Mayors’ Council Veterans
Advisor 2008-2016: Thomas Germain
Thomas was the advisor for Mayors’ Council between 2008 and 2016. He left UF and the Department of Housing and Residence Education when his family relocated to Washington, DC in 2016. Thomas holds two bachelor degrees in Physical Education and Sports Training from the University of Rouen (France) and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Florida. He started his career at UF as a student assistant in Graduate and Family Housing. In 2006, he became the Residence Director for Diamond and Tanglewood Villages. Then, he got promoted to Residence Life Coordinator in 2008 before becoming Assistant Director in 2013. Before arriving at UF, Thomas taught Physical Education in France for two years. Over the position of President in Mayors’ Council, he is working hard to represent the residents of Graduate Family Housing.
President 2015-2016: Robert Davis
Robert is PhD student studying Educational Technology in the College of Education. He holds a master’s degree in TESOL from SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont, and a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. Before arriving at UF, Robert spent eleven years teaching in South Korea, and a six-month stint in China. While in Korea, some of his duties were instructing pre-service and in-service teachers in second language acquisition, and assisting the local government with training volunteers for the 2018 Winter Olympics. He arrived in Gainesville in January of 2014 with his wife, and in 2015 they welcomed a daughter to the family. From February 2014 to March 2015, he resided as the Mayor of Tanglewood Village where he helped organize and assist events carried out by Mayors’ Council. In April of 2015, Robert took over the position of President in Mayors’ Council and is working hard to represent the residents of Graduate Family Housing.
President 2013-2015: Vaibhav Jain (VJ)
Vaibhav Jain (VJ) obtained Master of Science degree in Biology from Illinois State University. At present, he is pursuing Ph.D. in Medical Science (Genetics) at UF-College of Medicine. He moved to Gainesville in fall 2010 and immediately fell in love with the multicultural, warm and sunny environment at the Gator Nation. VJ has diverse experience of living in a graduate housing and participated in various leadership roles during his undergraduate and graduate studies. He wants to utilize his rich cultural background, experience, and skills in developing more facilities and initiating new programs for the residents of Corry Village.
President 2012-2013: Paige Phelps
Paige is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, and a minor certification in Actuarial Science. After receiving her bachelor’s degrees in Spring 2014, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics. She currently works as a Research Assistant with the Bureau of Economic and Business Research and also as a Student Assistant with the Department of Housing. Paige loves living in her community at Maguire Village and has always loved the on-campus life. She has also been very involved in leadership at UF. She previously served two terms on the executive board of IRHA, the Inter-Residence Hall Association, first as the Business Manager and then as the Auditor (Treasurer). She is a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary and has held other leadership roles in various organizations. Her goals as a member of Mayors’ Council include building community within the villages and starting initiatives to help graduate students succeed in their academics, their careers, and also their family life.
President 2010-2012: Julius Adewopo
I was motivated to serve as the Mayor’s Council (MC) President in order to represent, promote, and add value to the living experience of residents within the five (5) graduate and family housing (GFH) villages.Prior to this role, I have served in various positions, however leading MC gave was a unique learning and service experience for me. The previous roles enabled me to coordinate, relate, and learn from people of diverse backgrounds, however, my work with MC enabled me to build upon these experiences. In collaboration with different organizations and with the cooperation of a very dynamic and committed team, we achieved great strides during my tenure.By organizing exciting and engaging programs, events, and classes, we fostered an improved relationship between residents, promoted family living, and served social needs that make community unparalleled with off-campus living. Based on MC’s strong direction under my leadership, we provided improved access to residents to infrastructures, including our contribution to UF Housing’s strategic initiatives, negotiation and securing of access of graduate students’ spouse to SW-REC center, and coordination with RTS to ensure that optimal Housing-focused bus routes are maintained to ease residents’ transportation needs. During my tenure, our consistent dedication to improving the on-campus experience of graduate students led to the unprecedented recognition of Mayors’ Council as the 2011/2012 Outstanding Graduate Student Organization by Graduate Student Council. I am confident that greater heights lie ahead of MC and its visibility and impact on campus will be far reaching under the next leadership.
