State Officer Candidates for 2017-2018

State Officer Candidate Statements 2017-2018



Francis Chalissery: Hey PATSA! I am Francis Chalissery and I would be honored to serve as your 2017-18 State President. Last year, in the continuous pursuit of improving the PATSA experience, I served as your 2016-17 State Treasurer. Through collaborating with the American Cancer Society and initiating new fundraising ventures, my experience as State Treasurer has given me valuable insight on how to prudently execute ideas, consequently vivifying me with the intrinsic motivation to lead the PATSA membership. Since sixth grade, TSA has made a momentous and beneficial impact on my work ethic and personality that will continue to serve useful into the depths of my professional career. As State President, it would be my goal to enrich the PATSA experience, giving all of you the wonderful opportunities that I have been so fortunate to receive.

At the 2016 State Conference, PATSA had 139 attending schools, one of the highest attendances in the nation! However, PATSA has actually had 222 chapters since the organization’s inception, meaning 83 schools have left PATSA, and our organization is only 62% of what its size could be! As State President, I would like to prioritize aiding new chapters in Competitive Events, and fostering inter-chapter friendly competition and camaraderie at States. This year, if elected, I seek to implement various initiatives including a Q&A system integrated into PATSA’s website, a chapter recognition system, and a forum connecting PATSA’s students and alumni. So remember: when it comes time to vote, vote Chalissery for Prosperity!

Vice President


Benjamin Abt: Hey PA-TSA, my name is Ben Abt and I am running for the position of State Vice President. This is my fifth year in TSA and as a past Chapter President, Sergeant-at-arms and current State Officer, I have learned and done many things that I hope to expand on this year.

First, I want to create an FAQ section on the website for members, new chapters, parents and advisors to easily find the answers to many commonly asked questions. Furthermore, I want to create a submission box for member ideas. This is because as an officer, it is my job to represent the members and what they want. By creating an idea submission box, members will be provided a direct voice in the future of PA-TSA. Next, I hope to create an alumni directory on the website. This would include a list of past members, what school they went to, what they are doing now and a way to contact them. By using these contacts, it will allow members to improve the quality of their events with people who would like to help. Finally, I have been in contact with current State Vice President, Catherine Lui, and I hope to continue running the printer station and expanding it for our next state conference. I want give members a larger say in the future of TSA and to incorporate past members into helping current members. Vote Ben Abt for your PA-TSA state vice president.


Anna Cutler: Hello PA-TSA! My name is Anna Cutler and I want to be the PA-TSA State Vice President for the 2017-2018 school year! TSA has been an incredibly influential part of my life for the past 5 years through the experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve met, and the skills I’ve gained. Now, I feel as though it is rightfully time for me to serve and lead the PA-TSA delegation as the State Vice President. All current TSA members are lucky to be exposed to the excellency that is TSA. If elected, I would strive to include even more students in this organization by creating new chapters and increasing recruitment at existing chapters. The integral STEM principles are becoming increasingly desirable and prevalent in the ‘real world,’ therefore I strongly believe we, as a state, must work together to get more students and advisors involved in TSA and make our collective future brighter than ever. I embody the enthusiasm, work ethic, and communication skills necessary to make this dream a reality. PA-TSA, the future lies with us and it is our responsibility to send bright, innovative minds into the working world. All of that is possible through TSA.


Joshua Famous: Hello PA-TSA! My name is Joshua Famous, and I’m campaigning for the office of Vice President. I absolutely love this club and the opportunities TSA offers its members. I’ve been involved with TSA four years, and served as my chapter’s secretary and president. I serve on the Corporate Outreach and Membership committees and attended the Leadership Conference at Millersville University.

As an officer, I will bring demonstrations of developing technologies to conferences, exposing members to the rapidly developing technological world. It is essential for TSA to stay innovative, and working with technology companies will give us the edge to be more successful later in life. My plan also includes providing chapters with more comprehensive and helpful resources, which the vice president’s close ties with membership committee would allow me to do. Most importantly, I want to carry out the ideas of you, the PA-TSA members. I believe that as an officer I should strive to hear the opinions of as many members as possible, and design an initiative best suited to the interests of everyone.

