Record-breaking voter turnout: Meet the newly elected student leaders of SGA

September 27, 2023

A table with a Student Government Organization sign on it

This year's Student Government Association election garnered the highest undergraduate student voter turnout in more than a decade.

On September 19, SGA held its elections for the 2023-2024 term. Receiving 1,418 votes, SGA reported the highest number of total votes since 2012.

“The SGA election committee appreciates the extensive student participation in this election and hopes that students continue to involve themselves in the Quinnipiac Community,’’ said Thomas Peters ’25, vice president for public relations.

The following students were elected:

Specialized Representatives:
Commuter Senator: Tyler Dougherty ’25

Tyler Dougherty '25 is a third-year transfer student from Burlington, Connecticut, studying finance. Dougherty recently transferred from American University to Quinnipiac and is excited for his first semester on campus.

When choosing to transfer schools, Dougherty was drawn to Quinnipiac through its sense of community in light of the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey National Championship, he said.

During his time at American University, Dougherty held a position as a senator within their student government, leading to his passion for leadership. He looks forward to serving the Quinnipiac student body this year, he said.

“I pride myself on helping others and being a good listener," said Dougherty. "At Quinnipiac, I look forward to continuing to help and listen to people.”

As his term begins, he encourages all students to feel welcome to reach out to him with their concerns.

“I would encourage any student on campus to come and talk to me if there is an issue that they want taken care of," he said. "There may not be issues that I am aware of, but I would always welcome anyone to come talk to me so we can get it solved together.”

As Dougherty looks forward to his term, he encourages all students, especially commuter and transfer students, to join clubs and organizations on campus.

“As a commuter and transfer student, it was hard for me to really engage with the campus as well as meet new people, and joining student clubs and organizations definitely helped me with that," he said.
International Senator: Mvelo Ndlovu ’27

Mvelo Ndlovu '27 is a first-year student from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, majoring in economics. When she first heard about Quinnipiac from her family, she knew it was the perfect place to come to the United States for the first time. Ndlovu felt that a medium-sized school would help her easily adjust to being in a new country.

As having a sense of community is the most important part of any experience for Ndlovu, not only was Quinnipiac the best fit, but student government was as well.

“Having a specialized representation position, I am keen on addressing the unique needs of the international student community," said Ndlovu. "Although I am the international student senator, I also plan to work on finding ways to strengthen connections between all students. Coming into a new country makes it difficult to start from scratch and I hope to make international students feel welcomed and prepared.”

Having nothing like SGA at home, Ndlovu is excited to explore the different ways that this organization can help others be more comfortable and how it can help her learn and grow as well, she said. She plans to work on initiatives that help international students improve their professional portfolios, particularly when it comes to the need for portfolios to apply in multiple countries.

“Even when it’s scary, go for it and get involved," said Ndlovu. "If you end up not liking it, at least you’ll know because you tried. And if you do like it, it’s an opportunity to learn new things about yourself and what you’re capable of."

Veterans Senator: Zachary Foti ’25, JD ’28

Zachary Foti '25, JD '28, is a second-year student from Southington, Connecticut, studying political science in the accelerated dual-degree law program. When choosing a college to attend, Foti was drawn to Quinnipiac for many reasons, making him the seventh member of his family to attend Quinnipiac.

“I chose Quinnipiac for a multitude of reasons, making it hard to narrow it down to just one," said Foti. "I always somewhat knew I was going to come to school here, as growing up I attended summer camps and hockey games.”

As senator for veteran affairs, Foti is dedicated to working with the veterans, listening to their ideas and improving their overall experience at Quinnipiac.

“It may be cliché to state, but since they sacrificed a great deal to fight for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, I take it as the least I can do to help them with their desires,” he said.

Foti has many ideas to improve the student experience at Quinnipiac, however, he wishes to formulate his plans based on student desires. He encourages all student veterans to contact him at any time to express their wishes.

As he begins his term, Foti encourages all students to get involved on campus and make connections within the Bobcat community.

“Just commit and do it," he said. "Joining organizations and clubs on campus has allowed me to form several relationships with people who share common interests as me and helped me to enhance my leadership and communicative qualities.”

Class of 2026
Sophomore Senator: Cara St. John ’26

Cara St. John '26 is a second-year student from Southington, Connecticut, studying psychology. She chose Quinnipiac because she was drawn to the beautiful campus and the student organizations.

