A selection committee has chosen seven student senators for next school year out of 11 applicants.
The 10-person committee, consisting of students and staff, interviewed all 11 applicants on May 20, and after nearly eight hours, emerged with their final decisions.
Amanda Frank will be the Senator for Diversity and Equity Affairs. Frank was nervous and found the interview “intense.”
“I didn’t like not knowing what I was going to be asked, so I wasn’t sure what to be ready for. And there were people who I knew personally, so it was interesting to see each other in this setting and have to be professional at the same time,” she said.
Frank is excited to work with her fellow students and to represent students in her diversity and equity position.
“I feel like I can be a voice for all people in underrepresented populations or groups, and I can advocate for their rights,” she said.
Nik Steele, current vice president for administration and finance and selection committee member, knows how Frank feels.
“I feel bad for some of the people, because they come in really terrified, like they’re going to get grilled or something. I kind of laugh because I was in that position just a year ago, and now I’m grilling a person,” he said.
Steele believes having a selection committee appoint students to each position is easier than a campus-wide student vote.
“I think we actually got a better senate out of having a committee select it, because they can go through and really pick out and look at each single person and see their strengths and weaknesses, and I think it’s harder to do that when you’re doing a campus wide vote,” he said.
Steele assures that students should feel confident that the committee made great choices and had the best interests of the school and student community.
Applications became available several weeks before the interviews and any student taking at least six credits met the requirements for applying. The selection committee read each application, which included a resume, essay, and two letters of recommendation.
Current Student Body President Derek Fletcher is graduating this June and plans to seek a degree in economics or a mix of economics and political science. He hopes to be accepted by the University of Washington this fall. If not, Fletcher will look at moving to the east coast to attend college.
Whether in Washington or on the east coast, Fletcher is excited to go to a new school, meet new people, and gain new experiences. Still his time at SPSCC will not be forgotten.
“What I’ll miss most about SPSCC is the connections that I’ve made over the last two years, not just with the students, but also with the administrators here, and different people I’ve been through a lot of stuff with,” he said.
Fletcher will miss many of the opportunities his position as student body president has given him. He experienced many opportunities to speak with the state board, administrators, students, and to make a difference.
Fletcher has a few words of advice for the incoming senate:
“I’d say first, be relaxed in your position, and understand that while you need to get your work done and done well and on time, to have fun at the same time…Also, be organized. There’s always that balance between school and work, but as far as being organized in your work, I think that’s a great attribute. That’s something that I strive for,” he said.
Nik Steele, outgoing vice president for for administration and finance, is also graduating and will be attending Norwich University, a private military school in Vermont.
There he will earn his Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and then commission into the army.
“If everything works out right, about 4 or 5 years from now I should be flying around in helicopters,” he said.
Steele hopes to study political science and is looking toward a career in politics, but his main goal is to complete his military career.
“I’m excited to be out of the house, meeting new people, and really doing what I love to do, and that’s to serve and protect my country,” he said.
Steele is excited to begin the next part of his life and is thankful for the opportunities he has experienced. He will miss the people who have opened so many doors for him and given him so many opportunities, he said.
“You can go to any college across the country and get a good education, but the one thing you never get the same in two places is the people…There’s people here that have touched my life forever, and there’s people that have made me grow up. I’ll miss the people here, by far the most,” said Steele.
He will miss representing the students. He loved being able to represent the college and students, and often staff and faculty as well. He will also miss visiting the Capitol building and speaking with legislators. That is where he feels he had the best impact throughout his year on the senate.
His year on the senate has been a learning experience and he urges the new senate not to forget that.
“Learn as much as you can. Some people think that coming into a position like this that you have to be an expert…but the one thing people forget is that this is a learning experience,” said Steele. “As overwhelming as it can be, just stop, slow down, recover yourself, and see what you’ve learned and where you can apply that other stuff, because you only have a year here.”
Current Senator for Legislative Affairs Cort Campbell will be returning this fall to complete his associates of business degree. He hopes to continue working on campus and for students.
He is currently waiting to hear back from the Campus Activities Board, where he applied to work next year. He applied for promotions coordinator, recreation and intramurals coordinator, and administrative coordinator. He says he will be happy in any position.
“Everything would be right as rain if I got the job. Everything would work perfectly for me,” he said.
However, Campbell will miss working with this year’s senate.
“The people. The people I’m with, everyone I talk to every day, Derek and everybody. That’ll probably be the thing I’ll miss most about working here,” he said.
One of his favorite memories of this year has been the trips the senate took to Wenatchee, Washington and St. Louis, Missouri, which took a focus on leadership. He enjoyed learning and being around other senators from across the country.
