The faces behind the initiative:

Haley Branch, PhD candidate - Botany
President 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. 
I am an advocate for your wellbeing. Please feel free to stop by and chat with me (BRC rm 236) or send me an email at
Lydia Fong, PhD student - Zoology
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.
Mia Waters, PhD student - Zoology
Vice president
Grad school can be a roller coaster of emotions and mental health ups and downs. Having a supportive community to ride along with you changes the experience entirely. I've also realized how important it is to design our roller coasters carefully, renovate as necessary, and build scaffolding that helps to increase strength, resiliency, safety, and enjoyment.

Am I taking this metaphor too far? Probably. But I've been on my own wild ride, and I am passionate about supporting others on theirs!
Daniel Laronde, MSc Student - Zoology (he/him/his) 

As a former residence advisor, I've seen first hand how much of a difference building a strong community can make. This can help combat a number of things, including mental illness and isolation, which just so happen to also be things that we see more in the graduate student population, including in myself. By joining, I hope to be able to facilitate community building and advocate for the holistic wellbeing of graduate students in our departments.
Stephanie Blain, PhD candidate - Zoology
Media director
I wanted to contribute to the wellness initiative after getting a sense of the prevalence of mental health issues among grad students.
Past members of the Wellness Initiative:

Darwin Sodhi, Outreach coordinator
Amy Liu, Communications officer

Karen Thulasi Devendrakumar, Art events director
Ellen Nikelski, Vice president
Carla Di Filippo, Event coordinator