The McMaster Students Union Board of Directors come from diverse undergraduate degrees. After their term, some go on to pursue the dreams they had a year earlier, while others have shifted their goals and go on to pursue jobs through the university. Many assume that most do go on to work for the university, but for how many past BoD members is this really true? What is it about the BoD position that changes people’s minds? We took a look at the BoD members since the 2012-2013 year to get an answer to some of these questions.
Aside from Ehima Osazuwa, the MSU president for 2015-2016, the rest of the BoD members of that year either went on to pursue graduate degrees or finish their undergraduate degrees.
Daniel D’Angela, VP (Finance), never intended to go into the public sector, choosing instead to do an MBA related to his undergraduate degree in economics.
Similarily, Giuliana Guarna joined the BoD with the intention to go to medical school after her term. Guarna’s degree was in biology with a minor in music, so her term as VP (Administration) diverged from these interests. “I ran for the position because I thought I was the best person for the job,” said Guarna, who felt she learnt a lot from the position even though it wasn’t directly related to her career.
Spencer Nestico-Semianiw, VP (Education), is finishing his undergraduate degree in the Bachelor of Arts and Science program. He hasn’t yet decided on a career, but would pursue a career in education either in government or as a stakeholder over continuing in student government or politics.
Unlike the others, Osazuwa remained in the university structure and is currently working for the Brock University Students’ Union as the director of government operations.
Osazuwa completed his engineering undergraduate degree at McMaster before his term as MSU president, but as of right now does not plan to pursue a career in that field. Osazuwa credits his term as MSU president for allowing him to appreciate working in education and public service.
Unlike the years before and after, all of the BoD members during the 2015-2016 year have gone on to work for McMaster University. Former MSU president Teddy Saull currently holds a position as assistant to the president, institutional initiatives, a position created the year Saull was hired. Details of how the position was created were not shared in time to be included. Saull originally planned to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and is still uncertain about where his career will take him, but his term as MSU president likely will play a large role in the outcome.
“I ran for the position because I thought I was the best person for the job.”
VP (Admin) 2015-2016
Jacob Brodka, VP (Administration) and Rodrigo Narro Perez, VP (Education), both went on to run a summer course at McMaster. “The year prior to working on the course, Rodrigo and I ran an experiential institute for the McMaster Perspectives on Peace initiative. The following year, working on the course offering was a natural fit as it closely aligned with the institute and our other past experiences,” said Brodka. Brodka also worked at McMaster as a senior assistant to the vice president (Faculty) and recently started a job at the MacPherson Institute.
Scott Mallon, the 2014-2015 vice president (Finance), is currently working for McMaster University in the Office of Alumni Advancement as the alumni officer, student relations. More details are known about his application process. “I found out the position was open by talking to the person who had the role before me [who] had moved into a different role,” said Mallon. Such application processes for university positions are essential for ensuring equal opportunity for both former students and those with no ties to McMaster.
“I did’t intend to pursue… finance, but I knew by that point that I was interested in law.”
VP (Finance) 2012-2013
The trend for all BoD members of one year to be hired in university positions raises some questions about the role the university has in where the BoD members go after their term. Ultimately, not enough is known about the hiring process at this point to make any sort of call. Perhaps the success of previous BoD members in these roles is simply due to the fact that they are well versed in the ins and outs of the university and know where to look. If so, increased promotion of university positions can increase awareness for these roles.
The trend seen in the 2014-2015 year is not seen in either of the previous two years, with all BoD members going on to pursue jobs outside of the university structure. Anna D’Angela, VP (Administration) 2013-2014, went on to finish her MBA at the DeGroote School of Business while Jeffrey Doucet has run a software startup for the past three years.
Jeff Wyngaarden, VP (Finance) 2012-2013, plans to pursue a career in criminal law, which doesn’t directly relate to either his BoD position nor his undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Interestingly, he found there were some aspects of a career in law within his BoD position. “I joined the MSU BoD because I thought that I could do some meaningful work within the VP (Finance) portfolio. I didn’t intend to pursue anything in finance, but I knew by that point that I was interested in law and so I took on some of the more law-related work that the BoD as a group had to deal with. So in a sense, I did join with the intention of pursuing something related afterwards, but only because there was some flexibility in the role that allowed me to work on projects that interested me, on top of my regular duties. The finance portfolio can be and is much broader than most people think it is.”
“Working on the course offering was a natural fit as it closely aligned with the institute and our other past experiences.”
VP (Admin) 2014-2013
All of the current 2016-2017 BoD members have plans to return to school. Over the last four years, returning to school or pursuing a graduate program has been popular among the BoD alumni. However, the BoD do not usually end up working in the same field at the end of their education. Working for a university is the only common trend that has surfaced, and even then it is only prevalent in the most recent two years. In the future, increasing the transparency of how these roles within the university are earned will ensure equality and help give people coming from a less familiar background a shot at the role. Ultimately, all of the past BoD agree that their work taught them skills and qualities that are applicable to any career afterwards.