Student Council Election Candidates

AUSU is pleased to announce we have 16 candidates running in the 2020 AUSU Student Council Election! Scroll down to see more info about them!

The voting period is February 25 to March 2 at midnight Mountain Time. All AU undergraduate students will receive an electronic ballot on February 25 to vote for thirteen (13) candidates to sit on AUSU student council!

The candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name. Click their name to see their biographies and any posters or videos submitted by the candidate.

Meet your Candidates!

Brittany Daigle
Kitchener, Ontario

I’m enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program with a double major in Psychology and Sociology at Athabasca University. I’m also currently the Vice President Finance and Administration (VPFA) for AUSU. When I enrolled in 2016, I knew that I wanted to put myself out there and get involved in any way that I could. In 2017, I began writing for AUSU’s The Voice Magazine and have been a consistent weekly writer for my Course Exam and Minds We Meet columns. In 2018, I was elected onto student council and into the MEC Committee. In 2019, I was elected as the chair of the Awards Committee and I was elected as the VPFA when the position became available, which then placed me as the chair of the Finance Committee.

My last two years on council and sitting on all three committees has been so rewarding, and as a team, we have accomplished so much. I would love to be given the opportunity to continue on council and continue all the work that we started!

Natasha Donahue
Barrhead, Alberta

My name is Natasha Donahue and I’ve been a student with AU since 2013. I am studying a Bachelor of Science degree and intend on working toward a French Language Certificate once that is complete (hopefully later this year!). I live with my partner, son, and three cats. I have a passion for advocacy work, and I have been working with populations who traditionally experience less access to resources and opportunities for several years. I am a Métis person, and my experiences working with Indigenous individuals and populations as well as my own life experiences have pushed me to put advocacy for Indigenous issues to the forefront of my work. Along with advocacy, I am passionate about building a student community for AU in an innovative way, considering our community is so inherently unique.

I would consider it an absolutely privilege to be able to continue my work in these areas as a councillor with AUSU, including helping expand our ability to build more student connections and spaces in our virtual campus environment.

Monique Durette
Okotoks, Alberta

I am a third-year AU student, working towards a BA in Political Science, with a minor in Women’s & Gender Studies. My goal is to use the knowledge gained about the political system and put it to work in the non-profit sector. I have worked for large corporations, small companies, and owned several businesses, and what I discovered throughout was that I wanted to do work that was more sociallyconscious and less fiscally driven. In my previous financial management business, I was subcontracted in 2011 as the Finance Coordinator for Skate Canada: Alberta where I managed the day-to-day finances of their significant operations. From 2014-2019, I held numerous volunteer roles for MCAN (MaternityCare Consumers of Alberta Network), eventually being elected President in 2017. I have a solid understanding of the functionality of governance and policies, in addition to my business experience in the finance and administrative domains.

I would love the opportunity to bring my skills and knowledge to the role of councillor, while also gaining additional experience that I can use upon graduation.

Darcie Fleming
Lethbridge, Alberta

Hello, I have been an AUSU councillor for the past two years and have enjoyed my role in advancing the needs of students. I am a positive and committed contributor to AUSU, and I am currently on the finance committee.

In addition to my full-time studies in the Bachelor of Arts – Psychology program, I am the Executive Director of the Lethbridge Métis Association. As a proud Métis, I will bring an indigenous perspective to AUSU. I am married and also privileged to be a mom to a 25-year-old son who just began his journey with AU. I understand the demands that students experience in balancing work, study and personal lives. As a mature student, I appreciate the adjustments and challenges that those returning to, or starting university encounter. I have been the recipient of student aid and realize the monetary hardships many students experience.

My goal is to be re-elected as an AUSU council member and continue to listen to students and work for their best interests in these challenging times.

Aleksandar Golijanin
Ottawa, Ontario

In life nothing is guaranteed, everything is earned, and hard work pays off. That’s my motto, and it’s why I’ll be successful in championing the student voice. I’m a 4th year business student that’s had the privilege of representing our university at Provincial (CPA) and International (CME) competitions. Now I want to represent our students, with world-class standards in mind. Our university is filled with students from all walks of life, the best and brightest Canada and the world has to offer. My big dream is to open more doors, bringing about co-op programs for long distance learners. Tuition rates are set to increase by 7%, I’ll work hard to ensure that the increased tuition revenue is reinvested into enhancing student delivery systems.

My background is in international humanitarian work. I’ve collaborated with everyone from Embassies to national police forces. When it comes to working with partners and key stakeholders, I have results-oriented experience at the highest levels.

I’ve made tangible impacts in the real-world, now it’s time to make them in the learning-world!

