Students Association (SJSA)

The UBC Graduate School of Journalism Students Association (SJSA) is the official student organization of the UBC Graduate School of Journalism. We are a group of students who meet regularly to plan events, coordinate mentorship programs and advocate for student rights in the school. Our goal is to make the student experience at the SOJ the best it can possibly be through social activities, peer support and both internal and external advocacy.

Have questions or want to get involved? Email us at

President: Melanie Woods

Melanie’s passions include public radio, intersectional feminism, and ranch dressing. After a childhood spent on the rolling prairies of rural Alberta, she fell in love with journalism as Humour Editor and later Editor-in-Chief of the Gauntlet, the University of Calgary’s independent student newspaper. Melanie has worked at the Georgia Straight, the Globe and Mail and CBC Calgary. She also writes funny food things for Munchies on occasion. Find her on the radio for “Into the Woods” on CiTR 101.9 FM every Tuesday afternoon where she plays great music made by rad women and queer folks.

The SJSA is your voice in the school. Melanie is here to advocate for you and ensure your voice is heard in every decision made at the school. Students deserve to get the most out of your time at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism and the SJSA is here to help with that however we can. Melanie sits on various committees that make major decisions here at the school — if you want your voice heard, let her know.

Follow Melanie on Twitter @intothemelwoods for dad jokes and pictures of her roommate’s cats. Her personal email is and her DMs are always open, both literally and in a bigger real-life sense — come say hi!

Vice-president: Laura Sciarpelletti

Laura not only has a passion for journalism, but a passion for making her time and her peers’ time at the UBC Journalism school the absolute best it can be. Laura has interned at NYLON Magazine in New York City and CBC network talk in Toronto, and specializes in gender and sexuality, entertainment and human-interest reporting. She currently works as Contributing Music Editor at Vancouver Weekly.

Laura’s primary focus with the SJSA is on fostering an open and supportive community through the mentorship program, and constant advocating for her fellow students. Two years fly by pretty fast, and she encourages anyone to share what they want out of their time at the school or any struggles they may be having.

When she isn’t madly typing away or chasing down a story, you can find Laura on a mountain, twist-dancing at a show, or under a tree somewhere listening to Lana Del Rey. Not one to stay still for long, she welcomes anyone who wants to join her on adventures around Vancouver.

E –
T – 778-888-7547
Instagram – @laurasciarpelletti

Secretary: Laryssa Vachon

After working a Pam Beesly-esque job for two years at the University of Calgary, Laryssa was ecstatic to receive my acceptance letter from the UBC School of Journalism. With her undergraduate degrees in Communication and Publication Writing & Design – which makes her as below average a graphic designer as she is writer – she decided to accept.

Despite her fear of uncertainty, Laryssa picked up her stable life in Calgary and moved it to Vancouver.

Laryssa is still discovering who she is (as both a human and a journalist). But for right now, she likes to focus her brand on lifestyle topics in relation to mental health awareness, women empowerment, and advocating for a cruelty-free and sustainable world.

As your go-to Bachelor viewing host and queen of sass, she is always looking for people with whom to make music, pet random dogs on the street, and create wonderful stories – either written or lived.

Events Coordinator: Abi Hayward

Hailing from Yorkshire, UK, Abi writes about science and the environment. She has written for the Guardian, Canadian Geographic and the Tyee, with stories ranging from the protests surrounding the Kinder Morgan pipeline to the glass sponge reefs of British Columbia — a recent obsession.

If left to her own devices, Abi will mainly be found in the close vicinity of the ocean waxing lyrical about how glorious the sunset is, or alternatively staring at maps finding mountains to climb.

Abi is a big believer of the work/life balance, with particular emphasis on the word LIFE. If you have any ideas for groovy events, or want to go eat ice cream, hit her up on social media.

Find her on Facebook.

Tweet at @a_l_hayward, ‘gram at…. @a_l_hayward.

External Relations Coordinator: Omri Wallach

Omri was teaching English in Japan for two years, trying to decide if the teaching life was for him, when one hot summer day it dawned on him to be a writer. Then one of his old professors said: “don’t go to writing school, go to journalism school, you’ll get more practice.”

Omri’s story puts him all over the place. He was born in Israel, raised in Calgary, studied at UBC for a Bachelor of Commerce (including a stint at Western University in Ontario and Yonsei University in Seoul), then lived in Mito for a few years. Throughout his life, the biggest consistencies were playing a lot of video games, writing short stories and non-fiction, and trying a lot of food.

Now he’s kind of a journalist, having interned at Business in Vancouver and written for AJET Connect magazine, and is busy brainstorming how to bring Vox Journalism videos to Canada. If you see him in the school, or need some down-to-earth advice, he’s always happy to say hi!

Twitter: @om_wallach
Phone: 604-649-7473

International Student Representative: Monique Rodrigues

Monique was born and raised in the lovely city of Brasilia, Brazil’s capital. Before coming to Vancouver, she lived for two years in São Paulo, where she worked in a PR agency. Monique also lived for a semester in Madrid, Spain, for an academic exchange. Besides English and my native Portuguese, she speaks fluent Spanish.

Monique loves radio, but I’m more than happy to work with other types of news media. Above all, she is passionate about discovering new things and listening to people’s stories. You can find her talking about how awesome samba, Carnaval, cachaça and brigadeiro are – and almost anything related to Brazil.

Monique knows that the international student experience can be challenging, so she wants to help make it as enjoyable as possible. Feel free to reach out to her to talk about anything – even if you are not an expat.

Twitter: @NiqueRodrigues

First-year representative: TBA