The Student Bar Association at UF Law will host Fall 2021 Elections for our 2021-2022 1L, LLM, and Transfer Representatives on Monday, September 27, 2021. This page announces the candidates and, for those candidates who have provided it, gives a small statement as to why they have sought the position.
Candidates for 1L Section 1
|Leadership isn’t about how many people serve you, it’s about how many people you can serve.|
Greetings, my name is Mark Freeman! I was born and raised in South Georgia. With your careful consideration, I would be honored to be your SBA representative. It is important that the representatives for our class mirror our student body. If you’re looking for someone who would be approachable, dedicated, and proactive, I am the representative for you.
If you need someone who is willing to be a liaison between our class and SBA, please look no further. I want to improve the law school experience for all of us by making sure that all voices are heard and that every student is comfortable expressing their needs and ideas. I will take your input and opinions seriously and be as transparent as I can be. I also promise to uphold the values we share together as a class and cherish the memories we make as we overcome our first year of law school. Love always, study hard, and Go Gators!
My name is Sarah Semnyetzky. After completing my M.S. in Chemistry at UF, I wanted nothing more than to complete the rest of my education right here at home, as a Gator. Even before starting my law school applications, I knew UF Law was my first choice because of the unrivaled collegial environment that keeps so many of us coming back here time and again! Now, as a 1L, it would be an honor to help enhance this experience for the rest of you, as well.
I’ll be honest—I did complete my undergraduate degree at UM, but that experience has only bolstered my commitment and loyalty to UF and the Gator community. It gave me a true appreciation for the importance of fostering a healthy, warm, and compassionate community and culture, and showed me how without those things, it can be much harder to succeed in every domain of student life. My platform is based on the values of community-building, transparency, and commitment to access in the truest sense of the term.
As a disabled student and a disability advocate, I work tirelessly to help struggling students like myself overcome barriers to access. My work isn’t strictly related to disability access, but often involves helping students with issues consisting of many complex components, and navigating what can often be cumbersome and confusing bureaucracy to obtain the resources they need. Helping students build their advocacy skills is a core tenet of my work. Working side-by-side with students and colleagues as peers is fundamental to progress. Building bridges through empathy, regardless of differences, is more than just a catch-phrase to me. As the former diversity coordinator for a large state civil rights organization, I crossed cultural, political, and every other conceivable type of “barrier” to help Floridian citizens understand and utilize their freedoms. I put “barrier” in quotation marks because my work taught me what I instinctively assumed: that differences can function as building blocks rather than roadblocks to connection if we choose to use them that way, and we always treat others with civility and respect.
If provided the opportunity to work with the SBA, I’ll ensure students have an available, open access point they feel comfortable approaching for information and assistance. My expertise navigating complex institutional structures and breaking down barriers will help ensure these goals and those of my peers are realized. “Accessibility” is more than a buzz-word to me; It’s something I spend every single day thinking about, actively working to enhance, and fundamentally understand that without, we all lose. This isn’t a zero-sum game. All of us should leave UF as successful graduates and attorneys, and I want to help make that a reality. If given the opportunity to serve you, I’ll make sure to represent disabled and non-traditional students like myself, equally and hand-in-hand with all other students, because we all deserve the opportunity to thrive.
Candidates for 1L Section 2
I am so excited to have the opportunity to be a section representative for the Student Bar Association. Working with a group of students who share a similar mindset of leadership and service is something I cannot wait to have the chance to do. As a representative, I will emphasize the platform of developing an engaging atmosphere that fosters growth throughout the UF law community. Every student at UF law arrives with a unique skill set that allows them to thrive in any setting. The experiences and accomplishments of each individual in our community is one thing that makes this school so great. Qualities like these are great to have individually but are exemplified when they come together in a collaborative setting.
