Meet your ASI vice president of finance candidates: Simranjeet Kaur, Coby Nguyen, and Kayla Medina

Jocelyne Ordonez, Video Team Member

Three students are running for vice president of finance in the 2023-2024 Associated Students Inc. elections. The candidates are Kayla Medina, Coby Nguyen and Simranjeet Kaur. Upon election, they will be expected to uphold the responsibilities of the vice president of finance.   

Julissa Chavana, the current ASI vice president of finance, shared in an email what it meant to be in the position and the responsibilities she had to maintain:  

“The responsibilities of the Vice President of Finance include overseeing the Finance Committee, keeping track of the club/orgs funding and the travel funding for clubs/organizations budget line, and assisting clubs and orgs in promoting their activities throughout the year.” 

Aside from overseeing funds, Chavana also wrote that ASI members in executive positions are also required to “fulfill a minimum of 10 office hours per week, attend executive meetings, attend the weekly board meetings, and chair weekly subcommittee meetings.”  

The candidates running for vice president of finance shared in an interview how they hope to represent the students of CSUB. 

Vice President of Finance candidate, Kayla Medina

Medina is a junior majoring in human biology and graduated from high school in 2020, so her initial experience at CSUB was virtual. She had the opportunity to become an ASI member last year, where she ran unopposed and won the director of ASI outreach position.  

Medina said that before joining ASI, she was shy and did not like public speaking, but her role in leadership positions has taught her the importance of vocalizing her opinions for the sake of others. 

“It’s not just you, it’s the people that you are representing . . . You are literally representing a lot of people on campus, so it’s not for you, but it’s for them,” said Medina. 

Medina previously participated in student government during her junior and senior years at her high school, and those positive experiences influenced her decision to run for ASI. She is not currently involved in any clubs on campus, but she has many friends in clubs and understands that it is essential for the vice president of finance to have relationships with the students involved.  

Medina stated that her management position at a fastfood restaurant has prepared her to take on the role of vice president of finance, “having to deal with not only like the financial part of being a manager but also communicating.”  

Medina described herself as nonconfrontational and said she takes criticism very well. 

“I am not a person that easily gets offended because [. . .] if other people are noticing this, then what am I doing wrong that I am not meeting the expectations?” said Medina.  

If elected Vice President of Finance, Medina said she aims to serve the students. 

“I am really just working for the people, for the students. I am not a selfish thinker; like I said, it will all be just for them,” said Medina.  

Vice President of Finance candidate, Coby Nguyen

Nguyen is a junior majoring in political science and served as ASI chair, which allowed him to monitor meetings while learning about campus needs. He expressed that during his time as chair of the board, he has grown as a person. 

“I wasn’t open-minded if I had an idea it had to be that way [. . .] but that’s really bad for student government, and just being able to sit on a board and being able to see people agree to disagree and see common ground get found, that’s what really motivated me and changed my ontology on that whole thing,” said Nguyen.  

Nguyen remembered being involved in student government in elementary school and was president of the drama club in high school. Still, he held off on participating in student government until his recent involvement in ASI.  

Nguyen is not currently involved in any clubs, but he said the clubs on campus are important and should receive proper funding when necessary.  

Nguyen also said that his experience working as a cashier in retail has prepared him for this new position. 

“I have to be able to be accountable for all the money going in all the money going out [. . .] and I will continue to carry on that moral of just being able to be accountable for everything that I do,” said Nguyen. 

If elected as the vice president of finance, Nguyen hopes to listen and reflect when people express constructive criticism towards him or ASI because he believes constructive criticism is necessary for improvement.  

Nguyen expressed that the best way for him to serve students as vice president of finance is by “being accountable, ethical and transparent,” which he plans to do. 

Vice President of Finance candidate, Simranjeet Kaur

Kaur is a sophomore and an international student from India majoring in business administration with a concentration in finance. She has no previous involvement in ASI, but as a finance student, she is eager to gain experience.  

Kaur expressed, “This is a really great experience to showcase my talent and my skill, that I have the knowledge regarding the finance and accounting subjects.”  

Kaur also wants to run for ASI because she can help students while gaining experience in the field she is passionate about.  

Kaur is a member of the University Accounting Association and the Institute of Management Accountants, where they host events with off-campus organizations that offer job opportunities to students.  

She has the same academic qualifications as other students in the organization who apply for programs and job opportunities, but cannot obtain them because of her residency status.  

Kaur has not been involved in student government before. Still, she actively participates in two campus organizations and attends meetings regularly, as she would attend the ASI meetings if elected for the position.  

“I don’t have any experience, but I know that I have the skill and the passion . . . it’s kind of a dream for me to run that position,” Kaur said. 

Kaur shared how she left her family in India to pursue her education here in the United States and wants to take advantage of all available opportunities. She is well-versed in financial literacy, which she stated makes her a good candidate for this position.  

Kaur described herself as not argumentative, and her response to criticism is her actions. She says, “Through my work and my actions because actions speak louder than words.”  

If elected as vice president of finance, Kaur hopes to represent students. “The leadership that I will show through my work that’s how I will represent students from my campus,” said Kaur. 

Students on campus also shared their expectations for the future vice president of finance. 

“Someone who strongly believes in their values and has knowledge and understanding of the ripple effect of supporting such clubs. They should be able to transition money through a flowed process and meaning [. . .] someone who can be outspoken and forward with their opposition,” wrote Tyler Herron, a junior political science major, in an email.  

Jazmin Rodriguez, a senior criminal justice and biochemistry major, said she would like “open engagement with the clubs continuously reaching out to them” or connecting with them through their social media accounts.  

Citlalli Moreno, a senior accounting major and president of the University Accounting, expressed that any student could gain value in this position. 

“I think that it’s a great opportunity for students, you know, I feel like for anybody, I think everybody should know like you know how to budget . . . even for their own finances,” said Moreno. 

Moreno said that whoever is elected as the vice president of finance will have a great opportunity to learn new skills.  

Similar to this year’s election, Julissa Chavana also ran against two other opponents and won in a run-off election.  

As the current vice president of finance, Chavana provided insight into her experience and what working in ASI was like for her. She wrote that it is necessary to understand budgeting, and with that knowledge, “you can guide the clubs and orgs in the right direction financially.”  

Aside from financial knowledge, Chavana recommends students have “marketing knowledge . . . to promote student attendance at these events the clubs and orgs are requesting money for.”  

However, Chavana understands that sometimes a decision is unclear, and it is okay to ask for clarification: 

“There have been times where based off the guidelines and policies, I have not been sure if a request is valid, so I ask for clarification. Other times where I felt like a request couldn’t be funded based off the guidelines and policies, I still asked for a second opinion because my goal is to assist every club requesting money to successfully promote campus life.” 

Chavana reflected on her time as vice president of finance and writes that she is “beyond grateful for the opportunity . . . to be in the position I am in.”  

Although Chavana did not face any challenges as vice president of finance, she did face personal challenges. 

“I had difficulty remembering I had a voice for myself as a student,” said Chavana. 

Chavana said she hopes to see “ASI as an organization be able to experience a positive cultural change and really put integrity into practice.” 

Chavana’s written advice to the future vice president of finance is “to be courageous and stay true to themselves. Remember who you are as a leader, and don’t lose sight of that. We all have a name, and a title does not represent you as a person or a leader. Authenticity goes a long way, and once that is lost, it will make advocation that much harder.”