Voting has begun!
CLICK HERE FOR THE BALLOT
Voting is open until Monday, Sept. 18 at 4 p.m. Results will be announced the same day at 6 p.m. via an all class email.
Please select only ONE candidate in each category. You need not vote in each category if you do not wish to do so.
Each J-school student is eligible to cast one ballot for the elections.
While the votes will be kept confidential, we need you to fill in your name and e-mail to ensure the integrity of the ballot.
All ballots are final – no changes are allowed. PLEASE FILL IN CAREFULLY
and DOUBLE-CHECK BEFORE YOU SUBMIT!
Voting open until 4 p.m. 09/18/23
The Election results will be announced on Thursday 09/18/23 at 6 p.m. via an all class email.
BELOW ARE THE CANDIDATES’ PITCHES FOR THE 2023-24 SPJ BOARD
CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT
CANDIDATES FOR SPEAKERS DIRECTOR
CANDIDATES FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE CHAIR
Meet the officers who ran unopposed:
CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT
• ALEX FOSTER, M.S. Full-time
SEE MY VIDEO
past education: Oxford University – English Lit major // wrote my undergraduate theses on radio plays and metatheatre
qualifications: Uni Welfare Officer 2021 – DEI trained. Supported students through the covid pandemic, and liased with uni administration to find the best learning solutions for students and the wider community. I know how annoying it is not to be listened to as a student! (I also love having chats over coffee so if you need to vent/someone to listen to, I’m here 🙂 )
EiC of The Oxford Student – have sent so many comment requests to uni/college/student society administrations, so I know how to be annoying and press people for the answers you guys want.
Oxford Union Press Director – I got sent way too many comment requests by journalists, so I know the tricks people use to avoid giving in to valid demands!
Oxford Drama Soc VP – Working with the Prez and delegating properly to get the best results (and developing a love of theater/re)
House Captain at School – developing a community <3
International Student – Getting an F1 visa was difficult, and life as a freelancer is literally harder with it!
why vote for me: Hi I’m Alex (he/they) and I want to Foster a better community! I’m friendly, ginger, and quite funny sometimes 🙂
I’ve got 3 big ideas that I’ve got space to talk about here:
1) CJS needs to connect up with the wider Columbia community – atm it all feels a bit disconnected from all the cool events going on. = Making sure we know what we can go visit, see, and explore within the wider college is v important to me.
2) I think the international student visa = no jobs thing was pretty shocking. = We need specialised events for visa students so we all graduate on a level playing field internships/experience-wise.
= will institute 2 international students reps on the SPJ board.
|3) we were all told CJS could get VERY stressful, but not told about college-run initiatives to mitigate that stress. = Welfare rep on SPJ = regular ‘take a break’ events = Prez drop-in sessions to vent and be listened to.
I will also pledge that as I’m sometimes funny, I will write an awesome grad speech 🙂
• LOTOYA FRANCIS, M.S. Full-time
SEE MY VIDEO
past education: B.S with Honors from Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations
qualifications: I’m who Twitter calls “the leader of the friend group.” I organize the gatherings, have strong relationships with each friend, know everyone’s strengths, and am the go-to person for concerns. As a student leader, I operate the same way. As Cornell’s 2022 Senior Convocation Chair, I organized a commencement celebration for over 3,500 seniors and their families attending virtually and in-person and led a committee in selecting our keynote speaker Constance Wu from Crazy Rich Asians. I was also President of the Black Women’s Support Network, Founder and Creative Director of a digital media team, a leader in residential life, a student worker, and the list goes on. I managed budgets from $30 to 6 figures, put on large-scale and intimate events, secured guest speakers, and most importantly, advocated for the best interest of my peers. At every stage, our mission and our team are my top priority. Amidst the pressures of school and student organizations, our wellness is always most important.
why vote for me: In my undergrad senior superlatives, I was voted Most Involved, Most Likely to Become Famous, Most Likely to Lead a Protest, and Biggest Drama Queen. I’m not sure how well-deserved the last one was but they all speak to the role I like to play in my community. I get involved; I connect; I advocate; and I keep things interesting because life is too short to be boring. Authenticity is one of my biggest values. Amidst all of the seriousness and formality of the J School, it’s important to me that we all have the opportunity to be our fullest selves, unapologetically and without resistance. My priority as SPJ President would be to establish a culture that amplifies our personalities and humanity. Let’s have events that challenge our ideas of what’s professional and what a credible journalist looks, sounds, and acts like. As we navigate this prestigious program and strive to become who we think we’re “supposed” to be, I hope to nurture our uniqueness and build a legacy on authenticity.
