By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Get to know the students up for election

By MATTHEW THOMAS and EVAN PAPPAS, staff reporters


VP for Academic Affairs:  Jessica Murillo

When Jessica Murillo flipped through her high school annual in her senior year she was hurt to find that a misprint had accredited her leading role in Inspecting Carol to her understudy.

From this experience, Murillo thinks that one of the important roles the vice president for academic affairs is recognizing not only successful students but also lending an ear to those who are struggling.

“There are a lot of students here, a lot of departments, that aren’t getting recognition,” Murillo, family consumer science, said. “I believe that they are doing the best they can but it is up to us to let them shine.”

Although Jessica Murillo is a first year student with sophomore standing, she believes she has what it takes to fill the role of the VP for academic affairs.

“I wanted to see how far I could go. You know, I’m young and inexperienced but does that mean I should stop and not learn through it?” Murillo said.

Murillo is not with out any experience of helping others academically; she works with the TRiO program here on campus.

The purpose of TRiO is to assist and support students with disadvantaged backgrounds by offering academic advising, tutoring and other assistance.

The VP for academic affairs responsibilities include acting as the liaison for the BOD to both the Provost and faculty senate and serving as chair for the Student Academic Senate. Murillo wants to move this position forwards by being approachable and maintaining an open door policy.

“For the people who still want to talk about their grades or the whole process I want them to feel at ease, to feel comfortable to talk to us,” Murillo said.

Win or lose, Murillo has enjoyed campaigning and believes her running as a first year student for a BOD position is changing the status quo for the better.

“Hey, at any age you can do anything,” Murillo said. “You shouldn’t be afraid to fail or suceed.”

When Murillo is not designing dresses, studying or helping students through TRiO, you can find her blasting “noobs” in an online game of Team Fortress 2 with  Central Gaming Initiative club.

“Playing video games is really my stress reliever,” Murillo said.


Kelsie Miller, an RA in Davies Hall and part of the Air Force ROTC, is running for the VP for Academic Affairs on the BOD.

New ideas and a strong work ethic are part of what Miller thinks makes her a strong candidate for the position. She is determined to help promote the BOD’s message and to work hard to make a difference.

“I like serving people, I like getting involved, and I want to see more people get involved,” Miller said.

Miller has three main goals for the position of VP for Acadmeic Affairs. The first is to increase awareness of Student Academic Senate by informing people that SAS is a resource for students to get academic help.

The second is to make sure that fund requests are being used to benefit the most students possible.

“I want to make sure that the money does the greatest good for the greatest number of students,” Miller said.

Her third goal is to promote diverse majors and programs on campus.

“I believe that everyone should be able to find where they belong and do what they are passionate about,” Miller said.

Miller has experience in working for the university and for the students.

She was hired last year, as a freshman, to be an RA in an upperclassmen hall and is continuing with that this year in the Bassetis. She takes pride in being able to help foster a strong community in Davies Hall.

“I think being an RA is one of the most personal relationships you build,” Miller said.

Miller has also developed strong leadership skills from the ROTC.

She started Air Force ROTC when she came to Central with very little experience with the military and last November Miller was awarded the Commander’s Leadership Scholarship.

Miller says that she has high standards for her own work, but being awarded the scholarship has motivated her to work even harder.

“It was just a really big honor and it raised the bar to an even higher standard,” Miller said. “It was the greatest encouragement I ever could have gotten.”


VP for Equity and Community Affairs

After two years of involvement with the BOD, Spencer Flores is ready to throw her hat in the ring for the position of VP for equity and community affairs.

“[Students] should vote for me because this is my second year of working in the BOD and learning, absorbing the rituals of what needs to be done,” Flores, junior environmental studies, said

In her sophomore year, Flores worked as the executive assistant for KJ Stilling, who at the time, was the VP for equity and community affairs.

This year in her position as the public relations director, Flores has worked closely with each of the BOD officers and has gotten to know the ins and outs of the BOD office.

“That’s why I switched positions instead of being the executive assistant again,” Flores said. “As a PR director I can work with all the officers and see what would best fit me and I definitely think equity and community affairs sits well with my values and goals.”

Flores sees the position as not only an opportunity to work with students but also a chance to diversify the campus and its values.

“I believe in equity and I believe we should embrace multiculturalism,” Flores said. “The [Equity and Services Council] really displays that through the different organizations and the events they put on.”

Besides her time working with the BOD, Flores plans to utilize her experience as a former bank teller when building working relationships with other BOD officers.

“That really helped me working with people that I don’t know on a personal level but still keeping it professional,” Flores said. “I think that will help me in terms of working with students but still being relatable.”

As the VP for equity and community affairs, an officer must act not only as the chair of the Equity and Services Council, but also as the liaison between Central and the Ellensburg community.

