Sam Vandekerckhove
ext. 35304
Location: 
Engineering 5, Office 3002
Contact for: 
MME

Since completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Waterloo, Sam has been keenly passionate about student health, wellbeing, and the genuine student experience on campus. He’s been involved in various positions at UW, including Assistant to the Petitions Committee in the Faculty of Arts (Examinations and Standings) and as an Academic Advisor in the Department of Psychology. Sam believes that a firm understanding of our institution’s policies and procedures assists him with finding the most suitable routes students can pursue when faced with adversity or other difficulties (academic or otherwise). Having a background in conflict resolution and communication, Sam is more than comfortable assisting students with a variety of different issues and is committed to promoting a more inclusive and supportive environment in the Faculty of Engineering. He’s also a pretty funny guy, but humour is just one of many characteristics that Sam brings to his role as the Student Wellness Coordinator for Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering!

Leah Foster
Contact for: 
ECE

Upon graduating from the Health Studies program at the University of Waterloo in 1999, Leah worked in the area of public health with a focus on workplace and school health promotion at both the regional and community levels. She then took a break from her work-life to start and raise a family. During her time away from work, Leah continued to be involved in her community, volunteering with community-based organizations to establish accessible facilities in an effort to reduce inequities to recreational opportunities for local families. Leah’s community involvement and passion for social justice was the driving force to returning to Waterloo to complete her Masters of Public Health (MPH). Leah is currently the Acting Student Wellness Coordinator for ECE and is excited to work with students and the Faculty of Engineering as a whole, to continue advocating for wellness while implementing programs that will encourage positive wellness outcomes.

Josh in the deep woods
Contact for: 
MME + ECE (Sept 2021 - Dec 2021)

Josh is a current student here at the University of Waterloo, in his 3rd year pursuing a BSC with a major in Psychology. Fascinated by psychology, Josh loves to work with people and learn more about why we do the things we do. Understanding more about psychology, Josh has become fixated on a career in mental health, and wants to use the information he has learned and continues to learn from studying psychology to try and help people, in whatever way he can. Josh has been involved in peer mentorship positions, worked as research assistants in psychology labs, and hopes that the knowledge he has obtained from these experiences will help him be an effective UW Engineering Wellness team member! Josh also loves to play basketball, go on borderline life-threatening interior camping trips, reads all of the terms and conditions, and uses sarcasm a little too much. Being a fellow student, with friends in both ECE and MME, Josh can bring unique student perspectives and experiences to the Wellness Team to improve the diversity of thought and provide an improved representation of what the student body needs. Working with the Wellness Team to assist his fellow students in becoming, or remaining well, in all its forms, is something that is a very meaningful task to Josh, and he takes this responsibility seriously. He hopes his role will have a positive impact on Engineering students, faculty, and staff, and is excited to see what the fall term will hold for everyone!

Renate Donnovan
ext. 31413
Location: 
Engineering 5, Office 4116
Contact for: 
ECE

While Renate is on secondment for a year, Leah Foster is the Acting Wellness Coordinator for ECE.

In her first year of her undergraduate degree, Renate Donnovan became obsessed by the questions, “Why do some people bounce back from adversity more easily than others?” and “Can resilience be learned?” She has dedicated most of her life answering to those questions. Renate has worked in the area of resilience and coping for most of her career through a variety of roles. She has designed and instructed credit programs/course for post-secondary students, as well as delivered corporate training sessions in the areas of wellbeing, coping and resilience to private industry, government and first responders. In addition to her position as the Student Wellness Coordinator in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Renate is also a certified Life Coach and part-time PhD student in the University of Waterloo, School of Public Health. Her research focus is resilience, coping and wellbeing. Warning! Renate is passionate about wellbeing. If you ask her about it, she WILL talk about it (sometimes for hours)!