2015-16 Officer Candidate Bios

COGS 2015-16 Officer Candidates
(The following nominations have been received as of 3/30/15)

Jeannette Gabriel – Jeannette has been President since last year and is running for office next year. She is a Phd candidate in Social Studies Education. Jeannette has an extensive background in labor organizing and is looking forward to continuing her involvement with COGS!

VP of Organizing
Nicole Filloon – I will be a third-year in the Sociology program. My research interests include labor market stratification, intersections of gender and race and education. This past year I was the Yellow Area Steward and served on the Bargaining Committee for COGS. I am passionate about issues that affect all graduate students, especially student parents and other marginalized identities. If elected VP of Organizing, I hope to reach out across the campus community and continue to make people aware of the work we do as a union and advocate for the needs of all University of Iowa graduate students.

Corresponding & Recording Officer
Spenser Santos – is a third-year PhD candidate in English and first year MFA student in Translation. For the past two years he has been COGS steward for English and successfully led the graduate students of the EPB to resolution of the mold grievance in the Fall of 2014.

Financial Officer
Landon Elkind – I am a second-year doctoral student in philosophy. I appreciate the impressive work done by COGS leaders this past bargaining session, and I want to return their effort with some of my own. I think COGS can, and I hope they will, put my math background to good use as the GSFO in fighting for graduate student rights and benefits.

Chief Campus Steward
Rachel Walerstein – will be a third-year PhD candidate in the English department. After helping with the Fall Blitz and attending many general membership meetings, she decided to run for Unity Chair, a position she now holds within COGS. Aside from assisting with the fall campaign around fees, she has since begun work around trans* healthcare at the University of Iowa with several COGS colleagues. In running for Chief Campus Steward, Rachel hopes to maintain her connection to the Unity Committee on the problem of unequal access to health care for the trans* identified. She also aims to strengthen the Stewards’ Network by developing fresh ideas specific to each department, energizing those already participating in COGS initiatives and encouraging less active members to engage with the administrative logics that directly affect them.

Blue Area Steward
Naoki Izumo – I like blue.

Yellow Area Steward
Amanda Bernemann – I will be a third-year grad student in Anthropology. This past year I served as the Recording Officer for COGS and as the Anthropology Steward for my department, and I am interested in becoming even more involved with the work that COGS does for grad students in the coming year.

Red Area Steward
Judah Unmuth-Yockey – I am a fourth-year doctoral student in the physics department.  I have been involved with COGS as a member for four years, and as an officer for three.

Green Area Steward
Open position

Bargaining & Grievance Member At Large
Moira Casados Cassidy- I’m a masters student in the Writer’s Workshop, specializing in Fiction. When I’m not working on my magnum opus (hah), I indulge in low-cost thrills like seven layer dip, fancy hair braiding, and reading Wikipedia.

International Student Representative
Todd Pruner – Todd, originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, will be a second-year PhD student in Psychology. His research focuses on how co-speech hand gestures can facilitate learning in young children. Todd is looking forward to increasing international students’ involvement in COGS.

Unity Committee Chair
Harper Haynes – Hello fellow COGS members! I am Harper Haynes, a 3rd year PhD student in Sociology, and a recipient of the now eradicated Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. My research interests broadly surround inequalities within educational institutions in the U.S. With my time here at UI, I have served as the COGS departmental steward, and as the Vice President for Organizing (2013-2014). This year, I want to focus my energy on building strong, inclusive engagements with COGS membership, our University, and the Iowa City community. I am running for Unity Officer to actualize the COGS commitment that all members have an equal voice. Like elsewhere, the University of Iowa has much work to do in terms of eradicating inequities based upon the marginalization of students who are working-class, of color, queer, trans*, and parents, to name a few! I hope to build a Unity Committee that develops feasible and meaningful connections for a stronger and solidified COGS membership through powerful allegiances to other groups on campus and in our local community.  Solidarity!

Press & Publicity Committee Chair
Ruth Bryant – is an MFA candidate at the University of Iowa Center for the Book. She recently moved to Iowa from Portland, OR, where she helped to organize workers at First Unitarian Church. She has also served on the board of directors of JASMYN, an organization serving queer youth in Jacksonville, FL.

Political Action Committee Chair
Shawn Harmsen – A former broadcast journalist, Shawn is a PhD candidate in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. His research tends to focus on the intersection of journalism, social justice, and politics on-air and online. He has served as COGS Political Action Chair since 2013.

Labor Solidarity Committee Chair
No current candidates

Social Committee Chair
No current candidates

Bailey Kelley
Raven Maragh
Matthew Houdek

UE Regional Council Delegates
Ruth Bryant
Naoki Izumo