Candidate Q&A

Elliot Ginzburg's picture

The 2021-2022 State Officer candidates answered questions sent in by PA-TSA members. The questions were asked by office. Here are their responses.




What experience do you possess that will help you lead a dynamic officer team next year?


Madison: Hey PA-TSA, great question! This past year I had the honor of serving as your State Reporter, and the past three years I have served as my chapter’s president. Throughout these experiences, I gained insight into the inner workings of PA-TSA and developed my organization, communication, and collaboration skills. The biggest thing I’ve learned? How to listen. While it’s important to be able to voice your ideas, it is equally important to listen to other’s ideas and give them a fair chance. As State President, I would apply everything I’ve learned from these experiences into improving our team dynamic.


Vice President:


How has your previous term prepared you to chair the Regional Representatives committee?


Avery Broggi: My previous term on the state officer team has provided me with a vast amount of information and skills essential to serve as our next State Vice President. This year as your State Historian, I improved PA-TSA’s social media communication, further preparing me for the communication challenges presented within our regional representatives committee. While serving as a co-chair of the Communications and Promotions Committee, I have been able to increase our efficiency and interest in state committees. Preparing me for the job of adapting to the individual needs of each region, ensuring their success.


Julie Wright: My experience with chairing the Conference Sessions and Activities Committee and my communication-based initiatives are prominent in preparing me to chair the Regional Representatives Committee. Chairing CSAC has given me the proper experience of communicating with many groups of members to bring their ideas to life, in this case, special interest sessions. Because of this, I am ready to bring forth the same skills to the Regional Representatives Committee and help foster a community of growth for PA-TSA. My communication initiatives in relation to social media also prepare me for the communication that is required for the Regional Representatives Committee. 




How have you worked to foster good working relationships and respect among all members of your chapter/committees? How have you helped with diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in your chapter/committee?


Eryn McKendree: Thank you for the inquiry! Over the past several years I have had the opportunity to work within my chapter and in several State Committees. I can, with confidence, say that with each new dynamic came a need for different forms of communication and cooperative actions. Personally, I have worked to foster a strong professional relationship with these groups through the use of conversation. By focusing on drawing out conversations, I have been able to truly connect with my teams. Conversation is an excellent way to bring all viewpoints to the stage, and grow respect between members as familiarity increases.


I have participated in establishing several initiatives, both on the state and regional level, that focused on increasing opportunities for ALL students. On the regional level, I and the others on the officer team worked to provide a steady platform of initiatives that would assist chapters and remain open to students of various backgrounds. In the Outreach Committee, my research on opportunities has always been geared towards helping groups that do not normally receive much attention or assistance. I specifically pursued opportunities for students struggling to keep up with the overall expenses of TSA or expenses of post-secondary education. 


Ben Moldovsky: In my chapter, we promote unity by giving everyone at our school the chance to join TSA regardless of their circumstances. We do this by providing the opportunity for individuals to fundraise money for themselves by participating in a chapter event. For example, we have an Applebee’s event in which members can work as waiters and based on the work they do earn different amounts of money. Furthermore, in committees members from throughout the state can join despite their age. This creates a greater diversity of ideas and helps our committee work reflect beneficially on the entire state delegation.




While NSP has been a success this year, how do you plan to expand its plans regarding virtual fundraising for chapters?


Avanti Athavale: To help chapters who are struggling with fundraising (whether it be for their own chapter or the ACS), the NSP will organize multiple virtual meetings throughout the year that chapters can attend to get help in terms of fundraising. Chapters who have had successful fundraising efforts in the past will be invited to these meetings as well. I want these meetings to be a collaborative space where chapters who have been successful can help chapters who have been struggling when it comes to their in-person or virtual fundraising efforts; these meetings would be organized by the NSP.  


Rik Battacharyya: The largest roadblock to fundraising is not a lack of resources but a lack of guidance. My focus for fundraising, traditional or virtual, would be providing this guidance to chapters. Along with streamlining ACS donations through a donation portal and dashboard, I would directly meet with chapter officers and have a training program where experienced chapters can guide other chapters through the virtual fundraising process. As a regional president, I held similar chapter representative meetings where new ideas were shared between chapters. I am confident in my ability to bring chapters together and provide guidance for better virtual fundraising.