So when our favorite time of year comes around this April, just remember: I’m not in it for the Fame – I’m in it for Us. Vote Famous for Vice President!


Thomas Lichtel: Since my inaugural year in the Technology Student Association, I have been fascinated by its principles. The idea that my generation can create a better future has always resonated with me, and I’ve always wanted to be as involved with TSA as possible. Thus, it only makes sense that I attempt to put myself in a position not just to be involved, but to lead. As I consider it likely that I will pursue legal studies and possibly even a career in politics after finishing college, I am enthralled by the prospect of serving as Pennsylvania TSA’s vice president. Through this experience, I will utilize skills I’ve acquired from other officer positions to assist the president in leading PATSA to excellence.

Furthermore, it is advantageous for the students of the Pennsylvania Technology Student Association to have me as vice president, because I represent a fresh, diverse element that has perhaps been absent among PATSA student leaders in recent years. I come from a small chapter, as many if not most students in this organization do, yet most PATSA officers hail from only a select few schools. I also prove that small chapters can succeed, through my numerous PATSA pins and State Conference trophies from Middle School Tech Bowl and High School Technology Problem Solving. I need not even mention my success in public speaking, athletics, the arts, nor my grades, which keep me in the top four percent of my class.

Hence, I intend to be PATSA’s next vice president.


Aiza Siddiqui: Hey PATSA! I’m currently a junior at South Western High School and this is my fifth year in TSA. I am running for vice president because I understand the importance of such a huge role, and I believe I’m capable of handling it. The duty of vice president is to make sure we have a strong membership and to also be alert to the welfare of our chapters. With my active participation in membership committee this year, I know what we can and can’t do to recruit new members. I know it’s important to find new chapters, but to also expand within our currently existing chapters as well. As vice president, I would be presiding over membership committee; I would be sure to focus on any struggling chapters and do my best to help them thrive whether they are trying to increase their membership or just need help with events. I would also continue to progress on things we have started this year on membership committee, such as the new chapter information packet. Thank you and when the time comes around, don’t forget Aiza S equals success!



Kareem Majid: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”. With unparalleled brevity, and peerless impact, Winston Churchill summed up who we are as people who strive to succeed, in whatever capacity we have set for ourselves. We are infinitely capable of doing infinitely better, to not rest on our laurels, or stumble on our failures, but to instead, make something of it. This will be my fourth state conference, and over these four years, this is what I have learned to live by. These failures drive us forwards, and have personally led to my greatest successes. As someone humbly running to be your next Secretary, this is what I have in mind, so much so, that my thoughts wander to chapters and individuals who lacked the opportunity to fail, and thus succeed, time and again. Therefore, my platform revolves around the inception of resources for new members and chapters – an interest session, connecting experienced, veteran members and alumni, with new members. I began to comprehend the value of this when this past year, my chapter restarted, under a new set of advisors, in a new location, and thankfully, they offered years of veteran TSA experience, but that was our good luck – new chapters typically lack that sort of luck. By bringing these types of STEM professionals, we can grow TSA into something more, using Corporate Outreach Committee (which I’m in), to tap into a vast network of alumni/professionals.


Madison Okkerse: “A Leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Although I may not be as qualified as Harambe for this position, my experience as TSA member will be able to lead PA-TSA to success in Defining my Future as your next State Secretary. As your current State Parliamentarian, I have gone through with my campaign ideas such as the Remind 101 program and the PA POST Article contests. I plan to bring PA-TSA the most innovative ideas that I can implement at the next State Conference. As a delegate or a regular member, have you ever gotten hungry during the lengthy business meeting, and just start day-dreaming of your favorite snack? Now, you can settle this need with a snack during the open sessions, which would be provided by Seven Springs and local businesses contacted by the Corporate Sponsorship Committee, chaired by the Secretary. Also on the Corporate Sponsor agenda, I would like to use this resource in order to increase the amount of judges at the State Conference who have a background in STEM technology by contacting our corporate sponsors and asking for judge volunteers. This also helps increase judging fairness and provides another kind of sponsorship instead of solely financial. If you have any questions about my campaign ideas or want to contact me, email me at parliamentarian [at] or find me on Facebook or Instagram by searching “Maddy Okkerse.” Lets Go With Maddy O!



