The Feinberg Student Senate Serves as the Liaison for the Student Body, Elects 2010-2011 Board Members
The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Student Senate represents the student body in their interactions with each other, the university, medical school faculty and deans, and hospital administration. The senate also organizes and funds educational and social activities on behalf of their peers.
The senate is comprised of four class presidents, as well as a representative from each of the 16 colleges. Colleges break each class into four groups and are named in honor of their faculty mentors. The societies — Mary Thompson, Howard Ricketts, T.K. Lawless and John A.D. Cooper — are an extension of the colleges and are named in honor of four historic graduates of the medical school. Much of the activities and volunteer work organized through the colleges and societies are accomplished by means of the senate.
At the end of the academic year, the voting members of the senate — four college representatives from each class, all class presidents, and a representative from the Medical Scientist Training Program — hold an election to determine which seven students will serve as officers for the Executive Board and committee chairs for the coming academic year.
As the 2009-2010 school year came to a close, 17 out of the 21 senate representatives were present to hear from candidates and engage in a majority vote that elected students to the following positions: Bruce Henschen, president; Laura Sestokas, vice president; Mike Jung, treasurer; Ana Alicia Agarrat, secretary; Darren Boyd, Academic Affairs Committee chair; Paul Bottone, Student Organizations Committee chair; and Ronak Vashi, Campus Affairs Committee chair.
Here’s a closer look at the 2010-2011 Student Senate Executive Board and Committee Chairs:
President: Bruce Henschen, Class of 2012
Bruce Henschen, a member of the Macken College and Ricketts Society and former Executive Board secretary, is pursuing a combined Doctor of Medicine/Master of Public Health degree. As president, his central duties are to develop a vision for the senate’s future, report to and work with the school administration, and to speak on behalf of the student body at various annual engagements such as Founders’ Day and alumni meetings. Henschen says he’s excited to work with the deans and the senate to make the medical school more effective and student-centered.
“I think we as a senate are best positioned to listen to students’ concerns and to enact solutions that address them,” Henschen says. “We are able to promote changes that benefit students, as well as provide valuable input into Feinberg’s vision for the future.”
Vice President: Laura Sestokas, Class of 2013
Laura Sestokas, a member of the Baumgartner College and Thompson Society, is pursuing a Doctor of Medicine degree. Formerly a member of the Campus Affairs Committee, Sestokas helped organize the Feinberg Formal and assisted in some of the Alumni Weekend events. She has also been involved in releasing the Friends of Feinberg e-newsletter, a publication for friends and family members of current students, as well as recent alumni, and acting as a counselor at Camp Wildcat. In the year ahead, she will act as co-producer of In Vivo, Feinberg’s sketch comedy show. As vice president, Sestokas will be responsible for the organizational aspects of the senate, namely, organizing meetings and making sure that ongoing senate projects are being completed in a timely fashion.
“I hope to help the societies find a prominent place in the Feinberg culture,” Sestokas says. “I believe that young students benefit tremendously from the experience and advice of their elder colleagues; societies will be an invaluable tradition that will help make this possible.”
Treasurer: Mike Jung, Class of 2013
Mike Jung, a member of the Nevin College and Cooper Society, is pursuing a Doctor of Medicine degree. During his first year on the senate, Jung was a member of the Student Organizations and Honor Code Committees. In addition, he’s co-president of the ENT Interest Group, chair of student services for the American Medical Student Association, editor of both Infoplex and Feinberg Footnotes, member of the Medical Decision Making Curriculum Review Panel, founder and coordinator of the Chicago Medical Student Coalition for Haiti, and coordinator of the Nevin College High School Tutoring Program. As treasurer for the Executive Board, Jung will be in charge of managing the senate’s finances.
“I hope to effectively fund all worthwhile student extracurricular activities and increase Senate funding transparency and efficiency,” says Jung.
Secretary: Ana Alicia Agarrat, Class of 2013
Ana Alicia Agarrat, a member of the Martin College and Ricketts Society, is pursuing a combined Doctor of Medicine/Master of Arts in Medical Humanities and Bioethics degree. In addition to her role as secretary, Agarrat is the Martin College senate representative. She is also involved in the American Medical Student Association, American Medical Women’s Association, and Catholic Medical Student Association. As secretary, Agarrat will be responsible for taking minutes at meetings and updating the senate web site to ensure that everyone remains informed of senate activities. Additionally, she is responsible for monitoring and updating all of the class e-mail lists. Agarrat hopes that she will be able to encourage other medical students to take an active role in framing their medical education.
“I am fortunate to be part of an institution that is sensitive to the concerns of the students,” Agarrat says. “I will strive to be a liaison between the administration and students, helping to enhance the quality of medical education to ensure that Feinberg continues to produce world-class physicians.”
Academic Affairs Committee Chair: Darren Boyd, Class of 2011
Darren Boyd, a member of the Garfield College and Lawless Society, is pursuing a Doctor of Medicine degree. He is the outgoing Executive Board president and serves as the standing president for the Class of 2011. As president during the 2009-2010 school year, Boyd was heavily involved in senate activities like overseeing the implementation of the UPass Program, working on the Code of Conduct redesign, and helping out on the Friends of Feinberg e-newsletter. Boyd is also active in the Community Health Clinic, volunteering primary care and cardiology services. As chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, Boyd says he has the opportunity to continue to work on the projects that he feels passionate about — those projects that’ll have a lasting impact on future classes of students.
“I’ll continue to work on the code of conduct redesign and am particularly interested in ensuring the recommendations of that group will be included in the new curriculum,” says Boyd.
Student Organizations Committee Chair: Paul Bottone, Class of 2013
Paul Bottone, a member of the Nevin College and Cooper Society, is pursuing a Doctor of Medicine degree. Bottone serves as the president of the Class of 2013 and is active in many extracurricular programs. In fact, he’s a teen tutor for Chicago Youth Programs, a volunteer for the Buddy Program with the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, and an instructor for the Barreto Boys and Girls Club of Chicago Science Club. He is also co-president and co-camp director of Camp Wildcat. As Student Organizations chair, Bottone will inform new group leaders about obligations for senate funding and recognition, as well as monitoring adherence to those requirements. He also looks forward to facilitating the formation of new groups and continuing the work of existing groups.
“Feinberg’s diverse collection of student groups is one of its strongest assets,” Bottone says. “Through the various organizations on campus, students are able to pursue their interests and affect changes in the community and beyond.”
Campus Affairs Committee Chair: Ronak Vashi, Class of 2013
Ronak Vashi, a member of the Golden College and Lawless Society, is pursuing a Doctor of Medicine degree. In addition to her role as chair, Vashi is the Golden College Senate representative. She also serves as president of the South Asian Medical Students Association, as acts coordinator for Fusion, the annual multi-cultural show, and as a participant in Patient Perspectives. In her role as chair of the Campus Affairs Committee, Vashi will be responsible for coordinating school wide events and handling issues concerning campus space. Her central duties will involve helping to plan Family Day, Feinberg Formal, and Alumni Weekend — events that, she says, help remind medical students of “where we came from, where we are now, and where we are heading.” Ronak will also have a role in helping to complete the renovation of the Traisman Student Center.
“Between busy days that revolve around classes, research meetings, and rotations, it is easy to lose track of the interesting and diverse crowd that makes up Feinberg,” Vashi says. “I hope to bring people together and foster a sense of community here at Feinberg, as the connections we make in medical school will, no doubt, be beneficial in our careers as physicians.”