HSGSA 2018-2019 Executive Team

The Health Sciences Graduate Students’ Association (HSGSA) is a sub-organization of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) with the primary directive of representing the interest of health sciences graduate students of the Bannatyne and St. Boniface campuses. To further enhance the graduate community, the HSGSA organizes a multitude of events, academic programs, and student socials throughout the year, including: orientation, curling, paintball, dragonboating, holiday socials, visiting speakers, and research days. We encourage all graduate students to visit our office in room 114 Brodie Centre (behind Tim Horton’s) in the Bannatyne campus, and we look forward to working with you in the upcoming year. For more information please browse this website or call the office at 1 (204) 480-1313 and leave us a message. Alternatively you can check us out on Facebook here.

Carmine Slipski, HSGSA President

Office hours:  Wednesdays (9:00 AM – 11:00 AM)

Hi, my name is Carmine Slipski and I am a PhD student in Medical Microbiology and Infectious diseases studying antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in bacteria. I am very excited to represent health science research students here at Bannatyne campus as the HSGSA President for 2018-2019! I have lived in Winnipeg my whole life and completed my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Microbiology here at the U of M so I know this city very well.

During my graduate studies, I also served on the Med Micro student council (MMSC) as a supporting member in 2016-17, as well as President from 2017-18. During this time, I designed a new logo for the department, designed and ordered t-shirts and hoodies for students to proudly represent Med Micro, and organized academic workshops, as well as social inter-departmental events. I am eager to bring my leadership experience and fresh ideas to the HSGSA to make sure this an exceptional year for students!

As a student, if you have any ideas or concerns, we want your voices heard! I am very friendly and approachable, so please don’t hesitate to email or visit me during my office hours. I’m here to work for you!

Rahmat Rahman, HSGSA Vice-President Internal

Rahmat N. Rahman

Office Hours: Thursdays (1:00 PM – 2:00 PM)

My name is Rahmat. I am currently a Master’s Student at the Department of Immunology. I am an international student coming all the way from Bangladesh and have been a part of University of Manitoba for almost a year. Back home during my undergrad I ran for 2 years as Vice President Logistic for my department. Since I joined here, I have recently attended the annual student council meeting held by HSGSA.

Being elected as the VP Internal for HSGSA has been an exciting and fulfilling journey. As the VP Internal of HSGSA I am in charge of the financial transactions made by HSGSA so as to provide for students a platform to integrate research and social interactions between graduate students from all backgrounds of health sciences. My goal to maintain a budget transparency amongst the graduate students was effective and supported by all.

As the VP Internal, I will carry out my duties at the best of my abilities and maintain teamwork with my fellow executives. Keeping the student’s interest in mind, I will maximize my efforts to implement our needed requirements as a part of University of Manitoba.

Crystal Acosta, HSGSA Vice-President Saint Boniface

Office hours:  Mondays 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM (114 Brodie) OR anytime by appointment at St. Boniface campus

I am a doctoral candidate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Manitoba.  The St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre (SBRC) and Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine (at HSC) are my research base.  I have held Executive positions on the HSGSA for the past 3 years.  I served one term as the VP St. Boniface (VPSTB), and in the last 2 years, I served as the VP Marketing & Events.  This year I will serve for the fourth year on the HSGSA as the VPSTB once again, in which I will act as the chief liaison Officer between HSGSA members located at the St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre and the Bannatyne/Fort Garry campuses.  I am looking forward to serving and representing the HSGSA and St. Boniface students this term.


Colin Graydon, HSGSA Vice-President Academic

Office Hours:

I am a PhD student in Medical Microbiology. I moved to Winnipeg in 2014 after getting my BSc from UBC. My research is focussed on determining the mechanism of a protein that suppresses immune function in chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS and cancer. I have served as HSGSA President and more recently as VP Academic. I am pleased to continue serving for a fourth straight year, trying to help grad students get the most out of their time here at the U of M.


Andrew Plesniarski, Vice-President Marketing and Events

Office hours: Fridays 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Hi! I’m Andrew Plesniarski, and I’m your HSGSA Vice-President Marketing and Events this year. I have extensive experience being a part of student groups, starting with founding the Sisler Recycling Squad in 2008, co-leading the University of Winnipeg Shinerama Campaign to raise money for cystic fibrosis research in 2010 and 2011 (leading to the awarding of the national ‘most improved campaign’ award), and joining the University of Winnipeg Biology Students Association in 2014 as ‘Communications Director’ later moving to ‘Vice-President’ and organizing a cross-faculty soccer tournament that is run to this day. Two years ago I was also the Vice-President of the Medical Microbiology Student Council (MMSC), and last year had the privilege of being the President of the MMSC where we successfully rolled out a new line of departmental clothing to both promote the department and a sense of community.

I am staying on after a term as HSGSA President, where under my leadership we were able to organize the first Career Fair put on by both us and UM Career Services, organize meetings between the student body and our local politicians, as well as put on all of the classic events that everyone knows and loves such as on-campus socials, a trip to Holiday Mountain, and Research Days social events.

I look forward to an exciting and fun year with all of the health science graduate students. If you have any event ideas you want to see or want to talk about then don’t hesitate to contact me at vpmarketingevents@hsgsa.org. See you at all our events!!!

Allison Balasko, HSGSA Vice-President External

Allison Balasko

I received my undergraduate degree in Microbiology at U of M and am currently a PhD student in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. I am also an alumna of the women’s Basketball team and the Track and Field team. I understand the value of teamwork!

Throughout my university experience, I have been extremely involved in student advocacy. I was elected Marketing and Communications co-chair of the U of M Athletic Council (UMAC) for four consecutive years, representing fellow teammates and leading initiatives, such as “Bison Pride Fridays”. I was also a board member of the University of Manitoba Student’s Union (UMSU) in 2014, representing UMAC as a student athlete advocate. In my graduate school experience, I was the Treasurer of the Medical Microbiology Student Council (2016-17).

This past year, I served as VP External for HSGSA, connecting with employers and university collaborators to run events such as the Inaugural Health Sciences Career Fair and the Sustainability Movie Night. I have also worked collaboratively with our VPME and Homerun Sports to create an HSGSA gear catalogue, so that our students have the ability to display their departments proudly. I will continue to be will be proactive, seek collaboration and to work hard to help connect students to the external world, most importantly by improving the Career Fair and hosting other networking events.  I am friendly, professional, experienced and a go-getter.

Prajwal Raghunatha , Senator

Office hours: Mondays 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

I hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from University of Mysore, India. I am currently a M.Sc student in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics. I have been conducting my neuroscience research at Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine (HSC) on the Bannatyne Campus. I’ve represented UMGSA/HSGSA on FGS Faculty Council last year and through additional volunteering opportunities. I am pleased to be elected as your HSGSA Senator for this year. As HSGSA Senator, I would advocate on behalf of all the health science graduate students the University Senate and council meetings. With constant feedback and suggestions from students across the departments, I plan to bring more creativity, flair and involvement to my position.