James Coppersmith: While my focus as chair of the National Service Project Committee would be physical fundraising, as most donors wouldn’t be as enthusiastic about more Zoom calls, I’ve focused on building a campaign for everyone, including those who prefer virtual formats. As such, I’d like to use new digital platforms to create a more direct, cohesive, and “linked” (hence the Link Subcommittee name) fundraising program. Committee members and interested PA-TSA members and advisors would be invited into NSPC group chats and a Discord server, which would help vastly improve our communication/promotion compared to the generally slow process of email exchange.


Phillip Gao: This year, I served as Vice Chair for the NSP and led the Chapter Fundraising sub-committee. We developed a virtual fundraising kit and started a program called the Chapter Assistance Initiative. Although my committee and I accomplished a lot, I believe that there’s still more to be done. For example, I think that chapters who have raised a lot for the ACS should share their ideas and offer advice to the rest of the state. As Chair of the NSP, I will establish a forum on the PA-TSA website where chapters can share their successful fundraisers and give tips. 




What plans do you have to improve the Communications and Promotions Committee?


Vraj Patel: Hi PA-TSA! There are several initiatives I plan to implement to improve the Communications and Promotions Committee (CAPC)! First, I aim to establish a sub-committee within CAPC that works on organizing skill workshop sessions; these sessions will teach members crucial skills like graphic design paramount to chapter promotional content or TSA events. My next objective pivots around state-networking: a sub-committee within CAPC will work with the Outreach committee to involve students in reaching out to states to adopt new initiatives, collaborate among states, and advertise events for states. These initiatives will be helpful in enhancing the CAPC! Thank you!


Michelle Zheng: In recent years, the main focus of CAPC has been promotional material: posters, social media, etc. While these projects are important, CAPC could become much more. Under my leadership, members will make real change in PA-TSA by creating introductory videos for new TSA members, designing materials for a Member Recruitment Toolkit, and more! Members will also be able to utilize skills outside of graphic design such as video production and research skills. Last but not least, these initiatives will require establishing more subcommittees, which means more leadership opportunities for members! Check out my Instagram @michelle4reporter for more on my campaign!




How do your initiatives bring new opportunities to CSAC and session attendees?


Zane Al-Saleem: Through my college prep initiatives, many unique opportunities will be provided for members, helping improve their chances of getting accepted into their ideal post-secondary school. With the help of the Alumni association, we can compile resources for students to aid in their application process. These resources would include things such as tips, examples, and general advice from alumni that have previously been accepted to some of the best schools of PA. This coupled with increased recognition of PA-TSA from contacted colleges, will allow members to maximize their chances of attending the school of their choosing.


Evan Kahn: Hello PA-TSA, my initiates would bring new opportunities. For example, my KAHNfort initiative includes an introductory video series that creates opportunities for students to succeed and I would create a “New To States” special interest session with CSAC. My KAHNmunication initiative would allow members to give feedback with town hall and regional representative meetings so we can ensure sessions are appealing and interesting. Finally, my KAHNnection initiative would allow students to connect with video game nights so they can have a more enjoyable conference while seeing familiar faces. For more information please visit or my Instagram account.


Rushil Negandhi: Hey PA-TSA! If elected, I would make a significant addition by implementing online monthly workshops for all members to attend. Seeing how virtual platforms were used through my committee involvement, I realized that these can enhance members’ experiences.  In addition to expanding the role of CSAC, the virtual sessions will allow members to clarify rules and collaborate. 


Also, I will use surveys to gather the membership’s opinion on which special interest sessions to run early in the year. This will let attendees determine the best conference experience possible. Check out my campaign social media and website for more information!


Miriam Ruback: Currently, PA-TSA members can gain leadership experience and can connect with other members only twice a year, at FLEX and at our State Conference.  I propose two additional channels for developing leadership and encouraging interaction: leadership forums and Instagram polls.  The leadership forums would bring in alumni, so that members could learn how to improve their chapters.  The Instagram polls would create more Special interest Sessions for members to learn and have fun.  They would improve attendance, because they would directly meet members’ expressed preferences.  Moreover, these polls would create an additional opportunity for members to work with the Reporter.