The Thunderbird Student Government (TSG) election season is upon us, and that means it is time to meet the new faces of Thunderbird’s upcoming student leaders!
Today, students had the opportunity to hear more about the candidates at the town hall held in the afternoon from 1:30 pm – 3pm at Thunderbird’s Global Headquarters. The Candidate Open Forum was an opportunity for each of the candidates to speak and engage students for their upcoming plans as the Thunderbird Student Government. Voting is now open until November 26th, 2023 (11:59 pm). Good luck to all the participating candidates!
Note: The winning candidates will be announced during the Winter Gala on December 1st 2023.
Below are the details of the candidates and the position that they are contesting for:
- Shivansh Sharma
- Janki Desai
Vice President of Operations
- Nicole Chen
- Nora Khaled
- Samith Vanipanta
Vice President of Finance
- Peyton Ament
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 by the candidates themselves for a specific set of questions below.
- What are your goals and aspirations for the student community
- What is the one crucial change that you would like to see ?
- What sort of professional development are you seeing for yourself during the campaigning period
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! Some candidates are running as a party, so learn more about them below.
Platform 1: Shivansh Sharma– President, Nora Khaled– VP of Operations, Peyton Ament – VP of Finance
Representing a diverse executive ticket, our goals and aspirations for the student body and TSG are to create a broad network connecting students and alumni to opportunities that will benefit them in the workforce. We would like to provide a platform to students to explore their leadership qualities, and opportunities, and be able to develop soft skills through involvement at TSG and clubs at Thunderbird. We will be a ticket that is accessible, understanding, and ready to advocate on the behalf of the students and faculty. We would like to enhance the experience of how the clubs and events at Thunderbird are run and want to foster a sense of community by being that liaison between the faculty, management, and our fellow students. Finally, by giving students their opportunities in leadership and engagement, we hope to foster the growth of larger networks on campus. We believe that these initiatives will improve the livelihoods and experience of everyone at Thunderbird.
– Increase Alumni opportunities for students
– Enhance club and event operations
– Promote and foster a sense of community between the student body and
As a team-led initiative, we want to promote stark change in the academic and professional experiences of our fellow classmates. Namely, we want to improve and optimize the proper use of funding through better budgeting procedures for our organizations on campus. We would also like to make TSG more accessible and involved not only in the operations of organizations but in the student body too. Easy access to leadership in times of discomfort or confusion will make the campus far more immersive and resourceful in promoting the success of the students. Representing this executive ticket, we want to illustrate that TSG is not only overseeing all the clubs and events at Thunderbird when working with the needs of management and faculty but is also being immersed with our student body and fostering a stronger sense of community.
– Optimize and improve funding for organizations on campus
– Make TSG more accessible and involved to organizations and the student body
– Improving the connection between students, alumni, and faculty
I hope to develop professionally in this role by gaining experience and learning more about the complex interactions between the different stakeholders at Thunderbird. I hope to use this experience and insight to make the institution better than how I found it; as this approach has been a mantra of mine for some time. The experience I have had in financial leadership in the past would allow me to change this place for the better in the ways I immediately see its shortcomings, and would allow me to change organizations I’m a part of in the future for the better. I’m excited at the prospect of bettering the livelihoods of the students and faculty at Thunderbird and look forward to serving the student body.
During this role, I hope to gain the knowledge and expertise to advocate for the needs of all the stakeholders here at Thunderbird. Coming from a diverse cultural background, I would like to build on my professional linguistic and cultural development by working with and leading people from different cultural backgrounds. I want to ensure that I am able to apply these skills throughout this journey of addressing the needs of the student body. I’m equipped to understand how to navigate between the challenges and opportunities that are being presented by students and organizations. I’m thrilled to work for the betterment of the Thunderbird community and to make a real impact that will promote a dynamic and inclusive environment.
Shivansh Sharma :
Taking on the role of President of the student body presents an exceptional chance for personal and professional development. I am fully prepared to acquire a set of invaluable skills, including leadership, problem-solving and collaboration. These competencies will serve as a robust foundation for any future leadership roles I may take on, while also preparing me for active engagement in matters related to the general population. As I embark on this journey, my aim is to not only develop personally but also to make a meaningful impact on our campus community. I am enthusiastic about the forthcoming experiences, the challenges that await, and the growth that will undoubtedly come with them. My unwavering commitment is to give my utmost as the President, striving to be the best I can be for our student body and working towards a positive and impactful legacy.
Janki Desai – Candidate for President
1) What are your goals and aspirations for the student community ?
Making this an environment where all students may succeed academically and personally is
something I am really enthusiastic about.
My objectives and intentions for the student body as a candidate for president of the Thunderbird
Student Government are as follows:
Enhance career guidance and professional development. My goal would be to increase on-
campus recruiting as well as skill development to get students ready for successful careers.
