Congratulations to the 2022-2023 Graduate Student Council

Elections Results


Asha Jones (she/her)

Bio: Asha Jones is a PhD student at San Diego State University and Claremont Graduate University in Education with an emphasis in Student Affairs, Urban Leadership, and Higher Education. Her research interests expand to how mentorship shapes Black students’ academic performances in and out of the academic space.

Ashá received her Master of Business Administration, with an emphasis in Marketing, from the University of Phoenix, Ogden, Utah, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Weber State University, Ogden, Utah. As a first-generation college student, Ashá is interested in developing diversity, cultural, academic, and career programming with unique opportunities to work with and associate with an array of diverse communities.

She is always full of great ideas and endless energy. Her personal motto is, “From the streets to the suites.” You will hear her say this repeatedly to the students and people she serves within the workplace and community. You may wonder why she says this. Well, here is the answer, “As a first-generation college student who came from the streets, my education has been able to take me to the suites of life. Whether that has been in the classroom, workplace, or community.

Statement: Hello! My name is Asha’ Jones, and I would like to self-nominate for  the in 2022–2023 positions of President or Secretary of the Graduate Student Council (GSC). I am the GSC representative for the School of Educational Studies. This last year has been great for me in terms of community involvement and education. The committee showed me the significance of collaborative effort when addressing graduate student needs, which I will employ in the future. I was able to combine my skills and employ them within the council. By enlisting the aid of my fellow students and colleagues, I want to continue to build on the excellent legacy of the 2021–2022 GSC executive board. I want to do this by continuing providing a space for graduate students’ voices to be heard and appreciated. I am a PhD student in the joint program between San Diego State University and Claremont Graduate University. I believe together we can continue to build on the solid relationship with the graduate students at both institutions. I think that our collective voices help make these changes a reality. I believe it is important to foster free dialogue among students. If I am elected, I look forward to working with students and the administration to improve graduate student life.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “If I choose to be an infinite person, which I choose to be, I must build for people beyond me.” Thank you for your time and consideration.

Vice President

Temitayo Arikenbi (he/him)

Bio: Temitayo (Tayo) Arikenbi is a third-year doctoral at the Center for Information Systems and Technology (CISAT). Tayo has also completed a master’s degree in Economics from CGU recently. In the past, Tayo has filled roles such as Student Representative on the Graduate Student Council and as a Student Ambassador for the Office of Admissions at CGU. He is passionate about inclusiveness and the Claremont Graduate University community.  If elected to serve as part of the Executive Board, Tayo will work towards greater social engagement of the student community and advancing research and entrepreneurial opportunities for all students at the Claremont Graduate University.


I would like to serve on the executive board of the GSC to contribute my quota to the advancement of the following causes:

  1. Student community enhancement: Since the pandemic, the sense of community and engagement at CGU has decreased due to lack of face-to-face interaction.  I would like to help to bring socialization and interaction back to the community.  To make sure that the enhancement is here to stay, I would also like to discuss the possibility of creating a graduate student lounge dedicated for student interaction.  .
  2. Care and Empathy: CGU cares and empathize with their students well, but some students are not aware of the university resources available to help them during difficult times.  I would like to help to publicize the student resources that are available so more students can benefit from these resources. 
  3. Student success and mentoring programs: Graduate students need mentors for academic and professional careers. But graduate students can also serve as mentors to undergrads and prospective college students, across the 7 C’s. I would like to begin the conversation on how to start hub where students can get help through mentorship here at CGU.  
  4. Research and academic scholarship opportunities: Since research is an important component of the graduate school experience, I would advocate for more support for student research across all the schools through means such as the Travel and Material Awards (TMA).  

Core theme: Community and Engagement


Francis Assenga (he/him)

