OUR team

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President, Javier Barreto-Gomez

Javier Barreto-Gomez is a 5th year graduating student. He is concurrently pursuing a BA in Political Science, Minor in Health & Society, and a Master of Management degree from the Sauder School of Business. A driven individual, Javier also seeks to earn a BSc and possibly a PhD later in life. Having immigrated from Colombia at the age of 6, Javier is passionate about issues pertaining to: healthcare, immigration, human rights, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and business as a means for social infrastructure creation. He seeks to work in private and/or public sectors related to health and finance. As President of the PSSA, Javier is promoting inclusion as a means to enrich academic political discourse for all UBC students. Javier is also an avid football (“soccer”) fan, cheering for the Colombian National Team and FC Barcelona. He also enjoys travelling, attending music festivals, cooking, producing music, and playing piano and guitar.


Vice-president, arian zand

Arian Zand is in his 3rd year at UBC Faculty of Arts, pursuing his interests in Political Science and Economics. His academic focus and research include formal and informal political theory, computational modeling of political behaviour, micro-level decision theory, public financial literacy and Middle Eastern Politics. To depart from the admittedly mundane worldliness of politics and economics, Arian spends his free time delving into classical Persian literature, in which he experiences the fullest meaning of ascent. He has been involved with PSSA since his first year at UBC and is delighted to begin his journey with this year’s crew.


vice-president finance, saniel chand

Saniel Chand is a 5th year graduating student, pursuing a degree in International Relations with a minor in Commerce. Beyond politics and business, Saniel also holds interests in urban issues such as the complexities of planning and designing cities for larger populations and higher densities. He hopes to enter Graduate school and study Urban Planning following the completion of his undergraduate studies. Over the past 4 years Saniel has been involved with the AUS, sat on AMS Council, and worked with AMS Events team. In his spare time, Saniel runs an incredibly amateur music blog where he can express his self-validated opinions of the latest EDM, Hip Hop, Rap, and Pop music.

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Vice-President external, nathan bowles

Nathan Bowles is currently a 5th year student majoring in political science and minoring in economics. He is a proud and engaged member of the PSSA and partisan politics, having been instrumental in organizing last year’s Model Parliament conference as co-chair, bringing these two passions together. In his studies, Nathan is interested in Canadian politics, notably political institutions and elections. He has also taken a recent interest in comparative politics between Westminster-style democracies. This year, Nathan hopes to continue to build the PSSA toward its fullest potential by being able to host interesting, engaging, and insightful guests at each and every one of our events. Last year, Nathan was able to secure the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia as the guest of honour at Model Parliament, and hopes this year, the guests are of equal calibre and insight to all of our events. With teamwork, the PSSA will succeed this year, just as it has previously


Vice-president internal, kelvin hsu

Kelvin Hsu is an incoming 4th year Political Science Student. Kelvin grew up his whole life in Taiwan studying at an international school before coming to UBC. He first got interested into politics through experiencing the unique political circumstances of Taiwan in his everyday life. He's a big geek in Sci-Fi and Japanese Anime, as well as keen on global political and economical affairs.


Vice-president marketing, keona silva pinto

Keona Silva Pinto is a 4th year student majoring in Political Science with a minor in Law and Society. She has academic interests in political theory, security studies, and international relations. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to pursue a degree in Law focusing on maritime law. When she’s not freaking out over the amount of readings she has to complete she enjoys watching basketball (Go Boston Celtics!), drinking tea, and re-reading the Harry Potter series. She is looking forward to being part of the executive team of the PSSA, and getting more involved on campus while engaging with her fellow Political Science students at UBC.


vice-president policy, milica palinic

Milica Palinic is a 5th year student majoring in Political Science with a minor in Law and Society. She fills the role of VP Policy for the second year in a row, working to develop the Undergraduate Political Science Program, representing student concerns to the Undergraduate Program Committee, and trying to make Political Science an overall better, more fun place to be. She takes interest in Canadian politics and has a special love for political theory. When she isn’t pouring over textbooks, notebooks, and working on policy development, you can find her at the Rain or Shine on campus, eating malted chocolate honeycomb ice cream, or at home pressing the next episode button on Netflix.

