Congratulations to our 2020 Freshman Representatives!
We cant wait to meet you
Hi everyone, my name is Chip Specker, and I moved to Duluth from Minneapolis.
If three words encompass who I am, they would be people, politics, and running. I'm a very talkative guy and am always up for a conversation, no matter the subject. My friends would say that I "bring the energy" with my enthusiastic personality.
I love hearing people's stories –they shape who we are, our beliefs, and what we deem important. So far, I've learned that the most critical skill is listening. Only when we start actively listening can we begin to move forward in the process of change. And that's what I plan to do; listen to my peer's wants and needs, then act in everyone's best interest.
While I'm not out on a long run, other large parts of my life revolve around community service and politics. For the past three election cycles, I've been a poll worker. Democracy is something I'm passionate about, and participating in any way gives me great satisfaction. Aside from that, I like literature, philosophy, sports, and organization. When in Minneapolis, I'm a salesman at a local running store.
Through my leadership experience, I have a guiding principle: Leadership isn't watching from above; it's helping from below. A leader works with others in every position along every step of the process - asking for help when they need it, and offering it to others at any time.
In high school, I was a member of the student council. I joined under the title of communications, then moved to the role of president. During my time, I focused on improving communication between the students and the district. I did this by creating a website and an Instagram account to make sure information was getting where it needed. I also planned a school-wide community service day, where we partnered with dozens of local businesses around the city.
I was the president of my school's Model UN team. Being a delegate at international conferences all over the country has provided me with the most unique and eye-opening experiences I've had. My participation has not only taught me how to become a better critical thinker but grown essential collaborative skills that have served me well in all aspects of life.
One leadership experience I thought I'd never have was spending a week at the United States Naval Academy. During the one-week boot camp, I learned some fundamentals of leadership within teams. I realized the importance of planning and time management and sticking to a schedule in the progression of tasks.
These experiences and positions taught me essential skills that I hope to use in representing the wonderful and diverse community here at UMD.
Sociology Major in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA).
Hey there! I’m Megan Axberg, a freshman at UMD and a proud member of the strong class of 2024. I’m from a small town in Minnesota called Lake Elmo but attended a huge high school right outside of the twin cities which gave me the best of both worlds! I did PSEO in High School at Century College and loved it, which made me even more excited to start at UMD! I love to be outdoors, adventure, try new things, and meet new people. I am also extremely passionate about Environmental Issues, Racial and Climate Justice, and Gender Equality. I was a member of the Student Council at my high school for four years, all while playing Hockey, Tennis, and Lacrosse. I’m the type of person that is accepting of all. I asked friends to describe me in four words for this and they came up with dependable, passionate, hardworking and creative. I love doing stuff that helps others, which is why I am choosing a major to help improve the environment and leave a mark on the world.
I am so happy and proud to see such great candidates representing the class of 2024. My goal if I am elected as one of the six Freshman Representatives is to make sure that ALL freshman at UMD are given the opportunity to have their voice heard. Throughout this crazy year, we as the class of 2020 and now the class of 2024 have been pushed to the limits by many obstacles. I am running to make sure our class is given this voice we’ve been missing during these difficult months. We as a class have become so strong throughout this process that we deserve to have a voice.
Some of the topics I am extremely passionate about and would like to bring awareness to if elected are:
-Both financial and physical support for the freshman class of 2020
-Online classes should be priced differently than in-person classes
-More on and off campus mental health awareness and support, which is critical during these challenging times. Being someone that lost a close aunt to suicide this is particularly important to me.
-More optional on campus awareness and discussion towards racial justice and how we can grow and make an impact.
-Better ways for UMD to become more environmentally friendly.
If elected, I want to make sure these critical topics are talked about and students have easier access to have a voice in these and many more critical topics . I would also seek out and bring forward topics that are important to my fellow UMD freshman.
I hope with my prior student government and leadership experience to be given the privilege to represent the strong, bold and powerful class of 2024 and make sure all freshmen have a voice here at UMD.
Biology Major with an Environmental Engineering Minor in the Swenson College of Science and Engineering (SCSE).
My name is Mariama Mohamed and I identify myself as an immigrant black Muslim woman. I was born and raised in Somalia, I migrated to the United States about four years ago. To describe myself in a few words, I’m a great listener, outspoken and a very open-minded person. I’m very passionate about a lot of things such as mental health, climate change, BLM movement, sexual assault, and LGBTQ+ rights. For me, what comes first is fighting for the human race and equality. I have always seen myself as an activist person who accepts everyone and fights for other people’s rights no matter their skin color, religion, gender, nationality, or sexuality.