Julian Ginzburg: Hello PA-TSA! My name is Julian Ginzburg and I am running to represent you, PA-TSA, as your next Treasurer. After thinking about my more than three years of involvement in TSA, I have come to realize that I would not be the person I am today without TSA. Besides gaining skills in public speaking, research, and design, TSA has helped me develop my leadership skills.

TSA has also taught me the value of giving back to the community. As Treasurer of my chapter, I have worked to organize fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, and robotics and Lego competitions for elementary school students. For all of this, I want to give back to this wonderful organization as your 2017-2018 State Treasurer.

As PA-TSA Treasurer and Chair of the National Service Project Committee, I would work to continue PA-TSA’s commitment to giving back to the community by increasing chapter accessibility to fundraising. If elected, I would work to create the necessary tools for all chapters to fundraise. These resources would not only help chapters raise money for the American Cancer Society, but also help defray the costs of students attending the state conference. To accomplish this, among other things, I propose creating a Community-Give Back resource page on the PA-TSA website that would provide information regarding fundraisers and community service events that chapters could host with detailed explanations on how to plan these events.

For someone who will continue PA-TSA’s extraordinary commitment to giving back, vote Julian Ginzburg as your next State Treasurer!


Zachary Manlin: I’m Zachary Manlin, and many of you may know me as “the guy that runs the smash tournament”—but this year, I’m running to be your next PATSA Treasurer. The story behind this began long before a campaign for state office was on my mind. As a 9th grader, I came up with the idea to hold a Super Smash Brothers tournament at the state conference as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. I reached out to Ms. Lapinski and the state officers, and through a series of emails, we were able to work out the event for the 2015 conference despite complications and an already packed conference schedule. At states 2016, it was invited back, where it raised more money than any other fundraiser at the conference. This year, I served as Vice Chair of the National Service Project Committee, working alongside the chairman and current PATSA Treasurer, Francis Chalissery. Our primary task was to replace the ACS Racers, which was being dropped this year, after having been the primary ACS fundraising event at states in years prior. Due to its success in previous years, we decided to expand the Smash tournament and make it the primary fundraiser. My experiences working with PATSA officers and board members through coordinating and running these tournaments prove my high level of motivation and commitment to PATSA, as well as my qualifications to fulfill the responsibilities of this office. As Treasurer, I will be able to deliver the most successful fundraiser(s) yet.


Jonah Proepper: Hello, PA-TSA! My name is Jonah Proepper and I am running to be your 2017-18 State Treasurer. My TSA experience began when I was in seventh grade. Since then, I have held numerous officer positions including my chapter’s President and Vice President, as well as my region’s Treasurer. Over the past year, I have attended the State Leadership Conference and served on the Membership and Corporate Outreach committees. My leadership experience coupled with my spirit of innovation will allow me to improve PA-TSA in many ways.

First is providing sponsorships. Continually, many successful members are unable to attend the National Conference due to the cost. To eliminate this problem, I have developed a plan to acquire corporate sponsors for events. These sponsorships will fund top placers in events to ensure their attendance at the National Conference. Second is expanding fundraising efforts. The treasurer is responsible for overseeing all American Cancer Society fundraising efforts. To increase our donations, I will develop a comprehensive packet containing fundraising tips, ACS information and event ideas for chapters. In addition, I would initiate an incentive system for fundraising chapters to enjoy themselves at states. Third is improving special interest sessions. I would implement a survey on special interest sessions so members have a greater voice in sessions that are offered at the State Conference. As Treasurer, I would make the State Conference more affordable and enjoyable for all members. When it’s time to cast your ballot, just remember to make the PROEPPER choice for Treasurer!


Abigail Reigner: Hello, PA-TSA! My name is Abigail Reigner, and I’m running to be your 2017-2018 state treasurer. I am a sophomore at Boyertown Senior High School, where I currently serve as my chapter’s vice president, and previously served as my middle school chapter’s treasurer. At the state level, I am involved in three committees. I serve as the vice-chair for Green Committee, along with being a member on Corporate Outreach and Membership Committee.

