Jayna Tavarez, Candidate, Vice President of Fairfax
Master’s Student, Interdisciplinary Studies: Social Justice (full-time student)
Expected Graduation Date: May 2018
Brief biography and candidate statement about why you would be qualified for this position:
My name is Jayna Tavarez, and I am extremely interested in the Vice President of the Fairfax campus position for the Graduate and Professional Student Association for the 2017-2018 academic year. Last May, I graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Social Justice and Human Rights, supplemented with a minor in English and currently continuing my studies here for a Master of Arts in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Social Justice and a certificate in Women and Gender Studies. My research interests for my degree program is the way that social justice intersects with higher education and student success, and I plan to stay in the student affairs field for my professional career after graduation.
This year as a graduate student, I work for both George Mason University’s Housing and Residence Life department and LGBTQ Resources office, which has given me well-rounded experience in supporting undergraduate students. As the Graduate Assistant for Community Standards, I heard cases ranging from basic fire and safety violations to alcohol possession, and sanctioned accordingly via the Housing and Residence Life Judicial Action system. I also focused on educational sanctioning initiatives by teaching several courses, including LEARN (alcohol education), and Values/Goal Setting, and partnered with resident advisors to assist them in programming around conduct-related trends within their communities. For the LGBTQ Resources office, I facilitated Safe Zone trainings, trained students, staff, and faculty to be certified Safe Zone trainers, and collaborated with multiple offices on campus in order to program in ways that met all of our students’ needs and intersectional identities. In these two roles this past year, I have learned so much about the lengths that our departments will go in order to commit to student success, and I have just been offered the position of Graduate Assistant Resident Director for Housing and Residence Life for the 2017-2018 academic year.
While I have learned so much around programming for students, I realize that much of the work I have done focuses on undergraduate students. As a student who has transitioned from an undergraduate to a graduate student at Mason, I am interested in having the opportunity to connect with graduate students, learn more about the needs of graduate students (since we are such a diverse community of students), and understand how to program around graduate students to encourage networking and community on a campus that I have been committed to for the past four years. The experience I have gained while supporting students during my undergraduate and graduate school experience makes me a well-equipped candidate for the Vice President of the Fairfax campus position for GAPSA, and I would be thrilled to have an opportunity to work with graduate students!
Will you be able to meet the time commitments and expectations of the position? Describe your availability for Fall 2017, as well as other on-going time commitments (e.g., classes, work, organizational involvement).
I am sure that I will be able to meet the time commitments and expectations of the position. This past year I worked a total of 30 hours per week (20 for Housing, 10 for LGBTQ Resources) with a full schedule of classes, received a 4.0 GPA last semester, and am expecting a 4.0 GPA for this semester. Next semester, I will only be working for Housing (20 hours) and taking courses and therefore will have a more open availability.