Student representatives and mentors

Student Mentorship:

The goal of a peer mentor partnership is to help make the transition to the BSW program smooth and successful for new students. While not all students will choose to contact a peer mentor, they are certainly encouraged to do so! The peer mentor is not only here to address challenges you may experience, the peer mentor is also here to be a listening ear, to bounce ideas off of, to direct you to the appropriate staff, faculty or resource. Something else you need? Contact us, maybe we can help!

If you are interested in becoming a BSW peer mentor or require additional information, please contact:

Yvonne Haist, Assistant Teaching Professor
Phone: 250-472-4133

Student Representatives:

Between October and April all student representatives across the country teleconference with a faculty member to share ideas and to discuss issues pertaining to the student body. This is an excellent way to meet other students studying on-campus and by distance education, to have input in the curriculum and to learn, first hand, what is happening in the program. Student representatives are encouraged to represent the needs of their constituents and to provide feedback and input to the School of Social Work.

The following terms of reference were developed by the initial group of representatives:

  • To reach out to new students in the program
  • To facilitate communication between students
  • To raise the School of Social Work's awareness regarding issues facing distance education and on campus learners
  • To provide input/feedback to the School on issues relating to curriculum development, policy, and school governance
  • To lobby senior University administration around issues relating to distance education as needed

If you are interested in becoming a BSW student representative or require additional information, please contact:

Yvonne Haist, Assistant Teaching Professor
Phone: 250-472-4133

Brian GarvinBrian Garvin
Victoria, BC
Alumni, On Campus Cohort (Child Welfare Specialization)
MCFD - Child Protection Worker

Chelsea KellyChelsea Kelly, RSW

Victoria, BC
Alumni, Child Welfare Specialization


Kim KirbyKim Kirby

Abbotsford, BC
BSW Alumni

Jerry MundiJerry Mundi
Unceded Territory of the K'omoks First Nation
3rd Year Standard BSW
Distance Education

Erika WietingErika Wieting
Unceded Territories of the Coast Salish peoples (Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations), Vancouver, BC
3rd Year Standard BSW
Distance Education

Maryanne WongMaryanne Wong

Vancouver, BC

Kerri Bell
Winnipeg, MB
3rd Year Standard BSW

Sandra Mathews, RSW Sandra Mathews 
Treaty 6 Traditional Territory (Edmonton, AB)
3rd Year Child Welfare Specialization
Distance Education

Tasha NovickTasha Novick

Edmonton, AB

Corrine SawarinCorinne Sawarin, RSW
Amiskwasahegan (Edmonton, AB) Treaty 6 traditional territory
3rd Year Standard BSW
Distance Education

Terri MandersonTerri Manderson
Traditional Unceded Territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people (Ottawa, ON) 
4th Year Standard BSW
Distance Education

Mikhaela Shattler
Kingston, Ontario
4th Year Child Welfare Specialization
Distance Education



Jessica CloweJessica Clowe

Distance Education


Merrill Barber m.barber
Year in Program:  Graduating (BSW) in 2017

I am just about to start my first practicum this May 2016.  I will be involved in starting up a non-profit Community Family Peace Program that offers a provincial help line by telephone and on-line Q&A to triage community resources for family conflict.  We will be catering to low income families in rural areas as these communities rarely have access to family mediators. I have been an accredited Family Mediator for 8 years and I am interested in working with families and children in crisis.

Averill Hanson averill hanson

I completed my BSW in spring 2016 from lovely Vancouver, BC. I focused largely on systemic and structural social work, completing practicums with the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and SPARC BC (Social Planning and Research Council).

Starting and navigating your way through a post secondary program can bring up a lot of questions, particularly when doing so by distance! Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer or redirect you!

Chelsea Kelly, RSWckelly
Alumni, Child Welfare Specialization

I am from the Sto:lo Nation on my father's side and I am English on my mother's. I have lived, worked, and raised a family on the traditional territories of the Lekwungen, Wyomilth, and Wsanec peoples since 2008 and am grateful to be a visitor to this beautiful land.

I graduated from the BSW Indigenous Child Welfare specialization program in June 2015. I completed my third year practicum at the Young Parents Support Network. I have been connected with this organization for a number of years and am currently the president of their board. I did my fourth year practicum with the Ministry of Children and Family Development as an extension of an internship I was doing with the Aboriginal Youth Internship Program. The child welfare area of practice is my field of interest, specifically guardianship social work. I worked at Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Services in a guardianship position as a part of my internship and loved this area of work. Guardianship was also a focus for my fourth year practicum.

I look forward to meeting other students who share my interests!

Jess LenihanJess Lenihan

Unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories
Alumni Standard BSW - Distance Education

I currently am a visitor on Unceded (stolen) Musqueam, Squamish, & Tsleil-Waututh territories. I had been working alongside marginalized adults and youth for about 10 years before entering BSW program. The majority of my past work experiences is related to housing security and working alongside community members to navigate systems related to food security, health care, income/employment and crisis management. I completed my fourth year practicum at SPARC BC (Social Planning and Research Council). I am inspired by intersectional feminism,queer theory, indigenous land resurgence, community resistance and my grandmother. I am a new graduate. I finished my BSW in April 2017 and I am starting my Advanced Masters of Social Work at Uvic in August of 2017.
Community care is of value and I would love to connect with you to speak to your concerns. No question is a silly question.

Jane LiJane Li

Unceded Coast Salish territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples

I completed my BSW with UVic in May 2017 and enjoyed the program so much that I chose to continue my learning journey with the school by starting the Advanced MSW in September of the same year. I am an uninvited visitor on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories (Vancouver, BC), and recognize that it is an unearned privilege to live and work here.

