David Stamps

VP of Academic Affairs

Chad Spensky

VP of Budget and Finance

Luke Rosedahl

VP of Committees and Planning

Matthew Fritzler

Matt Giles

VP of Communications and Records

No Candidate (please write in a candidate)

VP of External Affairs

Erin Adamson

Leihua Ye (withdrew nomination, but will appear on ballot)

VP of Internal Affairs

No Candidate (please write in a candidate)

VP of Student Affairs

Jenna Schall-O'Connor

Joshua Smith




David Stamps, Communication

My name is David Stamps and I am running to be the President of the Graduate Student Association at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). I am running for President because I believe that students not only deserve to have a voice, but should be influential in the decision making process affecting where they work, teach, conduct research, and above all, where they dedicate themselves to becoming academic scholars. I want to support GSA in making sure that is and continues to be a reality for all grad students.

Prior to running, I served as the President of the Black Graduate Student Association at UCSB and as the First-Year Representative for the Communication Department Chair’s Advisory Board. I am qualified and 100% dedicated to creating a space where all students are recognized and represented. I have also spent time as a mentor for the Black Student Engagement Program, created workshops on inclusion for the Communication Department, and worked as a Graduate Student Assistant at the newly opened ONDAS Student Center, a center focused on programming and retention assistance for first-generation and underrepresented college students.

My goals for GSA include working along side the Executive Board to increase resources for grad students to have financial support for research and conference travel, to work collectively with campus departments and organizations that produce workshops and trainings to ensure programming is aligned with the current needs of our graduate student body, and lastly to make sure that because we work hard, we equally play hard. Meaning I will continue to support programming in the GSA lounge that is meaningful in providing students with self-care focused events and free food—food is awesome, we always need more food.

As of right now, my conflicts for next year include the typical graduate student stress of teaching, conducting research, and the looming reality of entering the job market one day. Overall, I am in this with you, and with everything that we endure as grad students, I will do my best to represent you and work to make sure your time at UCSB is rewarding. I will also have food. I did not forget, food is important. Thank you!

Vice President of Academic Affairs

Chad Samuel Spensky, Computer Science

Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to attend and work at four incredible universities (Pitt, UNC, MIT, and UCSB), each with their own unique beliefs and teaching styles. While at UNC, I served as the president of my department for two terms, and was a graduate student senator for two years. I have also had the opportunity to be a TA, a teaching associate, and mentor students at the high school, undergraduate, and Ph.D. level. It was these experiences that motivated me to return to school to acquire my Ph.D. and pursue a career in teaching. I can distinctly recall the great teachers that I have interacted with throughout my career, and these experiences have been invaluable. I still have a lot to learn about efficient teaching and evaluation, and feel that a position within the GSA would be an ideal place to learn from, and give back to our academic community. Specifically, I am interested in teaching how to teach. I had to fortunate experience of taking a “How to Teach” course from a Turning Award winner, and both the lectures and the effectiveness of his teaching were awe-inspiring. 

Learning how to teach effectively is of critical importance to our community, as the undergraduate curriculum relies on it. Subsequently, feedback is critical in any learning process, and teaching awards and evaluations are great tools for that; ensuring that these feedback mechanisms are useful, fair, and effective is of paramount importance for the educational experience. 

I hope to leverage these past experiences and my passion for education to help ensure that UCSB continues to provide the best possible environment for learning and teaching. Similarly, I am looking forward to learning more about the UC system and exchanging ideas with y’all. 

Vice President of Budget and Finance

Luke Rosedahl, Dynamical Neuroscience

Luke here (your current VP of Budget and Finance). Over the last year I have worked to ensure the GSA uses its resources to optimally serve our graduate community. Whether by allocating funds for not one but three Mosher times, working with the other officers to help leverage resources to pursue their goals, or removing the childcare grant lock-in fee until that account overage is spent down, I have dedicated myself to finding the best way our resources can serve you and build our graduate student community!

Looking toward the upcoming year I have a couple major goals. The main goal will be to decrease the amount of time it takes to process grants and reimbursements. We are currently in the process of working to switch our finances to Associated Students, which will hopefully happen by the start of the next fiscal year (July). As with any new system there are bound to be kinks, but after we work those out our transactions will be processed significantly faster!

