Meet the Fall 2021 Candidates for TSG

The Thunderbird Student Government (TSG) election season is upon us, and that means it is time to meet the new faces who want to become Thunderbird’s next student leaders! 

Students will have the opportunity to learn more about the candidates during a town hall held on November 1st from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Thunderbird’s Global Headquarters. The Candidate Open Forum is an opportunity for each of the candidates to speak on their platform, discuss any specifics about their plans, and mark the end of the campaigning period of the TSG elections. Voting will open on that day via an email sent by TSG and close at 11:59 p.m. on November 4th. The winners will be announced during Regional Night the next day!

As we enter the campaign season, Das Tor is spotlighting all of the candidates running. In the interest of transparency and fairness, the profiles provided here are directly taken from the materials provided to TSG by the candidates. Aside from combining the responses into one uniform article format, no edits, not even for grammar or clarity, have been made by Das Tor. With that said, let’s meet the candidates to be our new student leaders!

Candidates for President 

Brian J. Cervantes Acosta

My 3 Overarching Term Goals

Goal Number #1 Club Focused 

  • Support the development and growth of student organizations to maximize  student involvement on campus and off campus.  
    •  Funding 
    • Club startups/Club maintenance 

Goal Number #2 Student Experience 

  • Address student concerns, participate in decisions affecting the educational  experience and seek to improve the student experience. 
    • Seek to create a new event on campus to increase the alumni-student  interactions
    • Gather Student feedback to identify preferences, needs and concerns 

Goal Number #3 Student Communication 

  • Improve the transparency and communication between graduate students and  faculty. 
    • TSG monthly events on campus to engage with students and provide  updates
    • Updating TSG Social Media accounts
I would like to join TSG because…

I would like to join TSG because I want to dedicate myself to the Thunderbird Program in creating a memorable experience for the student body.

Jacob Conley

My 3 Overarching Term Goals
  1. Improve the T-Bird experience for all students by working with T-Bird decision  makers to ensure that the quality of our academic experience meets our  expectations and to maximize employment and internship opportunities for all  students, especially international. 
  2. Develop an organized system to receive input from all students and use my voice  to ensure T-Bird staff and faculty properly understand and address students’  needs and concerns. 
  3. Promote the reputation and prestige of T-Bird students through deliberate interactions  with T-Bird alumni, staff, and outside organizations. 
I would like to join TSG because…

I would like to join TSG because I have the leadership and liaison experience needed to  serve our fellow students as a strong voice to T-Bird faculty and as a representative of  T-Birds to other alumni and outside organizations.

Marc Cordero

My 3 Overarching Term Goals 

– Further foster a sense of community among current students and alumni, notably as  Thunderbird transitions into its new location 

– Develop and foster a deeper sense of pride in being a Thunderbird

– Support and encourage the high achieving goals of those in the Thunderbird  community 

I would like to join TSG because…

I would like to join TSG because I have a passion and a pride in attending this school,  and want to give back to it, and what better way to do so then they ultimate position  from which to serve? I see great things lying ahead for the Thunderbird community and  the school, and I’d like to play a substantial part in its development.

Jacob Taylor

My 3 Overarching Term Goals

Bridge the Rift: COVID-19 introduced no small number of difficulties around the world. Sadly,  Thunderbird was no exception. As we seek to rebuild this will include more than infrastructure –it will include relationships. I will work with faculty both current and forthcoming in repairing the rift and the complications brought by a global pandemic.  

Build the Future: Our current TSG has executed no minor feat in picking up the pieces of a most  tumultuous year. Following their tremendous effort, we will carry on and not simply restore but  climb to new heights. Thunderbird is the only institution of its kind, the world will know our name. 

Listen: One word with more meaning than all that have preceded it. As a representative of the  student body, it is my duty to convey every voice. As such it takes special consideration as the  third and pinnacle aspiration of my campaign. To ensure every Thunderbird is heard not just the  loudest, that every voice is included as all are important.

I would like to join TSG because…

In late August I was approached by a fellow student, we had not yet met but she approached me  and asked for assistance with a class. Naturally I said yes, I find it a great pleasure and even an  honor to help others! I did however ask her why: this individual, surrounded by dozens even  hundreds of other students, felt alone and overwhelmed. Despite her conflictions she felt  comfortable enough to approach me with a personal struggle having never previously spoken.  She then said, “I felt like you would help me be heard.” 