My main areas of practice have been in the anti-violence field, gender and sexual health, sex work activism, migrant rights, and community-based research. I value feminist, Indigenous, anti-oppressive, and critical social work approaches. I currently work in healthcare as a hospital social worker, and my intention is to be more engaged in the areas of ageing, older adult health, and elder advocacy. Environmental and climate justice is another area of interest for me, although I have yet to dedicate more time to explore this.

Feel free to connect with me if you have any questions about social work, advocacy, research, ethics and practice, practicum placements, or the BSW and MSW programs! I am also available if you need a listening ear and peer support. I decided to become involved in student mentorship because I am grateful for my own mentors who have supported me through the ups and downs of my learning journey.

Tasha Novicktn

I am a proud alumna of the University of Victoria’s BSW Program and currently in my second year of the University of Victoria’s MSW Advanced Program. I also have an undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta. I have been and continue to be a Student Representative as well as a student Mentor. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, traditional territory of the Michel Band and Papaschase Nation, and chose Distance Education as delivery method for both UVic Programs.

During my BSW, I completed my senior practicum at the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton. I am registered with the Alberta College of Social Workers with Authorization to Perform Psychosocial Interventions. My practice interests include holistic mental health and harm reduction, decolonization, radical (dis)ability studies, stigma and trauma-informed care, gender, homelessness,  activism, and mindfulness, all through an anti-oppressive practice foundation. I identify as a queer, post-structural and constructivist cultural feminist with a passion for applied ethics. I work and care for family while attending school, and I am very comfortable with awkward.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have along your UVic journey; nothing is too small or too big. If I do not have answers for you I will do my utmost to find someone who does. Community matters, please know that you are not alone.

Maryanne WongMary Anne Wong


Career Interests:

  • Short-term: Clinical Social Work in acute care settings
  • Medium-term: Community Health – preventative health, increasing access to culturally competent care, resourcing clients, systems navigation, education, advocacy, trauma informed and psychotherapeutic counseling
  • Always: Community/Capacity building within disenfranchised communities

Community Interests: Elders; LGBTQ communities; immigrants/refugees (both new and intergenerational); intersections between these communities.


  • Multicultural Family Centre (REACH Community Health Centre) – Vancouver, BC
    - Worked with refugee families recently landed from continent of Africa and Middle East (counseling, resources, settlement issues, support)
  • Vancouver General Hospital - Vancouver BC
    - Medical social worker in 1) subacute medicine (complex stay elders) and 2) cardiac rehabilitation outpatient (counseling and workshop presentations). Crisis/trauma informed counseling, de-escalation, interpretation of provincial law, investigator for potential adult guardianship issues (abuse, neglect), advocacy for social determinants of health in transition planning for patients, gathering information to advocate for clients as holistic system (with strengths and networks of support) rather than a set of symptoms, touchstone/advocate for DTES/marginalized individuals.

Favourite things to do: Find any excuse to celebrate! Dance the night away and create general mayhem with good friends. Attend gatherings with chosen family and friends. Walk along the seawall with friends, partner, or puppies. Listen to loved ones who need space to be heard. Experiment with gluten, nut and corn free recipes.

Words of advice to BSW students:

  1. I was that nerdy kid who read every single article during my work breaks and squeezed every last drop of information out of each thing I encountered. Over time, that knowledge will be synthesized and become stored knowledge. I find that I often reach for these theories, practices, knowledges in my current practice without even thinking about it. It’s pretty amazing. Bottom line – you get what you are able to put into it. Though it is possible to get by without being as hard core (understandably, some of us have families, other acute priorities, working to survive, life situations), I encourage you to nerd out as much as your capacity/time will allow, to maximize insight gleaned from material, your classmates, and your teachers.
  2. Make agreements for everyone’s safety and articulating distress or need within your class/working group. As a member of multiple minority groups, this level of assurance was essential to my trust and survival in the program. Then jump far and dig deep. You’ll likely be uncomfortable with some of what you learn. You’ll also likely be called on your own privilege/stuff (also uncomfortable). When that happens, try to take it in rather than react immediately. Someone is stepping out of their comfort zone and taking a risk to give you feedback – hear it, own it, learn from it.

Experience in the program: I am fortunate that I was surrounded by culturally/ethnically diverse folks in my face-to-face class that had myriad lived experiences. I sensed a safer space intentionally created by the teachers and students within this program, which allowed me to expand and stretch the learning experience. With support from a) many teachers who empathized and understood some of my struggles both in and out of class, and b) fellow students that were willing to unlearn and open to different worldviews/experiences, we were largely able to foster an open learning environment. Exposure to new ideas via contributions from diverse student members is key, along with feeling that it’s ok to branch out and potentially make an error. Honesty, humility, empathy, and integrity would summarize some of my best online learning experiences of this degree. Long term friendships, connections with professors that care, and networking connections for future practice are all things you can look forward to fostering.
That said, if you're a POC or queerfolk who wants a place to connect or ground, hit me up please. I don't have all the answers but I'll share that space with you.

Work Information: I’m a case manager with Vancouver Coastal Health. I work with vulnerable/marginalized adults and seniors to ensure access to health related services, assist clients to navigate between acute care and transitions back into community and investigate reports of adult abuse and neglect. Case managers work to enhance quality of life and maintain an individual in the community with dignity. The demographics I work with include those with mental health/addictions concerns, LGBTQ seniors, and vulnerable adults under the Adult Guardianship Act.