During her time as senator, St. John hopes to focus her term on creating open communication between herself and the student body.

“I joined SGA because I care so much about the student experience here at Quinnipiac," she said. "It is my goal to do everything in my power to hear the criticism from students of Quinnipiac and use it to build a better environment for us.” 

St. John has many plans during her term as senator including making first-year seminar classes more oriented around integrating new students into the community. In addition, St. John plans to work with the Albert Schweitzer Institute and the Indigenous Students Union to educate the Quinnipiac community on the school’s history and the importance of indigeneity.

St. John is excited to begin her work as senator and encourages all students to reach out to her with any questions or concerns. 

Class of 2027
Class President: Zachary O’Connell ’26, MBA ’27

Zachary O’Connell '26, MBA '27, is a first-year student from Avon, Connecticut, studying mechanical engineering in the 3+1 accelerated dual-degree MBA program. During his college selection process, O’Connell was drawn to Quinnipiac’s community, location and student opportunities.

During his term as class president, O’Connell is determined to represent the Class of 2027 and is passionate about improving the student experience.

“I can’t wait to make this university an even better place than it already is for not only our class but for everyone,” he said.

O’Connell’s main goal as class president is to advocate for all students and he looks forward to designing his policy around student needs, he added. He is determined to serve as a voice for all students and hopes to maintain open communication with the Class of 2027.

“I personally feel responsible for hearing out everyone and I want them to be able to reach out to me," said O’Connell. "I’m always here for whatever you need, even if it has nothing to do with SGA.”

O’Connell is excited to begin his journey as class president and encourages all students to get involved in the Bobcat community.

“Be open to new opportunities, try to meet new people and push yourself out of your comfort zone," he said. "As long as you try, I guarantee you will find at least one thing that will interest you.”

First-Year Senator: T’aura Smith ’27

T'aura Smith '27 is a first-year student from Boston, studying diagnostic medical sonography. When choosing a school, Smith was drawn to Quinnipiac through its sense of community.

“While visiting Quinnipiac for Admitted Students’ Day, I fell in love! The school spirit, the study-abroad opportunities, the genuine kindness from students and staff alike, it all helped me choose Quinnipiac as my home for the next four years," she said.

During her time as senator, Smith hopes to implement changes that will have long-lasting effects. Some of her goals include providing free feminine hygiene products in restrooms, implementing an updated shuttle app and creating a system that will allow students to donate their clothes to less fortunate students. In addition to her goals, Smith hopes to serve as a representation for Black women on campus.

“Despite being in the minority, I want them to know that we can do big things and leave our mark at this university,” said Smith.

Smith is passionate about serving the student body and letting everyone know that their voices are heard. She feels that it is important that students feel at home during their time at Quinnipiac and is determined to bridge the gap between the study body and administrators.

For students who are looking to get involved during their time at Quinnipiac, Smith has provided encouraging words about taking a leap of faith in joining clubs and organizations.

“It can be nerve-racking to try out for a new club and face the possibility of rejection, but it’s important to get comfortable with the uncomfortable," she said. "By getting involved in student clubs and organizations, it is possible to find something that you are deeply passionate about, just like I did. It can give you a sense of belonging and it’s the perfect way to get productive.”

First-Year Senator: Brooke Dennett ’26, DPT ’29

Brooke Dennett '26, DPT '29, is a first-year student from Norton, Massachusetts, enrolled in the 3+3 accelerated dual-degree doctor of physical therapy program. When choosing a college to attend, Quinnipiac was a clear choice for her.

“I had an easy time choosing Quinnipiac because of their physical therapy program, the opportunities from the university honors program and of course, the stunning campus and facilities.”

As senator, Dennett brings her principles of incitive, inclusion, collaboration and engagement. During her term, she hopes to focus her efforts on bonding the Class of 2027 and creating a sense of belonging for first-year students. Her plans include doing monthly peer shoutouts and class wellness events," she said. 

“I hope that my campaign conveyed just how seriously I will be taking this role and my promise to represent all students of the Class of 2027. I am certain that our cabinet will make great strides this year to continue to improve the nature of Quinnipiac for students.”

As a new student, Dennett encourages all Bobcats to get out of their comfort zones and join a campus organization.