As state treasurer, my main course of action would be to implement a scholarship opportunity for members who struggle financially to pay for states. In the past, I have seen my friends qualify in events at regionals, but struggle to attend states, since they had trouble affording it. The program would be based as an online-application, and operate similarly to a college scholarship application, helping to prepare members to actually apply for college scholarships. I would like to help spread chapter fundraising techniques, as my chapter has held a multitude of successful fundraisers, such as a designer bag bingo. We made just under $4000 on, which was then distributed to help pay for states to participating members. I would also continue to expand corporate funding, which would involve continuing to reach out to past-presidents and notable alumni.

PA-TSA is already a strong organization. Now, it is time to focus on making the members who help make it that way just as strong. PA-TSA, it is time to Prevail with Abigail.


Tyler Stickles: I am interested in the office of State Treasurer because TSA has brought me to what I like to do in life. I like engineering, CADD and etc. I am currently the Treasurer of my chapter and in being Treasurer it has made me more responsible and has helped me learn more about leadership but also how to work better with a team. TSA is what I love about life I used to be a couch potato but now that I do this it gets me more excited when I wake up in the morning knowing that I can go to TSA today. I have always been the kid that never gets picked first for gym or get called popular, if I win this state office I will be able to all my friends that I am not a nothing and I can actually do something other than tutoring. That is why I am running for the office of State Treasurer and why I believe that I should get your vote. Just remember Tyler for Treasurer.



Karissa Becer: When I first joined Technology Student Association, I was a clueless freshman. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if TSA was the organization for me— and then I attended my first regional competition. I was hooked. I’ve met incredible people through TSA that I never would have met otherwise. Throughout the years, I’ve learned why people in my local chapter affectionately call our members “TSA fam”— because that’s truly the only way to phrase it. The close knit community that forms while slaving over projects and frantically looking for lost tools doesn’t disband after the school year or even after members graduate. Utilizing social media is a great way to stay in contact with friends, and reach out to others. With experience in social media, running several accounts for various clubs at my school, I am a more than capable media head and consultant. In addition to strength in social media, I have journalism experience as a reporter for Fox Tales, the school magazine, and press training at an apprenticeship for advertising and public relations at Point Park University. Communication’s ability to convey important information and connect the best minds despite distance is an impressive feat. Through proper utilization, I feel that we could generate motivation to participate in PATSA sponsored charities and spread PATSA’s influence as an association that fosters growing interest in STEM careers. Connecting the eastern and western halves (and everything in between) is vital to involvement in TSA, and to creating a statewide “TSA fam.”

Shreya Bhutani: Hey, PA-TSA! My name is Shreya Bhutani and I want to be your 2017-18 State Reporter. I’m currently a junior at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School and have served multiple chapter officer positions, including Vice President and Secretary. I have also collaborated and met with many of you by serving as a member of the Green Committee, Membership Committee, and as the Vice Chair of the Communications Committee. When I first joined TSA in seventh grade, I had no idea that I was beginning a journey that would change my life. Throughout my time in TSA, I have lost sleep, but I have gained important experiences in STEM and leadership.

Mark Zuckerberg, TSA alumni, once said, “When you give everyone a voice… the system usually ends up in a really good place”. Having worked with the current and immediate-past Reporter, through my two years in the Communications Committee, I understand the responsibilities of this office. I hope to use my background to ensure that you always have an opportunity to voice your opinions. My goal is to make the PA-Post accessible and appealing to more members. I will expand the Post’s capabilities by renovating its distribution method and layout. Also, I will encourage open communication by creating more outlets for vocalization, so that you will always have a say and PA-TSA will always hear you.

If you have any questions, please contact me at shreyabhutani [at] Remember to vote Shreya Bhutani as your 2017-18 Reporter!


