MSUSA candidate statements

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Screen shot taken from the Engage newsfeed on Aug. 20. Students can log on to Engage with their university email credentials and vote for governance representatives. According to the post, “MSUSA is a student governing body comprised of up to 20 dedicated student leaders who are focused on strengthening Metropolitan State University’s commitment to being a student-centered creative enterprise. MSUSA assists the University in its efforts to help students achieve academic excellence and be responsible citizens in an increasingly complex and culturally diverse world. MSUSA provides a listening post and forum for student issues, concerns, and needs, and advocates for University accountability and responsiveness.”


The election for representatives to Metro State’s new student governance organization, the Metropolitan State University Student Association (MSUSA), is underway on the Engage platform. MSUSA is replacing the previous governing body, the Student Senate, which dissolved after failing to hold an election last May.

The statements below are excerpts from candidates’ nomination submissions and have been edited slightly for punctuation and clarity. Students can download their full statements and cast votes through Aug. 31 on Engage. According to the instructions provided, each enrolled Metro State student can vote for up to 13 candidates.

All 16 candidates listed on Engage have been vetted and are eligible to be representatives, according to Student Life and Leadership Development Assistant Director Philip Fuehrer. The 14 candidates with the highest vote totals will join the six officers currently seated in MSUSA.

MSUSA meetings are held at 5 p.m. on the first and third Fridays of each month in the Student Center. The selected candidates will begin their new appointments at the Sept. 6 meeting. 

Antavia Paredes-Beaulieu

I am a science major, a parent, an indigenous and Latinx person, and a first-generation college student. I would like to establish strong community ties to not only aid our diverse community as an MSUSA board member, but also to help build up the Science Youth Outreach program and better serve future college students.

Ceinwyn Elliott

I am an international student from Australia currently majoring in philosophy. Becoming a MSUSA board member, as I see it, is a means to improve my fellow students’ university experiences by any means necessary. [Student] struggles are apparent, and I feel the need to act and become involved [in] any way that I can, for these do not always have to be struggles. 

Chester M. Sackie, Sr.

[I am an] adaptable college graduate seeking an entry-level opportunity with the state of Minnesota or federal government in the criminal justice profession. [I am] able to perform well under pressure and stay calm during emergencies. [I am a] skilled writer, with the ability to perform comprehensive reports. [I have a] strong ability to lead as well as manage other resources.

Nesh Whitfield

I am currently a junior in college, and I have never been very active on campus, which I feel made my first two years feel very long. I am a natural leader; I have always set out to be a leader any time I could. My first job was at 13 years old mentoring girls between the ages 7-13 at the recreation center in the community in which I lived. I hope to get so lost in making positive changes that time flies by, and when I look back as an alum, I can see that I’ve played a role in making the college experience better for all of the students to come.

Elizabeth Gray

I am a single mother of two. I am currently teaching children English online and working as a research assistant for Metropolitan State University. Being a MSUSA board member will make use of the skills I have acquired through my social science degree and leadership positions at work. While in school, I have developed the work ethic required to maintain a 3.7 GPA and complete a senior level research project, while simultaneously maintaining a full-time position with a nonprofit tutoring group.

Erika Wakefield-Zubiate

[I am a] junior at Metro State with a major in individualized studies [focusing on] operations and logistics management. I want to be an MSUSA board member to be a part of the positive changes made within the Metropolitan State community. I believe my experiences within Metro State and my understanding of the resources offered would make me a great fit for MSUSA.

Josie Etoll-Neveu

I am an undergrad psychology major who is transferring from Inver Hills Community College. I have a wonderful 3-year old son and two dogs at home; they take up most of my free time. I want to be a MSUSA member because I was the senate president, vice president and communications director at Inver Hills last year, and I loved my time in those positions. Even though I am a psychology major, I still have an interest in politics, because it is a passion of mine to improve things for other people. 

Linh Nguyen

I’m currently pursuing my master’s for public and nonprofit administration. I’ve been a student at Metropolitan State University for several years, having earned my bachelor’s here and pursuing my master’s. I also work [in] Student Life and Leadership Development, helping with planning or organizing new student orientation and commencement. Because of this experience, I’m more aware of the different resources that are available on campus and love to share this with current and incoming students, helping them with their academic success.

Marc Zongo

I am on my second semester at Metropolitan State University in the major of information systems. I am known from my connections to be a dedicated individual who is determined to serve people. I would like [to] meet students from each college (College of Management, nursing, etc) to better understand the needs of students.

Merah Norman

I’ll be a senior this academic year 2019-2020. I will be coming to Metropolitan State University with experience from Xavier University of Louisiana (historically black university) and Normandale Community College. I’m working on a degree in English, and my final goal is to become a midwife. If granted the opportunity to be a part of the board, I want to be able to make Metropolitan State University like a family where we can be comfortable around one another of all races, sizes and whatever background history we come with, and be able to build together and educate one another to succeed in this world that we live in.

Nathan Hanson

I am currently pursuing a graduate-level project management certificate from Metropolitan State. I also possess a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline. I currently work for Dakota County in county administration and have previous work experience in higher education at the [Minnesota] State Legislature and with the Metropolitan Council. I would like to be a MSUSA board member in order to have an opportunity to give back to an institution that has given so much to me.

Pierre Young

I am an undergraduate student starting [at] Metro [State] [in] Fall 2019. I recently graduated from Saint Paul College, [earning] an associate degree in computer graphics and visualization. I want to be a board member because I want to make sure that the students come first and foremost, and I want to grow myself out of the shadows and become a leader to become a greater leader.

Ranessa Tsinnijinnie

I believe that strong student government is essential for a successful university. I want to make positive change for a stronger, more inclusive Metro State. I understand the role of student leaders: to be advocate[s] for students and also be responsible stewards of student fees and make sure that they are used for the benefit of all students. Students need to have a voice that is taken seriously by the university administration, and I will work to include the views that reflect the diverse student population.

Sabrina Rubin

I got my human services associate degree with Century College, was part of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and am passionate about student success and student happiness. I really like to be engaged in education; it is something I have always been passionate about. I very much enjoy interacting with diverse populations also. Having leadership experience, I have learned that you cannot be a good leader without being able to find equal ground with the people you are working with and being compassionate and understanding.

Tom Martinson

I have been a student Metropolitan State University since last January and attended classes within the pre-accounting program. Recently, I graduated from Saint Paul College, where I participated [as] their 2017-2018 student secretary. I would like to be part of the MSUSA board because I want to develop myself further as a leader, while challenging myself to understand my fellow students and to become a better person.

Tytiana Reid

I am currently seeking a master’s in public administration and come to Metro State with a Bachelor of Science in public administration and political science from Winona State University. I am currently work[ing] at the Minnesota Senate as a legislative assistant for a wonderful and dedicated state senator, Kari Dziedzic. My current role at the MN Senate has taught me that I could serve as a great resource for my community and university, which is why I would like to be a MSUSA board member.