Bio: Francis Assenga is incumbent Treasurer, the position he has served successfully and recorded landmark achievements to-date. He’s a PhD Student in Economics and International Politics & Political Science. His
area of interest is Applied Economics in the international money and finance field. His research focuses on investigating the linkage between economic growth, political stability and inequalities. He has a wide
international experiences through his vast engagements in major assignments abroad. Professionally, Francis is an Economist, Certified Public Accountant(CPA), and Certified Director, with competences in financial management; accounting, auditing; budgeting; resources mobilization; and funds management. He possess MSc. Finance(UK); MSc. Economics(TZ); MS Global Commerce and
Finance(US), and three undergraduate degrees in Accountancy; Economics; and Law. He is a member of professional bodies and social organizations including WEAI, Board of Accountants and Auditors, and
CGU Student Ambassador. As Treasurer, Francis has brought-in remarkable transformative value in this Role. Major achievements
include developing a systematic accounting system for capturing financial transactions and managing GSC funds more professionally; introduced credible and consistent system to administer Travel and Material
Awards; initiated Monthly Account Reconciliation and Reports to GSC General Meetings; enhanced GSC network with other organizations within and outside CGU. He also crafted and operationalized the noble idea to plant GSC Commemorative Tree of New Hopes on campus in Fall 2021 to mark a re-united of students again after isolation due to Covid-19 pandemic. In 2022-2023, Francis will focus on automating the GSC Accounting and Reporting Framework for sustainability and easy access to all students.

Statement: Hi CGU Colleagues,
I’m Francis Assenga, your current GSC Treasurer. I’m a certified public accountant and auditor (CPA), who is a candidate for the GSC Treasurer position (2022-2023). Unlike other Executive Board positions, Treasurer role is a professional-position, which requires competent person with solid accounting and finance academic and professional background. I believe I’m the best suitable-candidate for this role. I’m grateful that I have served all of you with dignity and integrity at all-times, thanks to the cooperation, trust and support from my fellow EB members and all of you.
I’m a PhD Student in Economics and International Politics & Political Science currently at research stage. Apart from Accounting and Finance professions, I’m a long-experienced central banker, economist and a
certified director with key competences in financial management, accounting, auditing, budgeting, resources mobilization, and funds management, among others. As a Treasurer, I managed to make a big difference to the role, specifically on the management of funds
and other related processes. These include setting-up a systematic mechanism to administer Travel and Material Awards, establishing GSC accounting system, developing a framework for periodic reconciliation
of GSC funds, introducing formal Monthly Reports to GSC General Meetings; promoting GSC collaboration with Women-In-Leadership and other organizations within and outside CGU. After completion of systems development, I’ve started writing scripts to facilitate automation of GSC
Accounting and Reporting functions, which is my main focus in 2022-2023 for sustainability and easy access of financial information to all students.
I humbly bank on your kind-continued support!!



Representative Nominees

Drucker School of Management, 4 vacancies

Angel Garcia (he/him):

As a first-generation college student, Angel Garcia has overcome institutional adversities of academia. Born and raised in Southern California, he stood up for those oppressed and has defy all odds by graduating in 2012 from University of California Riverside. Angel went into the workforce helping disadvantaged communities. His Humanitarianism and altruism allow him to be the leader he is today. Angel has sat on governing boards overseeing multimillion dollar budgets. He will govern with commitment, integrity, and perseverance. Having worked with executives, community members and stakeholders, he knows how to get the job done. Committed to excellence, Angel will make it he priority for the Claremont Graduate University to reach national and international ranks.  Angel is currently an MBA Candidate at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management with an emphasis in Finance. In his free time, Angel enjoys karaoke, playing with his Siberian husky, hiking, and mentoring first-generation undergraduate students.

Christopher Lis:

Hello, my name is Christopher (friends call me Chris) and I am running for Drucker representative. Over the past few years, I have developed a reputation for (essentially) trying to elevate the Drucker school’s reputation. While school rankings are certainly not an exhaustive representation of our school’s quality, I believe making them a top priority would enhance our school pride, job market or future academic prospects, and faculty prestige. As our school was ranked as recently as 2014, I know it is possible. Thus, it must be due to some “other factor”, which I look forward to exploring and highlighting to the student body.

In my free time, I enjoy taking long walks, reading good books, and listening to 80’s music. Preferably not at the same time.

Jessica Marin (she/her):

My name is Jessica Marin (she/her), and I am a first-year MPH/MBA at CGU. I am proud to identify as a first-generation student and showcase my Latina roots. I am originally from Los Angeles but I’ve been in Orange County for so long, that I know the ins and outs of almost anywhere in the area. Irvine, specifically, holds a special place in my heart where I studied Biology and Physical Therapy. While doing that I served within the county area in various charity programs, schools, and shelters. I’ve developed a strong passion to help my community through spending lots of time volunteering at local churches, SAUSD schools, and catholic charities to aid and raise awareness of injustices that affect many marginalized communities. As a result of my efforts, I’ve developed a stronger desire to EMPOWER individuals whose voices are silenced due to social bias. I aspire to one day create my own non-profit organization that has focus on raising awareness about providing assistance to at-risk families and marginalized communities who cannot afford quality medical services. With an aim to be involved in a multitude of efforts that support the growth of CGU, I am DEDICATED to helping our community. I would love to take part in creating a difference at CGU by promoting equity, collaboration, and student empowerment.