Campbell offers a few words of advice to the new senate: “Pace yourself. You’re a student first, senator second. So make sure your school work is going well. Enjoy it while it lasts because it will go by quick.”
Matthew Shrader, current senator for administrative affairs, is the only member returning to serve on next year’s senate. He will serve as senator for legislative affairs.
“I’ll be involved a lot more with the actual process of the legislation at the state level,” he said.
Shrader will continue earning his associates of art with an emphasis on political science and economics. This summer he will be enrolled in an online class at Shoreline Community College, because SPSCC has cut the class and it is required for his degree.
While slightly weary of change, Shrader remains ambitious.
“I’m excited about having a key role and follow up of what this year’s senate started. Like getting the LGBT demographic added to the White Paper for the community and technical college system, and hopefully that can get into both the house and the senate next year and get passed,” he said.
The past year on the senate has been full of exciting achievements for Shrader. The best?
“Probably introducing Governor Gregoire. That was quite the honor and very exciting. That was at the All Washington Academic Team Ceremony which SPSCC hosts every year,” he said.
Shrader will be a source of wisdom for next year’s new senate members.
“Listen. You represent all students; you need to listen to all students. You also need to keep in mind how each group of students is affected…And we need to keep each group in mind,” he said.
Senator for Diversity and Equity Jay Wainman will be transferring to Evergreen State College where he was offered a full ride. After a year at Evergreen, he hopes to go to the University of Washington.
He plans to major in economics and will be applying for Washington state legislature internship, which he really hopes to get.
Wainman is a little less excited about his next step than fellow senate members and will miss his time at SPSCC and on the senate.
“I’m going to miss a lot of the people I’ve worked with. I’m going to miss the support network that I’ve built in three years on this campus. It’s difficult to start fresh at a college, for any student, and I think more so for minority groups that have to devote a lot of energy to building a new support network,” he said.
Wainman is thankful for the power given to represent student interests. Often student governments can be fairly limited in their abilities. Wainman did not feel limited in the SPSCC student government.
“I’ve been amazed that when I say ‘this is what I’ve heard from students, this what needs to happen,’ administration listen and make changes very quickly. I don’t know if I’ll get another job where I’ll see as many of my goals come to pass in the space of a year,” he said.
He offers a piece of advice for the incoming senate:
“The sooner you connect with your co-workers…the better your year will go. That goes with the administration too…Because you can’t fly solo. That’s not what this job is about. It’s about working with students, for students, with the administration,” said Wainman.
Merlin Tsai-Madrid, outgoing senator for public relations, is also graduating in June and is looking to a career in education, possibly education reform.
“I used to want to be a politician. But I realized throughout the two years I’ve been here at SPS that you can’t really do any changes in the political world, because you’re really just carrying somebody else’s agenda. So when I attended the student Legislative Voice Academy with senators Wainman and Campbell, I saw how many people were fighting for education. That’s when I realized that to make actual changes, you have to do it through education,” he said.
Tsai-Madrid doesn’t have as clear of a plan as other senate members, but he is excited for the unknown and not knowing what exactly is going to happen.
He will miss the people and environment at SPSCC. “It’s a great place and the college itself is a beautiful campus,” he said.
Tsai-Madrid will also miss having his “nose in everything” and knowing everything that is going on. He will miss being involved.
He also offers his advice to the incoming senate:
“Keep your minds open. Don’t be so closed off to new ideas. You don’t have to agree on people’s ideas, but at least hear them out, and get a perspective on their minds and what they’re trying to accomplish.”
Deangela Brown, current vice president for clubs and organizations is also graduating and is waiting to hear back from a few colleges. She is still trying to keep her options open.
Brown is willing to go out of state and is interested in attending a private institution. She would really like to attend Seattle University.
She is also aiming to have fun in college and to join a sorority.
“One of the things John McFadden from the book store said is ‘it’s not college if you’re not having fun’ and I want to do that,” she said.
Brown will miss a lot of things about SPSCC and working on the senate.
“Most is probably the people in the community. The people that I’ve met here and the ones that touched my life…I’ve made some of the best connections with people I’ve ever made in my life…You get such a wide perspective of other people,” she said.
Similar to Wainman, Brown says working on the senate is not a job a person can do on their own.
“Make sure that you do make connections with people…have personal connections with those people…let those people get in and get to know you, because you’re going to need that…You’re not going to be able to do everything by yourself, and if you start burning bridges early, guaranteed that those bridges will still be burned by the time that you leave,” she said.