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Mohawk Students' Association

Who we Are

The Mohawk Students’ Association (MSA) is a Non-Profit Organization built for and led by Mohawk College students through an elected Student Board of Directors (BOD). Though we are a separate entity of the college, we work collaboratively to support Mohawk Students.

We empower Mohawk Students to create a community they can lean on for positive experiences, relevant supports, a listening ear, and a strong voice so they can achieve personal success in their college experience and beyond.

Person in strong confident pose.

Meet the 2022/2023 MSA Board of Directors

The Mohawk Students' Association Board of Directors

Ashik Ashik, President

Ashik Ashik

President

Rikki Gray, Director at Large

Rikki Gray

Director at Large,
Vice chair

Karen Gomez Upegui, Director at Large

Pao Gomez Upegui

Director at Large,
secretary

Tanya Noel, Director at Large

Sunshine Noel

Director at Large,
treasurer

Headshot of Elizabeth-Joy Phillips, Director at Large

Elizabeth-Joy Phillips

Director at Large

Ian Moore, Director at Large

Ian Moore

Director at Large

Alyssa Outerson, Director at Large

Alyssa Outerson

Director at Large

Philip Anekwe, Director at Large

Philip Anekwe

Director at Large

Meet the 2021/2022 MSA Staff

The Mohawk Students' Association Staff

Marc Iturriaga

Marc Iturriaga

Executive Director

During his 1.5-year tenure so far (as of May 2022) as Executive Director, Marc has found that the students are his favourite part of working at the MSA – it’s why we exist! He’s also a Lego enthusiast, and loves reading the Harry Potter book series to his kids before bed – he even has voices for every character! 

Wendy Rolfe

Wendy Rolfe

Director, Student Experience

Wendy’s worked with the MSA for 35+ years, and her favourite thing about working here is the opportunity to work both for and with the students! If she could be best friends with anyone, it’d be Lorelai from Gilmore Girls! Wendy loves her family more than anything, and is happiest spending time with her many nieces, nephews and siblings. She also enjoys mornings (before everyone has woken) with a good coffee and a better book. 

Jackie McCollom

Jackie McCollom

Senior Manager, People & Culture

As of February 2022, Jackie has been working with the MSA for a full year! Jackie is a collector of experiences, and loves taking advantage of everything life has to offer, be it a story, a trip or a good laugh with great people. If she could have any superpower, it would be to talk to animals so we can learn how to better meet their needs. 

Emalie Gunness-Maraj

Emalie Gunness-Maraj

People & Culture Specialist

Emalie has been working with the MSA for 10+ years! She loves being part of an organization so committed to empowering and inspiring its students. Emalie is happiest at home with her kids. If she could have any superpower, it’d be to see the future

Sandy Tepsic

Sandy Tepsic

Senior Manager, Finance

Sandy’s favourite thing about working with the MSA is knowing she can help students achieve their goals and aspirations at Mohawk! If Sandy could have ANY superpower, it would be to create a safe, welcoming and wholesome environment for everyone to live in and enjoy. 

Rose Manjarrez

Rosa Maria Manjarrez

Finance Specialist

If Rosa could be friends with any fictional character, it’d be Wonder Woman! That’s definitely on brand for Rosa, whose favourite part of working with the MSA is the supportive, friendly environment. If she could have any superpower, it’d be telekinesis. 

Tyler Howie

Tyler Howie

Programming Manager

Ty is happiest with a coffee in his hand, and if he could spend an endless amount of time on any hobby it’d be music. If Ty could become friends with anyone, real or fake, he’d love to swap stories with standup comedian Mike Birbiglia. According to Tyler, the coolest superpower is definitely time travel.    

Headshot of Montana Hunter, Events Coordinator

Montana Hunter

Events Coordinator

Hibo Ahmed

Hibo Ahmed

Clubs Specialist

Hibo says her favourite part of the MSA is the dynamic, resourceful and empathetic team! If she could have any special ability, it’d be super healing! If there were more hours in the day, you’d definitely find Hibo learning as many new languages as possible! 

Emily McGregor

Emily McGregor

UX Graphic Design Specialist

Emily works hard to make a difference in the lives of Mohawk students. Every year she works with the Graphic Design program to give students an opportunity to create a mural for the school. Outside of work, if there’s one thing you need to know about Em it’s that she’ll never turn down a good adventure. You can find her most often with a cat in her lap and music in her ears.   

Paige Petrovsky

Paige Petrovsky

Communications Specialist

Paige found her start at the MSA in 2019 as the Student Copywriter. Now she’s the Communications Specialist! When she isn’t writing, Paige can be found with her nose in a great book. She also loves building charcuterie boards! 

Kaitlyn Holloway

Kait Holloway

Student Communications Coordinator

Kait’s favourite part of working with the MSA is working with people who really respect and value student voices. She’s also a talented Guitar Hero player, and can even play upside-down! Kait is happiest in a room full of the best people she knows, backed with good music and a warm mug of chai tea.

Melanie Extance

Melanie Extance

Governance & Advocacy Specialist

Melanie’s favourite part of working at the MSA is being able to assist students with their journey at the college – forming relationships and living through it all alongside them! One of her favourite initiatives has been the Menstrual Product Program, which places free sanitary products in MSA washrooms! Melanie is happiest when spending time with the people she loves. And if that time includes a fat plate of salmon sashimi, well… 

Natalie Fisher

Natalie Fisher

Manager, Student Services

Jessica Ridenour

Jessica Ridenour

Student Services Representative, Fennell

Jessica is our Student Services Coordinator over at the Fennell campus and has been working with the MSA since she was a student! She’s also the owner of a local business called Jessica’s Sweets. Being a busy bee makes it hard to find spare time in the day, that’s why if Jessica could have any superpower, it’d be super speed. 