Center for Information Systems & Technology (CISAT), 4 vacancies

Manar Alkayed (she/her):

I’m Manar Alkayed, an international PhD student at CISAT department. My concertation is e-learning. I’m interested in multidisciplinary research, a field which seems very likely to emerge in near future.
Life for me is keeping our hands full with worthy as well as ethical activities, tasks, and duties, that enable us to achieve ourselves long and short-term objectives in addition to assisting others to achieve their own goals.
One of my best-loved beliefs is that diversity is the key to success, and knowledge is valuable only when it is shared with others.
I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to play different roles in life, since I’m a mom for 3 cute children, 1 girl and 2 boys, a PhD student, and instructional technology specialist in a vocational nursing school.
I Hope to have the opportunity of taking a position in Graduate Student Council for the 2022-2023 Academic Year, as I feel that after 3 years of being a student in CGU, I have a good experience to understand students’ needs during their educational journey, energy to support students and ideas to share to have the best possible educational environment. on the other hand, to benefit from this opportunity to improve my skills and learn from other representatives.
Thank you for reading my bio, and hope to have your vote 😊

Temitayo Arikenbi (he/him):

My name is Temitayo (Tayo) Arikenbi and I am a third-year doctoral student in Information Systems and Technology. I also recently completed a master’s degree in Economics from CGU.

I would like to serve as the Center for Information Systems and Technology representative on the student council to contribute to the conversation on inclusion, integration, and student success. CGU is a great environment and a great opportunity for most students, but I don’t feel that everyone is getting the most mileage out of their time here. I think the GSC can help to advance the cause for student success. We are a special kind of university, with students well placed to do really great things when they finish the programs. Let’s make GSC a part of that push that makes all of us ready to do just that.

Cindy Cheng:

I wish to serve as part of the GSC serving as the rep to promote communication and awareness of the CISAT student with others outside the CISAT department. As a CISAT student, I have to notice that not many students are know about the University resources and policies that can benefit them. As a rep, I hope to be able to work with the students and let them know that the GSC is here for them and they can communicate through the GSC to understand CGU better.

School of Arts & Humanities (SAH), 7 vacancies

Christina Kolias (she/her):

Christina F. Kolias is a second-generation Greek-American scholar. She is a second-year English doctoral student in SAH. Christina received her BA in English and MA in English, both from CSU Fullerton. Christina is currently working towards an Early Modern Studies Concentration while earning a Women’s and Gender Studies Certificate and a Certificate in College Teaching with CGU’s Preparing Future Faculty program. Christina’s research in the early modern canon explores the interdisciplinary field of feminine psychology, critical race studies, neurodiversity, and self-actualization theory. In the 2020-2021 academic year, Christina served as the Graduate Student Council’s Technical Writer and Constitutional Consultant. She played an instrumental role in modernizing the current GSC Constitution and By-Laws in conjunction with the GSC’s DEI initiatives and non-hierarchal framework to combat systemic racism. During the 2022-2021 academic year Christina was elected into office as the Vice President of the GSC where she has collaborated on many projects centering GSC’s theme of “Bridging the Gap.” She is a mentor for the IGNITE: Claremont Graduate University Student Mentorship program and currently works as a Substitute Teacher in secondary education. Christina has served on countless CGU committees furthering her commitment to student engagement, institutional growth, racial change, and critical allyship, both in and outside the classroom. As a future representative for SAH, Christina hopes to apply her two years of GSC experience to serve students in SAH with a future-focused agenda.

Holly Allen (she/her):

Holly Eva Allen is currently serving as the GSC secretary, is an active member of the constitution committee, and is a PFF fellow. She is therefore familiar with the GSC and the current pedagogy-focused and student-focused projects in development at CGU. Holly is an English major with a concentration in American studies. She primarily focuses on the literature of queer, disabled, and othered writers. Holly is currently working with CGU’s own Foothill Journal as an editor and is also the Assistant EIC for Passengers Journal, a reader for Untethered Journal, and the EIC for Horned Things Journal. Holly hopes to act as an SAH representative for those with similar interests in creative writing and pedagogy. Furthermore, Holly hopes to represent other students who also identify as queer, chronically ill, and first-generation college students.