Many of us come to law school looking for people to grow with but lack a substantial network of colleagues. As a representative, I want to work with my peers to help bring the UF law community into a tight social network that boosts collaborative culture and encourages people to grow and network together. Engaging with peers who share similar goals to you is a great way to develop, and I think that student collaboration is something that should be exploited. I have a vision of promoting this kind of culture through events that get students excited about their involvement in the community. Things like a club showcase and networking exercises are just a few ideas to start with that encourage students to be involved and create a synergistic environment. Meaningful connections are one of the most important things to develop in any young professional’s career, and this is the perfect time to make them.
On that note, it can be hard to know where to start the process. My goal is to give the community that collective feel that drives connections. I am so excited have the opportunity to help foster this professional environment as a Student Bar Association representative. Acting as an agent for the student body is a responsibility that I will take very seriously, and I will work diligently to make sure we get the most out of our time here at UF Law. At arguably one of the most important times of our lives, I want to make sure that everybody has the tools available to them that gives them the greatest opportunity to perform at the highest level possible. I want to be a vehicle for the student body’s growth during our journey through law school.
Hello! My name is Rachel Grimley and I would love the opportunity to serve as your 1L Section 2 Representative!
The primary factors driving my candidacy are the three C’s: Connections, Communication, and Comradery
The first few weeks of law school have taught us that the legal world is small and often challenging to navigate. I believe that creating a mentorship program between 1L’s and 2/3L’s would help resolve these concerns. In helping 1L’s facilitate connections with 2 and 3L’s, this program would allow for 1L’s to seek advice from older students on anything from study habits to summer internships—thus significantly demystifying the 1L experience. Additionally, these connections will help 1L’s form relationships with members of the UF Law and broader legal community of their peers, forming relationships that could be valuable for our future endeavors.
A significant goal of a section representative for SBA is to serve as the liaison between our section and SBA. Additionally, SBA thrives on uniting all members of our section and hearing their points of view. I believe that the best way to advocate for the changes our section wants and express the sentiments of our section is to have an open communication line between section representatives and section members. If elected section representative, I would create a system that would allow for section members to voice their concerns/provide suggestions as well as make myself easily accessible for members to discuss issues they are passionate about. I would also ensure that there is a way to anonymously voice concerns so that I can advocate for those who do wish to remain anonymous.
Finally, the orientation spiel of the “Gator Nation” was extremely accurate: The Gator Nation thrives on comradery. In fact, this vibrant, collaborative, resilient, and caring community pulsates well beyond the Gainesville city limits. As a double gator, I have had the incredible privilege of making Gainesville and the University of Florida my home away from home and experiencing first-hand the pervasiveness of the Gator Nation. If elected a section representative, I intend to organize a variety of social events to bring our section together, allowing us to create bonds that will strengthen the Gator Nation on campus and beyond.
In conclusion, if afforded the opportunity to be a class representative, I would prioritize fostering professional connections with fellow students, creating a sounding board for all section members to voice their concerns, and organizing gatherings to promote comradery during our law school years and beyond.
Thank you for your consideration and Go Gators!
Hey, Section 2! My name is Julia Ingram, and I am running to serve as one of our Student Bar Association (SBA) section representatives.
In law school, our professors teach us how to be zealous advocates for our clients by placing their needs above our own so that we can better serve their interests. This is exactly what I want to do for you if I am elected to be your SBA section representative. As section representative, I will make myself available to listen to your needs and help them become realities.
I know that our law community is only strongest when we include and respect the diverse perspectives of our student body and work together to better understand our differences. I want all of us students to feel free to express ourselves. Therefore, I will strive to foster a community of inclusion by providing various forums for students to share their opinions. Furthermore, as a liaison between the student body and the faculty/administration, I will ensure that students’ concerns are acknowledged and considered by our administration. Additionally, I will work to acquire funding for student organizations so that there can be more events to grow our sense of camaraderie as a legal community and as part of the greater Gator Nation.
I am excited at the prospect of serving you as SBA section representative. I hope to help our section and our UF Law community grow together. Go Gators!
No platform provided.
Candidates for 1L Section 3
Katelynd “KT” Todd
I hope to represent our section as a Student Bar Association Representative because I believe students deserve authentic, effervescent, and relentless representation. As your representative, I plan to be focused on ensuring the academic, health and social interests of all students are heard.
