Postgraduate Student Candidates Running for Academic Senate


Running for the position of student representative on the Academic Senate for the Postgraduate Coursework Program are Aleksandra Nikolic, Heather Lockwood, Manali Tayshete and Smarika Mahat.

Running for postgraduate representative for the Higher Degree Research Program are Sayantani Chatterje and Ali Ashger Ali.


I am an international first year PhD student pursuing my immune-system based glyco-biology research in the Department of Molecular Sciences under the Faculty of Science and Engineering (I know, sounds really heavy!). This takes up most of my time, but during the rest of it, I love playing the piano and strongly believe in “Netflix and Chill”. I am a dessert-person and sometimes, I wish I was a dog-sitter.

Can you comment on the overall experience you’ve had while studying at Macquarie?

My journey in Macquarie University started all the way back in 2015 where I landed here from India to pursue my Masters of Biotechnology and Business, and later took a mid-way transfer to Master of Research completing the degree in 2017. To say the least, my overall experience in Macquarie University has been amazing! I have been lucky to be a part of this outstanding faculty and department.

At every juncture of my academic life, I have come across the right people with the right guidance and have enjoyed my time thoroughly in this university. I have met some really cool people, came across an amazing batch of colleagues and made some really awesome friends! I love being a part of this university.

What made you decide to campaign for a place on the Academic Senate?

Being very closely attached to the university and coming across various people of different backgrounds and cultures, I am particularly interested in this position of an Academic Senate because I feel I can conduct a two-way process through this role – being the voice of the students to the university and being a communicator on behalf of the university to these students.

If elected to the Senate, what issues or concerns will you be prioritising?

If elected to the Academic Senate position at the HDR level, I will be prioritising issues put forward by several HDR candidates related to their candidature and academic policies designed for HDR students so as to improve the mental health of the students and enabling them to enjoy their workload instead.

Finally, why should students vote for you? 

Because I will be YOUR VOICE.  

 ALI ASHGER ALI (Independent)

Read Ali’s interview here.

Awaiting response from Aleksandra Nikolic, Heather Lockwood, Manali Tayshete and Smarika Mahat.