Candidate One

Ashti Al Hayder

Campus: Minnesota State Community and Technical College-Moorhead
Elected office running for: Public Relations Coordinator

My name is Ashti Al Hayder I was born in Iraq-Kurdistan. I'm from the Yazidi community, and I came to the USA on Feb 1, 2016. It is been three years of honor to live in the USA. I graduated from Moorhead High School in 2018 and I decided to go for Dental Hygiene at M State- Moorhead. This is my second semester at M State and second semester at the Student Government associations (SGA) as the Public Relations Coordinator. Also, I'm Vice President at Together We Grow (TWG). I have 5 brothers and 6 sisters and all of us has a goal for life like everyone to achieve the American dream. The things that I do during my free time is I want to read my favorite book or to have conversation with someone by exchanging our ideas and finding solutions about different topics and also I want to play soccer which is my favorite thing in my life.

1. What degree or certificate program are you seeking?
This is my second semester at M State- Moorhead. I'm going for Dental Hygiene. My plan is to get my certificate on Dental Hygiene and then I want to become a Dentist.

2. What are your future career plans?
My future plan is that I want to get my degree on Dental Hygiene and work for a couple of years to get more experience on my major. Then, I want to continue to get into the dentistry program, which’s my dream to be a Dentist.

3. Please describe your previous student government or professional experience, and how it has prepared you for this position.
As a Public Relations Coordinator at the Student Government Association, I'm always with our stents for listening to them with everything as they need. I'm always trying to make sure to avoid racism, gender or race issues between our students and bring more communications and connections for our students. I'm the person who is making bridges for students to have more engagement and have a sense of belonging. Also, as a person inside our community, I have been Provide interpretation services for Sanford, Essentia, Family Health Care, and other agencies in Fargo-Moorhead. Attend regular meetings, workshops, and training such as a 40 hours community training course, medical terminology, HIPPA, and others. Maintain effective communication and privacy policy during interpretation sessions. Also, being part of Organizing and presenting community events such as International Peace Day, Refugee Day, Human Rights, and Social events.

4. Why are you running for this position?
Running for this position is something that I really want to be involved in it. Ever since attending the student leadership conference in Minneapolis I learned a lot of leadership skills and I saw a lot of gaps in terms of education, equity, huger, diversity on the campuses, tuition frees, book affordability and college affordability. Also, I saw a lot of leaders during the conference it motivate me to do more than that I’m doing now. I want to run for this position, so I can make a bigger change being a part of this change that's larger than myself. Being a part of, so that I can help our students all around Minnesota collectively work together to make this change possible so that we can help our students to have better education. Some of the most important issues that I’m passionate about is very common throughout Minnesota diversity inclusion, tuition frees, food insecurity and making the brainstorming committee on each campus so that we can discuss what is working on each campus as whole and what is not working so that we can work together to make possible solution.

5. What challenges do you see facing Minnesota's community and technical college students?
What challenges do I see facing Minnesota's Community and Technical College students is free tuition, diversity inclusion specially in some part of Minnesota there is no much diversity on the campuses, food security to work harder to make sure that our students are satisfied that food we have in our shelves and encourage students to know more about Go to Vote campaign, because we have to make sure our students to vote and explain to why their vote is matter during the election time. Also, support our international students to make sure they are satisfied with everything.

Ashti Al Hayder headshot

Candidate Two

Elizabeth Bloch

Campus: Mesabi Range College-Virginia
Elected office running for: Public Relations Coordinator

Hi! My name is Liz Bloch and I am a sophomore at Mesabi Range College- Virginia Campus. Because I waited five years to be able to afford college, I can’t quite wrap my head around how lucky I am to be able to receive such an incredible education. This waiting period has fueled my passion to create a system where everyone has access to affordable education.

I want to experience every aspect of college life fully, so you can find me working with students and faculty as our campus’s Student Senate President, LeadMN’s Platform Committee Member-at-Large, student representative on MnState's Academic Affairs Council, and as a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, MRC Diversity Committee, and MRC Student Life Budget Committee.

Professionally, I am a librarian for Eveleth Public Library where I get to meet many members of the community and plan programs that bring people together to learn, socialize, and have fun. My social hobbies include playing Dungeons and Dragons tabletop roleplaying game, relaxing to symphonic metal, and baking my favorite food-cheesecake. I’m running for Public Relations Coordinator because I believe in the power of people, working as one, to create positive change.

1. What degree or certificate program are you seeking?
Currently, I am working towards completing my first A.A. degree. I am considering majoring in Political Science as I have immensely enjoyed classes in this field. My passion lies in seeing issues from multiple perspectives, learning the history behind how where got to where we are today, and from there choosing the best course of enacting changes in politics and shaping our future.

2. What are your future career plans?
I am most passionate and invested when working in a career field involving some aspect of education and interpersonal communication. Therefore, I will earn a degree that allows me to focus my talents in teaching higher education, working as a college administrator, or as a professional in the library field. Libraries provide free access to lifelong learning opportunities for community development and colleges are a vital step in an individual's education. Additionally, these careers involve working with a wide variety of people and also facilitate the shaping of tomorrow's leaders who will contribute to the health of our communities.