I am particularly dedicated to ensuring disabled students, minority students, first-generation students, and LGBTQ+ have a law school experience conducive to developing into the future legal leaders of our country. When considering the academic interests of underrepresented students, I come from a place of experience, compassion, and being eager to learn. As a low-income, first-generation high school graduate, I have hit many bumps on the academic road to this point. Representation of underrepresented students is imperative to ensure that the law school experience is truly inclusive. To me, an inclusive law school experience is one that offers resources and opportunity to meet every student where they are, in order to get them to where they need to be. Offering programming that considers connecting low-income students to books, tutors, study groups, and academic study materials could be a very helpful tool. Many other academic institutions have programs that involve student mentorship, donation of study materials, and fundraisers to provide these key opportunities to students. I would love to see a space and program similar to that in UF Law.
An emphasis on equity in programming and policy is a basic component and necessity of how law schools should operate. To combat a field and an academic space that can feel exclusive at times, the Student Bar Association could work with Levin College of Law leadership to evaluate not only the admissions process, but also the student experience, to see ways we can continually improve in finding, retaining, and developing future legal leaders. It could be helpful to set up an evaluation process that is known and functions as a continual component of our institution. As a Representative, I would also work to ensure that our systems made sense to support all students – particularly low-income students. Access to financial aid is a huge barrier to attending law school. Having a representative who has lived experience dealing with barriers relating to summer funding, the relationship between financial need and cost of attendance, and course options to safeguard student financial aid access, is something Levin College of Law desperately needs. Without an educated voice on lived experience, it can be difficult for an institution to recognize and improve policies and programming.
As a student with a chronic disease, I am compelling to continually consider the relationship between health and law school. I prioritize health in many ways. I bring to the table a Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley, several years of experience in public health programming and policy, and have experience on Student Health Insurance Committees, Student Health Advisory Boards, and sat on the Public Health Commission for Alameda County. I plan to work on solutions to address student needs, especially related to health-related absences.
Hello there! My name is Milind Mishra. I am so excited to earn the opportunity to serve you in your 1L year as a Section 3 representative!
To my Section 3 peers, I ask you to think critically about the values you want your SBA to reflect. Here are mine: advocacy, benevolence, and collaboration. The “ABCs” of my platform have been guiding principles throughout my life. I do not plan on changing that during this election! During my time at Vanderbilt I translated these tenets into meaningful discussions and events on campus, and I hope to continue that here at UF.
Advocacy – I am most proud of my work on Vanderbilt’s Multicultural Leadership Council as Special Events Chair and First-Year Relations Chair. These positions have taught me to work with student organizations to put on events and facilitate safe discussion spaces. As Special Events Chair, I directly worked with all the social identity and justice organizations to put on inVUsion- a showcasing of cultural performances from across the globe. I worked firsthand with student organization leaders, international students, and administration to mobilize them towards a common goal. It is with this perspective that I am applying to SBA. If elected, I hope to continue this work and amplify marginalized voices during my time here.
Benevolence – Through this position, I hope to create initiatives, policies, and spaces for all students to feel part of the UF community. I plan to continue emphasizing the mental and social health of all students. To me, benevolence looks like providing students with networking opportunities with UF alumni, organizing fun social events, and creating pro bono opportunities to serve the Gainesville community. If elected, I look forward to becoming a part of these conversations.
Collaboration – All that we want to get done fails without collaboration. As a 1L representative, I hope to collaborate with my section so that SBA reflects the values you find meaningful. On the other side of that, I look forward to talking to our school’s administration to secure more funding for student organizations and tapping into the strong alumni connections
that made UF such an appealing choice to attend in the first place. It would be my honor and privilege to serve you this following year. Thank you for your consideration
My name is Andy Garcia. I’m from Miami, FL and graduated from Florida International University in 2018 with bachelor’s degrees in Finance and Economics. From 2016 through 2021 I worked at a boutique law firm in South Miami that specialized in real estate transactions, general liability defense, and workers compensation insurance defense. During my time at the firm, I had an unobstructed view of what it’s like to be an associate attorney in a saturated legal market.
