Public Policy Association of Graduate Students (PPAGS)

What is PPAGS?

The Public Policy Association of Graduate Students is an association of graduate students at the Max Bell School of Public Policy, serving as the official student representative organization. Membership of the organization is composed of all graduate students enrolled at Max Bell. PPAGS's mandate is to represent and advocate for its members' interests and concerns, to develop graduate student participation, and to provide a platform for improvement of all social and educational interactions between students at Max Bell. Ultimately, PPAGS is an association of student leaders advocating a better, more fulfilling Max Bell student experience.

  • REPRESENTATION: PPAGS serves as the official organization representing graduate students at the Max Bell School
  • ADVOCACY: PPAGS advocates for students interests and concerns to the Max Bell School, the University, the Post Graduate Students Society (PGSS), as well as any other required entity
  • PARTICIPATION: PPAGS works to develop graduate student participation in the Max Bell School
  • INVOLVEMENT: PPAGS provides a platform for improvement of social and educational interactions between Max Bell students
  • COMMUNITY: PPAGS organizes professional, academic and social activities in order to foster a sense of community amongst Max Bell students

Governance 2023-2024

Elsie A. Mares

Vice President External
Soomin Han

Vice President Academic
Anita Dernovici

Vice President Finance & Operations
Chloe Aboud

Vice President Equity Diversity & Inclusion
Jamil Tanimu

Vice President Mental Health & Well-Being
Sarahí Nava

Vice President International Student Affairs
Arwa Emhemed

Vice President of Social and Events
Jibril Hussein

Vice President Experiential Learning and Development
Krystina Sorensen

Vice President Communications & External Relations
Joyce Selby

Elections for PPAGS are held once per year starting on the first Sunday of September.

2022-2023 Events

  • International Students Potluck
    • Students made dishes representing their culture and contributed music to a shared playlist in celebration of the different cultures and nationalities of the MPP cohort.
  • Power, Policy & Queerness: Panel & Networking
    • Three panelists working for queer policy organizations highlighted policy issues affecting 2SLGBTQI+ communities across Canada. Speakers reflected on how changes in the policy landscape have created opportunities, or posed risks to their work, and shared their recommendations for the way forward in Canada.
  • EDI Lunch and Learn with Professor Tari Ajadi
    • EDI committee invited Professor Tari Ajadi to have facilitated conversation about activism, race, and inequality in policy based on his experiences working on the Defund the Police campaign and health and social services in Nova Scotia.
  • Tie Dye Event
    • PPAGS provided the supplies and materials as well as instructions on how to tie dye! Students made unique shirts while jamming to Taylor Swift, which was a great break from stressors of the program.
  • Visits from Rizzo the Therapy Dog
    • We had a visit from Rizzo, the 5-year-old golden retriever, and her owner, Dr. Rhonda Amsel (retired McGill Associate Professor of Psychology) as part of McGill's Student Wellness Hub Animal Therapy service. Rizzo was very cuddly and playful – we consider her an honorary member of the MPP program.

ppags.pgss [at]

Instagram: @ppags_maxbell

Past Governance:

2022-2023 Governance

  • President: Imani Thomas
  • Vice President External & Communications: Hayley Krieger
  • Vice President Academic: Dominique Garreaud
  • Vice President Finance & Operations: Simon Topp
  • Vice President Equity Diversity & Inclusion: Isabel Diavolitsis
  • Vice President Mental Health & Well-Being: Sandrine Desforges
  • Vice President International Student Affairs: Aftab Ahmed
  • Vice President of Social and Events: Lin Frazer

2021-2022 Governance

  • President - Phaedra de Saint-Rome
  • Vice President External - Umer Farooq
  • Vice President Operations - Elizabeth Fraser
  • Vice President Academic - Jason Kreutz
  • Academic Director - Kerry Kittson
  • Vice President Communications - Naveen Kumar Kanwadia
  • Social Media and Design Director - Paola Paredes
  • Vice President Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Munesuishe (Mune) Mafusire
  • Director of International Student Affairs - Emma Durand
  • Director of Mental Health and Well-Being - Aiza Abid

2020-2021 Governance

Read the PPAGS highlights of 2020-2021.