3. Please describe your previous student government or professional experience, and how it has prepared you for this position.
My professional experience has improved my skills with managing social media platforms, interpersonal communication, conflict management, political advocacy, fundraising, and so on.

As Platform Committee Member-at-Large for LeadMN, I have experienced the wonderful opportunity to connect with students across the state about issues they are currently facing. Additionally, I have advocated on their behalf by adding to our platform document items that focus on these challenges so we can effectively address them as an organization. By representing students on the Academic Affairs Council, I have influenced those who shape the direction of education at a state level. Moreover, as Student Senate President on my campus, I have overseen or directly created our social media content. Not only do we have Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and so on, we are actively building our follower base. This year, by focusing engaging followers through creative and informative content, our Facebook followers went up by 14% since May 2018. I also managed the social media platforms for Garden Square Apartments as their leasing consultant as well as updating Eveleth Public Library's Pinterest boards.

Through conferences-such as Power in Diversity, Blandin Leadership Retreat, LeadMN's Democracy in Action-I have strengthened my ability to collaborate with others as an effective team member, improved my own leadership strategies, and learned a considerable amount about engaging others.

These skills will be crucial to the Public Relations Coordinator’s role of engaging students on campus and at conferences, attracting new allies outside of the college sphere who will support our initiatives, and working as a member of LeadMN’s Cabinet to advocate for students’ rights.

4. Why are you running for this position?
I love working with people! It has been amazing meeting student leaders from around the state through LeadMN. Supporting these students in achieving their goals of improving their campus communities and laying the foundation for affordable education is exactly what I am passionate about. Furthermore, as PRC, I want to ensure our efforts do not go unnoticed. Our victories will be loud, made public for our communities to observe. This will not only win LeadMN and community college students supporters across MN but will show the amazing power of organization and teamwork. This hope will ripple out to our hometowns, inspire others to help us or focus on their own initiatives, and little by little, we will create one vibrant, healthy, prosperous, educated MN.

5. What challenges do you see facing Minnesota's community and technical college students?
Students are facing challenges from all directions these days. With tuition cost and fees rising throughout the nation, it is imperative that we fight for affordable education. Doing so means continuing LeadMN’s work on implementing OERS, improving transfer pathways, addressing food insecurity, and more.

Furthermore, as students we are constantly faced with challenges, pressure, and stressful situations. It is vital that we provide effective and sufficient mental health resources on our campuses. I support changing policies that focus on implementing student self-care options, providing culturally relevant counseling, and overall improving mental health resources on campuses is throughout the next academic year.

Lastly, role of parenthood for nontraditional students that are raising families or caring for dependents, needs greater focus from higher education reforms. If their difficulties are not addressed-such as child care options, curriculum scheduling options, online learning availability, and so on-these students are likely to fall short of their full potential. I look forward to helping create policies that will help students succeed in their roles as both parents (or care givers) and students.

Elizabeth Bloch headshot

Candidate Three

Guadalupe Lira-Jimenez

Campus: Hennepin Technical College-Brooklyn Park
Elected office running for: Public Relations Coordinator

Hello my name is Guadalupe Lira-Jimenez and I am attending at Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park. In my free time I like to do creating projects,draw,listen to music and play video games with my brothers. I'm the oldest and only girl in the family. In my family we have 2 cats and 3 kittens. I'm currently in many leadership position in campus. One of my leadership roles is Student Senate President in my campus. I also have a position with LeadMn as Metro West Governing Council Rep. I like to be outside when the weather is great and the plants and trees are blooming because I like to take pictures of the flowers blooming in the spring and summer.

1. What degree or certificate program are you seeking?
I'm majoring in Landscape Design and Construction and also Greenhouse Management.I'm also trying to get my entrepreneurship certificate at Hennepin Tech and Business management certificate at North Hennepin. I would like to also get my certificate in digital photography at Minneapolis College.

2. What are your future career plans?
My future career plans is to go in to entrepreneurship and business management, so I can start my small business with my dad. After I get my certificate in these two fields. I will go for my digital photography.

3. Please describe your previous student government or professional experience, and how it has prepared you for this position.
When I started at Hennepin Technical College in 2015, I was elected to be PRC for student Senate and was elected  to be PRC for 2016-2017. Later I was Elected to be vice president for Latino Club and Senate, and than Treasurer for Landscape/Horticulture club. Last year I was elect as President for senate and Latino club and also for this year. In the bringing for the school year I was elected to be PRC for Skills USA. I'm also Governing council Representative for Metro West Region. What these leadership roles prepared me for this position is to be confident in talking to students and encouraging them to join clubs on campus. Being a student leader on campus changed me who I am today.

4. Why are you running for this position?
Why I'm running for this position is that I want to help student with star campus. I would like to be able to help students be leaders on campus. I would like to do fun events at the conferences. I want to help students apply for scholarships or how they can get students on their campus apply for LeadMn scholarships. I would like to  help new students that are coming to their first LeadMn conference and what they will be learning.

