2018 Officer Election Bios

This page contains the personal bios of the individuals running for GALA ND/SMC officer positions for the period 2018-2020.

Chair:  Ram Ballesteros ND ’09

As Chair of GALA-ND/SMC my primary goal is to continue growing the scholarship fund. I plan on leading the GALA-ND/SMC community in scaling up its core organization by leveraging technology, modernizing the digital membership experience, solidifying regional chapters with a focus on dependable donation streams across the country, and taking a prominent role in tackling critical issues facing by our community. 

I think the greatest value we have to offer our members is just that, each other. We all have incredible, inspiring, passionate, and wonderful stories that make our community truly special and should be heard, felt, and celebrated.  I want our membership base to feel and know their support is strengthening this amazing community of strong and vibrant alumni. 

Vice Chair – Membership:  Bryan Ricketts ND ’16, ’17

Being a leader in the LGBTQ community means wearing many different hats. Sometimes, being a leader means focusing on the personal. In PrismND, where I served as a founding officer for two years, we fostered community among students who were finally able to live openly on their own campus. Building friendships within the community was crucial for its success as an organization and for the flourishing of its members.

Other times, leading means speaking up. During Mike Pence’s visit to campus for my graduation, I helped lead the coalition that distributed over 500 pride flags and led 100+ students to walk out of his speech. Both in the national media and on campus, our work made clear the contrast between his harmful, divisive policies and our resilient, community-focused response.

Serving as an officer in GALA ND/SMC means wearing both of these hats. To flourish as an organization, we need to invest in local communities, just as the NDAA has for many years. A strong regional base has grown in New York, and GALA should work to incubate that success in other member-heavy regions like Chicago, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. Membership growth is crucial to our sustainability, and to our shared identity as LGBTQ alums of our respective Catholic universities.

We also must speak up. Not just for ourselves, though we unfortunately remain unrecognized by the NDAA and SMCAA, but also for those currently living in the Notre Dame and St. Mary’s communities. Notre Dame presently finds itself in controversy over contraceptive access, but one of the greatest scandals of its fight is that students still have no affordable on-campus source of reproductive health – no STI testing, and no condoms. Across Michigan Street, the students of St. Mary’s were subjected to a talk from anti-transgender activist Mary Rice Hasson, while still struggling to find funding and support for LGBTQ-positive speakers on their campus. GALA can further its own cause when it speaks up for its future members and shows that it is a partner in building a healthy and inclusive future for our alma maters.

Opportunities like these are why I’m excited to offer my service to GALA ND/SMC. Our university communities have come a long way in the last five years, and GALA has helped drive that change by providing a nucleus of support for current students, and a community of inclusion for alumni. I look forward to helping expand both of these over the next two years.

Treasurer:  Andrea Green ND ’11 (Acting Treasurer)

Andrea graduated from Notre Dame in 2011 and joined GALA ND/SMC after attending the annual scholarship fundraiser in New York in 2017. At Notre Dame, Andrea was the Treasurer of the College Democrats club and was involved with the Progressive Student Alliance.Andrea is now a manager at KPMG and has been at the firm since graduating. As an ally, Andrea has been very involved in the firm’s LGBT employee resource group, pride@kpmg. She was the co-lead of the Los Angeles chapter for two years before moving to New York. In 2017, she was selected to join the P15, a leadership council supporting the Pride Advisory Board in executing national goals for the pride@kpmg network.

While proud of the progress Notre Dame has made in the LGBT space in recent years, there is still much work to be done. Andrea is so excited to join GALA to continue advocating for Notre Dame’s LGBT students, employees, and alumni.

Secretary:  Morgan Benson ND ’14

Morgan is a 2014 graduate of Notre Dame, where he majored in Anthropology and Economics and minored in Africana Studies. Morgan is a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar and served as the Vice President of Badin Hall as a Sophomore on campus. During his time at Notre Dame, he participated as a research assistant in the Kellogg Institute’s International Scholars program, and traveled to Lesotho, India, and Ecuador for global health-related volunteer and research opportunities. He also studied abroad in Uganda and participated in several programs through the Center for Social Concerns.

While on campus he also supported the 4-to-5 Movement, and subsequently as a senior, the inaugural year of PrismND, ND’s official LGBTQ student organization. Morgan now lives in Washington, DC, and works at Results for Development Institute (R4D) as a Senior Program Associate on the Evaluation and Adaptive Learning team. This entails working with partners to design innovative and evidence-based programs, and to use a range of monitoring, evaluation, and research methods to produce timely feedback for better implementation. 
Morgan looks forward to serving as Secretary of GALA, focusing on knowledge management for the organization including maintaining GALA’s official records, website, and newsletter. As a transgender alumnus, Morgan is excited to find opportunities to include transgender and nonbinary students and alumni in GALA’s programs and community.