• LISA POWERS, M.S. Full-Time
SEE MY VIDEO
past education: Honours B.A., English Literature, The University of Toronto
qualifications: I have undergone formal leadership training and was recognized as a student leader by the University of Toronto after earning a certificate through the Building NEW Leadership program. I also attended the Leading with Pride summit and volunteered at the LGBTOUT! drop-in centre. During my time with Pi Beta Phi, I challenged gender stereotypes in an effort to strengthen Panhellenic relations and was recognized by receiving the Gloria Legrow Woman of the Year Award. I served as Arts & Culture Editor at my university newspaper and improved diversity in storytelling by fostering an environment that was welcoming for journalists of all backgrounds. I have an interest in urban agriculture and volunteered with Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) wherein I developed a new watering system for its demonstration gardens. Most recently, I served as a Welcome Ambassador, proposing event ideas and planning my own. Fun fact: I once biked from Toronto to Niagara Falls and back (172.8 miles).
why vote for me: I believe that our class will be best served by my leadership because I will work to ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive in a safe environment where they can reach their full potential. I will achieve this by advocating for our concerns and ideas, and commit to making sure that our needs are met by the administration. I live by my values of inclusivity, respect, and honesty, and if elected President, it will be my goal to instill in each of us the confidence to go forward and succeed in our careers and in our lives
CANDIDATES FOR SPEAKER’S DIRECTOR
• BRAD BYRNE, M.S. Full-Time
SEE MY VIDEO
past education: B.A. of Communication w/concentration of Journalism and minor of International Relations at George Mason University
qualifications: I have been a member of my undergrad SPJ chapter since my sophomore year, and I still am an SPJ member today. I have experience as an editor-in-chief, meaning I have leadership capabilities that will allow me to choose great speakers.
why vote for me: As a former editor-in-chief and a current SPJ member, I believe that I am the right person to be your Speaker Director. I ran a diverse newsroom, where I valued all of my editorial board’s views and positions, which means that I am great at negotiating and hearing many different viewpoints to reach the best solution.
Without SPJ, I don’t think I would be at the Columbia Journalism School. If I had not gone to the SPJ/CMA Conference in Washington D.C. last fall, I don’t think I ever would’ve applied to the school in the first place. As a member of SPJ, it opened up so many great opportunities for me and has helped me make great connections.
At that conference, Woodward and Bernstein gave a great talk on the 50th anniversary of Watergate. I can’t promise I’ll be able to get speakers of that level every time but think of extraordinary people like them.
• CONNOR GREENE, M.S. Full-time
SEE MY VIDEO
past education: Cornell University, BA, English
qualifications: I have experience working as a Senior Editor, Columnist and News Writer for my student journal, The Cornell Daily Sun, which involved communication with high profile sources, such as Pulitzer Prize winning alumna Molly O’Toole of the Washington Post, to members of Ithaca government, to university officials. Additionally, my past work experience at two magazines and with CNN Opinion make me confident corresponding with valuable sources in an effective manner.
I feel comfortable speaking and developing rapport with individuals and am confident in my ability to represent the desires of our class with respect and enthusiasm.
why vote for me: Some of the speakers we saw during orientation were inspiring. I came to realize watching those speakers that the guidance we receive in this program will not just teach us about the industries we aspire to go into, but will inspire us to keep moving towards them, despite the inevitable disillusionment we may feel throughout the year. I find value in having role models. People to strive to be, or at least embody parts of. It would be an honor to be in a position where I am responsible for contributing to the ways in which our class is able to source inspiration and grow its professional network. As such, I am more excited to work collaboratively with the student body in deciding who we want to hear from and the places we would like to see.