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VP academic, shania rattan

Shania is a 4th year political science major with a double minor in economics and education. She has aspirations for law school and to pursue public policy. Former VP Marketing has now taken on the challenge of VP Academic. She hopes to create a mentorship program that will benefit those who are part of both the major and minor program.


vice-president equity & inclusion, ashi mann

Ashi is currently in her 3rd year at UBC studying international relations with a minor in linguistics. Originally from Surrey, she has had her fair share of overseas experiences that includes living in Austria, Germany, India, and Cuba; travels that have greatly contributed to her interest in political science. She joined the PSSA because of her desire to promote thoughtful political discussion and her ardent passion towards equity initiatives. Her daily mantra consists of self-improvement, yoga, and the occasional Netflix binge. She hopes to pursue a career in law and looks forward to conducting research in legal studies. Ashi is also secretly a comic book aficionado and can be found curling up to issues of The Flash.


dapp, adrienne wong

Adrienne Wong is a 4th year student majoring in Political Science with a minor in Creative Writing. Her research interests include Canadian federalism, political behaviour and identity, global environmental politics, and both ancient and contemporary political theory. She hopes to pursue law school after graduation with plans on entering academia, focusing research on the synthesis of legal philosophy and medical or legal malpractice. Adrienne has undertaken several research positions related to policies and legal procedures with a Vancouver MP Constituency Office, Moovee Innovations Inc., and Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries. She is also an active mentor in the Political Science Mentorship Program and UBC HOPE. As the Departmental Advisor on Policy & Procedures (DAPP), Adrienne aims to help guide students through departmental policies and procedures while fostering a positive environment for discourse with students in the Political Science Department. In her spare time, Adrienne enjoys sleeping, hiking, painting, and travelling.


smD & honours rep., benjamin foster

Benjamin is a 4th year Honours Political Science student. Previous positions in the UBC PSSA included being Social Media Director, VP External, and President however his role this year is one half of the Social Media Director team as well as the Honours Representative! At an office, this position would make him the "Link Guy". He is interested in studying Canadian Federalism issues and the effects of Canadian media during federal elections. Outside of academics he is a large fan of Aaron Sorkin's writing, the Vancouver Canucks, and long winded monologues.


Social Media Director, Erin Christensen

Erin Christensen is a 3rd year student in the faculty of Arts pursuing a major in Political Science and minor in Economics. Topics she is interested in include macroeconomic policy, political economy and security studies. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, Erin aspires to attend a Canadian law school. She describes herself as goal-oriented, dynamic and inspired. In regard to campus involvement, Erin is the Social Media Director with UBC PSSA, plays various UBC Rec intramural sports and is an active member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma women’s organization, recently holding the position as the External Philanthropy Chairman. Three of her personal goals are to run a 1:45 half marathon, get accepted to law school and hike the West Coast trail in the Pacific Rim National Park.


Junior year director, harsuman benipal

Harsuman Benipal is an incoming 2nd year student, studying in the Faculty of Arts. She is working towards a major in Political Science as she holds a great passion towards learning and studying about it. She has academic interests in political theory as well as comparative politics. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to work towards a Masters in Political Science in UBC as well. Her long term goal is to pursue Law School, focusing on the different areas of civil law. In her spare time, Harsuman loves exploring her beautiful province and can be seen hiking, cycling or just relaxing by the beach. She also enjoys supporting her Vancouver Canucks or binge watching shows on Netflix. She is looking forward to being part of PSSA, and getting more involved with students on campus to help promote and develop interest towards Political Science.


Graduation representative, brian matthews

Brian Matthews is a 5th year graduating student pursuing a BA in Political Science and Economics. Having been born in Chile, and raised in cities throughout the US and Canada, Brian has developed academic interests pertaining to identity politics, migration policy, and Foucauldian theory. Outside of academics, Brian enjoys being around friends, going to shows, and reading Roberto Bolaño. As a graduate representative, Brian will be ensuring that students are keeping up to date with deadlines related to graduation, internships, and career opportunities.


events director, ryan adlem

Ryan Adlem is a 4th year student majoring in Political Science and History. His studies have focused mainly on Canada and he is most interested in federalism, the Constitution, and foreign policy. Ryan is an active member of various other clubs on campus and he hopes to begin a JD degree next year. As an events director, Ryan will be planning events that engage current members of and attract new members to the PSSA.


events director, sarah adrian

Sarah Adrian is a 2nd year student with aims to major in Political Science. Specific interests within her field of study are gender, race, and class politics, as well as social development. This is her first year in the PSSA and is eager to host numerous events and intrigue students into joining the PSSA. Sarah has future plans to complete her undergrad at UBC and to carry on attaining a Master’s in Public Policy. She enjoys all things outdoors, is a major foodie, and one of her personal goals is to take a road trip through all 50 states.