The tact and dedication required to consistently keep up with billable hour requirements, the pressures of meeting high expectations set forth by supervising attorneys and managing partners, and – most admirably – the requisite dedication to the law itself and development of good legal advocacy skills, all helped me obtain an accurate understanding of how demanding the legal profession can be (and often is). My experiences throughout my five years at the law firm, along with the quickly-approaching start of my journey at UF Law, naturally led me straight to that persistent question that all law students face at some point: “What type of law should I practice?”
There’s a lot to unpack with this question. My experiences at the law firm motivated me to confront answering it from an angle of “professional fulfillment,” which is best explained through a series of interrelated questions:
“How can I merge my own passions and interests with my legal career? Is it even possible?”
“Do I have any unknown, untapped, yet deeply rooted passions or interests in a particular area of law?”
“What would consistently inspire me to confront the every-day challenges of the legal profession and legal advocacy with enthusiasm?”
Platform – A Podcast
I was excited to begin my law school journey for so many reasons, but one particular reason stood out among the rest: I was finally going to be surrounded by like-minded, ambitious, and brilliant individuals from all walks of life. The environment we all find ourselves in right now, as law students at the University of Florida, is so conducive to molding inspired, motivated, ambitious, and enthusiastic professionals. This realization, combined with my experience and success as a streamer and content creator over the last year, gave rise to an exciting idea that I have shared with only a handful of classmates in Section 3 – until now.
My idea: A legal, educational, insightful podcast – one where we as law students can present, discuss, identify and, ultimately, cement our own interests through thoughtful discourse with one another, as well as through interactions with online viewers. Led by law students – and made for law students – the source material for the podcast could be some of the complex concepts covered in class, law in contemporary culture, etc.
I am hopeful that, if elected as a Section 3 SBA Representative, the collective resources of the organization would help turn my idea into a valuable resource for all UF Law students, and will help so many students like me answer “the question.”
I am running for the position of First Year Representative as a member of Section 3. In this role, I would seek to better advocate for our class and the law school at large while also serving as an eager and available source of information for our class as to the initiatives pursued by the SBA. I have a long track record of service in student and university governance, most notably as the representative for graduate students in the humanities at the University of Oxford, where I succeeded in blocking unfair changes to scholarships for international students, and I would like to continue here with this amazing community we have.
Here at UF, I have heard from some recent alumni that there have been some complaints that the SBA has historically been slow to act and to make things happen. I know that with the right attitudes and energy we can bring those tweaks to our study spaces and campus at large to help us all succeed to the best of our abilities. There is no reason for our student government to be a dead letter. I like to think I can help ensure that.
Finally, I believe that fostering an inclusive community is so important for a class and school as diverse as ours. I believe that we can do better in developing that culture of inclusivity, and I would seek to do this by remaining accessible to those I represent and being willing to seek out feedback on the issues that matter most to us, those both apparent and those not yet obvious to us. I wish you all luck as the semester picks up steam — we’ve got this!
My name is Dylan Brown, and I am from Pensacola, FL. I graduated from the University of Alabama in May of this year and received my bachelor’s degrees in History and Political Science. During my time at Alabama, I served as one of fifty Senators representing the student body, and I believe that I can bring the skills I utilized in that position forward to the role of SBA Representative. My goal as a 1L Representative, is to represent the needs of our section and our class as a whole. I intend to advocate for the purchase of a school-wide subscription to Quimbee. Universities such as Yale, Northwestern, FSU, Tennessee, and more already offer this tool to their students and I believe that it is a great resource that UF should be offering as well.
I also intend to advocate for a Teaching Assistant stipend that would offset the cost incurred for the credits received. Under the current system, Teaching Assistants are basically paying to assist students in exchange for credits. This represents a vast under-appreciation for the work done by TAs. They should not be expected to pay to assist their peers. I also believe that this cost serves as an obstacle for some students who may otherwise be excellent TAs. With this new stipend that obstacle would be removed and the ability to be a TA would be available to all students equally. The stipend would benefit our class as we approach the decision to serve as TAs and would continue to benefit all future classes that will attend UF. I hope I can count on your vote on election day!
