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Master’s student, Nigerian military veteran initiates Graduate Senate presidential bid

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Uchenna Okwara, a presidential candidate for Graduate Student Senate’s (GSS) upcoming election, plans to raise awareness about GSS and increase graduate student interaction with the body.

Okwara will contest Kaelyn Ferris, the body’s department representative for physics and astronomy, in the race for president.

In an interview before the protest about graduate student health care at last week’s GSS meeting, Okwara said changing university health insurance policy and increasing funding for graduate students are central goals for his campaign.

“Graduate Student Senate seems a little invisible, and not a lot of graduate students are aware of it,” Okwara said. “I feel like it doesn’t afford us all the capacity we deserve because the more information we can gather the better decisions we can make.”

Okwara, a master’s student pursuing a degree in international development studies, is a GSS outsider who does not serve any role in the body. Outside of his campaign, Okwara serves as an assistant to the director of international development studies and has been involved in research about counterterrorism.

Okwara is also a published author having written three books: “The Force of Attraction,” “Leaving Egypt” and “Spiritual Makeup.” His works examine human nature, how to manage relationships, and the significance of freedom.

Alongside writing and researching, Okwara likes to spend his free time playing piano and singing. 

Before arriving at Ohio University, Okwara studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in Africa and obtained a bachelor’s degree in geography.

Following his graduation from UNN, Okwara joined the Nigerian military and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. During his time in the military, Okwara served in operations against the extremist group Boko Haram.

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