Vice President/Secretary 2016-2017: Yunhao Wan
Yunhao(Chris) Wan is a Ph.D. student in Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department in University of Florida since Fall 2014. He and his wife live in Diamond Village. Starts from April 2016, Yunhao(Chris) became vice president of Mayor’s Council of GFH. He is trying to make the GFH a diverse and interesting community for all graduate families living on campus.
Vice President/Secretary 2015-2016: Felipe Oliveira
Felipe is a Ph.D. student at the Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences Program at UF College of Pharmacy. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Campinas, at his hometown in Brazil. During his undergraduate education, Felipe had many academic accomplishments, which included receiving a scholarship to attend the University of Michigan as a study-abroad student and a scholarship to complete a language course at Freiburg University in Germany. During this period he was also involved in student organizations. He arrived in Gainesville on 2014 and was really appreciative of the community environment offered by Graduate and Family Housing, showing interest in participating and helping out at Tanglewood and GFH events. Felipe has assumed the role of Mayors’ Council Secretary on Spring 2015. In this position, his objectives are to help organize the Council’s workflow by keeping members aware of events and to serve the Graduate and Family Housing Community.
Vice President/Secretary 2013-2015: Debjani Sihi
Debjani Sihi joined UF as a Ph. D student in the Soil and Water Science Department in Fall, 2011. She pursued her master degree in Environmental Sciences from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India. She is living in Diamond Village with her husband, who is also her colleague in the same department. Debjani has been involved with Campus community a lot since from her 1st year of the graduate program. She is a graduate senator at the UF Student Government and she is also mentoring in the University Minority Mentoring Program. She has been continuously involved with Gainesville community as well through her service as a Science Fair Judge. Currently, as a secretary of Mayors’ Council, her overarching goal is to update all team members about the upcoming events and to serve for the graduate and family housing community.
Rodrigo Antunes has a Master’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering and is a Ph.D. student in Civil Engineering at UF. He also has a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Project Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF). He has worked as a professional engineer for 10 years in large infrastructure undertakings such as dams, railroads, highways, and port-terminals for multinational corporations. Rodrigo Antunes also has experience as an instructor at a higher education university in Brazil, teaching engineering courses focused on railroad and transportation. With a distinctive background in civil engineering in complex real-world projects, he developed a broad range of technical abilities in structural and materials engineering (concrete), beyond management and budgeting skills, which are crucial to working as a treasurer. Rodrigo is an active member of the Academic and Professional Programs for Americas – Affiliated with Harvard University (LASPAU), among other engineering professional associations. He also works as a Research Assistant for the University of Florida, performing activities in the Florida Department of Transportation – FDOT’s structures laboratory, assisting with the concrete design process. His hands-on experience linked with the academic skills that he is acquiring in graduate school might effectively contribute to his good performance as a treasurer. Rodrigo believes that being engaged to the community also working for its enhancement is a key for the academic, professional and personal overall success. Pursuing the intention to become more involved with the University community, he moved to Corry Village in May 2015 with his wife and his 3-year old son, being closer to the Graduate and Family Housing community. As a treasurer, Rodrigo offers maturity, commitment, and hands-on experience in the real-world market field. He expects that this role provides him opportunities to develop a lifetime relationship with the University of Florida.
Treasurer 2014-2015: Miguel Lugo
Miguel Lugo is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment. He holds a Masters of Civil Engineering with a minor in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Florida and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM) and is a registered Engineer-In-Training in Puerto Rico. During his time at Florida, he has been recognized with a pre-doctoral fellowship from the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program, has been involved in various leadership positions at professional student chapters, and has been an active member of the Corry Village community. As a member of the Mayors’ Council, he continues the organization’s goal of promoting and fostering a sense of community among all members of the Graduate and Family Housing system and encourages residents to participate and provide feedback on events and programs developed in their Villages. He held the MC Secretary position from 2011-2013.
