more study spots on campus, either for individual work or group work. Additionally, more outdoor spaces will create visibility for smaller clubs and student organizations. If you want to know more about my initiatives, me, or my campaign, I would encourage you to follow my campaign’s Instagram account (@garrettfor_senate) and reach out to me so that we can discuss the issues in depth.”

School of Architecture

Katherine Janik

Hello, my name is Katherine Janik and I am an architecture major from Stamford, Connecticut. 

“My plans for this coming semester are to really be a bridge for student’s voices in the architecture school, since a lot of times we feel disconnected from the rest of CUA at times.  My main focuses this year are to fight for the CUArch Study Abroad program 2021 and to find ways for students to use Crough even throughout this hard time.  But overall, I am going to listen to my classmates and bring their needs forward to [the] Senate.  I am honored to be considered to fulfill such a valuable role here on campus and I assure you that I will work hard every day in [the] Senate to improve life here at CUA and in Crough. 

Richard Warren

N/A

Busch School of Business

Isabel Buckley

Hello, my name is Isabel Buckley and I am a finance major with minors in accounting and Hispanic studies from Cohasset, Massachusetts.

“I am very excited for this school year, as I know these recent COVID-19 developments have brought about much change in our CUA experience, and thus, the need for lots of revamping. With many students completing their classes remotely, whether it be in the DC area or at home, I know that there are many different situations and experiences, and I hope to take all of these into account while drafting legislation. I want everyone’s voice to be heard to ensure that each student, whether you are a freshman adapting to an unusual college experience on campus, or an upperclassman living off campus or at home, is provided with the resources and guidance to successfully navigate this new college experience. One initiative that I hope to take forward this year is a reconstructing of a business graduate school fair. I hope to work with Dean Abela and the Busch School in establishing and growing a graduate school fair that provides the necessary resources students need in order to continue on to an MBA program, whether it be post-graduation, or later in the future. Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns, as I would be happy to answer them! Thank you!”

Joseph Galassi 

N/A

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