ASI introduces election candidates

Maikalina Madali


Monica Cortez L.E.A.D. (Leadership, Empowerment, Action and Determination)

Monica Cortez, a senior government major, is the current Vice President of Academic Affairs of Associated Students Inc. and believes the experience qualifies her for the ASI President position.

“During my term as VPAA, I have strengthened my relationship with faculty, staff and administration,” Cortez said. “I have worked closely with administration on student and campus wide issues.”

Cortez has been involved with ASI for three years, holding the position of intern for the Office of Government Affairs and serving on ASI committees.

She is active in multiple organizations such as the Sac State Lobby Corp, which teaches students how to be involved in the legislative process dealing with higher education on a local, state and federal level. Cortez is also a member of Sigma Omega Nu sorority as fundraising chair and rush coordinator.

Sitting on multiple committees on campus, Cortez has become aware of campus issues and has worked to minimize them by approaching legislative officials.

She has created legislation advocating for the improvement of current smoking policies and supporting State University Grants for graduate students.

“My goal is to lead through diversity to be able to provide a greater representation of the student body on the ASI board,” Cortez said. “I want to continue to give students a voice in our community, work on behalf of the students and ensure that ASI is beneficial to students.”

Cortez’s top goals are to create and strengthen partnerships with programs and organizations across campus, expand the President’s Round Table to those programs and advocate for students at a local and state level on educational matters.

“Bringing program leaders and organization leaders is critical to start a campuswide dialogue and share what everyone is working towards,” Cortez said. “It would help ASI help them.”

Outside of school and ASI, Cortez works for a linen and chair cover rental company, Mimi & Co. Inc. She loves to dance, cook, listen to music and spend time with loved ones.

However, being educated of what is going on in the world is her passion.

“I enjoy reading the newspaper for controversial topics and stay informed on what is happening in the community,” Cortez said.

George Cordero Strive

Current ASI Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Director George Cordero, a senior government and communications studies major, believes his own “rags to riches” story allows him to be the perfect candidate that can relate to Sac State students.

“I come from a low income, I depend on FAFSA and I am also affected by the cost of attending college,” Cordero said. “I am a student.”

Cordero’s first two years on campus proved to be uninvolved. He feels many Sac State students start off like that because it is a commuter school.

“I was not active. I just went to school and went home,” Cordero said. “Once I got involved, it became something bigger. I got hooked and it took off from there.”

Cordero is a part of Lobby Corp, which has given him the opportunity to speak to a number of legislators and gain their personal accounts in government.

His involvement with the Student Alumni Association strengthened his stance on creating connections between students and alumni.

“I’ve seen how much being involved can benefit the student to make a better college experience,” Cordero said. “I believe that having access to the alumni is what brings success to many students.”

Cordero’s main goals are to keep the board accountable for promises made during the election, help increase awareness of the free resources offered by Sac State to reduce the cost of attending college and to encourage student advocacy at a local and state level.

“I want to put strategic priorities that address what the students need first, putting a focus on them and their ideas,” Cordero said. “I want to let them know that their voices can be heard. Believe it or not.”

Beyond academics, Cordero is on the Board of Trustees for the Filipino-American Evangelical Covenant Church in Sacramento conducting and planning youth events.

Cordero also likes to longboard when he can, loves traveling and has a keen interest in fashion.

He works as a student assistant at the State of California Department of Health Care Services, where he has the ability to interact with anyone who walks in.

“Half the battle of being a college student is academics and the other is networking,” Cordero said. “You have to make the right connections.”

Executive Vice President

Nielsen M. Gabriel, Strive

Nielsen Gabriel, a junior biochemistry and philosophy major, holds the position of ASI Director of Natural Sciences and believes his experience and love for ASI will be a positive contribution to being Executive Vice President.

Gabriel was also elected to be vice-chair to the ASI Board of Directors at the beginning of his term. This has given him knowledge of issues on campus and the committees and groups who work toward solving the issues.

“The Executive Vice President is the Chair to the ASI Board, making my position on the board as Vice-Chair a perfect preparation into this position,” Gabriel said. “I can definitely contribute my experience as a current director of ASI to be a great resource for the newer board members.”

Gabriel is involved on campus as a member of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Joint Council, Delta Chi fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega fraternity and Peer Health Educators, which advocates for college students’ mental health.

If elected, his priorities are to educate students on how ASI can serve them and to ensure students’ concerns are heard and acted on.

“During my current term as a director, I have never turned away a student with an issue or concern,” Gabriel said. “I intend on keeping this practice.”

Gabriel said he understands the life a student and loves to be the source for board members and students to go to for help.