Events director, karen yuen

Karen Yuen is an incoming 4th year political science student. Her academic interest lies in comparative politics and international relations. After university, Karen is planning to obtain a master degree in political sciences or international relations. She is genuinely excited to be involved on campus life and want to help political science students actualizing their career path after graduation. Through her role as an Event Director, Karen will organize many engaging events that are fun and informative at the same time. In her free time, Karen enjoys rock climbing, traveling and stand-up comedy.


events director, katrina zelko

Katrina Zelko is an incoming 3rd year Political Science Student. Her academic interests are political theory and foreign policy. In addition, she is interested in Psychology and is looking for a potential path that could blend the two. Following graduation, she plans to pursue either law school or graduate school and would like to attend this schooling abroad in order to expand her current viewpoint. She would hope that this path could lead to an international career. Her other interests include water sports, journalism, and travelling. Through her role as Events Director she looks forward to bringing excitement to the Political Science community and hopes to help bring greater awareness of what the PSSA is all about! She is very excited for this upcoming year and looks forward to being a part of the PSSA! 


Sponsorship director, nicolo jimenez

Nicolo Jimenez is a 3rd year Political Science and Human Geography Honours student. His areas of interest include the intersection between state sovereignty and globalization, international development, comparative politics, and building sustainable and resilient cities. Following graduation, Nico hopes to attend law school or pursue a Master of Public Policy or Public Health. As AMS Sustainability Representative, he is excited to bridge academic disciplines and collaborate with the community to bring sustainability initiatives to the forefront. In addition to joining the PSSA, Nico has also been involved with various clubs and initiatives such as World Vision, Arts Undergraduate Society, and local church youth group. During his free time, Nico enjoys playing sports, listening to podcasts, hanging out with friends, photography, jam sessions, iced tea, and sushi.


executive assistant, darya borysenko

Darya Borysenko is a 2nd year student studying International Relations. Her academic interests include political economy and foreign policy. After completing her undergraduate degree, Darya plans to go to law school and further on, she aspires to work for the United Nations. Darya also enjoys traveling, playing sports such as tennis and she cheers for FC Barcelona.


executive assistant, arsalan ghaemi

Arsalan is a 2nd year student at UBC intending to major in Political Science. Politics and its study have always been a huge part of Arsalan's life. He's incredibly grateful to be able to work with so many engaged and intelligent people to support and put on events for members of the Poli Sci community, as well the anyone who's interested in the workings of the world. In his free time, Arsalan likes to read a good book or binge on a good TV show. He's excited to see all that the UBC PSSA is going to do this year.


executive assistant, cody haddow

Cody Haddow is a 4th year student majoring in Political Science with a minor in Economics. Topics he is interested in include political economy, development and governance. Upon completing his undergraduate degree, Cody plans to pursue a masters degree in economic development or urban planning. In his spare time, Cody enjoys trying new restaurants, playing hockey and watching sports.


Web & graphic designer, nicole galloway

Nicole Galloway is a 5th year student in the Faculty of Arts, pursuing a double major in Political Science and English Literature. This is Nicole’s first time working with the PSSA and she is excited to be involved in a student run organization during the final year of her Undergraduate Degree. During her time at UBC Nicole completed the Arts Co-op Program that allowed her to work for a variety of organizations both on and off campus including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and UBC’s Centre for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL). These positions sparked her interest in Marketing, Event Planning, and Project management, which is what she hopes to pursue after graduation. Through Nicole’s co-op positions she was also able to expand her knowledge of web & graphic design, which she will be putting to good use with the PSSA. 


photographer, joshua medicoff

Josh is a 3rd year Political Science and Geography student with an interest in public policy and development. Josh is a native of Edmonton, Alberta, and worked for The Ubyssey during the 2016/17 year as Photo Editor. He also enjoys visual arts as well as reading and writing. Eventually, Josh hopes to work in the non-profit and/or NGO field, but the future is uncertain, so take that with a grain of salt and let him take your photo.