KPU Alumni Association elects five new faces to board

Tue, Jan 6, 2015

Metro Vancouver, B.C. – Five new local alumni have been elected to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Alumni Association (KPUAA).

Directors Rachel Baitz (Surrey), David Dryden (Surrey), Avi Kay (Burnaby), Carmen Lung-Pita (Richmond) and Jaya Panwar (Burnaby) will all work to strengthen KPU’s community relationships, and increase the impact graduates have on the university, its communities and the world.

Each will serve two-year terms except Baitz, who accepted the one three-year term available on the board.

The new directors join returning board members Vikram Bubber (Surrey), who will serve as treasurer, and Lindsay Civitarese (Surrey), this year’s vice-chair. 

Harpreet Bains (Coquitlam) will continue on as chair for a second year. A KPUAA director since 2010, Bains co-chaired the university’s 30th anniversary gala in 2012, which ran in conjunction with that year’s distinguished alumni awards. Bains is also the alumni representative on KPU’s senate, and was a member of the institute’s strategic planning task force, which led to the creation of Vision 2018 – the university’s five-year plan. She is a 2013 KPU graduate with a bachelor of arts in psychology.

Rachel Baitz graduated from KPU with a bachelor of arts in psychology in 2011. She is currently enrolled in the human development, learning, and culture PhD program at UBC, where she completed her master’s. Baitz is an active community member, volunteering with the YWCA and PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network) in her spare time.

David Dryden enjoys giving back to the KPU community. With six years as a student, five years as a varsity athlete and many more as an avid volunteer with various university and student initiatives, he remains connected to KPU and looks forward to providing valuable input to the KPUAA. Dryden graduated in 2013 from the KPU School of Business, and is currently a consultant with Investors Group.

A multiple award-winning student, Avi Kay graduated in 2005 with a BBA in entrepreneurial leadership after successfully representing KPU at several national and international business case competitions. Upon graduation, Kay began a financial planning career with a chartered bank while attaining his Chartered Investment Manager and Certified Financial Planner designations. In 2010 he joined Envision Financial, where he presently serves as branch manager of the flagship Sunshine Hills branch near KPU Surrey.

Carmen Lung-Pita’s positive experience as a mature student, and the support she received from KPU to overcome her initial language barrier, encourages her to give back. During her time at KPU, she was a recipient of the Department of Foreign Affairs' International Notebook Award and a participant in UN-HABITAT. She graduated with distinction from KPU’s bachelor of journalism program in 2007, and became a member of the Federation of International Journalists and an international correspondent overseas. She is currently a computer instructor for people with mental health issues.

A proud KPU alumna, Jaya Panwar feels her experience at university was critical to her success today. After four years at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, the world's largest industrial auctioneer, Panwar became a human resources manager at TELUS Communications. She graduated from the KPU School of Business with her BBA in human resources management in 2008.

Hassib Hasanzadeh will serve as the board’s past chair. He was elected to the board last year and graduated with a bachelor of arts in criminology in 2009. Melody Oshiro, confidential assistant at KPU, is currently serving as the association’s interim executive director.  

The KPUAA is dedicated to supporting the continued success of alumni by providing them with valuable programs and initiatives. It also aims to raise awareness about the value of higher education, and make a positive impact on society.

For more information about the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Alumni Association and its board of directors, visit:

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at


Caption: (From left) Directors Rachel Baitz, David Dryden, Avi Kay, Carmen Lung-Pita and Jaya Panwar.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist, KPU
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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