•ELLENOOR SHAMELI, M.S. Full-time
SEE MY VIDEO
past education: B.A. Hons in Politics and Sociology from Cambridge
qualifications: As the Speakers Officer at the Cambridge Union Society in my undergrad, I organized a committee dedicated to inviting a range of speakers for interviews and panels – this included The Vamps, Ian McElhinney (Ser Barristan in Game of Thrones), and Maria Balshaw (the Director of the Tate Museum). I collaborated with agents, publicists and guests to organize travel and accommodation, and was responsible for researching and interviewing the guests. As Women’s and Non-Binary Officer for the same society, I held a ‘male gaze in media’ panel including media professors and independent filmmakers I’d personally invited. I also became the Social Events Officer, and worked with the staff to host events such as jazz nights, puppy therapy and yoga, collaborating with many different groups to make sure these events happened safely and smoothly!
why vote for me: Hi, I’m Ellenoor – I’m a general M.S. student and recent politics & sociology graduate! I want to use my experience as speaker’s officer in undergrad to work towards hosting an array of exciting speaker’s events that can represent the diverse interests of this class. I’ve not only created and curated lists of speakers to satisfy a range of student interests in the past; I’ve also handled the logistics of events so that everything goes smoothly – and I hope to do that here too. It’s important to also provide a space where the class can express their interests – I would release a year-long form for students to submit speaker suggestions and panel ideas so that anyone who feels passionately about an event can work with our committee to make it happen. My goal is to serve the interests of the class in a speaker’s capacity, and I hope my experience shows that I’m able to take on this role and work with students to put on an exciting and insightful year of student events!
CANDIDATES FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE CHAIR
• ANDREA CALDERON, M.S. Full-time
SEE MY VIDEO
past education: Master in International Affairs; Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy
qualifications: I have experience coordinating events and working with outside organizations as the President of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) Ethica Fashion Working Group President. I also help organize and promote events as the Communications Chair of SIPA’s Student Association.
why vote for me: Volunteering within the local community will be a great way for us to do something for others and not just ourselves. This is a special opportunity for students to bond through others-oriented experiences. My classmates should elect me because I will do my best to find activities that are both fun and impactful.
• TABIUS MCCOY, M.S. Full-time
SEE MY VIDEO
past education: High School – Kipp Atlanta Collegiate (National Charter School in major inner-cities ). Undergraduate Highest Honors – Georgia Tech
qualifications: I’ve always been passionate about giving back to my community, as young as 5 years old.
In four years of high school, I accumulated over 450 volunteer hours with work I did in the inner city of Atlanta, GA.
During my high school volunteer work at Zoo Atlanta, I organized summer camp programs for children aged 6–13 and educated visitors about the Zoo’s animal exhibits and their role in ecosystem sustainability.
During my time at Georgia Tech, I served as the chapter president of the Nu Mu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. I led the chapter to win the titles of Chapter of the Year and Community Service Initiative of the Year. As president and academic chair, I organized a spring clothing drive that raised over 400 pounds for those in need in Metro Atlanta.
During undergrad, I served on the National Society of Black Engineers and my school’s African American Student Union boards, where I maintained partnerships with local charter schools and food banks.
Throughout my undergraduate and post-undergrad life, I served on the board of The Brand New You Entrepreneur & Leadership Academy, Inc. During my time on the board, I helped small businesses with grant writing.
why vote for me: I want the Columbia School of Journalism to be known for more than our prestige journalistically; I want us to be the school that elevates New York and the globe through the service initiatives we enact in our community and outside our community.
As a fellow Columbia Journalism student, I believe we have the opportunity to make an everlasting impact on those both inside and outside of the school through community service initiatives.
As community service chair, I would like to implement programs. One of the first is to implement a program with New York Public City schools in which journalism students and even faculty taught students the value of journalism and the importance of finding stories about those around them.
I intend to set up workshops for students to learn the art of photography, filmmaking, audio production, and journalistic writing through this initiative.
As community service chair, I will ensure journalism students of all interests have community service opportunities.
I intend to develop programs and initiatives to address and support issues affecting our city of New York, such as homelessness and immigration reform. Doing this through food bank volunteering and volunteer events with NYC Assylum Seekers.
YOUR UNIVERSITY SENATOR (ran unopposed)
• MARIAM LOBJANIDZE, Data Degree
SEE MY VIDEO
past education: B.A. in English writing from DePauw University
qualifications: I was the Vice President of Student Academic Affairs at DePauw Student Government at DePauw University for a year, and as a result, I acted as a liaison between the school administration and the student body of 1800 students. In my role, I planned career and networking events, resume workshops, invited guest speakers, and organized academic banquets. In addition, I advocated for students’ academic concerns and made sure they were able to connect with companies and organizations they were interested in working for.