Lyndsey Nedrow: I joined TSA because of my love for leadership. I am running for State Reporter because I believe it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted. Furthermore, I’m running to see where all of the ideas I’ve never gotten to share go and make sure everyone feels like they have a voice in the future. This position would give me a chance to challenge the leadership and communication skills that I have acquired throughout the years. In the past, I’ve gotten the chance to experience leadership in many different ways. I served as the middle school TSA chapter president, and throughout my years in TSA I have been president in the Chapter Team event. Also, I am currently the president of Venture Crew 1861. In this role, I plan our camping events, fundraisers, community service projects, and hold leadership meetings so that the crew is almost completely youth lead. Finally, I was appointed by teachers to attend the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference in May where I will strengthen and learn new leadership skills. The State Reporter must be skilled in communication and writing. I would serve well in this role because in the past, I have explored the theatrical world through professional shows around my town, and English is my strongest subject. I am not afraid to share my voice. I want to completely fulfill the TSA motto of learning to lead in technical world, and I believe that I would be qualified to do that through the Reporter position.


Justin Hartman: Hi PA-TSA, I’m Justin Hartman, a junior from South Western High School. For me, TSA has been a life-changing and thoroughly-enlightening experience. The Technology Student Association has instilled in me a passion for growth and development, goal-setting, as well as an enthusiastic joy of learning. It is my goal to spread this enthusiasm to as many members of TSA as possible, whether they are newcomers or seasoned participants. I have multiple ideas on how I plan to accomplish this goal. First, I would like to implement a system of text and/or email notifications for semifinalist postings. This would not only increase the amount of time each semifinalist has to prepare for their competition, but would also greatly decrease the congestion by the semifinalist posting boards. Second, I would like to increase member and advisor participation in the PA-TSA email list, social media pages, and website. Doing so will help chapters and members be more involved in and more aware of PA-TSA activities and progress, which will lead to an even greater enthusiasm for TSA. Thank you for your time, and remember: “This is Just In, vote Hartman for Reporter!”

Emily Wright: Hi PA-TSA! My name is Emily Wright, and I would be honored to serve as your Reporter next year. Throughout my four exciting years as an active member in TSA, I have sharpened my technological skills, in addition to engaging in multiple initiatives outside of my events involving my chapter in both community service and fundraising for the ACS. I have served as both Chapter Historian and Chapter President, and as a result, I have developed a considerable amount of leadership experience along with a strong drive to help contribute to this incredible organization—as well as to inspire others to do the same.

One of the responsibilities of the Reporter is to oversee the production of the PA-Post. By working with the Communications Committee, I have already developed an understanding of the work that accounts for producing the newsletter. Next year, I want to utilize the PA-Post by publishing more articles that inspire our members to enrich their PA-TSA experiences through advertisement of opportunities that emphasize community service, fundraising, committee participation, and other leadership roles. Additionally, I would like to hold new special interest sessions at our state conference, as well as google hangout sessions, to accomplish the same goal. While working with the Communications Committee and the Corporate Outreach Committee, I have noticed that involvement beyond the event serves as a key element that contributes to the optimal TSA experience. By serving as your Reporter, I hope to advertise these opportunities as often as possible. See you at States!


Dhruv Agarwal: Hello PA TSA, I am Dhruv Agarwal, and I am striving to be your 2017-2018 PA TSA Sergeant-At-Arms. Hopefully you will ask, “Why should I vote for this Dhruv dude?” Well let me tell you! I believe that to be a successful officer, one must also be a courageous leader. I strive to exemplify this and put the benefit of the group before myself and generate plans that will have the best impact on our members. One idea I have is to create a modern machinery program at States, which teaches students about upcoming innovations, such as 3D printers and drones, so students can get a hands-on experience on STEM innovations that they may not have access to themselves. I will develop a PA-TSA specific LEAP event so we can focus on improving students, because leadership is meant for all. Every day, I remember a saying by my advisor, “Good enough, never is”. I have mastered many editing suites such as Adobe Premiere, LightWorks, and Blender, which enables me to develop multimedia for PA TSA; this motto reminds me that I can always train and improve my skills! When I’m not working on TSA, I enjoy playing select soccer, training as a black belt, and vacationing in active war zones with my brother (ask me about that at States). I believe I am the right choice for Sergeant-At-Arms, so that I can guide PA TSA to success and beyond. Remember, if you can dream it, you can Dhruv it!