5. What challenges do you see facing Minnesota's community and technical college students?
What challenges do I see facing Minnesota's Community and Technical College students is mental health issues with depression and Anxiety, food insecurity issues, transportation Issues, Day care, tuition and textbook cost, helping with DACA recipient and international students. There is several things we can work on to help our 2 year technical and community college students and If we work together and can resolve these barriers for our students. Let's take a stand and we are hungry for change.

Guadalupe Lira-Jimenez headshot

Candidate Four

Colter Porter

Campus: Pine Technical and Community College
Elected office running for: Public Relations Coordinator

Hey! My name is Colter! I am currently pursuing a degree in Nursing with plans on completing my RN by spring of 2020. I am currently a Licensed Practical Nurse. I am also finishing up my AA in Liberal Arts and a Certificate in Personal Training. In addition to my LPN Diploma I have an A.A.S Degree in Automotive Technology and a Certificate in Network Administration and Microcomputer Technology.

I have served for 4 years as President of my Student Senate at Pine Technical and Community College. I have also served as Vice-President of Student Senate at Canby. I have served as Governing Council for Lead MN for over 5 years serving both in the alt position and as rep.

I look forward to serving you as your PRC!!!  We WILL have a great year!!!

1. What degree or certificate program are you seeking?
I am currently pursuing a degree in Nursing with plans on completing my RN by spring of 2020. 

2. What are your future career plans?
To work as an RN and possibly open up my own repair shop.

3. Please describe your previous student government or professional experience, and how it has prepared you for this position.
I have served for 4 years as President of my Student Senate at Pine Technical and Community College. I have also served as Vice-President of Student Senate at Canby. I have served as Governing Council for Lead MN for over 5 years serving both in the alt position and as rep.

4. Why are you running for this position?
I am excited to work hard on behalf of the 2 year Community and Technical College students to increase student engagement.

5. What challenges do you see facing Minnesota's community and technical college students?
High tuition, food insecurity and poor student engagement are challenges that I see.  I want to work to lower tuition decrease food insecurity and increase student engagement.

Colter Porter headshot

Candidate Five

Matthew Snyder

Campus: Northwest Technical College
Elected office running for: Public Relations Coordinator

I am a nursing student at Northwest Technical College who is passionate about students connecting. I have been across this country and around the world and have experienced the power of a unified voice. I began my student leadership career in 2016 as a Senator on my Student Senate. The next year I added the experience of serving as the President of the NTC Student Nurses' Association. I currently serve my school and student body as President of NTC's Student Senate. I have focused on connecting my campus with our community and state through LeadMN.  If I'm not at school or at work I will usually be found outdoors exploring the beauty of Minnesota.

1. What degree or certificate program are you seeking?
ADN Nursing

2. What are your future career plans?
I plan to begin working as an RN after graduation while continuing my education toward becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practioner. One day I hope to open a clinic in Central America to provide access to healthcare for those that can't afford traditional healthcare. 

3. Please describe your previous student government or professional experience, and how it has prepared you for this position.
I first started in a leadership position in 2010 as a co-founder of a weekend children's club at my church teaching lessons and organizing the weekly program. This lead to my continued involvement mostly in ministry, where I gained invaluable experience in different programs and formats. On arrival at my college, I began participating as a senator my first year, adding President of our  Student Nurses' Association. Currently, I serve as President of my Student Senate, and Vice president of the Student Nurses' Association. All of this experience with different groups in different settings I believe has prepared me to work with a Cabinet representing a diverse state.

4. Why are you running for this position?
Connecting students is my passion. The more involved every school, every student government, every student is, the stronger the voice of LeadMN becomes. As Public Relations Coordinator I want to help with making those connections. My goal would be to involve every school in at least one LeadMN event in the coming year. What Minnesota's students need is, a Community Organized, Networking, 'n' Encouraging Change Together, CONNECT!

5. What challenges do you see facing Minnesota's community and technical college students?
The number one challenge I hear from every college student I talk to across the state is college affordability. The cost of college in Minnesota is just too high. I want to continue the work that has already been done to make college affordable for every citizen of Minnesota regardless of their age or circumstances.

Another problem that is closely tied to this is food insecurity. There should never be a student who has to stop and decide if they should eat lunch today, or pay for a textbook. I want to continue the work of those before me in ensuring that every student's biggest challenge is solely studying to their best ability.

As a nursing student and future healthcare provider, the mental health of our students is a troubling issue. This is something that must be addressed at a systemic level. Many students do not have access to the support they need to maintain their mental health. Also, when the help is available, it isn't advertised, or students are hesitant because of the stigma of appearing weak. I hope to make great strides in improving this area among our schools.

Lastly, our school governments need to be stronger and more united, as Public Relations Coordinator I want to be a support to every campus across the state, one way to do this is to continue the work on the student senate toolkit, which was begun by the Presidents' Group. I would like to see that completed by the end of the 2019-2020 school year. This is one way we can make our student governments stronger, as we CONNECT our campuses together for a united voice.

Matthew Snyder headshot