I was the Managing Editor of The DePauw Newspaper at DePauw University, the first SPJ chapter school. In my position, I worked with Indiana-based news organizations such as Indy Star and WFYI Public Media, planned newsroom tours, and invited professional journalists to campus to create networking opportunities for students. As a result, I was able to increase cooperation between campus news organizations and Indiana news outlets.
why vote for me: I’m very excited to be considered for the role of Senator as I see this as a unique opportunity to represent the J-School to the entire university community. I feel that strengthening the connection between the J-Schhol and other schools will enable Journalism school students to create a robust network which is essential for the growth of aspiring journalists. If elected, I promise to advocate for the success of my fellow students by relaying information, concerns, and ideas from students. In addition, by sitting on sub-committees, I would like to be part of meaningful changes.
In addition, because of my years of experience as a leader in student council as well as student media in my alma mater, specifically as Managing Editor at The DePauw Newspaper and Assistant News Director at WGRE radio station, I feel comfortable representing talented and driven journalists. My goal is to better the J school community and empower students by giving them the tools they need to succeed.
YOUR APPOINTED VICE PRESIDENT (ran unopposed)
• FAHIMA DEGIA, M.S. Full-time
SEE MY VIDEO
past education: Bachelors in Political Science and Human Rights and Minors in Sociology and History
qualifications: My Classmates should elect me for this role because I aim to fulfill the needs and dreams of students the best I can. I also enjoy working with others in a team to achieve our functions productively.
why vote for me: I am full of ideas and projects and I have the energy and determination it takes to make them a reality.
-First I plan on organizing the first inter-journalism school soccer tournament in the U.S., and take the opportunity that we will be organizing it this year to make the other schools come to New York.
-Park living is my way of life, and I intend to take full advantage of NYC’s parks and the remaining sunny days to organize picnics with the entire class
-I would also like to organize smaller events with limited spots to take people camping, hiking and bike touring
-I have enough experience organizing parties that I will make the most of my position to organize great Halloween parties
In only a month, I’ve already met a lot of people in the M.S. program, and I try to meet the recently arrived M.A. students. Knowing people in several circles will allow me to be as inclusive as possible when organizing class-wide events.
YOUR APPOINTED STUDENT LIFE CHAIR (ran unopposed)
• SOPHIA GLAZER, M.S. Full-time
SEE MY VIDEO
past education: Tulane University -Oxford University Study Abroad -Semester at Sea Study Abroad
qualifications: During my time in university, I have been actively engaged in leadership roles and community initiatives. During my freshman year at Tulane, I was elected Vice President of my 200+ person dorm and subsequently was elected dorm President my sophomore year. In addition to creating fun and engaging events for the community based on student feedback and helping to resolve dorm-wide complaints, I also helped establish a University-wide recycling system in response to student’s concerns about the lack of recycling facilities. For my efforts, I received the Dean’s Leadership Award.
During my junior year abroad, while participating in a program called Semester at Sea, I founded a feminist club that advocated for changes to the program’s sexual assault policy. Our collective efforts, supported by over 400 community members, led to mandatory sexual assault training and compliance with Title IX. The group also organized a donation of over 2000 period products.
why vote for me: I look forward to working collaboratively with you all to plan student life events that help make the coming year a fruitful and fulfilling experience for everyone. I am an incredibly positive and optimistic person who has experience leading and planning large-scale events for groups. One of the extraordinary aspects of being a student here is our ability to learn from and grow closer to our incredible fellow classmates. As a Student Life chair, I hope to create more opportunities for students to meet each other and form connections.
YOUR APPOINTED PART-TIME REPRESENTATIVE (ran unopposed)
• PAUL LINDBERG, M.S. Part-time
past education: MPA – Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, BS – Syracuse University in Television, Film and Radio Production
qualifications: I have volunteered to lead small and large-scale initiatives at Columbia University and other NY non-profits. At Columbia, I have been a student leader in the Columbia SIPA Executive Council, and I am an alumni leader on the board of directors of the SIPA Alumni Association. Shout out to our dual degree program students. I am in my second year in the MS Part-time program, and I have learned about the opportunities and challenges at the J-School with new solutions on how to improve things.
why vote for me: I am passionate about engaging and integrating the Journalism School students as much as possible in the larger mission at Columbia University. With the new President Shafik, I would like to increase connections to maximize our time, which is too short at Columbia.