He works 10 hours a week as a research assistant at the University of California Davis MIND Institute. The institute is a leading facility for neurodevelopment research.

“I dedicate some of my week here because my youngest brother falls into the spectrum of autism,” Gabriel said.

In order to take a break from his responsibilities, he enjoys running, swimming and snowboarding to maintain his physical and mental health.

He said ASI is a big focus for him.

“ASI is always on my mind, every day,” Gabriel said. “I love ASI as a whole.”

Geqigula “GQ” Dlamini L.E.A.D.

GQ Dlamini, a junior business major, is only in his second semester as a full time student at Sac State, but did not waste any time in becoming involved on campus.

Dlamini moved from Zimbabwe in 2008 and attended American River College.

Through newfound friends in student government, he got involved and held the position as president of the interclub council.

“I started to see the impact that you can make as a student, for the students,” Dlamini said. “It’s better to be involved than just be someone who attends meetings.”

Once Dlamini transferred to Sac State, he did not hesitate to join ASI and wanted to learn about the campus.

Dlamini’s passion for students has sparked strong advocacy for volunteer work and encouraging engagement.

“I’m not the kind of person to sit in the office and be content,” Dlamini said. “I want to get out there and have conversations with the students.”

He is on the ASI A-Team and has assisted in coordinating campus events. His involvement has allowed him to familiarize with ASI, its members and organizations on campus.

“I have seen the inner-workings and know the people here,” Dlamini said. “I have a job at ASI and I have a real job – meeting the requests of the students. The resilience of the students is what inspires me considering everything that is going on.”

Dlamini’s main goals are to ensure accountability of the board, make student relations committees stronger and encourage collaboration between students and each of the organizations.

“There is a slight disconnect between what we think they (the students) want and what they really want,” Dlamini said. “We need to work together as a cohesive unit.”

Outside of Sac State, he volunteers at the Salvation Army, loves to travel and returns to his alma mater college to make sure there is sustainability.

“I live by the saying ‘leave things better than where you found them,’” Dlamini said.

VP Finance

Alexandria Cole L.E.A.D.

Alexandria Cole, a junior business finance major with a minor in economics, is convinced her experience with financial dealing have prepared her to be VP of Finance.

Cole is currently on the ASI Finance and Budget committee and has worked to connect outside resources with Sac State.

“I know where the resources are and how it ties to financials here,” Cole said. “I meet with different networks outside to bring our campus closer to the community.

On campus, Cole is a part of the A-Team, Black Student Union, Women in Business and is in charge of the financials of the Black Fall Welcome committee.

Cole has been a Wells Fargo employee for three years and prepares audits for clients. She believes the experience has been pivotal in her responsibilities thus far.

If elected, Cole plans to activate a financial relations committee to create new tools for clubs, organizations and students to refer to for financial assistance.

“I want to revamp our grants and set up something that will work more efficiently with students, not against them,” Cole said. “A lot of students are unaware of our ASI scholarships. I want students to know there are ways we give back the $60 they pay for ASI.”

Off campus, Cole sits on the board of the Volunteer Sacramento program where she helps tutor students from Kindergarten to sixth grade.

Cole has her own business as a Zumba instructor and enjoys creating her own clothing designs. She plays with the idea of both becoming business opportunities in the future.

Lauren L. Carpio Strive

Lauren Carpio, a senior business administration major with a minor in communications, said she is the most qualified person for the VP of Finance position.

Carpio has been an accounting assistant in the ASI Business Office for almost two years, is the Vice Chair for Dollars for Organizations and Clubs committee as well as the Finance and Budget committee.

“It has given me a more in-depth understanding of how ASI is running as a corporation,” Carpio said. “Through these experiences, I have been fortunate enough to meet and interact with the program directors all through ASI.”

She is also involved in the Samahang Pilipino club and has been Finance Vice President of Alpha Phi Omega for two semesters.

Carpio’s goals are to create more scholarships for students through the Finance and Budget committee, further communicate scholarships offered by ASI to club officers and enhance the ASI Farmers Market to make it a continuous campus event.

In particular, Carpio wants to promote the Dollars for Organizations and Clubs funding to a wider variety of the clubs and organizations on campus.

Carpio credits ASI for many of the opportunities she has experienced since being at Sac State.

“I am incredibly passionate about ASI and everything it stands for,” Carpio said. “Simply because it has opened many doors for me as a student.”

When she is not doing anything ASI related, Carpio likes to try out new restaurants and go on road trips around California.

VP Academic Affairs

Demi Oloyev

*Did not respond to requests for an interview*

John Judge L.E.A.D.