Encourage the well-being and work-life balance of students.As graduate school can be extremely
demanding and stressful at times, it would be important to offer peer support and all available
My goal is to see a student body that is eager to take use of this program’s amazing opportunities
and feels empowered, inclusive, and supported.
Together, we can make Thunderbird Graduate School a more vibrant and robust place for
students to attend.
2) What is the one crucial change that you would like to see ?
Increased transparency and two-way communication is the one important improvement that, if
elected president, I would fight for.Our student body at Thunderbird is a vibrant mosaic of talents,
aspirations, and voices, and I aim to make sure every single one is heard and valued. To that end,
I will be asking for student feedback through town halls, newsletters, and social media, and I will
be sharing information about my priorities, progress, and challenges as president.Maintain an
open door policy to encourage all students to feel comfortable contacting me, and conduct
anonymous surveys to get feedback and suggestions from the student body.
3) What sort of professional development are you seeing for yourself during the campaigning
Though some traits like empathy, leadership, and communication were already ingrained in my
personality and served as part of my initial motivation for wanting to be president.Apart from that,
running for president of the student government offers a priceless chance for professional growth
even just during the campaign. Among the crucial abilities I’m developing as a result of this
I will use these lessons long after this campaign is over. I’ll come out of this with more
perspective, maturity, and a broader skill set ready for challenges in the real world.
Nicole Chen : VP of Operations
1.What are your goals and aspirations for the student community?
My primary goal is to establish a supportive, inclusive, and resourceful student community. I aspire to create a space where every student has access to the tools and opportunities they need for personal and professional development.
I envision a campus where information about internships, jobs, and campus resources is readily available, especially for international students who might be navigating these for the first time. I aim to bridge the gap between diverse student groups and foster a sense of unity and mutual support. My aspiration is to see a student community where everyone feels empowered to pursue their passions and where their voices are heard and acted upon.
2.What is the one crucial change that you would like to see?
The one crucial change I would like to see is to create a platform/place that centralizes all information including career development, academic assistance, and campus life, particularly tailored to the needs of international and first-year students. Our school has a lot of resources, but I think it would be more convenient for students if we could classify or organize these resources on a specific platform. This platform would be more than just a bulletin board; it would be an interactive space that connects students with opportunities, mentors, and each other, encouraging a vibrant, cooperative, and informed campus community.
3.What sort of professional development are you seeing for yourself during the campaigning period?
Throughout the campaigning period, I’m eager to strengthen my leadership and communication skills. Engaging with the student body, understanding their needs, and effectively conveying my vision will be invaluable practice for any professional setting. Moreover, this campaign is a valuable opportunity for me to broaden my network and deepen connections with fellow students. This experience is helping me to better understand the dynamics of leading a team towards a common goal under tight timelines, which is a critical skill in any professional environment.
Samhith Vanipanta: VP of Operations
1) My goals and aspirations for the student community revolve around fostering an inclusive,
dynamic, and empowering environment at Thunderbird. I aim to amplify the voices of every
student, ensuring that their concerns are not only heard but also actively addressed. I want to
create a campus where the students can feel a strong sense of community upon arrival, a campus
where their dreams and aspirations are supported, and where the student government plays a
pivotal role in enhancing the overall college experience. Afterall, the college years are supposed
to be some of the best times of an individual’s life, and I would feel honored in knowing that I
indirectly played a part in making that experience memorable.
2) The one crucial change that I would like to see is a campus culture where every student feels
not just represented but crucial to the decision-making process. I want to break down barriers and
create a student government that is more transparent and accessible. This change would involve
ensuring that every student's voice is not only heard but also played a part in influencing the
strategic direction and initiatives that have been undertaken by the student government. This is
about building a Thunderbird community where collaboration, inclusivity, and meaningful
student engagement are at the forefront.
3) I see the campaigning period as an invaluable opportunity for my professional development.
As a candidate for Vice President of Operations, I am refining my ability to communicate
effectively and honing my leadership skills. The campaign period serves as a way for me to
enhance my ability to speak strong and well in front of a large crowd, strengthen my capacity to
work independently and collaboratively, and further improve my skills in strategic planning and
decision-making. This experience is not just about seeking a position but also about personal and
professional growth, preparing me to serve the student community effectively. I already feel
honored to know that I’m a candidate who has a chance to be the next Vice President of
Operations. The fact that I’ve been chosen, gives me a huge boost in confidence that I have what
it takes to improve things in Thunderbird, and that in and out of itself, can give me the personal
growth that I await. That growth can make me, as a whole, an individual who is more
experienced and professional than he was when he first arrived at Thunderbird. In the end, I hope
to be able to believe in myself that the actions and decisions I’ve made, have overall made me a
better person in whole, who is more capable of leadership than I was before the campaigning
To submit your vote please access the TSG Voting Form.
*Das Tor does not endorse any individual or platform candidate for the purposes of elections. This article is for informative purposes and the expectation is that students can learn more about the current candidates to make an informed decision”