The second main goal is to find new ways to use our resources to help build our graduate community. Grad school can be lonely at times and often it is difficult to meet people outside of your department (or maybe even lab), and in today’s climate expanding our friendships and communities is more important than ever! As the main organization for graduate students on campus, the GSA has the ability to play a major role in facilitating friendships and community. Through steps such as increasing the number of grad student events in the lounge (more karaoke anyone?), I look forward to continuing to help build our sense of community, inclusivity, and wellbeing here at UCSB!

Vice President of Committees and Planning

Matthew Fritzler “Fritz”, Sociology

While our current VP of Committees and Planning and I share the same first name, I actually go by ‘Fritz’ because I plan on there always being several ‘Matts’ wherever I am. I am happy to be nominated to be the VP of Committees and Planning because I always compulsively plan and organize everything. Even my notebooks are color coordinated. I always am happy to turn a moderately comical quirk like that to an advantage that is beneficial to others.

I am particularly interested in being able to help facilitate committees because I think it is very important that graduate students have an actual voice in as many places as possible. Additionally, I recognize the importance of proper planning in facilitating social gatherings geared towards graduate students.

I have served as a VP for the LGBT student organization at my alma mater where I facilitated and expanded both campus wide events and classroom discussions. As such already have extensive experience with organization and planning. I plan on bringing that experience to the GSA. The success I had in doubling the number of classroom discussions and events at my alma mater can very easily be applied to increasing the number of committees at UCSB that have graduate student representation.

I plan on ensuring that as many committees as possible are able to represent graduate students. To make that plan more measurable and thus attainable I have as a goal at least 90% of the committees that can have a graduate student as a member do have a graduate student as a member.

Outside of committees I plan on making social gatherings, such as Moshertime, as accessible as possible. As graduate students our research always takes priority. As such I plan on organizing different social events at different convenient times during the day throughout the quarter. This will allow students with conflicts in their schedule to be able to attend at least one social gathering a quarter.

Above all I plan on listening to the graduate community, both through committees and these social gatherings, so that I can understand what our needs are as a community and be able to provide those needs.

Matt Giles, Communication

Hello fellow UCSB Grad Students! I have spent the past year as the GSA's Vice President of Committees and Planning. I am a PHD student here at UCSB, and I want to continue to be involved in making sure that our grad students' interests are well represented on campus, and to make sure that the events we host are the things that YOU want to be part of!

We have a wide variety of campus-based committees that we as graduate students under-utilize, and over the past year we've halved the number of committees with vacant spots for graduate students. We've improved so much! But...there is a lot more to do. My goals for this upcoming year include a Mosher Time event each quarter, Social Hours for various organizations on campus, and 100% representation on UCSB Committees.

About me—I'm a PHD student in the Communication program, and my research focuses on huge social events and how attending those affects the individuals. I received my MA from NYU, where I was part of our GSA while we were going through the process of Union negotiations, including a walkout and an eventual salary hike! UCSB will continue to be my home for the next 3 years, and I want to do everything I can to make it best environment for grad students.

So please vote for me as VP of Committees and Planning—We had a good year, but there are tons of great opportunities ahead of us, and I'm excited for what we can accomplish.

Vice President of Communications and Records

No Candidate (please write in a candidate)

Vice President of External Affairs

Erin Adamson, Linguistics

I am running for the VP of External Affairs because I am interested in unifying with the larger UC community to advocate for policies that will improve graduate student life. I am open to hearing the concerns of the UCSB graduate student body and communicating those concerns to others in the UC system. I also look forward to keeping the UCSB graduate community informed of policy changes at other universities. It is my hope that through the external lens of the UC community, I can begin to make tangible positive changes for UCSB graduate students. I aim to pick up the torch and continue the work of the current VP of External Affairs by continuing to rally support for the two-way evaluation process in advisor and advisee relationships. I know that positive, effective, and healthy relationships between graduate students and their advisors improves the quality of work able to be produced. I am willing and able to fulfill the duties as laid out in the GSA Bylaws, including making regular reports to the Executive Committee and Assembly, serving as representative to designated councils and committees, attending all UCSA meetings, and recruiting GSA members for lobbying and advocacy.

