Student Senate Candidates 21/22

Emmanuel Essien


Hi there,

My name is Emmanuel Essien and I am an international student here at Calvin University majoring in human resources management with a minor in accounting. I come from Ghana. At Calvin University, I have served as the student manager for the Knollcrest Dining Hall.  In my sophomore year, I worked as a general secretary for BHT before assuming the role as a head desk receptionist. My passion for meeting new students and making sure they are fully settled at Calvin led me to work as an orientation assistant for the Center for Intercultural Student Development Office. Just this academic year I was appointed as the vice president of administration for student senate. My zeal for leadership led me to work as the acting student body president overy interim. Outside Calvin, a couple of my friends and I co-founded a nonprofit organization called Youth for Change Initiative that was aimed at empowering the Ghanaian youth to contribute their quota to their surrounding communities. Outside of work, I love playing soccer and writing poetry. I hope to be invested in Calvin as always and I am looking forward to serving this wonderful community.

Kay Casturo 


Hey friends, I’m Kay! I am currently a junior studying organizational communication with a minor in German. I LOVE all things Calvin and have had the privilege to serve the student body in many ways. I served as a senator in student senate during my freshman year and as VP of administration last year. Within senate, I worked on some awesome projects, co-chaired Freshman Council, and sat on several committees. I was also BB dorm president, and this last summer I was on Oboard! In my free time, I love to ski, explore GR, and hang out near that awesome new firepit, (yay, Senate 2020!) With these experiences and opportunities aside, what I love most about Calvin is the people. From dancing queens to bilingual geniuses, you all inspire me every day!

I have heard from so many that this year has drained you and I feel it too. Let’s put that behind us and walk into next year with ease! My plan for student senate is to learn, excite, and execute your passions. I can assure you I will be accessible at all times, work closely with the administration, and lead with integrity in everything I do. Please feel free to reach out to me with any ideas, opinions, or questions! 

Thom de Boo


My name is Thom de Boo and I’m a junior studying international relations, minoring in religion. I’m also an RA in SE. I’m from the Netherlands, but I grew up in Japan for part of my childhood as a missionary kid. I went to an American school and my family loves to visit the States, so the US has always felt like a second home to me. I have a younger brother here at Calvin and three little sisters. The youngest are twins and they truly light up my life.

After Calvin and grad school, I want to become a diplomat. This year I got to participate in Model UN, which, despite being online, was such a cool experience. I realized I love listening to people from other cultures, bringing different concerns to the table and not giving up until we’ve found something that works for everyone. I’m excited to see where God leads me with this.

Many people remember me because of my hobby: I love trains! I just think trains are such a relaxing, sustainable, and adventurous way of traveling. Proof that I’m a dedicated fan? I have a YouTube channel all about it.

Theo Perumal

Vice President

I am a freshman here at Calvin University, and freshman year was not what I expected. As someone who values physical touch, it was hard to adjust to Calvin when I was supposed to be six feet away from the people I’m supposed to deeply care about. When I joined Calvin student senate last year, I made it my mission to bring people together. By brainstorming and leading the first annual red ball tournament, I learned how Calvin works and how I could work within Calvin. My goal for next year is to help usher in the new period of post-social-distancing. I want to do this by making places where people can come together.

Emmanuella AkyeampongVice President

My name is Emmanuella Akyeampong (a lot of people just call me “Ella”) and I am a junior currently studying biology and biochemistry (Pre-Med) and I grew up in Ghana. My mission ever since I arrived at Calvin has been to truly think about where God has called me to serve. Even though the journey has not been an easy one, like many of you, I have had nights where I tried to think about how to fit in or how to use the gifts that God had given me. I have served as an orientation leader in 2019 to 12+ amazing students that I cannot possibly believe would be juniors this year. I have had the opportunity to serve in the Center for Intercultural Student Development under the Multicultural Student Advisory Board (MSAB)  and I have heard countless stories of students not feeling like they belong here at Calvin. I really hope and believe that if I am granted the opportunity to be the vice president of representation, I can work together with the student body to make Calvin a safe and enjoyable space for all. Stay blessed! 