Headshot of Valerie San Juan

Valerie San Juan

Student Services Assistant, Fennell

Emma He

Emma He

Student Services Coordinator, IAHS

Emma’s favourite thing about working with the MSA is the team! Emma is an artist, and loves drawing with any material she can get her hands on. She’s also the MSA’s resident coconut opener!  

Dorthan Bruce

Dorthan Bruce

Student Services Coordinator, Stoney Creek

Dave Coultis

Dave Coultis

Director, Operations

One of the items Dave is responsible for is coming up with diverse menus, pulling inspiration from around the world. When he was a teenager, Dave actually lived in West Africa, Malaysia, and Europe for a while! He’s also a huge basketball fan – playing it, watching it, you name it, Dave is there.  

Mike Williams, Food Services Specialist

Mike Williams

Food Services Specialist

Originally from Tennessee, Mike has been working with the MSA for four years (as of May 2022)! In 2016, Mike won Apex Chef of the Year in Nova Scotia. The talent doesn’t stop there though; Mike can whip up a mean serving of 12-minute rice in 8 minutes flat! He is happiest in the kitchen, cooking something good for his wonderful friends and family. 

Jamieson Williams, Facilities Supervisor

Jamieson Williams

Facilities Supervisor

Jamieson has worked with the MSA for 5+ years! Perhaps his happiness here could be acquitted to his love of talking to and meeting all kinds of new people. Jamieson is also super interested in outer space. With so much out there yet to explore, who can blame him? He will also be running the MSA community garden this year! 

Headshot of Karan (TJ) Singh, Facilities Summer Assistant

Karan (TJ) Singh

Facilities Summer Assistant

Valerie Vandervelde, Team Lead - Brewed Awakenings

Val Vandervelde

Team Lead, Brewed Awakenings

Valerie has been working with the MSA since 2014! She is genuine and kind, and loves enjoying the daily interactions with Mohawk students. The world is such a big, beautiful place. That’s why if Valerie could spend unlimited time/money on any hobby, it’d be travel! 

Ryan Jackson, Team Lead - Urban Fork

Ryan Jackson

Team Lead, Urban Fork

Ryan has worked with the MSA for four years now (as of May 2022). He loves keeping busy—Ryan’s a father of three, and a musician! If he could dedicate unlimited time to any hobby, it would be music!

Headshot of Gabriel Gabriel, Food Services student.

Gabriel Gabriel

Food Services Student

Jerrid Gibson, Student Food & Beverage Financial Assistant

Jerrid Gibson

Operations Administrator

Jerrid’s favourite part of working with the MSA is the culture! He’s worked with us for a year now (as of May 2022), though having such amazing coworkers means it never feels like working at all! Jerrid is also a bowling enthusiast, having been in a bowling league for 20 years prior to his start at the MSA. If he could be friends with anyone, living or dead it’d have to be the late Canadian comedian, Norm MacDonald. 

A Historical Timeline

The Mohawk Students' Association
has a rich history

Our history started in 1964 (back when Mohawk College was still known as the Hamilton Institute of Technology) when conversations about non-academic student activities first began. Here are a few changes that have occurred throughout the years (although, this list only just scratches the surface).

1965

Our first annual meeting

The first annual meeting of the Association (which was called the Students’ Union Corporation) was held on March 17, 1965.

1965

1975

Student Centre Built

In 1975, the Students’ Union Corporation (SUC) development fund grew enough to enable the Corporation to build a Student Centre – what is now known as The Cellar.

1975

1985

New Student Centre building

In 1985, due to the College’s increasing numbers, a new Student Centre building opened.

1985

1994

Board of Directors (restructuring)

The College was heavily involved with management of the SUC; but, in 1990, students took more control. In 1994, a restructuring of the Board of Directors took place.

1994

1996

S.U.C. name change

During 1996, the SUC discussed changing its name, and on Sept. 1, 1996, the SUC became the Mohawk Students’ Association (MSA).

1996

2009

Control of food operations

The Association made the decision, in 2009, to end its former food and services contract and take control of food operation in the Student Centre.

2009

2010

Insurance plan & Bus Pass program

The Health and Dental Insurance plan and Bus Pass program both came into effect in September of 2010.

2010

2018

MSA re-branding

In 2018, the MSA underwent a total re-brand. The Lean On We slogan was introduced – this slogan was created in efforts to demonstrate that we are an Association students can count on, both in their student and professional lives.

2018

2021

Revamped vision, mission & values

In 2021, we revamped our Vision, Mission, and Values to be more student-focused, and so they better resonate with students and staff members.

2021

Who We Are🖐🏿

The Mohawk Students’ Association (MSA) is a Non-Profit Organization built for and led by Mohawk College students through an elected Student Board of Directors (BOD). Though we are a separate entity of the college, we work collaboratively to support Mohawk Students.

We empower Mohawk Students to create a community they can lean on for positive experiences, relevant supports, a listening ear, and a strong voice so they can achieve personal success in their college experience and beyond.

Person in strong confident pose.

Meet the 2021/2022 MSA Board of Directors

The Mohawk Students' Association Board Of Directors

The Board is made up of the MSA President, and several Directors at Large.

Want to put some faces to these swanky titles? Just toggle below!

Meet The 2021/2022 MSA Staff

The Mohawk Students’ Association staff

The Mohawk Students'
Association Staff

Our staff at the MSA staff are committed to providing every student with the best possible experience at Mohawk College.

Say ‘hi’ to our team by toggling below ✋

A Historical Timeline

The Mohawk Students' Association has a rich history

Our history started in 1964 (back when Mohawk College was still known as the Hamilton Institute of Technology) when conversations about non-academic student activities first began.

Check out a few changes that have occurred throughout the years (although, this list only just scratches the surface).

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