I am driven by the success of my peers. To reach the finish line is simply not enough, true victory  for me is crossing that threshold in tandem with you all, my colleagues. I am a change agent with  the capacity to penetrate barriers and break through the walls that separate us from the horizon.  Hand in hand with my fellow students and the fantastic faculty and staff we will cross that finish  line. I am a mediator, a builder of bridges and a force for extreme good but WE are Thunderbird.  We do not search for a better world for we are its fabricators – we are its progenitors. I am but  the tip of the spear, wielded by the strongest, and most visionary of professionals – you.  

As a husband and father of three I bring a profound sense of empathy as well as the desire to  teach and nurture. At my core I am still a builder, I create beautiful things and I construct entire  worlds. Only now what I seek to build is far more impactful. It consists of our daily experience; its players are each of us and the result, our destiny. 

Candidates for VP of Finance

Gulshan Agrawal

I would like to join TSG because…

I would like to join TSG to improve the student experience at Thunderbird. I feel I am a good fit  since I have the requisite technical skills for finance as well as cultural values and intercultural  sensitivity to work with a diverse cohort. 

Working at TSG will be a thrilling experience for me. This will be a terrific chance for me to learn  more about the cohort and share my Thunderbird experiences. I’ve been quite involved at  Thunderbird up until this point, whether through clubs, class engagements, volunteer work, or  LinkedIn. My previous track record demonstrates zealous, self-motivated advocacy on behalf of  all students. I’m concerned about student interest and Thunderbird reputation in general. 

Furthermore, I am aware of several ASU services, such as GPSA financing and travel  sponsorship programs, which will also benefit students. Last but not least, I pledge to do all in  my way to curb bullying, enhance student engagement, and sponsor some event that will  make the student experience unique while staying within budget.

Melissa Ballesteros

My 3 Overarching Term Goals

Goal 1: Build a strategic plan to budget and act in a fair, responsible manner when it comes to  the allocation of funds for the various student organizations at Thunderbird.  

Goal 2: Spearhead the fundraising activities with students, alumni, and the Phoenix Community to raise more capital to fund the ideas and projects of the students.  

Goal 3: Create a collaborative environment between all the clubs and TSG by coming together  for a working lunch every month to discuss their financial needs and expenditures.  

I would like to join TSG because…

I would like to join TSG because it’s a great opportunity to help and connect Thunderbird  students with not only faculty and staff, but also within the community of Phoenix, thus  expanding the brand that will lead to successful fundraisers for the school. I truly believe with  my experience in financial services and the management of multi-million-dollar conferences, as  well as overseeing sponsorships and marketing, I’d be the ideal candidate. 

 

Brenda Marlenne Garcia 

My 3 Overarching Term Goals

Thunderbird is one the best international business schools in the world but students can exploit more their potential with the help of many resources. Lack of resources or support should not be a barrier our academic and professional growth. As such, it will be my daily mission as Vice President of Finance to help students achieve that potential by connecting them with all the resources and opportunities available to us, expanding on those resources and utilizing all afforded us to the proliferation of our Thunderbird experience. 

If I get elected as Vice President, my specific goals will be getting more sponsorships for making diverse activities that allow us to gain more practical knowledge rather than just theoretical. Contacting businessmen for acquiring better job/internship opportunities focus/beneficial on your career goals.  Finally, it will be promoted more financial support to the entrepreneurs as well as acquiring business partners.

I would like to join TSG because…

Since I was younger, I always had a passion for helping my community. There is always a contribution you can do regardless how insignificant it can seem; those were the values transferred to me from my family. Since I was in middle school, I have helped raised funding getting sponsorships, working as treasurer, and working finance area for school organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations. By being Vice President of Finance I will be able to put my own grain of sand as contribution for improving students’ university experience.