Although only in my first year of graduate study, I have shown my dedication to the UCSB community by serving as the Linguistic department representative for Graduate Student Association and Vice President of the Black Graduate Student Association. Serving in these positions has prepared me for the realities of serving on an executive board, relaying information to various parties as liaison, staying informed of current academic policies and changes, as well as dedicating myself to the needs of my constituents. It would be an honor to continue to utilize these skills as your VP of External Affairs.

Vice President of Internal Affairs

No Candidate (please write in a candidate)

Vice President of Student Affairs

Jenna Schaal-O'Connor, Philosophy

I’m Jenna Schaal-O’Connor, a sixth year doctoral student in the department of philosophy. I’m also the current GSA VP of Student Affairs, and I humbly seek your vote for re-election.

As the GSA VP of Student Affairs, I have advocated tirelessly on your behalf for:

  • Decreased cost of living at San Clemente and affordable housing for all graduate students (regardless of their membership in a family unit)
  • Improvement in campus housing living conditions (pets allowed, less noise, fewer regulations)
  • Decreased cost of health care (premiums & deductibles).
  • Increased pay for summer TAs
  • Increased transparency and access in student government
  • Increased attention to and advocacy for the voices of minority, LGBTQ, and international students.

Having worked with the Graduate Student Association for five years—four as my department’s assembly representative, and this past year as the VP of Student Affairs—I have extensive experience advocating for you, the graduate student body. This opportunity has also allowed me to develop a deep understanding of the workings of the Graduate Student Association along with the university administration. Over the past five years, I have developed countless relationships across campus that enable me to get things done efficiently.

As the VP of Student Affairs, I worked this year to keep our graduate student health insurance plan less expensive than any other across the UC system (and subsidized by undergraduates) without sacrificing any mental health or prescription benefits, a great victory. I spoke out against an Isla Vista lease addendum that would have made smoking in one’s driveway or keeping a hookah in one’s home an evictable offense. Also, I worked with Health & Wellness to bring massage hours to the GSA lounge, and it was my suggestion at an executive meeting that prompted the increase of the bagel hour budget line item so that bagel hour could have even more bagels!

Outside my capacity of VP of Student Affairs, I have represented the graduate student body as a member of several campus committees, including the University Center Governance Board, where I have fought to protect student space, and the Academic Calendar Board, where I pushed for an extended winter break to give graduate students a well-needed rest after submitting grades the week following finals. Perhaps most importantly, I advocated for the wider availability and affordability of coffee across campus, a necessary resource for each and every graduate student!

If you allow me to continue as your Vice President of Graduate Student Affairs, I will do everything I can to represent you and to improve your experience here as a graduate student.

Joshua Sayer Smith, Classics

I now realize—as the years of my graduate career continue to come and go—the importance of participating in the larger social and cultural network of the graduate student association at UCSB. As a fifth-year PhD student I have run the gambit of graduate student experiences from TAing over 12 quarters to knowing the difficulties of our financial position. I have also learned that representation is paramount to making our life as graduate students more healthy, fair, and meaningful. I would like to participate in that representation as the Vice President of Student Affairs.

As the VP of Student Affairs, I would be the leading voice on issues of health insurance and housing. These are two things in which I have recent experience. Insurance issues might just be one of the most frustrating things to deal with as a graduate student; any graduate student that has had a major operation knows this, and if you have not, consider yourself lucky. I think our current graduate student body would greatly benefit from better understanding their health insurance and how to navigate those tricky roads, when they do pop up. I think having additional resources on this front would make those moments much more approachable and easy to manage.

The same can be said for housing issues. University housing no doubt offers a streamlined renting process, which benefits a great number of students, but I think the system can improve. In particular, I would like to address the lack of a meaningful waitlist. It can be frustrating not to know when—or if—you will get into student housing. An actual waiting list system would allow incoming students, returning students, singles, and families, to better plan for their housing transitions.