William ToomeyVice President

My name is William Toomey and I am a sophomore from Runnells, IA studying chemical engineering and biochemistry on a pre-med track. At Calvin, I have had many opportunities in diversified experiences, including clubs such as NSBE, Engineering Unlimited, LEAD, and being part of Calvin’s Swim and Dive team. I have held roles as a grader and lab assistant. 

One of the things I am passionate about is representation and inclusion, one of the projects I helped to start was the Iowa Swimming’s Diversity and Inclusion chapter. This group focused primarily on representing minorities in the swimming community by promoting leadership, providing resources, scholarships, and events that celebrate people from all backgrounds. As someone who has dealt with a lack of representation, exclusion, and racism in academics and athletics, representing the student body would allow me to help provide a platform to those who are not heard and raise awareness of issues that persist in our community. 

Jasmine Nykamp

Vice President

Hey there! My name is Jasmine Nykamp. I was born and raised in Grand Rapids with many Cantonese customs. I am a big foodie and enjoy food from as many countries as I can get my hands on, the more obscure the better. I value traveling and getting to experience the culture and conversing with new people. I have a passion for social justice and allowing everyone a voice. I love getting to know new people and I really hope you can be one of them!

Bear de Boo

Vice President

My name is Bear de Boo and I’m a freshman majoring in political science! I was born in Grand Rapids, but grew up in Tokyo, Japan and in the Netherlands. All my experiences abroad have shown me amazing schools and universities, each with their own unique aspects. My goal is to bring uniqueness to Calvin, to truly make the school a great place to be. Whether it be by adding new additions to the school, such as the egg chairs in the library lobby that the president and I envisioned, or listening to students wants. Remembering my name shouldn’t be too hard, as it’s Bear de Boo-that’s who!

Sean Salamun

Vice President

My name is Sean Salamun and I’m from Kalamazoo, Michigan. I’m currently a sophomore with a political science major and international relations minor. During the 2019-2020 school year, I was a freshman senator in the Emerson Silvernail administration where I served as the RVD dorm representative while working on a number of projects both on campus and virtually amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This school year, I was promoted from senator to team leader; I collaborated with my team working on projects such as Care Cards, the Data Discount Fund, SPIN Scooters and our upcoming Connect Knights project. Outside of senate, I serve on the leadership team of the Calvin Democrats where I have focused on initiatives such as voter registration and campus visibility. I consistently strive to improve the senate-campus partnership by actively ensuring that we are truly representing the whole Calvin University student body.

Nain Miranda

Vice President

Growing up in the slums of Managua, Nicaragua has given me the opportunity to see the world differently. It has given me the opportunity to see how impactful and life changing service can be to a community. And so growing up next to those my family and I sought to serve allowed me to clearly see the need for change, whether it was serving in my parents’ feeding center, or in my church’s food bank. My passion has always been to serve my community in order to bring change and restoration.

Part of my motivation for running for student senate is to have the opportunity to serve as a liaison between students and Calvin administration. I would act as someone who can effectively and compassionately translate the needs of students into positive development on campus. 

Ngicha Kilewo


Hello Everyone! My name is Ngicha Kilewo and I am from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania! I am currently a freshman here at Calvin and I am majoring in political science and international relations. I am also a part of the Collegiate Scholars Program. In high school I was a part of the Wildlife Leaders and Model United Nations and with those experiences, I hope they will help me be able to take on a position as senator. I am looking forward to serving in the student senate, where I hope to represent the international community and fulfill my goals on making the campus feel like a place where all students belong.

Sarah Jaley


My name is Sarah Jaley and I am a first-year student from Illinois. I am an international relations and international development major seeking a career with organizations like the United Nations or USAID. My dream is to reform these systems to ensure that they avoid Eurocentric ideals and encourage sustainable development goals that create tangible improvement in other countries. Growing up just outside of Chicago, I was blessed with the opportunity to experience the intersections of culture. While I was fortunate enough to attend a private school in the suburbs and experience financial security, a 15 minute drive from my home reveals the intense wealth disparities and racial divides that have created a spirit of struggle within the city. At Calvin, I am a staff member at Dialogue and actress for the Calvin Theatre Company.