Steven J. Marshall

My 3 Overarching Term Goals 
  1. Expand and optimize the current resources available for the recruitment and  subsequent onboarding process of prospective Thunderbird students. 
  2. Act as a liaison for current students at the undergraduate and graduate level at the  Thunderbird School of Global Management; specifically, represent and address their  issues with the higher echelons of the institution’s leadership. 
  3. Increase the capacity of extracurricular student organizations in a manner that  augments the future interest and employment opportunities for students at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. 
I would like to join TSG because…

I would like to join TSG because I want to be more than a position on a resumé, I want to act as  an intermediary among students, professors, and the administration of the Thunderbird School  of Global Management. I aspire to enhance the experience from start to finish of future  Thunderbirds and success in all of their future endeavors.

Candidates for VP of Operations

David Lugo Robles


My 3 Overarching Term Goals

Bridge Student Activities for Under-birds – I believe the Thunderbird Student Activities should encompass all students of our program. Whether at Thunderbird HQ, online or West Campus, we should work to address the barriers that physical location could mean for all students. 

Diversify Extracurricular Opportunities – Pub nights are a great opportunity to meet fellow Thunderbirds and learn from our different cultures. However, the scope of the activity is very limited. There are a wide variety of activities in our Metro Area that could benefit students beyond the pub. I would work with students to develop these options so that students who are not 21 can also participate in the Extracurricular Thunderbird Experience 

Empower Students – We are all exceptional students, that is why we are here at Thunderbird.  However, through the semester, the stress of classes can dim that light. I would work with professors, staff, and students to create a series of activities that would spotlight or lift student spirit and alleviate stress.

I would like to join TSG because…

Student government is not foreign to me as a Student Representative for the at the University of the Sacred Heart, I worked with fellow students to represent their best interests. From student success, extracurricular activities, student life, assemblies, and even student club awards, I have diligently applied my knowledge and experience to create a better experience for my fellow students. These experiences led me to represent the student body in the University’s strategic planning, the implementation of a new online interface for student success, and to participate in the re-accreditation process by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Thunderbird Student Government provides an opportunity to continue building on this experience and share with my fellow students the prospect of a better Thunderbird for all. 

Through my management experience, I know I can do a great job as a Vice President of Operations. I can work well as a team member, help develop individual skills, and lead. I have the initiative/assertiveness to take on challenges, and the competitiveness/drive to get things done. I’m very creative and approach problem solving through a balance of strategy and actionable goals. I 

I believe in the power of community and in that working together cross-culturally through a grassroots approach can help us achieve our goals. I’ve spent most of my professional life working in the nonprofit sector for causes and communities in need; these opportunities have defined my role as a leader. A leader who listens to all stakeholders working hand in hand with genuine care for their wellbeing. A leader who works diligently to get things done with everyone’s best interest in mind because helping others brings me joy. 

 

Sakhi Solanki

My 3 Overarching Term Goals
  1. The ultimate purpose is to harmonize the voices and bring them all together, not to produce a single voice. As we are a diverse group of individuals from different countries, the chances of things being lost in translation are higher and hence, the real goal is to provide a medium of communication for the students. 
  2. To focus on student issues, gather data regarding that and help them overcome those potential problems. Effectively address these concerns and promote an atmosphere of collaboration, transparency, and accountability. 
  3. Provide a bridge of communication between the administrators and the students. 
I would like to join TSG because…

I want to join TSG because, as an executive of TSG, I can aid the diverse set of T-birds, harmonize their concerns, and voice them effectively. Furthermore, a student government’s ability to open service opportunities for students to get involved in their schools and events and allow those students to be an active part of a leadership experience promotes an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion. This is something that I would love to create and promote.

Alexa Tuttle

My 3 Overarching Term Goals
  • Given that we are in a new building, I would love to set up workshops for students to get acclimated with the new technology.
  • I also have an interest in helping facilitate regional nights as I believe it to be one of the most beneficial nights for any Thunderbird to learn about a new culture.
  • After talking with many of the first and second year students, I would like to ensure that they have a voice in the team and therefore I would like to help manage a coffee / food option in the new building that offers students a quick  bite in between or on their way to classes! 
I would like to join TSG because…

I would like to join TSG because I am whole-heartedly passionate about our school.  Since I have joined the Thunderbird community, I have truly felt a part of a family and I  am honored to have met so many incredible people who all share the same passion for  a borderless world.

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