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Class of 2024: First-Year Class President Candidate Statements

It's nerve-racking being a freshman, especially in this pandemic. Everything about CMC and remote learning is new for you. It's impressive when first-year students step out of their comfort zones, especially by doing things such as running for class president!

In a remote setting, it can be challenging to get to know your peers. So, let's read what they have to say!

Lexi Punishill

What’s up Stagthenas!? I’m Lexi Punishill and I’m hoping to get your vote for first year class president.

I knew I wanted to attend CMC from the second I set foot on campus. I fell in love with the environment and felt instantly at home. My goal as your president is to make sure we continue to promote that welcoming environment amongst everyone in the student body. I want to make sure that everyone feels at home at CMC.

We as a class have already had engaging and reflective conversations, and I want to not only continue having those discussions within our class, but to promote those open and productive conversations to members of the student body and faculty.

I am a huge promoter of freshman bonding activities. I have loved getting to know all of you through our Zooms and I want to keep that attitude and excitement going. Whether it is virtual events (synchronous and asynchronous) or hopefully physical in the spring, as your president I will make sure that this class stays as strong and tight-knit as possible. We will continue to have more class zooms within CMC but also as a 5C community. We have already established ourselves as the most cohesive class that CMC has seen to date, and it is my desire as President to keep it that way.

I am beyond committed to being the voice of the Class of 2024 and making sure that everyone has a voice in making the CMC environment a better place. I am so happy to be at CMC and I want to guarantee that everyone feels the same way. Vote for a president who will continue to make CMC the best place to be! I am always open to chat so DM/text/snap/email with any questions!!


Bertha Tobias

When I initially read the email about First Year Class President, my intuitive response was to ignore it and go about my day. I justified my fear with the fact that I’m not American, and subsequently that the Class of 2024 wouldn’t buy into the leadership of a sub-saharan African student. This self-doubt is exactly why I decided to run. CMC is a place where all of us should feel fully, genuinely and authentically at home. A space where each one of us has the tools to thrive academically, socially and mentally. Having graduated high school in China, I’m acutely aware of the importance of bridging cultural and social gaps, and existing alongside each other as full humans. My strong conviction to ensure that CMC remains inclusive and healthy has effectively informed my three campaign pillars:

Institutional cohesion: fostering community through establishing meaningful links between different racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups in the class of 2024 through efforts such as online game nights, Zoom karaoke, online multicultural training and anything you deem necessary as a year group

Intentional inclusion: the strategic and targeted acknowledgement of everybody’s identity through initiatives such as culture weeks dedicated to expanding our collective knowledge bases of the sociopolitical identities represented in our class and protecting low income students who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19

Overall representation: active representation to executive leadership of different parts of our unique individual experiences through policy formulation and implementation which recognizes the importance of racial, ethnic, regional, socioeconomic and mental health struggles

I’m not going to promise a dramatic transformation of our class experience. What I will promise, is to use my professional experience, passion and conviction to improve our experience of CMC, online or offline.

Whether or not you elect me as your FYCP, I hope my running reminds someone that they’re valid, that their presence is valued and that CMC‘ 24 is home to all of us!

Yours in all things authentic,

Bertha Tobias

Find out more about Bertha on


Theo Siasat

Dear Class of 2024,

My name is Theo Siasat and I’m from Glendale, California. A little bit about me: in my free time, you’ll catch me working out, attempting to learn the piano or listening to Playboi Carti, The Weeknd, and Frank Ocean. During high school, I was a basketball captain, principal string bassist in the orchestra, interned for my Congressman, and founded my school’s first Mental Health Awareness Club.

And now, I’m running to be your first-year class president. I look forward to meeting and hearing from every single one of you!

As a first-generation, low-income student, I understand the numerous challenges that come with college, even when it’s virtual. I will advocate for all underserved and disadvantaged students. As a member of the Academic Working Group at CMC, I already know what working with faculty to enact real change looks like. I also hope to highlight the diversity that makes our class so great, by spotlighting groups like Mi Gente, BSU, SAGA, APAM and more!

I have so many ideas for us to connect during this time. Just to name a few:

  • Redemption Prom!

  • CMC Class of ‘24 merch, designed by us.

  • WOA Trips (hopefully) in the spring!

  • 5C Connections!

More accessible virtual events to accommodate people from all over the world.

These are only my ideas, though. I want to know what you want out of our first year at CMC. I want to represent the whole class and your ideas, dreams, and wishes. I want to bring a culmination of your voices to the forefront of ASCMC.

I’m open to feedback from any of you. Feel free to email me at or dm me at @theosiasat on Instagram.

And remember, a vote for T is a vote for yee!


Liann Bielicki

Hello hello, fellow first-years! I’m Liann Bielicki, and I’m running to be your class president. I’m from the Bay Area, but I’m itching to be on campus with you all in Claremont. In high school, I worked for the community engagement program at a local museum and successfully led clubs like Speech and Debate, Model UN, and Mock Trial.

Lately I’ve found myself thinking about how our class functions, and how us students can build each other up. My campaign values are community and accountability. Specifically, I’m interested in how, as FYCP, I can develop virtual events and represent our class’ needs with an eye towards sustainability, mental health, and inclusion.

