Officers and Staff

2015-16 GEO-UAW Elected Leadership & Representatives

Scroll down or click here for officer biographies. Asterisks signify positions that are attached to twenty-hour graduate assistantships working for GEO. 

 Santiago Vidales 
Mobilization Coordinator: Avery Fürst 
Stewards’ Representatives: 
At-Large Representatives: Anna Waltman

David Pritchard (English)
Christopher Schafenacker (Comparative Literature)

Sumera Ahsan (Center for International Education)
Yetunde Ajao (Center for International Education)
Alyssa Goldstein (Sociology)

Destiney Linker (History)
Anais Surkin (Social Justice Education)
Anna Waltman (English)

President Jocelyn Silverlight, M.Ed ’13, Social Justice Education.
President Silverlight was elected President of UAW 2322 in May 2013 after serving for two years as GEO-UAW co-chair.
Recording Secretary Carly Houston (English), also chair of 2322 Solidarity & Education Committee
Guide Danielle Allessio (Education), also chair of 2322 Recreation & Environment Committee
Trustee Luke Pretz (Economics), also chair of 2322 Political Action Committee


GEO-UAW Grievance Coordinator: Manuel Matos
UAW 2322 Amherst office manager: Andy Goulet
GEO-UAW Servicing Representatives: Anais Surkin and UAW 2322 President Jocelyn Silverlight

Leadership & staff biographies

UAW 2322 Servicing Rep. – Anais Surkin

I am an organizer, activist, educator, advocate and scholar whose dedication to resisting all forms of oppression and violence is central to my struggle for liberation and global vision of transformative social and economic justice. Currently a doctoral student in Social Justice Education at UMass, I hold an MS in Urban Affairs with a concentration in community organizing and a BA in Sociology and Latin American/Caribbean Studies from CUNY Hunter College.

Prior to coming to UMass in 2012, I worked in NYC and Rockland County, NY around issues of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, hate violence and criminalization, particularly as in intersecting LGBTQ, sex worker and immigrant communities. At UMass I have worked as both a research assistant and teaching associate as instructor of EDUC 210. I also train graduate student facilitators in the Intergroup Dialogue Program. My research interests include dialogue, critical pedagogy, and the relationship between critical consciousness and collective action.

For AY2013-2014, I served as Grievance Coordinator of GEO-UAW2322. In April 2014, was elected Co-Chair for AY 2014-2015, which began on June 1, 2014. As Grievance Coordinator my first goal was to connect with every GEO steward to learn about working conditions in their respective departments. Whenever a member approaches me about an issue at work, whether it violates the contract or not, it is my priority to spend the time listening to, supporting, empowering and advocating for the member. Then I use the opportunity to educate and mobilize the member. My experiences in the anti-violence movement and with dialogue have given me strong skills and shape my approach to leadership and organizing. I have also been working on building coalitions, organizing events and representing GEO on committees. I attended the UAW Leadership Institute at Black Lake, LaborNotes, and facilitated a panel at the Left Forum with Graduate Unionists from different Universities.

I have had the opportunity to work with GEO-UAW2322 members from many different units across the University and to advocate on their behalf. As such, I am familiar with the variety of challenges our members face and eager to bargain a better, stronger contract, with a more mobilized, more powerful membership.  We are a great source of power on this campus, to resist privatization and monitization of Public Higher Education. UMass works because we do. Graduate student workers–and all workers– deserve better working conditions, fair workloads and higher pay. For the union makes us strong!

GEO Co-Chair – Santiago Vidales

GEO Grievance Coordinator – Manuel Matos

GEO Membership Mobilization Coordinator – Avery Fürst

Hi! I’m Avery Fürst and I’m GEO’s new Mobilization Coordinator. I graduated from UMass Amherst studying History, Civic Engagement, and German Studies, and am currently studying Labor for my graduate work and TA-ing Labor 204. I was born in Germany and grew up in Europe, spending most of my life in Naples, Italy. I came to the United States for my undergraduate degree and ended up continuing my studies here. As both an undergraduate and graduate student, I have been a lead figure in the activist scene on campus fighting for social justice. I have been involved in the Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), the Center for Education Policy and Advocacy (CEPA), the Student Power Coalition, and in the Student Activist Teach-in Committee. Last year, I served on GEO’s Organizing Committee and then transitioned over to the Bargaining Committee once our contract negotiations started. Looking forward, I am excited to continue building a stronger union and fighting for a better GEO contract!