Treasurer 2011-2014: Wen Ji
Wen Ji started her Ph.D. program in Agriculture and Biological Engineering since August 2009. She also has a bachelor degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering. She originally comes from Xi’an, an old famous city in China. She loves sunshine Florida, loves gator nation. She moved into Maguire Village in spring, 2010 and totally loves her community. She used to work for a volunteer association and currently involved in GSC. As a very active and positive person, she believes working with the great Mayor’s Council team will be a great opportunity for her to share her personal experience. She is a quick and eager learner with an open mind and a great desire to make a valuable contribution to graduate students’ life. Her goal is not only to make great accomplishment for treasurer position but also help other team members to bring in more communications and activities to our residents.
Maguire Mayor 2014-2016: Shabnam Goli
Shabnam Goli received her B.A. in English Language and Literature from Khayyam University of Mashhad, Iran. She joined the Gator nation in the fall of 2012 and completed her master’s of music in ethnomusicology in the fall of 2014. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at the University of Florida. Having been interested in learning about other cultures and introducing her own, Shabnam has been an active member of UF Graduate and Family Housing (GFH) community as a resident and an employee as well as UF Iranian Students Association for the past three years. Upon her enthusiasm for getting involved in social and cultural events of UF GFH and greater Gainesville community, she has recently joined the Mayor’s Council and is hopeful for enriching her own life as well as being a beneficial member of the community of UF GFH and the Gator Nation.
Maguire Mayor 2013-2014: Alireza Pourreza
I am a Ph.D. student in Agricultural and Biological Engineering department. I moved to Gainesville in fall 2011. Since then, I have been involved in many student activities such as serving as a senator in the Student Government Senate, and the ABE department representative in Graduate Student Council. Currently, I am serving as the Maguire Village Mayor. It is my pleasure to help other residents in Maguire village solving our community issues and improving the quality of our life at the village.
Maguire Village Mayor 2010-2012: Siddhartha Ghosh
In 2006, I came to Gainesville as a graduate student in the department of Physics. Prior to this, I completed my Masters in Physics from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India in 2005. Apart from reading books and watching movies, now traveling happens to be an integral part of my student life. My housing experience has been peaceful and enjoyable ever since I came to live in Maguire village in February 2009. Being born in the cultural capital of India, Kolkata, the thing I admire most about living here is its positive approach towards multi cultural mingling.
2012-2013 Maguire Village Mayor: Tian Xia
I am a doctoral student plant medicine in UF. I have lived in Maguire Village since 2011, and I am proud to call it home. As an international student studying in a foreign country with a very different culture, Maguire Village has given me a sense of family, which, in turns, inspires me to give back to the community. It is my desire to promoting a sense of unity and friendship among residents, no matter who you are, where you are from, or what you are studying. I hope, together, with your support, we can make Maguire Village a better place for everyone.
University Village South Mayor 2016-2017: Harneet Arora
Hi, I am Harneet and many of the residents know me by my nickname – Neeti. I am the mayor of University Village South. I have finished my Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy from India. I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Florida, which I started in Fall 2013. I enjoy traveling and meeting people of different cultures. I am enjoying my stay in Graduate and Family housing, as it gives me an opportunity to meet people of different cultures and learn about their cultures. With my Mayor position, I am looking forward to give back to the community and help them to enjoy their stay in the housing.
My name is Pratik Prabhanjan Brahma and I am the Mayor for University Village South (UVS). I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. I did both my Bachelor’s and Master’s in Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Apart from mathematical research, the two things I am most passionate about are sports and food. An important part of my gator life is the awesome people I come across every day and I always look for ways to give back to the society we live in. I hope, with this position of mine in the Mayors’ council, I can work towards enriching the living experience of the diverse population living here.
University Village South Mayor 2013-2014: Uttam Gaulee
Currently, a doctoral student in the Higher Education Administration program, creating a conducive environment that fosters engaging interactions, research, inquiry, and learning is part and parcel of Uttam’s area of study.
Uttam has led numerous team-projects with multinational members. Service-oriented by nature, Uttam has worked as a teacher, administrator and educational youth leader in Nepal (his home country). He has mentored students and peers, advocated for the professional development of English language teachers, led awareness campaigns, and created leadership development opportunities for the young people.
