Samantha Withnell

Excellence in Leadership 2016

Sheila O'Brien Award recipient


Samantha Withnell is a Psychology major, with a minor in Women’s Studies. She has experience working in the Eating Behaviours Lab, researching at the overlap between #Thinspiration and #Fitspiration content on social media, as well as potentially harmful messages. This research reflects her professional goal of aligning the intersectional, anti-oppressive knowledge she has gained from Women’s Studies courses with psychological research and mental health treatment. She plans to enter graduate studies in Counselling Psychology. 

Samantha joined the WRC as a Community Outreach and Peer Support volunteer in September 2011, and became a co-team leader for the COPS team in 2013. She benefitted from the leadership development opportunities at WRC, and was mentored and encouraged by volunteers to identify as a leader. She spent her free time in the centre, interacting with peers and the many friends she made as a volunteer. The promotion of supportive, inclusive, and learning-focused communities became important aspects of her own activism. As a team leader, she was passionate about increasing campus knowledge of WRC’s peer support program, and enjoyed supporting other volunteers and seeing their growth as individuals and activists.  Samantha was selected by her WRC volunteer peers to be recognized for her outstanding contributions to the WRC and the campus community.