Presidents - Anil Wasif & Jonathan Lesarge

  • PPAGS’s inaugural Presidents Anil and Jonathan oversaw the mandate and mission of the association as its chief executives, and served as the PPAGS’s chief ambassadors to McGill University, the PGSS, and the broader public.
  • Key priorities for the Presidents this year included the ratification of the association's constitution, the initiation of inaugural academic and social events for Max Bell students, and the facilitation of a successful transition of the PPAGS 's governance operations to the next cohort. The Presidents also worked with the Director for International Students Affairs and the Director for Mental Health and Wellness as part of their constitutional mandates.

Director of International Student Affairs - Gina Maldonado

  • The Director of International Student Affairs is a resource for international students, providing them useful information and managing initiatives to promote their integration with respect for their cultural identity. During the 2020-21 period, Gina represented international students and facilitated their access to available resources of interest, in special consideration to the "new normality" implications.

Director of Mental Health and Wellbeing - Dorothy Kwok

  • Dorothy aimed to develop "wellbeing advocates" via diverse workshops and events, and to be the student resource to navigate the mental health and wellness services to those in need. She shared mindfulness practice notes with the cohort, shared motivating mindfulness quotes via different PPAGS channels, and co-organized fitness and social activities to integrate wellness in daily lives.

Vice President, External - Ellen Rowe

  • VP External seeks to establish relations with external parties among PGSAs, PGSS, and McGill. This office represents PPAGS at PGSS Council meetings and other graduate student associations, when appropriate. In keeping the PPAGS Executive Team informed, Ellen produced and shared brief reports highlighting any developments made and decisions taken at PGSS Council meetings.
  • Ellen worked with the Executive Team (such as VP Academic and VP Social and Events) to organize various opportunities to connect with external groups in PGSS and at McGill throughout the school year.

Vice President, Communications - Adele Brawley

  • VP Communications is responsible for all official correspondence with external entities, developing communications and social media strategies, as well as advertising PPAGS social events. Adele created the PPAGS official website with VP Operations and ensured that all students were effectively receiving PPAGS information and updates.

Vice Presidents, Operations and Finance - Mikayla Zolis & Ricardo Chejfec Ciociano

  • Each year, VP Operations and Finance ensures financial and operational processes are established and maintained throughout the year to foster a cohesive and impactful service delivery. Mikayla and Ricardo set up administrative processes and guidelines as a foundation to enable success for future PPAGS teams.
  • VP Operations and Finance also developed and maintain project management processes and financial infrastructures; assisted the Executive Team in turning their proposals into events or services; supported collaboration between Executive Team members, and ensured the services provided by PPAGS are up to standard.
  • In collaboration with the rest of the Executive Team, VP Operations and Finance provided the cohort at-large with entertaining, informative, and enhancing programming and services.

Vice President, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) - Nayantara Sudhakar

  • The VP EDI's role is to lead the PPAGS EDI Group and cultivate an environment that allows students to feel a sense of belonging, inclusion, fairness and mutual respect. The primary method of championing for this is through acting as a liaison between the students, the EDI Working Group, and the Max Bell School. Nayantara creating an EDI Resource Book, organized positive spaces to discuss the topics of equity, diversity, and inclusion, held "office hours" where students could bring forward their hopes and aspirations for bolstering the schools welcoming atmosphere, and remained an ally for all students.

Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) - Mariel Aramburu

  • As Director of EDI, Mariel worked with the Vice-President of EDI to support the cultivation of an environment that allows students to feel a sense of belonging, inclusion, fairness and mutual respect. In addition, Mariel assisted in planning events and workshops that helped students build a working knowledge of issues concerning EDI.

Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) - Gulrukh Qidwai

  • As Director of EDI, Gulrukh assisted in organizing events and workshops aimed at fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for students, in addition to serving as a resource for students on issues ranging across accessibility, sexual violence, harassment and discrimination. In her role as Director of EDI, Gulrukh aimed to cultivate a supportive environment for students based on the principles of belonging, inclusion, fairness and mutual respect.

Vice President, Academics - Leonardo Lozano Amaro

  • As the VP of Academics, Leonardo represented students’ academic interests and concerns to the Max Bell School. He strove to improve the student learning environment and facilitate students’ professional ambitions.

Vice Presidents, Social and Events - Rebecca Charles & Udita Upadhyay

  • The VPs of Social and Events coordinated and executed social events and activities for Max Bell students to foster a stronger sense of community at the school. They were responsible for overseeing any social event end to end from planning the events, creating brochures, communicating about the events and eventually executing the events. They also collaborated with other members of the Executive Team and the school administration and any volunteers in coordinating process.


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