Before coming to Florida, Uttam received second master’s degree under the Fulbright Program from the University of Pittsburgh (PITT), where he got involved in the host community and volunteered for organizations such as A+Schools, Pittsburgh Regional International Student Ministries (PRISM), and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. He served in graduate student organizations including the Nepalese Student Association, which he led as the president.
Here at UF, Uttam is highly involved in the campus community. Immediately after coming to the UF in the summer of 2012, he got an opportunity to learn about the Multicultural and Diversity Affairs working closely with a team of graduate students with the directors of APIA and LGBTQ. Since then, he has been volunteering as an active member of the International Student Speakers’ Bureau, Minority Mentorship Program, and the Graduate Student Council. Additionally, he serves at the Nepalese Student Association as president and provides mentorship for the members of the UF chapter of Engineers Without Borders.
Uttam feels privileged to be serving as the Mayor of University Village South (UVS), a diverse international community of intellectuals. He is inspired by his community members because he loves learning about countries and cultures. He lives in UVS with his wife Lalita and two kids – Kiran and Siddharth. The Gaulee family celebrates the diversity prevailing in the Gator Nation.
University Village South Mayor 2010-2012: Aniruddha Mukhopadhyay
Aniruddha Mukhopadhyay, after having completed his Master’s degree in English from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, joined the English Ph.D. program at the University of Florida in 2005. Since then, at UF, he has taught literature classes for the English department, freshman English composition and technical writing for the University Writing Program, and business communication for the Warrington College of Business Administration. He has also mentored incoming Graduate Assistants for the Writing Program. For his Ph.D. dissertation, Aniruddha is working on postcolonial studies and globalization in the context of South Asian diasporic English fiction.
Aniruddha has enjoyed living in Florida with its beautiful springs, lovely beaches, and great weather. It has been a wonderful experience being a part of the Gator Nation, and especially the University Village South graduate housing community.
University Village South Mayor 2012-2013: Junlin Jiang
A graduate student from Chemistry Department, UF, minor in Electronic﹠Computer Engineering. I am studying Science and Engineering while owning equal interests in Economy and History. I have been living in UVS apartments since Aug.2011. I am proud of its friendly atmosphere, clean environment, convenient facilities and lovely residents. Those are also the reasons why I am working as a mayor for UVS, I want to preserve and develop such key values in this community, together with all of you.
Corry Village Mayor 2016-2017: Iwan Molgo
Iwan and his family came to Gainesville, FL. in 2009. He has a B.Sc. in Agriculture from the Anton de Kom University of Suriname and received an M.Sc. in Botany at UF in 2011.
He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Biology Department and became a resident at UF Graduate Family Housing (GFH) in 2011. He and his family enjoy living in GFH especially interacting with the diverse and multicultural student community in the different housing villages. As the current mayor, he is excited to work with the Corry residents to provide creative and relevant programming that serves the needs and interests of the village.
Corry Village Mayor 2014-2016: Carla Cabrita
I am pursuing my master degree in Education and also I am an Education Specialist Counselor Education (concentration in School Counseling). I enjoy being involved in residential life and value the opportunity to work within a diverse, multicultural community. I am most excited about working together with Corry residents to provide creative and relevant programming that serves the needs and interests of the village.
Corry Village Mayor 2013-2014: Anar Gadimaliyev
Anar Gadimaliyev was born in 10/31/1982 in Ganja/Azerbaijan. Although people know “Ganja” as narcotic” but it is my city name. Graduated Azerbaijan Agricultural Academy – Accounting and Audit.
I have been selected two years SALTO EECA multiplier. The main job was to disseminate European Neighbourhood policy in Azerbaijan and to try to maximize integration to the European Union in the youth field. I have traveled a lot participating in many international events from Spain to Denmark. Since 2005 I was working at AccessBank till 2013 June. When I won a scholarship from Fulbright to study in the US, I stopped my job and just came here with my wife and two kids.