Ari Beal: Hello PATSA. My name is Ari Beal and I will be running to be your 2017-2018 PATSA Sergeant-At-Arms. If there are two things that I care most about in TSA, they are making a difference in TSA and making sure that all people are enjoying the conference. The ideas that I have crafted for the members of TSA are formed to aid the members in anything that they would need, while donating to a charity that is near and dear to the community of TSA.

TSA has inspired me to expand my horizons, and some of the events that I have competed in have provided me with information that I couldn’t have dreamed to gain when I was not in TSA. Last summer, I got the honor of attending the State Leadership Conference, where I got to witness firsthand how TSA works as a state delegation. I have also served as a chapter officer for my chapter for two years, making my chapter a better community every day. This year, I have had the honor of serving on the PATSA Corporate Outreach Committee and I have learned from several state officers how to run a successful committee. I cannot wait to share my ideas with the member body, and meet everyone attending the state conference.

I believe that with my ideas and knowledge of how to effectively lead in TSA, I can help the members truly learn to lead in a technical world.


Charisma Hasan: How do we feel, PA-TSA? Although you’re probably busy “working on your events” before states, I want to tell you about how we can build a stronger organization together. My name is Charisma Hasan, and I hope to become your next Sergeant at Arms. I could spend these limited words describing my personality, but I promise on my name that I have what it takes to lead you. Being a part of TSA for three years has not only made me into a more tech-savvy person but has nurtured my character and established passions that I will carry with me throughout my life.

Sturdy membership is the base of any notable organization, though this does not necessarily mean more membership. Our state should strive towards quality over quantity by building a strong foundation before expanding. We also need to amplify past connections; the alumni association is a resource with great potential, we cannot allow bygones to be bygones when we have access to past membership. With more experience and external resources, alumni can bring new proposals, corporations, and advertising. At states, I am running a “Past Champions Demonstration” where members can obtain instruction on events by former state and national champions. This will intensify competition and provide support to all chapters. In future conferences, I plan to extend this student-run opportunity with skills instructions such as CAD and video editing.

I wish you all sleep before the conference. And remember, a little bit of Charisma goes a long way!


Meysoon Quraishi: TSA has shown itself to help me learn about and grow personally as well as professionally. This organization has aided me in developing skills in which will help me throughout school and in professional environments. I am running for Sergeant-at-Arms in order to create a friendly environment and share with others the same experience and impact that TSA has had in my life. This position spoke to me because of it’s importance in regards to interacting with other people about something that I am so passionate about. I promise to insure communication between TSA members and strengthen the relationship between the organization and officers. As the greeter and doorkeeper of all meetings I feel that it is my responsibility to create a welcoming atmosphere to all and will be able to represent the organization with a friendly demeanor. My qualifications for the position include being co-president of the TSA chapter that I am apart of. This job has shown me how to effectively set up meeting between our chapter and encouraging others to join. These experiences as co-president would be easily outsourced while serving as sergeant-at-arms and in representing TSA. I look forward to possibly being able to serve an officer and be able to share my capabilities to improve and further progress this organization.


Zoe Sweet: Hello PA-TSA, my name is Zoe Sweet and I would like to be your 2017-18 Sergeant-At-Arms. I am currently an eighth grader at Daniel Boone Middle School. In my sixth-grade year, I held the position of Sergeant-At-Arms, in seventh-grade I held the position of Vice President, and currently I hold the position of president. If, for some reason, you believe that holding three different chapter officer positions are not good qualifications by themselves, I will share more. Almost every other week I volunteer at my local church as a Sunday School teacher. I work with children from kindergarten to 4th grade teaching classes. I also volunteer at my library as well as participate in multiple clubs; holding the position of president in Fellowship of Christian Students (a club I started at my school). I have dedicated the past three years to TSA. I am constantly checking in with my adviser, as well as doing whatever I can to help. My chapter has separate meetings for each grade, and every single meeting, for all three grades, I attend. I help every student who has any questions about their competition, as well as developing friendships with those students. Even though I am young, I am determined to help PA-TSA become even better than it already is. Talk to me at this year’s state conference for information about me and my campaign. Remember: Zoe Sweet, the SWEET choice for Sergeant-At-Arms.