Current ASI Arts and Letters Director John Judge, a senior communication studies major, sees problems on campus he believes can be solved through his goals.

“The main problems I see that students are facing right now are access to academic resources, guidance to graduation in a timely manner and accessibility to courses and higher education due to impaction and unit caps,” Judge said.

Judge’s main goals are to push for more funding toward the writing center, activate an ASI Academic Affairs Advisory Council and increase and encourage academic advising.

“I’ve been able to talk and get support from faculty and the provost to support me in my efforts,” Judge said. “I have that connection between voice of the students and faculty.”

Judge is involved on campus as an advocator in Lobby Corps, a mentor in the Association of Black Communicators, a member of the Student Alumni Association and he sits on the Faculty Senate.

Judge has found the importance of getting students involved as early as possible. He plans to attend orientations encouraging newcomers to be active on campus.

In his current position, Judge has focused on promoting the necessity of student tutors for academic writing. He successfully advocated for funding to increase the number of available tutors.

“I contribute real experience geared towards the position that I’m running for,” Judge said.

Besides ASI, Judge has a love for music and dancing. He has participated in the Salsa Loca dance club for four years. He also has an interest in fashion and likes to customize his own clothing.

Caleb Fountain Strive

Caleb Fountain, a senior computer engineering major, is the current ASI Engineering and Computer Sciences Director and sees the VP of Academic Affairs as the perfect position to do what he loves most – helping students.

“I’ve seen what students struggle with and I want to help them get through it,” Fountain said. “It’s an awesome connection to just help someone.”

Fountain is an orientation leader, a peer mentor, a member of the engineering computer and science joint council and is involved with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

He hopes to collaborate with the Career Center and the academic advising center to create workshops for students to gain insight on how to study well, manage time wisely and connect them with faculty.

“I feel through my experiences, I’m definitely the most qualified to fulfill the duties of the position,” Fountain said. “I want to connect students who are working on the same goals with faculty who have a plethora of knowledge that they (the students) can benefit from.”

In his three years, as an orientation leader and peer mentor, Fountain said he has been adequately trained to know and meet the positions requirements inside and out.

“I’ve seen that some of the requirement and needs are not being met,” Fountain said. “If elected, I want to make sure that they are fulfilled.”

When Fountain is not busy with academic responsibilities, he is in charge of events for the youth Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement in Sacramento.

He also loves to play basketball and soccer and has been on intramural teams for both at The Well.

VP University Affairs

Kyle Tanaka L.E.A.D.

Kyle Tanaka, a junior communications major with a business minor, believes creating relationships is a vital factor of being a college student.

“ASI revolves around student involvement and engagement,” Tanaka said. “Being a part of organizations is what has kept me here at Sac State.”

Tanaka is currently involved in the Sigma Chi fraternity, the Inter-Fraternity Council which encompasses all national fraternities, the United Sorority Fraternity Council and the Public Relations Student Society of America.

A returning candidate from last year’s ASI elections, Tanaka feels he is more prepared than before.

“I was such a wide-eyed candidate and I didn’t really know what to do,” Tanaka said. “I’ve been through the learning process and I now have a plan. I’m going to hit the ground running.”

If elected, Tanaka wants to improve relations between ASI and the Resident Hall Association, create a focus on clubs and organizations and continue the work of current VP of Affairs Liz Redford.

Tanaka’s goal is to ensure students get the most of their college experience.

“I would hate for students to look back and say ‘I just went through the motions and Sac State didn’t offer me anything,’” Tanaka said.

Tanaka’s love of sports is translated into his work ethic as well. He said ASI, no matter who is elected, is not based on individual performance but it is a team effort.

Kelly Cassidy Strive

Kelly Cassidy, a junior recreation, parks and tourism administration major with a dance minor, wants to be someone the students can be confident in if elected.

“This position is someone who is available to sit down with students, take their opinions and put them into actions,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy’s goal is to also promote the options Sac State offers for students to become involved. She believes it is important for students to find a group of similar interests.

“I want students to realize that we are students as well, facing the same things,” Cassidy said. “I want them to feel like they have someone on their side and in the same position. I can be on the same level, not above them.”

Whether elected or not, she plans on continuing her involvement and availability with ASI. She still wants to remain informed on the happenings of student government and will help any way she can.

Most of Cassidy’s time is dedicated to her sorority Alphi Chi Omega and her position on the Panhellenic Council. Her weekends are filled with sorority philanthropy, activities and events.

Cassidy also volunteers at the Swanston Community Center, works as a nanny and has a job at Gap.

In her free time, she likes to exercise, participate in outdoor activities and makes arts and crafts.

Maikalina Madali can be reached at [email protected].