“Don’t let the fear of failing overshadow your ambitions. Being uncomfortable is the strongest way to grow and find your true strengths and passions," she said.

First-Year Senator: MollyAnn O’Malley ’26, MS ’27

MollyAnn O’Malley '26, MS '27, is a first-year student from Meriden, Connecticut, enrolled in the 3+1 accelerated dual-degree computing and engineering program. O’Malley has always known that she wanted to attend Quinnipiac.

“I have wanted to go to Quinnipiac since I was in elementary school, which is crazy since at that time, I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life," she said.

As senator, O’Malley is committed to building the Quinnipiac community and serving as a voice for the student body.

“Since I’ve wanted to go to this school for so long, the idea of being in such an amazing community has been something that I’ve looked forward to for about 10 years," she said.

O’Malley is passionate about representing the study body and she wants all of her constituents to know that she wants their voices to be heard.

“Building this community means that I want everyone’s voice to be heard about anything and everything," she said. "I want to be your friend, someone who you can talk to about our school.”

O’Malley stresses the importance of getting involved at Quinnipiac and encourages all students to join clubs and organizations on campus.

“Whether you join a club of an interest you already have or you’re just exploring ideas for a new hobby, joining clubs and organizations are always a great idea to get involved," she said.

First-Year Senator: Julianna Mazzella ’26, JD ’29

Julianna Mazzella '26, JD '29, is a first-year student from Burlington, Vermont, studying political science in the 3+3 accelerated JD program. When choosing a college to attend, Mazzella fell in love with all of the opportunities that Quinnipiac had to offer.

“I chose Quinnipiac for a multitude of reasons," she said. "I loved how nice everyone was, the size of the campus and the endless possibilities it had to offer. At the end of the day, Quinnipiac was the perfect school for me.”

During her term as senator, Mazzella has many plans including advocating for a shuttle system to the College of Arts and Sciences. She hopes to make life easier and more accessible for all students.

“I want everyone to know that I care about them. All of my decisions and votes will be on behalf of them. It’s my job to represent every Bobcat here at Quinnipiac," she said.

Mazzella wants all students to know that she is devoted to making them feel equality represented and heard. As she begins her term, she encourages all students to branch out and get involved on campus.

“Don’t be afraid to get out there and meet others," she said. "Meeting new people is always stressful, everyone experiences this, but it is worth it in the long run — and you won’t regret it.”

First-Year Senator: Colin Fanning '27

Coin Fanning '27, a first-year student from Honeoye Falls, New York, is studying applied business in the 3+1 accelerated dual-degree MBA program. For him, choosing Quinnipiac was easy — an opportunity to graduate in the traditional four years but with an additional degree paired with the beauty of a campus next to Sleeping Giant, Quinnipiac was too good to pass up.

“I just want to serve the student body. I’m looking to make everyone’s experience of campus better, and the best way I found to make that possible was SGA. I represent the issues, concerns and ideas of the students I represent before any of my own,” he explained.

Even a small difference is worth it for Fanning, who firmly believes that there’s a good chance that out of the nearly 9,000 undergraduate, graduate, law and medical students, the odds are good that someone at Quinnipiac has the same passions and ideas, you just have to find them.

“Whether it’s in a club meeting, walking to class or eating in the dining hall, if you put yourself out there, you are bound to find yourself getting involved," he said.

First-Year Senator: Sasha Caracciolo ‘27

Sasha Caracciolo '27, a political science major, is from Colebrook, Connecticut. In eighth grade, she looked up the best law schools near home and found Quinnipiac. Fast forward to her junior year of high school when she toured the university and fell further in love.

She chose Quinnipiac for its location, small professor-to-student ratio and wealth of student organizations.

“I hope to listen to the comments and concerns of the first-year students and advocate for them. I want to accurately represent their pressing concerns and bring together not only our class, but Quinnipiac as a community,” explained Caracciolo.

She hopes that Quinnipiac knows how hard SGA works to represent each individual, with each class represented and their elected representatives are working towards common interests.

“I highly encourage everyone to get involved with extracurriculars. Don’t overbook yourself of course, but getting involved around campus can help you build connections, relationships and you may even discover new interests," she said.

Mikaela Dorozynski ‘26 was also elected as a sophomore senator.

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