2017 Election Candidates and Constitutional Amendments

Meet our 2017-2018 UBC PDA Executive Officer Candidates, and review our proposed constitutional amendments!


  • President
    • Kieran Hudson
    • As president, I will continue and expand the work of the PDA in supporting UBC postdocs through advocacy, research dissemination, and social activities. I will work with the incoming executive committee to ensure that we reach and serve all postdocs and research associates the best we can, including those not based at the Vancouver campus. Postdoctoral positions are increasingly significant stages in academic careers, yet the lack of a formal structure, training, or job security can make being a postdoc a daunting experience. Through my personal experience moving to UBC from overseas, and my involvement in the Executive Committee, I recognize the important role that the PDA plays in supporting postdocs, and providing opportunities to develop skills vital for career advancement. A particular goal of my term will be to gain more financial autonomy for the PDA, working to bring in contributions from all faculties and institutes where postdocs work, so that we can carry out activities with more confidence and independence.
  • VP Operations
    • Mehrdad Bokharaei
    • I am experienced in organizing social and professional events for different groups. I have worked as UBC Graduate Student Society (GSS) event coordinator for one year during my graduate study at UBC. There, I was responsible to organize, social events for new graduate students such as boat cruise and hiking, and also professional workshops and classes such as language courses. During my term, I restructured the French classes, and in assistance with the instructors, a curriculum was developed for each level of the course. As a result, by the time I left the office, the number of students registered for each level was almost double the time I took the position. I also initiated an Art course for graduate students. It was a very useful workshop for students without art background. In addition, I was member of UBC Graduate Student Orientation committee in 2010, member of organizing committee of the Scientifics and Clinical Application of Magnetic Carriers meetings since 2010.As a post-Doctoral Fellow, in addition to my technical skills, I am interested in developing leadership and organizational skills out of my research group. I found the Vice President Operations position at the Post-Doctoral Association of UBC is very suitable for me.
  • VP External
    • Moe Elgendi
    • In addition to my 10+ years of experience in the academic field working in different countries such as Egypt, Australia, Singapore, and Canada, I have also received training on Leadership/Engagement in Education from MIT. One of the main things that stood out for me, regardless of the geographical location, was the disconnect post docs often experience, be it within an institution and/or within the broader public community.  I have also made it a priority for myself, and for my teams, to build bridges wherever possible, be it with other post docs in different departments, other universities, or related industry leaders such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (USA), National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (Australia), and the Ministry of Defense (Singapore). I immensely understand that for the growing number of postdocs in academics, there are fewer and fewer opportunities and employment options in academia for them to go to. One of my main focuses will be to jointly organize fairs for the postdoc at UBC with sister and partner organizations, in addition to establishing work networks opportunities with industries through my diverse network in engineering, medicine, computer science, and digital health. We will also work to collaborate with the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars, and Work together with the VP-Social to create a calendar of social events and ensure a broad outreach.
  • VP Finance
    • Jürgen Niesser
    • As a Postdoctoral Researcher at the UBC Life Sciences Institute and PDA executive committee member since June 2016 I am intimately familiar with both the scientific and networking requirements of UBC Postdocs as well as management of the PDA.
      As VP Finance I am aiming to open up new PDA funding possibilities while maintaining current financial sources to allow appropriate budgeting for future PDA events. Hereby I also benefit from my current role as Director of Business Development at the UBC Graduate Management Consulting Association (GMCA) where I am involved in growing a non-profit organization which includes fund raising, organization of a variety of events for students and Postdocs, and liaising with UBC administration and external sources. In addition, I am planning to organize a ‘Career day event’ in collaboration with other UBC organizations to establish a platform between students/Postdocs and industry HR representatives. This would not only allow UBC Postdocs to establish valuable contacts with their future employers, but would also increase awareness and value of the PDA and may attract industry sponsors to support events.
      I am looking forward to a successful year with the PDA.
    • Piyush Kapopara
    • I am currently serving as an executive member to the PDA, and having gained good experience working with another officer I would like to file my nomination for the position of VP finance. This position will provide me with leadership experience and new connections.
      Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Ed Conway, Director, Centre for Blood Research at Life Science Institute, UBC.
  • VP Communications
    • Ido Hatam
    • Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, my research focuses on ways to optimize the use of microbial communities in bioreactors treating water impacted by both urban and industrial waste.  I moved to Vancouver from Edmonton, I didn’t really know anyone at UBC and the PDA was instrumental in helping me connect with other post-docs and keep up to date with current events and opportunities. Therefore being an executive member is a way for me to keep paying it forward.Social media has long since become the preferred way to keep up to date both with news, events and, with people. I believe a strong social media presence for the PDA will help both in maintaining contact between the PDA and postdocs at UBC and help keep postdoctoral fellows at UBC informed regarding relevant opportunities. I think that I can help the PDA maintain and improve its social media presence; therefore, I nominate myself for VP of Communications.
  • VP Social
    • Jessica Bosch
    • As the current VP Social pro tem (since November/December), I would love to continue this exciting job and experience the beauty and fun of Vancouver together with you.
      I received my PhD in Mathematics in June 2016 in Germany, where I originally come from. Then, in August 2016, I started my position as Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Computer Science in the wonderful Vancouver. Additionally, I am appointed as Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow for the current term.
      I’m a nature lover – Hiking, walking, snowshoeing, being active, or just relaxing outside, that’s my thing. I would like to incorporate my passion into the social events that I plan for the future. Activities I have in mind include exploring the Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain, Lynn Canyon Park, or a cookout at the beach. Of course, I will also call out for some pub nights. I’m looking forward to some happy moments together with you!

Constitutional Revisions:

It has been a number of years since the last revision of the PDA constitution. The current executive is proposing a number of modifications to improve clarity in the roles and eligibility of the executive, as well as a number of minor formatting changes to increase readability of the document. We have also proposed the creation of a 7th Officer position specific for Research Associates, while limiting the eligibility of the other Officer positions to PDFs due to the requirement that they be able to liaise with the PDFO.

Please examine our proposed changes, and prepare to vote on our modifications at the AGM on March 9th!

Current PDA Constitution

Proposed Constitutional Ammendments [pdf]