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Joseph Conteh.JPG

 Joseph Conteh poses for a photo at UNM campus on Thursday, March 21.                                

GPSA Presidential elections: Joseph Conteh

Joseph Conteh (ballot #2) is running for Graduate and Professional Student Association President. His campaign centers on collaboration and creating more opportunities for graduate students at the University.

Conteh is pursuing a Master of Public Administration and has served as the Public Relations Director for GPSA this past year. He also served as the Student Body Vice President for the University of Sierra Leone during his undergraduate career.

His work in the past has focused on supporting projects from rural communities in Sierra Leone, which fostered skills he said he would bring to this position.

“The experience I learned from those areas in terms of partnering with community members to really assess the needs, to really bring people together towards a common goal,” Conteh said.

Expanding the Graduate Scholarship Act would be a top priority of his, Conteh said, after it did not come to fruition in the Legislative Session this year. The Act could be particularly beneficial for international students, he said.

“It's something that is going to benefit everyone. So many international students come in when this kind of scholarship is available and additional scholarships that (support)  research,”  Conteh said.

Working with the past GPSA administration, Conteh said, has been valuable to understand what works well and what can be improved. He wants to continue the work the prior administration has started on the Graduate Scholarship Act, while also striving to get more representation.

To push for its passage, Conteh said he wants to work with universities statewide.

Collaboration is the focal point of his campaign, to allow for a comprehensive understanding of the different departments on campus and the best ways for GPSA to support them, he said. This would be accomplished through work visits, departmental reports and collaboration with the GPSA council.

“I love collaboration because, even at the executive level, we don't have all the solutions. We cannot push everything. So what I'm going to do is really get us to that representation,” Conteh said.

Improving the flow of information between GPSA Council and the executive branch is another priority, he said, along with improving relations with other representatives on campus — including the Alumni Association and the Associated Students at the University of New Mexico.

“We can really make UNM a better place for every student if we work together and advocate for issues,” Conteh said.

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Conteh also wants to work with other organizations to find ways to support graduate students, he said. Recently, he said he worked with Bishops’ Storehouse to donate food and supplies to the Lobo Food Pantry.

“We need partnership and collaboration,” Conteh said.

He wants to work with the United Graduate Workers of UNM and support their interests, while also advocating to create more assistantships and positions for graduate students in the University, he said.

“We want to see if we can have an increased number of graduate workers at the University. How that is possible is for us to advocate for more opportunities for students to have those positions,” Conteh said.

With University administration, Conteh said he wants to ensure they are showcasing students' work beyond the University and creating student-oriented activities that encourage engagement.

In his executive cabinet, he wants to work with people who have a similar vision of advocating for graduate students.

“If student organizations come together, things will work because it'll really strengthen and even give more (power) to the voices of students, making (their voices) louder,” Conteh said.

The GPSA election polls open Monday, March 25 at 9 a.m. and close Friday, March 29 at 5 p.m. Graduate and professional students enrolled in a degree-seeking program are eligible to vote.

Maddie Pukite is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at editorinchief@dailylobo.com on Twitter @maddogpukite


Maddie Pukite

Maddie Pukite is the 2023-2024 editor of the Daily Lobo. 

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