School of Educational Studies (SES), 6 vacancies

Jackie Rangel (she/her):

Hello, my name is Jackie Rangel. I am in the Urban Leadership program at Claremont Graduate University. Currently, in my 3rd year of the Ph.D. program, turning in my dissertation proposal is the next step in the program for me. I have always wanted to be involved with the Graduate Student Council, but I have not been able to attend the meetings due to the meetings being at noon. I work full-time as a high school Spanish teacher. Many of us at CGU hold full-time jobs. I would like to represent this population in the GSC. To my knowledge, academic events and meetings are normally planned during the workday. I would like to add flexibility to the current schedule and perhaps add a second event or time for the meetings that working students will be able to attend after work hours. I feel that I can provide an instrumental vision as a working adult, to help organize and fund student events, help shape local and state policies affecting graduate students and work with decision-makers. One of the focuses would be on graduate resources such as learning about conferences, participating in professional development opportunities, and allocating resources to graduate students of all ages. If chosen, I look forward to interacting with others to discuss graduate student concerns and accolades with school administrators. I particularly look forward to expanding our community outreach and international student events as well as having some activities over the summer as many graduate students live locally.

School of Social Science, Policy, & Evaluation (SSSPE, DPE, DBOS), 9 vacancies

Francis Assenga (he/him):

Francis Joseph Assenga is a PhD Candidate in Economics and International Political & Political Science in the Division of Politics and Economics at the Claremont Graduate University (CGU) in California, USA. His area of research interest ranges from applied economics, international politics to political sciences spheres, mainly focusing on macroeconomics and policy analysis in the field of international money and finance; global peace and conflicts; political stability; economic growth; and inequality.
Professionally, Francis an economist and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), who has diverse of key competences in areas of financial management; accounting and auditing; project management; strategic management, budgeting; contract management; and data analysis. He is also a certified director. He owns MSc. Finance, MSc. Economics and three undergraduate degrees in Accountancy; Economics and Laws.
In his career, Francis has made landmark achievements both nationally and internationally through his vast engagements in major assignments. He has served as a GSC Treasurer since 2019, where he managed to make remarkable transformation in that position, including putting in place sustainable Accounting and Reporting system and periodic reconciliation framework for the GSC funds. He also introduced a systematic system to administer the Travel and Material Award function.
He is a member of various professional bodies and social organization, which includes the following: Western Economic Association International (WEAI), American Economic Association(AEA), Board of Accountants and Auditors(TZ), Tanganyika Law Society, UNI Global Union, and Balanced Scorecard Institute.
He is also a Research Assistant to Professor Tom Willett at the Claremont Institute for Economic Policy Studies(CIEPS).

Shirley Ayangbah (she/her):

She is currently a research fellow, and her research is focused on politics and economics. She has a broad background in Political Science and Accounting, with specific training and expertise in Global Issues and Research on the International System
She forms an integral part of all the teams she joined. She is a consummate professional in all of her administrative duties and then goes above and beyond expectations to support the team and the mission of the team.

When Shirley was voted for as the first women’s  commissioner by the National Union Of Ghana students in China, she increased the participation of women in student politics. She held a leadership position as the Women’s Commissioner of the Ghanaian students in China from 2014 to 2015. She was incharge of providing mentorship and assistance to African women and girls who were studying and working in China. In terms mentorship, she mentored and continues to mentor other women above, below and at her level.She has helped to developed future women leaders in her profession and community. And till now she advocates for other women and enables positive things to happen in them. To talk about her achievements, she was the organizer of the first International Ladies Conference in Wuhan in 2014 when she studied there.

Shirley engages in activities beyond her job responsibilities that contribute to helping and improving conditions of others on the job or in the wider community. Encourages and enables a legacy of strong female leaders in the industry or in the community. Focuses on efforts to advance the growth of girls and women in the African region.

Shirley’s energy and resilience is contagious and she successfully delivers excellence in any engagement. She was also the leader of the English volunteer team in China where she was teaching to struggling foreigners and Chinese who wanted to improve their English. She has a cheerful attitude, a calm presence, and a can-do attitude.