My name is Steffi Baer, and I have the privilege of running for 1L Section 3 SBA Representative. As your representative, I will strongly advocate for you to make our time at UF Law the best possible educational, professional, and social experience that prepares us to practice law. I will dedicate myself to listening to your ideas and concerns and collaborating with other sections’ representatives, faculty, and administrators as your collective voice.
I want to share a brief personal bio since I have not gotten to know everyone in our section yet. I am a triple Gator who has had extensive experience in various positions within UF Student Government and campus leadership. These experiences have well prepared me to serve as your SBA section representative:
- Senator, UF Student Government representing residence hall and graduate students
- Chair, UF Presidential Committee for Persons with Disabilities
- UF Student Honor Code Administration for Conduct Code and Honor Code cases
- Treasurer, Inaugural Leadership Board of Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society
- High School Liaison, UF BRIDGES Minority Outreach Program
While at UF, I earned a B.A. leading to an M.Ed. in Special Education. In my master’s program, I interned full-time in local public schools and worked with faculty, specialists, and administrators, to assess and provide services to exceptional students. These encounters imbued me with empathy, understanding, and a desire to advocate for underserved and underrepresented individuals in our society. Lastly, some of you might remember me as a Wellness Appraiser and Bootcamp Instructor at UF Southwest Recreation Center.
This year’s SBA election will take on much greater significance than usual. Our society is splintering along positions people hold on divisive political and ideological issues. As your SBA representative, I will work tirelessly to promote diversity, replace confrontation with cooperation, and cultivate a culture of respect and professionalism.
We are fortunate to study at one of the best law schools in the country. I would be honored to continue making UF Law a world-class institution. I believe that my experiences outlined above will help me ensure that I effectively and adequately represent the interests of 1L Section 3 students.
Candidates for LLM
My name is Jack Alexander and I am throwing my hat in the ring, humbly asking you all to consider electing me as an SBA representative of our class. It’s difficult for me to tell you why you should choose me as a representative when we have only spent such a short amount of time together. Regardless of whether I am elected or not, I am going to make a point of establishing at least some type of relationship with all of you this year, and that is the premise of my campaign. The people that we surround ourselves with everyday are our greatest assets, and we all owe it to one another to be kind, considerate and respectful. Those of you who I have had the privilege of meeting already have embodied these principles, and I cannot tell you just how much that has meant to me.
If you are having a hard time remembering who I am, well, I have been told that I may have somewhat of a distinctive southern drawl. However, there is much more to this South Carolina boy than a funny accent. I am passionate about service, having been elected to the Honor Court in law school and also volunteering more than 100 hours with Legal Services Alabama which provides pro bono counsel to veterans and indigent clients. I am passionate about culture, and I feel privileged to share the classroom now with so many incredible and diverse international students. As your representative, I promise you all my loyalty, respect and my very best efforts.
Finally, know that this short statement is more than a campaign feature, it is an invitation for all of you to reach out and speak to me. If you ever want to make a connection, I am happy to study together, play golf, grab drinks or even learn some of your hobbies. Always feel free to approach me and always feel free to correct me if I ever do wrong by any of you. Thanks a lot!
Hello! My name is Avi Naiditch and I am running to be one of your LLM class representatives. I am a Double Gator and soon to be a Triple Gator and with that comes an informed perspective on the wants and needs of a UF student.
My main goal is simple: communicate and connect. I hope to improve the communications between SBA and the student body to better inform law students of SBA opportunities. I also hope to assist law students in networking better with law professors and legal professionals. My experience in the time I’ve spent at UF serving on the E-board of different student organizations, the ADR team, and as a student ambassador has provided me with the proficiencies necessary to accomplish these goals. It would be an honor to serve our class.
Candidate for Transfer
To Be Announced
To be announced