Tanglewood Village Mayor 2016-2017: Emmanuel Akande
You are welcome to Mayor’s Council web page. I am Emmanuel Akande I hailed from South Western part of Nigeria. I obtained, in 2007, my bachelors in Economics from University of Lagos, Nigeria. I came to United States in 2010 to start my Ph.D. program in the same field of study and in 2012, I obtained my Master’s degree in Economics. I relocated to Gainesville in 2013 to continue my studies and in 2015, I finally got my credit hours transferred from FSU to the University of Florida, Food and Resource Economics department. I have always wanted to serve the communities by playing some leadership roles or taking responsibilities, even when it’s not convenient to do so. I consider my position as the Mayor of Tanglewood Village as a way to get involve and give back to the community that has given so much to my family and me. Because together we all can do our best to make our community a better place, therefore, as an illustrious and loyal and humble gator student, I will contribute my quota to make graduate and family housing, Tanglewood in particular, unapologetically better and habitable place for new and returning students. Fishing, Soccer and hanging out with friends are my hobbies.
Tanglewood Village Mayor 2013-2016: Christiana Akande
Christiana Akande is a Ph.D. student in Research and Evaluation Methodology (REM) in the School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education. She obtained a Master’s degree in REM at UF and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Benin, Nigeria. As a resident and a former GFH Student Assistant, she enjoys residential life and the diversity in GFH.
Tanglewood Village Mayor 2011-2013: Francisco Jimenez
I am currently a Ph.D. student in Education. I received my Bachelor’s and professional degree in Psychology from the University of Chile in 2007 and obtained my Master’s degree in Research in Evaluation Methodology in Education at the University of Florida in 2011. As the Tanglewood mayor, I want to enhance our residents’ sense of belonging to the village by implementing local activities and programs aimed at building a more inclusive, sustainable, and safe community. I look forward to making residence life at the University of Florida an unforgettable experience for all of us!
Diamond Village Mayor 2015-2017: Camilo Leal
Camilo and his family arrived in Gainesville for the first time in August 2012. At that time, with the support of a scholarship from the Chilean government (their country of origin and where Camilo obtained his Bachelor in Music Education), he was starting his Master of Music in Music Education program and UF. Since 2013, he and his family became residents of Diamond Village, where they currently live. Camilo is now coursing his Ph.D. in Music Education, also sponsored by the Chilean government, and his family has a new member (Damian, 9m) who is an authentic Floridian. Camilo became Diamond Village’s mayor on the platform of working hard so its residents can develop a sense of home and community throughout their temporary, but not meaningless, staying at UF.
Diamond Village Mayor 2012-2015: Biswanath Dari
Being an Indian I am always influenced by various cultures and languages. My interest for higher studies ends with the entrance into the Ph.D. program in Soil and Water Science Department at the University of Florida after completing my Bachelors from West Bengal, India and Master’s from Punjab, India. Currently, I am a Ph.D. second year graduate assistant living with my wife in Diamond village and enjoying the multicultural life style and amazing weather in Gainesville. My agricultural background (both personal and professional) helps me to be in touch with people, their problems and way to solve their problems. Community service becomes an integral part of it day by day. I love to talk to people and hear from them. I believe we can help people if we really want to help them from our mind.
Diamond Village Mayor 2011-2012: Nagendra Dhakar
Nagendra S Dhakar hails from a small town Weir in Rajasthan, India and is a Ph.D. student in Civil Engineering (Transportation) program. He completed his bachelor of technology (B.Tech.) with a civil engineering major at the Indian Institute of technology Bombay (IIT B) prior to joining UF. He is a long-time Florida Gators and Gator Engineering fan. According to him, being part of this academic community brings a sense of achievement and honor. Furthermore, as a member of the graduate and housing community in Diamond Village, he has found another great place to call home. He has lived in many other apartment complexes, off-campus, and admits that Diamond village provides a wonderful experience and the best services and staff in Gainesville. Besides being a Ph.D. student, on his spare time, you can find him playing tennis and enjoying the outdoor facilities our campus has to offer. He is also the vice-president for the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) student chapter here at the University of Florida. Like all residents, he wants a safe, comfortable environment with involvement opportunities for everyone in the community.
Note: Started on 2012, after the new website overhaul.