I think what makes someone a great leader and representative is being unapologetically themselves and true to other people. I want to be the kind of leader or representative who’s isn’t ashamed of things like wearing a hijab or being an immigrant in this country. I want my peers to look at me and feel comfortable enough to talk to me about any issue they are facing, and I want to be there for them not just physically but also emotionally because I want to make them feel comfortable with their own skin and identity. As a leader and representative, I want to bring the unfair topics to the table and fight for change. I will make sure that not only my voice is heard but also the voice of my peers and to keep fighting until we see the change we want to see.
Psychology and Sociality Double Major in the College of Education and Human Service Professions (CEHSP).
Hello! I’m Lily and I am currently a freshman. I’m on track to graduate college in 2022 due to the opportunity I was given to take online college courses in high school. My hobbies are reading, writing, research, and meditation. I’m really excited to start college in a larger city and get to know both Duluth and the amazing people who live here (and, hopefully, who I will have the privilege of representing).
I am a good leader because I value honesty, integrity, compassion, critical thinking, rhetoric, and diversity in thought, culture, and background. I have grown increasingly tired of seeing people in power use their influence to silence those they disagree with or further their own selfish ideals. Having grown up in a smaller town, such backwards belief and activity were impossible to ignore.
In response, I decided to use my interpersonal communication and research skills, as well as my hard work ethic, to incite positive change. I began going to leadership camps at a young age and continued to attend for 9 years. In the 15+ camps I’ve attended, I was able to learn from and network with people on a statewide level. I was elected to serve as a youth advisor for the non-profit, non-partisan organization that owned the camp, Minnesota Farmers Union.
As I got older, I was elected on multiple school executives boards, including SADDs, MHS, and Student Senate. Through these school funded events, I represented my school and community on local, state, and nation levels. By the time I graduated, I attended and served at 7 local summits, 4 state summits, and 2 national conferences.
The diversity that I was blessed to experience at these leadership conventions greatly inspired and ignited me. I was able to come home with new insights, information, and a better idea of how and why I should fight for change and the people I represent, no matter how difficult it may pose to be.
Philosophy Major with a Minor in Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), interested in a Double Major with Political Science.
I was born and raised in Rochester, MN. My large extended family plays a big role in my life, I have seven siblings, with my free time I usually prioritize spending time with family or friends enjoying the small parts of life and finding an adventure. I am always looking to expand my horizons and learn about topics I am ignorant towards. There are always challenges but the most important part of that is using it to grow.
People from home can describe me in several ways but I hope the biggest take away is that I am a good listener and do all I can to empower my peers to advocate for themselves and their needs. I see this as one of the biggest parts of being a valuable leader.
With that, I recognize we are all still going through life and we have all go through pain, since I lost a close friend to suicide a year ago, I have grown and become a big advocate in mental health and awareness. Going through a family divorce and the stress that comes along with that I have learned more about myself and some about life. I think the most important part and what makes life so complex is our perspectives, we all have our own story and I believe recognizing that and getting to know my peers will help give guidance in making decisions on what UMD can do to help our success.
I graduated from Mayo High School as Senior Class President. My previous experience in leadership with my peers has accomplished some great things including starting a student-lead club as a safe place for students in efforts to create more awareness and support for mental wellness. We organized a school wide fundraiser and made over $60,000 to give to the dorothy day house and women’s shelter. As a representative of our school I would use my position to find more perspectives than my own and advocate for people and groups in need. As that can reach from minority groups that have been given disadvantages, to harassment in the LGBTQ community, to students struggling with mental health. With so many people from all different backgrounds going through these times of uncertainty, we need to remember we are a community and we must have leadership that can support that. I believe the primary part of being a leader is not doing what I think is right, but getting involved and listening to my peers to work and follow through with what WE need and make our voice heard.
Biology Major in the Swenson College of Science and Engineering (SCSE), interested in a Minor in Spanish.
Sandi K. Flahn
Hello, my name is Sandi Flahn, and I’m a freshman here at the University of Minnesota - Duluth. I’m someone who’s passionate about the arts and philanthropy work. I enjoy having open-minded conversations with people, and seeing the good in every situation.
I would be a good leader and a great representative of my peers because of my honest nature, my ability to connect with others well, and my previous leadership and advocacy work. I’ve been apart of organizations such as student council and black student union, which I have contributed to by making school events and hearing the voices of my peers in order to make the right decisions that benefits them and the school overall.
Theatre Major in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), interested in Musical Theatre.