The UBC School of Journalism Students Association (SJSA) aims to provide our members with the best student experience possible through social activities, peer support, and advocacy for student rights.
SJSA Leadership Team
Georgia Longphee (they/them)
Growing up overseas for the first 18 years of their life, Georgia was always classified as the loud, slightly angry class clown. If you're looking for them in the hallway, all you have to do is follow the sound of their laugh or them arguing about late-stage capitalism. Writing and reporting since they were in middle school, Georgia’s focus has turned mostly to activism and person-interest stories, especially in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
They also (surprising no one due to their perfectionism) fell in love with editing, heading their undergrad’s newspaper, the Calgary Journal, in print and web for two years. Their experience in editing and interactions with younger years led Georgia to pursue their Masters for a future as a journalism professor -- but only after they break a couple of good stories first.
Constantly charging to be on stage since they were in diapers, Georgia has always been up for anything if it involves performing and talking. If you ever need someone on your side to shout louder than other voices, they have your corner. When they’re not writing, Georgia is either performing improv, playing dungeons and dragons, thrifting, or endlessly scrolling through Tik Tok.
If you want to have deep conversations about political and social issues, or just want to goof around and have a couple of beers, Georgia is your person. You may even be invited to a horror movie marathon if you hang around long enough.
Freny Fernandes (she/her)
You must have heard the phrase ‘Good things come in small packages.’ It pretty much sums up a lot about Freny. Born and brought up in the metropolitan city of Mumbai, this 5-feet-tall journalist has been making her mark in Indian media since 2014. She has a BA in English Literature from St. Xavier’s College and a five-year-long stint at the Times of India under her belt.
Freny loves all things green! She is passionate about writing, baking, gardening and trying new food. You can always find her wandering along scenic forest trails and beaches, trying her hand at wildlife photography, binging on spicy foods and desserts or binging on a wide range of Netflix series. She is also a boardgames fiend and can get highly competitive.
She can be shy at times when the spotlight is on her, but thrives when she gets to share it with everyone! Freny has always loved reporting and editing, and hopes to establish herself as an environmental journalist soon after this program. She loves having conversations about forests, wildlife, avifauna, climate and its intersection with the lives of people and communities across the world. She is very approachable and loves helping people out. Feel free to reach out to her for guidance at any time.
Arrthy Thayaparan (she/her)
Born and raised in Vancouver, Arrthy has only just started her journey into journalism. Before undertaking this new journey, Arrthy thought she was destined to become a doctor following the completion of her B.Sc. But in true Bend It Like Beckham fashion, she had an epiphany to finally follow her passions in media, writing, and storytelling.
You can usually find Arrthy hunting for new unique snacks, overanalyzing movies, or getting competitive over board games. At other times she might be seen doodling or napping away her responsibilities.
Despite being a local to Vancouver, Arrthy considers herself to be an absolutely awful tour guide to the city. But in saying that, you should definitely hit her up for random recommendations or to drag her outside for a joint adventure.
Arrthy hopes to pursue a journalism career in the future where she’ll be able to tell all sorts of stories on science and of marginalized communities in Canada. Though she’s still very new to the industry, she’s more than happy to answer any question you may have! Even if she doesn’t have the answer, she’ll work with you to find a solution together.
Vaishnavi Dandekar (she/her)
Of 22 years of her life, Vaishnavi has spent 21 years in Mumbai, India. Moving from a jam-packed, noisy city to a quiet neighbourhood in Vancouver, some things remained constant- her love for talking about latest trends in makeup, exploring best food spots around and cooking. With a huge poster of The Office in her living room, you know who would be your go-to person for a sit-com marathon with good food.
Vaishnavi decided she wanted to become a journalist in 8th grade and her family thought this was just one of her “I want to become an astronaut” phases. However, her love for storytelling and a curious mind brought her to Vancouver to pursue her passion. She completed her Bachelors in Mass Media in Mumbai and realized it was time for her to pack her bags and experience journalism in a different part of the world. Vaishnavi is inclined towards audio journalism, with specialization in social justice and mental health. Considering her love for food, don’t be surprised if you read some travel and food stories under her name.
If you ever need makeup/outfit tips or just a 3 am friend (literally, because she is always up till late) do not hesitate to reach out to her!
Pallavi Rao (she/her)
Pallavi hates the cold so much that she intentionally left her tropical roots to live in the coldest habitable country in the world -- all to be a journalist. Gosh, she really must be committed to journalism. Interested in business news, comics, tennis, board games and cool data visualisations, she's happy to lend a hand to anyone for anything, as long as it isn't putting together IKEA furniture.
You can find her at firstname.lastname@example.org because she's very good at responding to her emails quickly, oh yes she is!
Simran Chhabra (she/her)
Born and bred in Chandigarh, the city beautiful of India, Simran Chhabra defines herself as a thinker and creator who responds to challenges and opportunities with passion and persistence. Although she has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Panjab University, Chandigarh, Simran's appetite for storytelling stems from the profound influence of her maternal grandparents, who crossed the border and travelled to India from Pakistan.
Besides her familial affiliation, Simran pursued a Post Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication from Panjab University, where she graduated summa cum laude. A travel enthusiast and a trained Indian classical dancer, Simran also works as the International Ambassador for Women's Health in India. She runs a social justice initiative called Stree Sahodaya (Rising Girls) that advocates for sustainable menstrual hygiene, reproductive justice, and gender gap reduction across rural North Indian villages.
A fool for poetry, love, and Labradors, Simran thrives on coffee, chaos, wine, and words. When she's not busy building her empire in Canada and India, Simran can be found thrifting vintage bags and hogging Thai food. From turning into Selena Gomez and Drake to dancing her heart out on peppy Bollywood numbers, her taste in music oscillates as frequently as her mood.
A pint-sized (five feet two inches tall) bundle of enthusiasm, Simran is always willing to explore the great outdoors, so if you're looking to ride through the west coast sun, sand and sea, she's your go-to person. With Vancouver being her home away from home, Simran intends to build a tight-knit student community that provides a safe space for everyone. Whether you need her to raise concerns as your International Student Representative or simply lend an ear as your 3 a.m. friend, feel free to reach out to her at any time!