Ghosts from the Past:

Lisa Wong 2000-2001

After being actively involved in high school, Lisa Wong foundher way to Student Government at St. John’s University.

“I got involved with SGI because ever since high school I’vealways enjoyed participating in extra curricular activities,especially with student government,” Wong said. “I chose to spendmy free time joining SGI at SJU because I knew that was theorganization that students could make the most impact on anindividual student’s quality of like on campus, as well as meetingnew friends and attending school events.”

During her year of involvement with SGI, Wong held variouspositions, including budget committee chair, public relationscommittee chair, junior senator and secretary.

All of this work within Student Government helped Wong perfectskills that will help her out in future jobs.

“Getting involved with SGI, or any other extracurricularactivity, helped me understand how to work with different peopleand their needs,” she said. “It taught me how to better communicateand build relationships with not only my co-workers but patientswho feel comfortable discussing their personal issues, or justasking a question.”

During her years of involvement with SGI, the time that Wongremembers the most is the elections for the 1999/2000 school year,which was her sophomore year.

“I remember the whole week my stomach hurt and it felt as if Ihad a real bad ulcer, but I soon realized that it was merelynervousness because just as soon as my team’s individual names wererevealed as the winners of the 1999-2000 election, my stomach painswent away,” she said. “I feel that it was the experience of thatcampaign and the results of that election that eventually led me tobecoming president of SGI later. I am grateful for being a part ofthe experience that changed my life and will probably never forgetthose few weeks of my sophomore year in college.”

In 2002, Wong got her Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy andwill get her PharmD this May. She has also been working inManhattan at Duane Reade. When it comes to her future plans, Wongsaid, “The sky is the limit.”

Wong’s advice for future presidents of Student Government issimple.

“Follow your dreams, do your job, be nice and for new ideas,think outside of the box.”


Kristina Vertbitskaya 2001-2002

Former Student Government president Kristina Verbitskaya gotinvolved with SGI early on when she was asked by the president herfreshman year to run as a representative.

“I always wanted to be involved with organizations on campus. Igot introduced to a few people in SGI and was asked to run for afreshman representative position my first year by Alissa Amato,”Verbitskaya said. “My second year I held a position of sophomoresenator and Academic Affairs Committee chairperson. Third year Iwas a vice president, and then president my last.”

Since graduating, Verbitskaya has been working as a BrokerageOperations Management Trainee for Fleet Securities, Inc. In thefall she will begin a part-time MBA program while continuing towork.

Because of being so active in Student Government at St. John’s,Verbitskaya gained valuable skills that have helped even aftergraduation.

“SGI definitely made me who I am today. It provided me withexperiences that improved my management and speaking skills at avery young age,” she said. “I am always grateful to SGI and peoplethat touched my life, and without whom I would never imagine mylife without.”

Verbitskaya’s most memorable moment also involves an electionthat she participated in.

“I remember sitting at the Commons on the University Center withmy IMPACT ticket, and other supporters and waiting for theannouncement of the winners, and the excitement of theannouncement,” she said. “My ticket worked hard…through theelection and the year. They definitely made an impact at SJU.”

The message Verbitskaya would give to future presidents ofStudent Government is that all the work they will do will be worthit.

“Get ready for a long year ahead, but remember that it is allworth it in the end.”


Aion Hoque 2002-2003

Aion Hoque, who was president of Student Government for the2002/2003 school year, was far from active in school. When he gotto college, he wanted to change that.

“I got involved with SGI freshman year. I’d never been involvedin much of anything in high school, so I thought I would trysomething new in college.”

Hoque started his SGI career as a freshman representative andlater held other positions such as public relations co-chair,sophomore senator, secretary and president his senior year.

Since graduating last year, Hoque has been attending the StateUniversity of New York at Buffalo School of Law. After getting hisdegree in law, he hopes to eventually go into public interestlaw.

As a lawyer, Hoque’s public speaking skills will be important.This is a skill that he was able to perfect while being a member ofStudent Government.

“My involvement with SGI definitely helped me develop a betterpublic speaking ability,” he said. “Speaking at all the variousmeetings throughout the year made me a lot more comfortablespeaking in public. Also, trying to balance my involvement with myschool work was definitely a lesson I took away from being inSGI.”

As with both Wong and Verbitskaya, Hoque also distinctlyremembers when he first took part in the election process.

“My most memorable moment would probably running for secretarymy sophomore year. The elections were really crazy that year, and Iremember how excited everyone was,” Hoque said. “It was definitelysomething I won’t forget, it was exhilarating spending the daystrying to get students to come out and vote.”

The advice that Hoque would give to future generations of SGIpresidents involves the people they associate with.

“Surround yourself with good people with good ideas, and don’tbe afraid to change things.”