“We live in Ellensburg and although I think that the school is the heart of Ellensburg, we should respect what’s happening here outside of the school,” Flores said. “I think it’s important in general to be well balanced with your community and your school.”


What experience Jesse Hegstrom Oakey lacks in terms of working with the Board of Directors he makes up for with his time as a representative for EQuAl on the Equity and Service Council.

“I get this really unique position that I bring,” Hegstrom Oakey, junior political science, said. “I see a lot of the great stuff that ESC has done this year already but I also see a lot of potential for it to go further.”

ESC is made up of eight different organizations which advocate for the rights of underrepresented groups. One of these organizations is Equal, which rallies for the LGBTQ community.

As a student of political science with specific interests in civil rights, Hegstrom Oakey wants to take what he has learned about political structures and processes and apply them to the position of VP for equity and community affairs.

“It’s important to be a leader oneself but  to also encourage others to step up.” Hegstrom Oakey said.

One of the important roles the VP for equity and community affairs plays is to relay ideas and dialogue between Central and the Ellensburg community. This is a role which Hegstrom Oakey admits he lacks experience in.

“I do have experience working for housing as the community programmer for [Douglas Honors College Living Learning Community],” Hegstrom Oakey said. “I know a lot about working with communities and building communities and fostering leadership … and I think that directly feeds into the community aspect.”

Even though ESC is much like Student Academic Senate, Hegstrom Oakey sees the council as under-recognized and aims to change that if he wins this election.

“Before we get our name out there, I think there is a lot we can do back home to make ourselves better,” Hegstrom Oakey said. “I think we need to focus on fiscal responsibility and efficiency.”

Hegstrom Oakey sees the role of VP for equity and community affairs as an opportunity to unify the unique individuals of this campus.

“The more we look at how different we are, I think we realize how similar we are,” Hegstrom Oakey said. “Out of many we are one.”


VP for Student Life and Facilities

Through his work on the Residence Hall Association, Scott Kazmi has been motivated to help improve student life on campus, which is why he is running for VP for Student Life and Facilities.

“I just like making student life better here on campus and I’ve noticed some problems with the current state of student life that I feel I can change within a period of three quarters,” Kazmi said.

Kazmi worked with RHA to promote events like Zombie Zone and See Saw-a-thon. Part of what Kazmi feels qualifies him for the position has been his work  with RHA for the past two years and his relationships with the staff who run the facilities on campus.

“I really think I’m qualified because I know the people I would be working with and I’d just be fostering existing relationships rather than building new ones,” Kazmi said.

Kazmi describes running for a BOD position as an opportunity worth taking, stating that the motivations behind his decisions are purely in the interests of bettering campus life.

“Some people just take the opportunity because it looks like a good thing on a resume,” Kazmi said. “I look at it as though it’s a good opportunity to make a change while I’m here.”

Kazmi hopes to change the way Dining Services operates. Kazmi wants to look at the different dining services around campus and see what works in order to help improve student life.

“Tell the Dining Services administration basically what the students really like and what the students don’t like, and figure out what we can do to make what the students don’t like to go away, and build on what the students do like,” Kazmi said.

If elected, Kazmi hopes to gain experience working with people in order to build a greater understanding of the student body.

“Just learning about people, learning how to learn about people, and how to identify what they need the most,” Kazmi said.




Currently working as an event organizer for the BOD and part of the ROTC, Corey Poston is running for VP for Student Life and Facilities.

ROTC has helped Poston find his path to leadership. He was always the quiet leader who led by example, but ROTC has helped him become a more vocal and upfront leader.

“ROTC is one of those ways that I’ve found my niche that I got into and this is just another step to being the leader that I want to be.” Poston said.

Poston was recruited to the BOD office because he suggested an initiative to Kelsey Furstenwerth, the current VP for Student Life and Facilities.

“One of the reasons that I got recruited to the office was because I suggested the Go Green Bike Initiative to the current VP, and then she recruited me onto her team,” Poston said. “So that kinda got me in the office and looking to better the student experience on campus.”

The main facility Poston wants to work on is parking. His goal is to have a parking structure on campus that can accommodate people with handicaps so they are able to make it around campus quickly and easily. A professor of Poston’s was unable to show up on some days because of a heart condition and because he couldn’t find parking close enough to class.

“You shouldn’t have to cancel class because a professor can’t make it or be accommodated,” Poston said.

Leadership positions are what Poston feels can help him connect with the students, the people that he hopes to be representing.

“I want people to be able to walk up to me and say ,‘Hey what’s going on with this? Is it being fixed?’ and be able to tell them what’s going on with the university, as well as advocating for new student programs with the RHA,” Poston said.

Finding a way to make the BOD and RHA work cohesively together to help save money for students and to help the turnout rates for events grow is something Poston wants to work on as well.

“If we merge our ideas and our wallets we can save the students money as well as make those events better,” Poston said.

More to Discover