Kathryn Hadden
Williams Lake, British Columbia
  • I have been with Athabasca since 2016 and have done courses in Psychology and Human Science and I understand the benefits and the hardships of being an online student
  • I am passionate about learning and removing barriers to ensure all students have access to affordable education
  • I am a mother to three active boys
  • I have experience of being a vice president and a president on a student council at my local university
  • I volunteer with my local Search and Rescue Unit
    • For the past 7 years
    • I have been on the board of directors as an Office Manager, Member Manger and a PR member
    • I attend monthly meetings to vote on important decisions within the Unit
    • I attend Auto Extraction calls and missing persons calls when tasked out
  • I am currently licensed as an Emergency Medical Responder
  • I have completed my first year of my RN Nursing degree
  • I have worked as a research assistant in improving the outcomes of individuals who have been diagnosed with heart failure

Jasmine Hernandez Banda
Calgary, Alberta

I am currently pursuing two Undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Political Economy. Before pursuing a career in politics, I plan to volunteer for a couple of years in developing countries to help young girls fight for an equal education and against child labour and marriage.

Athabasca University has been a fantastic experience for me, and I want students to achieve the same experience as I have.Throughout my youth, I have been part of different leadership organizations that have helped me become a strong leader. I am optimistic that I can make a difference by increasing student interaction and engagement, ensuring that the needs of students are met and advocating for students. I want to bring my passion, energy and leadership skills to the student council.

When I’m not studying, I’m working at my part-time job as a restaurant manager and often try to seek new volunteering opportunities. I also enjoy attending different cultural festivals to learn about different cultures. I am always looking for new opportunities to expand my knowledge and gaining experience.

Fahid Hussain
Scarborough, Ontario

Currently, this is my third year attending Athabasca University as a full-time student running for AUSU council. In 2017, it was the first time I attended a post-secondary institution after leaving secondary school nineteen years ago. AU welcomed me into the community and I have been with the University ever since. My diverse background from financial services, administration to IT has given me an opportunity to connect with students of different fields both new and returning, and hope to make future graduates feel comfortable knowing that I would be working for them to meet their goals and address their concerns through AUSU.

This will be my first attempt running for AU council, and hope to be working with council members, executives and students across campus in improving leadership, community opportunities, increase networking capacity, continue to connect with Alumni through Alumni Connect, to implement new programs, to advocate to keep fees low and to evaluate AUSU’s effectiveness overall.

Stacey Hutchings
Calgary, Alberta

I am currently in my 3rd year of a Bachelor of Professional Arts in Governance, Law, and Management. As a mature learner, I embrace the services AU has and how crucial they are to those who simply don’t have the time to attend the traditional brick-and-mortar institution.

As a sitting member of the Student Union Advisory Committee with the AUSU, I was selected to attend the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science symposium where I was able to connect with administration, faculty, and tutors. It allowed me to see the importance of students input in their planning decisions and inspired me to get involved more with the AUSU.

I am wanting to sit on the student council to further the students voice within the institution. It is crucial, now more than ever in this political climate in Alberta, that students stand with a strong voice that will further our interests in times of tough decisions.

Please consider voting for me in the 2020 AUSU election, a strong voice with a passion to serve you.

Natalia Iwanek
Mississauga, Ontario

I am a proponent of lifelong learning, having recently returned to school after a 10-year hiatus. Above all, I believe in inclusivity and creating a welcoming environment for everyone. I strongly support making learning accessible to all, as well as the use of plain language in academia.

My love of reading has led me to my third year of a Bachelor of Arts in English at Athabasca. I am also a freelance copy editor, proofreader, and writer. At any given moment, you will find me surrounded by books, scouring second-hand bookstores, and adding more titles to my overflowing list of must-reads.

I contribute to a variety of publications, one of which is Athabasca’s very own The Voice. I enjoy learning languages and speak English, Ukrainian, and Spanish fluently, with a fair amount of Polish as well.

I feel that my experience as a student, as well as my professional background, would allow me to serve fellow students.

I look forward to advocating on everyone’s behalf!

Regan Johnson
Sylvan Lake, Alberta

I am currently in my second year of full-time study toward completing my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology. Upon achievement, I plan to pursue a Master’s program in Clinical Psychology focusing on the neuropsychology of sexual paraphilia, thereafter, working toward my goal of earning a Ph.D.

When I am not studying, I work full-time as a paramedic in the oilfield, traveling all over the Western provinces. Throughout my life, I have uncovered a passion in helping others, whether it’s responding to an AU student post for guidance, volunteering at an aboriginal youth support center or actively advocating for marginalized voices, I will always stand up for what I believe in. I consider myself an optimist, feminist, and all-around enthusiast when I discover something that I am passionate about. As a student councillor elect, I promise to put forth that same passion, drive, and leadership while serving the next two years on council!

Amanda Lipinski
Prince George, British Columbia

Oh, hello there!