Emery Alspaugh


Hello, my name is Emerson Alspaugh, but (almost) everyone on campus calls me Emery. I am from Columbus, Ohio, and am majoring in political science and minoring in public health. I have served Calvin’s community for the past two years through various means, and I can get even more done through the student senate. As a member of RHET, I help make dorm events happen. As a Perkins Fellow, I help work our community towards racial reconciliation. I hope to use my gifts to serve while also learning many fantastic lessons from the people around me.

Liana Hirner


Hi, I’m Liana Hirner, and I’m a freshman from Aurora, Illinois. I’m majoring in writing, and I’m also studying political science. I’m a part of Calvin’s honors program, SAGA and Calvin Peacemakers. My favorite things include but are not limited to: coffee, dark chocolate, reading, SNL and enjoying good food. Social justice advocacy is something I am very passionate about, and I hope to bring this passion to student senate. If you ever see me around campus—if you stay in Peet’s long enough I will probably turn up—feel free to come to me with your thoughts. I am here for every student at Calvin.

Samuel Steen


I don’t care how many people named Sam you’ve met here or even how many Steens you’ve seen in your time at Calvin. I’m not your average blond Dutch kid (though I do fit those descriptors), and I’m here to make a difference. As far as background goes, I’m sort of all over the place. Raised in New Jersey, I’ve been to tiny Christian schools and huge public ones. I grew up RCA but spent most of my time in a non-denominational church, and I truly want my faith to define my life. And as you wonder if it’s even worth voting for the tenth “Sam” you’ve met (second only, I’m sure, to the Bens for ubiquity), I promise I will do my best to represent you all in senate whether or not you’re a Sam, whether or not you’re Dutch, and even whether or not we agree on everything.

Jeffrey Arthur


I am Jeffrey Kwesi Arthur, and I am twenty years of age from the lovely city of Accra, Ghana. I reflect a varied personality including ambition, dedication and the qualities of generosity and thoughtfulness. Also, I am a well determined and lively individual, yet pleasantly calm. One other thing I love to do is to encourage fighting for what you desire and believing in, and doing it through God because with God, nothing is impossible even though it might not be easy to accomplish. 

I am a full-time student at Calvin University, motivated by my love for integrating faith and learning and succeeding as I strive to become an outstanding and prestigious individual in today’s society. Apart from the above, I have a keen interest in aiding people in various ways as my ability can make me since my utmost goal is to see individuals grow – be it socially, mentally, academically, or emotionally – and to put a smile on their faces.

Jae Ha Lee


My name is Jae Ha Lee, and I am a freshman majoring in computer science. Growing up as a missionary kid, most of my childhood was spent in Ethiopia and other nations of Africa. As such, the act of transitioning into new and unfamiliar locations was a routine in my life and through this routine I was able to experience and appreciate various new cultures and people. And while these transitions provided much experience, they also influenced my personality in negative ways. One such change was that I became timid when approaching new people. Due to this new reserved personality, I missed many opportunities to share my ideas, contribute to discussions, and volunteer to help. While listening to, and incorporating many voices into one final decision is no simple task, I would like to utilize my gift of quiet leadership as a Student Senator, so that everyone can share a sense of belonging in the “embracing” Calvin Community.  

Ella Sytsema


My name is Ella Sytsema, and I am a freshman at Calvin, and I am currently studying biology with plans to ultimately become a genetic counselor. I am a member of the Freshman Council and have worked with them to bring the Swipe Out Hunger initiative to action on campus as well as help carry out the food truck event during Pause Week which brought many local restaurants to students on campus. On my floor’s Social Events Team, I am helping plan events such as thrifting days and even a spontaneous Wendy’s Formal. When I am not in class, I can frequently be spotted around campus in my yellow rain boots. Although I may not be able to tap dance in the coming year, I do hope that this coming year I will be able to be a student senator and that as a part of student senate I will be able to continue to help amplify the voices of a diverse body of students and work to cultivate a community where all students feel they belong and are valued.