The faces behind the initiative:

Haley Branch, PhD candidate - Botany
(she/her/hers)
Head of the Botany and Zoology Wellness Initiative
Grad school is difficult and we all have struggles. I don't think anyone should go through those alone. 
I started this initiative after realizing that the majority of campus wellbeing initiatives focus on undergraduate students and many graduate students feel isolated. My hope is to reach people across the botany and zoology departments (including faculty) to help create a more resilient community, built on support, better access to resources, and coping strategies. 

Stephanie Blain, PhD candidate - Zoology
(she/her/hers)
Website designer
I wanted to contribute to the wellness initiative after getting a sense of the prevalence of mental health issues among grad students.
I am an advocate of your wellbeing. Please feel free to stop by and chat with me (BRC rm 236) or send me an email at wellness@biodiversity.ubc.ca
Carla Di Filippo, MSc student - Botany
(she/her/hers)
Chalkboard organizer 
Past Residence Advisor on UBC campus, and enthusiastic passion pursuer. Come say a "hello!" if you would like to learn more about my expertise in paws-itivity and monkey-business!
Lydia Fong, PhD student - Zoology
(she/her/hers)
Treasurer
Entering grad school has meant a lot of big changes and having participated in the Wellness Initiative activities has really helped me keep myself grounded. This group has already done a lot of things for me and I want to give back in the best way that I can.
Amy Liu, MSc student - Zoology 
(she/her/they/them)
Board game and movie night coordinator 
I joined this committee because I struggled through undergrad regarding mental health and wanted to create positive action so that everyone in grad school could have resources to mental wellness. Also I love fish and art and fun stuff!
Ellen Nikelski, MSc student - Zoology
(she/her/hers)
Survey coordinator 
Being part of a fun and understanding community has been crucial to managing my own anxieties and doubts during grad school. As part of the Wellness Initiative, it is my goal to expand our community to reach everyone in the Zoology and Botany departments and ensure all graduate students feel valued and supported during their academic journey.
Darwin Sodhi - PhD Student- Forestry and Conservation Science (he/him/his)
Reading and writing group coordinator  
I have struggled with mental health issues my entire adult life. Through my struggles, I learned that having a supportive and empathetic community around me was vital in building resilience. I joined this initiative to build the very same type of community that helped me. As graduate students, we can support each other to create a more open, collaborative, and inclusive community.
Karen Thulasi Devendrakumar -
PhD candidate Botany (he/him/his)
Art night coordinator 
My first year of grad school was hectic and extremely stressful. I did not feel comfortable accessing resources that UBC provided. I am a part of this initiative because it is grad student run and I think grad students would feel more comfortable getting help from peers, who are going through the same stuff.

This initiative is run by botany and zoology grad students and faculty with the goal of providing better mental health support to grad students. We host stress-relieving events, wellness workshops, provide access to teaching faculty mentors, and advocate for your mental wellness to the departments. Find out more here.

ABOUT THE BOTANY AND ZOOLOGY WELLNESS INITIATIVE