I am so excited to be running again in the 2020 AUSU election.  I initially started as a Student Councillor in the 2016 by-election and was later elected for a full term on council.  My time on council has been exciting, rewarding and productive!   My noteworthy accomplishments and contributions towards student governance include participation as a member of the Awards Committee, Awards Committee Chair, a member of the Member Engagement Committee and as a member of the Executive Compensation Review Committee.

I have a strong passion for contributing and giving back to the communities that I am involved within while also maintaining a work/life/volunteer/education balance which allows me to raise my two wonderful yet extremely active and busy children along with my husband.  Our family hobbies include skiing, snowshoeing, traveling and enjoying time outdoors.

I would love for you to consider me for re-election to continue to be a voice for busy, working, and mature students as I understand how difficult and yet rewarding university can be.

Thank you for your consideration!

Katy (Catherine) Lowe
Calgary, Alberta

I am in my third year of studies with AU and am an active participant in within the AU community. I have a passion for learning and enjoy the relationships I’ve forged with fellow students.

AU has been a revolutionary force in creating an open learning environment removing barriers to post-secondary education worldwide. While facing budgetary adjustments it is critical that an open and inclusive learning environment remains a primary goal. Tuition increases have been implemented, with proposed subsequent increases posing a considerable barrier to students. I plan to use my position within AUSU to advocate for students to reduce obstacles to higher learning, ensuring student voices are heard.

AU possesses a unique student experience and I propose to implement activities to increase social engagement among students through increased networking opportunities to enhance student learning within subject areas. Specifically, I want to implement connections between AU’s undergraduate and graduate population to encourage relationships among students to both inspire and support both programs.

Please consider me, Katy Lowe, as a councillor in the 2020 AUSU election.

Devon Romanick
St. Jacobs, Ontario

Born in Calgary, I moved to Kitchener, Ontario, with my mother at a young age and then to the rural village of Atwood.  Leaving the city to grow up in a farming community taught me about diversity at a young age.  It was through picking field stones and working at local assembly plants that I learned the value of hard work and gained appreciation for the work ethic I was developing.

In my early 20s, I moved to Halifax to explore the Maritimes and while there, attended a private business college to obtain my diploma in paralegal studies.

I moved back to Ontario to have and raise my two children, working for 8 years as a systems administrator for Home Hardware Stores Limited corporate office and as an office clerk for a small engineering company.  I decided two years ago that I was not going to give up on my dream of attending law school.  To balance family and work commitments and continue my educational journey, I enrolled in an undergrad program with Athabasca University.

Joshua Ryan
Orleans, Ontario

Hello fellow students,

My name is Joshua Ryan. I’m currently working on my Bachelor of Commerce and have attended AU since 2010.

My day job is with the federal government in a management role. That role allows me to see first hand how policy decisions turn into actions that serve broader stakeholders within the federal government and general public. I’ve also served as an AUSU councillor in the most recent council term.

I also work part time as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves. I’ve been involved with the Reserves since 2012, since 2015 working with youth as part of the Cadet program. I serve as a training officer, coordinating a staff of six delivering training to a group of approximately 50 youth as well as our public affairs representative working with over a dozen different units to get the word out in local media.

My spare time is filled with a wonderful rescued Border Collie named Lewis which means a lot of time outdoors. I also like keeping active and fit.

Ian Stewart
Edmonton, Alberta

Many challenges face students in the coming years. Rising tuition costs and higher student loan interest rates are a major concern to me. As a current AUSU Advisory Committee member, and pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance major), I’m well suited to address the concerns of potential and current students. I would like the opportunity to assist in budget planning and responsible governance for all of our students. AU has made it possible for me to attain a higher education while away from home, as I’m currently employed as a Captain and base representative for a private jet firm based in Edmonton.

Outside of work/academic life, I enjoy cooking, travel, time with friends and my fiancé, alpine ski racing, and our wonderful cat Zelda McGonagall

This election matters to all AU undergraduate students. The students elected to council will be the ones meeting with university administration and government officials and advocating on behalf of AU students when important decisions about your education are being made. With important topics on the table in the upcoming year such as student tuition increases, online infrastructure changes at AU, and the relevance of distance education, this election impacts your student experience, right now!

Make sure your voice is heard. Ballots will be emailed to all AUSU members on Tuesday, February 25. Make sure to cast your vote for AUSU student council!


To find out more about the 2020 AUSU Student Council Election, visit the AUSU website here.

For more information about AUSU elections and election procedures, please review section 3 of the AUSU policy manual, which can be found online here.

For more information about councillor roles, responsibilities, and honorarium, please review section 2 of the AUSU policy manual, found online here.

For any other questions about the 2020 General Election, election, please contact the 2020 Chief Returning Officer, Bailey Daines, at [email protected].