For instance, I want to move away from Zoom as a default by providing both synchronous and asynchronous activities to better accommodate schedules. I believe that there is amazing work being done for sustainability and mental health, but that existing projects need fresh eyes and expansion. I want to interrogate how CMC can become more environmentally friendly, and how mental health resources can be demystified and destigmatized. I know how to manage a budget, plan events, and advocate for all of your needs. And I already have a plan of attack.

I know that candidates can start blending together. We’re all dedicated, experienced, and capable; after all, we’re CMCers. But I can make you a unique promise, on top of my comprehensive campaign details. I want to be the mouthpiece for our class’ issues and wishes, so I plan on taking the initiative to talk with every single first-year. I want to truly represent you all.

With that in mind, feel free to message me any time-- and vote for me this weekend for FYCP!


Zane Yamamoto

Hey guys!

I’m Zane Yamamoto and I’m running to be your first-year class president. I served as class president for three years at my high school, and I helped to overhaul our student government into an organization that actually had a meaningful voice with the administration, advocated for students’ needs, and worked to find common ground.

If there’s one thing this pandemic has made clear it’s that we need to THINK BIG and BE BOLD. We can’t approach this like a normal year because it isn’t. We have to innovate, improvise, and improve upon the structures and systems already in place to create a CMC community that thrives digitally and feels like home to students from all walks of life.

As I’m sure you guys are tired of hearing already, I’m from Honolulu, Hawai’i. I don’t emphasize this point to invoke images of hula dancers, ukuleles, and surfing. I do it because growing up in Hawai’i, I was surrounded by other people of color. I got to see people with last names like mine hold political office, lead businesses, and serve as community leaders. And I witnessed people from cultures across the globe who didn’t just coexist but thrived together. Now, there’s still a lot of work to be done, but that’s just how CMC will be. I won’t promise that if you vote for me, you’ll wake up the next day in a utopia. Change and progress won’t happen overnight, regardless of who you vote for. But I can promise that I can help lead that effort, day in and day out, to forge the kind of class WE want to see.


Zane Yamamoto


Kenneth Owusu

Hi, my name is Kenneth Owusu and I am running for your First Year Class President (FYCP)! This year has been a shared experience unique to the CO’ 2024. The impacts of a pandemic turned our lives upside down and tragic events called for us to re-examine America as we know it. We’ve had to be the most innovative class yet to deal with all this change- which I am proud to say we embraced beautifully. We’ve done an amazing job connecting online and engaging in difficult conversations and my wish is to continue to embrace change and improve our community with your help.

I was born in Ghana and live in the Bronx, New York City. I like to say I don't really have a hobby because I prefer doing and trying new things (the more adrenaline inducing, the better). I spent most of my time pre-Corona trying different restaurants around NYC. As of now, I spend my day (when I’m not doing work) cooking, making bracelets, listening to Philosophize This, and scrolling through TikTok (probably my favorite thing to do). I haven't declared a major yet but I am thinking of PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics), PPA (Philosophy and Public Affairs), International Relations or some combination of those subjects. I spent my high school career exploring different subjects of interest through outside programs such as interning at the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art), MedDocs- where I studied Cardiology, Pulmonology, and Neurology at Mount Sinai hospital, taking a course on psychology at a local college, and last year I had the opportunity to travel to Italy as a student diplomat to learn about sustainability and the ongoing slow food movement. My interests are all over the place and I love talking about them so please DM and let's chat! As FYCP, I plan to:

  • Expand the current anti-racism initiative to address other forms of prejudice and encourage intersectional activism to creates lasting change;

  • Encourage an environmentally conscious campus community;

  • Actively listen to and address the unique needs of the CO’24.

My initiatives are meant to build and advocate for a more environmentally and socially sustainable campus community as well as to be the person you can rely on to act as your voice. If this is what you want, vote Kenneth for FYCP!


Michael Gadinis

Hey everyone! My name is Michael Gadinis and I’m running to be your first-year Class President. Since I only have so many words, I’ll give a quick description of who I am. I’m from Syosset, New York, I love animal crackers and cake, I have a dog named Shadow, and I work at Starbucks.

Outside of these random facts, why should you vote for me to be your first-year Class President? The main reason I think I’m the best candidate is that I’ll be a representative of the class just as much as I’ll be a president of the class. I have a lot of ideas I’d implement in our first year, including: holding elections for cabinet members instead of appointing them, ensuring we have an in-person club fair catered specifically towards our class, and holding synchronous and asynchronous events to keep us all connected with each other during this online semester (Zoom calls, class-curated playlists, games of Among Us, etc.) But more importantly, I’ll fight for our class. If there’s a class-wide event you want to see happen, I’ll make sure it happens. If you’re having issues handling hardships this pandemic brings and being a full-time student, I’ll be there to help you gain access to whatever support you need. If there’s some sort of institutional change you want to see within CMC, I’ll fight until we see that change occur.

Even though we’re only one month into our virtual first semester, this class already means a lot to me. I’ve loved getting to know you all through classes, group chats, and Zoom calls, and so I’d love to represent you all as your first year Class President. If you have any questions about my platform or just want to talk, feel free to reach out to me at or through my Instagram (@michael.gadinis)!

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