Chasen Jeffries (he/him):

I am interested in serving on Graduate Student Council for two primary reasons: to represent my department and to further understand Claremont Graduate University. I previously served on student council as an undergraduate student as a club representative and it greatly aided my understanding of the university’s affairs. I would greatly appreciate repeating this here at CGU by serving as a representative of my department. The opportunity to learn more about CGU and actively shape its future is central to my desire to join GSC. I have greatly enjoyed my time so far at CGU and think it excels in many respects but can still improve in other areas. To this end, GSC offers an excellent chance to interact with all aspects of our university and better determine where we are and where we wish to go. This chance is doubly important when I think of the ability to represent my department and ensure a symbiotic discourse between students and faculty. These discussions are central to maintaining excellence in our department and ensuring both parties continue to meet the expectations of each other. I am excited for the opportunity to serve as a representative on GSC and look forward to the chance to improve CGU.

Victor Kilanko:

I am Victor Kilanko, a computational economist and currently a second-year Ph.D. Economics student at the School of Social Science, Policy, and Evaluation, where I specialize in International Economics and Development Policy with an ardent research interest in education, the gig economy, and inflation. I have a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Administration and an MBA in Marketing. Hence, I am uniquely equipped to bridge the gap between the student body and the administration while effectively and patiently communicating each party’s heart-felt desires and goals so as to build a conducive learning environment. Growing up in a family of educators and brought up in the education business, I am keen on working in a team to improve the direct impact of educational services on students and the community at large. As a father of a 3-year-old who believes she is a big girl, I am well-groomed in communicating expectations, working to correct service deficiencies, and the power of timely feedback. I am happy to work with you! For more information about me, feel free to email me at

Spencer Mueller (he/him):

I am running for the Graduate Student Council to enact a positive change for diversity, equity, and inclusion within the classroom. Often, conversations around these topics are tricky to broach during a lecture or seminar course. For the very first time in my academic career this past semester, an instructor highlighted research conducted by female authors and people of color. As your student representative, I want to make this practice common. I would reach out to each department (of each school) and propose a voluntary compact for faculty, whereby they also include literature from underrepresented viewpoints in academia within their syllabi. Although a small action, I hope this can tangibly increase how often diverse viewpoints are discussed without detracting from the educational process.

I am a second year student in the Department of Politics and Economics, pursuing a PhD in applied microeconomics. My research primarily focuses on topics in health economics, specifically in better understanding the social determinants of health. Personally, I enjoy baking bread, rock climbing, and playing pick-up soccer. I hope to represent you well over the coming year!

Lauren Shaffer (she/her/they/them):

Lauren Shaffer is a PhD Candidate in International Studies at Claremont Graduate University where her dissertation is on the impact of foreign aid on poverty. She is also the President of her local United Nations Association chapter and serves as a Campus Fellow for the United Nations Association. In addition, she served as a CGU Graduate Student Council Representative for her school in the 2021-2022 academic year. She has a passion for making the world a better place, and both her academic and personal endeavors have always been directed towards that goal. By serving on GSC as a Representative for her school for a second year, she will bring in a wealth of experience in engaging student populations as well as a passion for making Claremont Graduate University better for all students who attend this institution. The Graduate Student Council at CGU is responsible for so many programs and events that create opportunities for students to learn, gain financial support for their academic projects, as well as find ways to connect and relax with peers. I would be honored to serve on Claremont Graduate University’s Graduate Student Council, along with my amazing colleagues running for E-board and Representative positions, to continue the legacy of the GSC and create ways to support and enrich our incredible, diverse, and inspiring student body.

Rooppreet Sohal-Bagri:

I am currently an advanced Ph.D candidate in the department of Political Science and International Politics at CGU. I was born and raised in BC, Canada and am now living in the US. I am someone who is passionate and grateful for my doctoral education at CGU. As a potential GSC Representative, it would be an honor for me to represent my school as a student leader. I would be happy to fulfill all tasks that are required as a student representative, alongside advocating for students needs, which can assist them to succeed within their educational career. I look forward in being a part of your team at CGU and I thank you for considering me as a GSC Representative.

Botany, 2 vacancies

School of Community & Global Health (SCGH), 4 vacancies

Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMS), 3 vacancies

Please see Article 10. Vacancies in the GSC Constitution for information about how you can fill a GSC Representative vacancy.