Meet the Officers

If you attend club meetings or any of HSPA’s events you’re bound to meet one (or all) of this awesome bunch during the 2016-2017 school year!




dianaName:  Diana Santacruz

Position: President

Blurb: Hi! A little bit about me: this is my fourth year at UW and my major is Social Work! I have many major hobbies which include drawing ( I am self-taught and my preferred medium is marker), singing ( I especially love to sing in a choral setting as an Alto II), writing original fictional stories, journaling, watching classic anime, playing The Legend of Zelda, hanging out with my friends, and spending time with my family when I get to go back home or when they come visit me. I also love to try different foods! I try cooking or baking new recipes that I find online or that my friends share with me. Bonus: you’ll probably catch me making some puns when the moment calls for it.

What would you say to someone interested in joining HSPA? Join! HSPA is more than just a club- it is a family comprised of wonderful and passionate individuals who all care for the cause, are supportive of each other, and ensure that a safe space is maintained so we can all be ourselves and bring in our unique stories that are all worth hearing. We work well together to carry out our mission, and the more people who want to join us, the merrier!

Why did you join HSPA?  Before I joined HSPA, I was looking into applying for the Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare (BASW) program here at UW. I noticed the UW School of Social Work banner on one of the tables at the RSO fair last year, and when I checked it out I realized that I had found myself at HSPA’s table, which had to be one of the best things to happen to me. I didn’t realize mental illnesses even existed until I came to UW, so when I heard what HSPA does, I knew immediately that I wanted to join and help however I could. I wanted to learn more about mental illnesses and clear my own misunderstandings of them. After learning that advocacy for the cause is not nearly as high as it is for other causes (which are also important), I wanted to help change that, and I believed that HSPA would be the perfect way to do that.

What has been your favorite part of HSPA? My favorite part of HSPA has been meeting other members and hearing their stories. Vulnerability is powerful, and it has led me to new friendships.

If you could describe yourself in one word it would be… Eclectic! (it’s even fun to pronounce)


varchitaName: Varchita Alishetti

Position: Vice President

Blurb: I’m a senior majoring in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology with hopes of a career as a doctor while advocating for mental health. I’m originally from Cupertino, California, but I’ve fallen in love with Seattle over these past three years at UW. During my free time, I enjoy exploring nature, taking road trips, and spontaneous adventures around the city.

What would you say to someone interested in joining HSPA? HSPA is a safe space for anyone to join HSPA. We stress the importance of respecting each other’s comfort levels in sharing their experiences. HSPA is an amazing and rewarding club to be a part of because we are able to destress a vast number of students studying through our “Stressless Week” events before finals. Our H3 Walk every Spring Quarter raises thousands of dollars towards suicide prevention and reaches hundreds of people to break the stigma towards mental health. Plus, we are a passionate and fun group of people to work with!

Why did you join HSPA? I joined HSPA my sophomore year at UW because I was looking for an organization on campus of passionate people fighting the stigma towards mental health. I believe mental health is an important aspect of everyone’s lives and needs to be valued for its impact on one’s quality of life. I wanted to find a community of likeminded people willing to work hard towards educating people on understanding how mental health experiences are valid and can be improved from the many publicly available resources

What has been your favorite part of HSPA? Out of all the great things we do with HSPA, my favorite part of HSPA is the H3 Walk we organize and host. Last year, we raised $10,000 and had 700 attendees walk in support of suicide prevention and mental health awareness. It was such an incredibly amazing feeling of warmth knowing that we were responsible for gathering such a large number of people, in one place, to share their own experiences with mental health and feel empowered in doing so.

If you could describe yourself in one word it would be… Adventurous


andyName: Andy Pace

Position: Outreach Director of Policy

Blurb: – Sophomore currently intending to major in Psychology and Geography

– From Tacoma, WA

– Hobbies include: hiking, playing guitar and producing music

What would you say to someone interested in joining HSPA? HSPA is a safe place to discuss and share ideas on how to fight the stigma of mental health issues. We all work together to implement exciting and engaging projects that send our message of hope and education out to the UW community (and beyond!)

Why did you join HSPA?  I joined because my personal experience with mental health issues opened my eyes to the stigma that prevents many from seeking treatment and recovery. I feel that there are many like me whose struggles became very apparent in university. After attending the 2016 H3 Walk, I saw HSPA as a place where I could help reach out to those who are struggling in the community and educate others about both the misconceptions and realities of mental health.

What has been your favorite part of HSPA? Meeting and getting to know the members! It is incredible seeing how people from different backgrounds and academic interests come together to fight one large issue in our community. I also love hearing everyone’s ideas in our meetings! It gets me really pumped for what we can possibly do in the future.

If you could describe yourself in one word it would be… Adventurous


img_7623Name: Hannah Jeong

Position: Education Outreach Director

Blurb: I am a junior studying nursing. I like snowboarding and anything green tea, soy bean, and lactose-free. My spirit animal is a sloth. I love kids and hope to work as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at a children’s hospital one day… and I LOVE HSPA.

What would you say to someone interested in joining HSPA? Come out to our meeting. For me, HSPA has been the one and only RSO where I feel comfortable being myself and opening up to people. HSPA is truly a safe space and HSPA officers try our best to maintain that. I would love to get to know you and be new buddies 🙂 Anyone up for bubble teas?? Come out and share your ideas for HSPA and for UW community.

Why did you join HSPA? I lost a friend to suicide back in high school and I have struggled with depression with anxiety and self-harm. Unfortunately, my high school did not offer any mental health support and I was determined to find a community where mental health is not a taboo to talk about. I joined HSPA to better educate myself of mental health issues in my community. I also wanted to gain skills I can use to teach others to better understand and to desitmatize mental illness. I wanted to help create a safe space for UW community that I did not have back in high school. I joined HSPA in my freshman year and I have been a part of it since then.

What has been your favorite part of HSPA? All things H3 Walk have been my favorite part of HSPA. 2015 H3 Walks was unforgettable. It was so heartwarming and touching to see over 700 people gathered in a room to share stories and to listen to one another. Feeling that raw emotions has to be one of the most beautiful things I have seen and have experienced in life thus far.

If you could describe yourself in one word it would be… low-key


shannon-bio-pictureName: Shannon Gu

Position: Event Coordinator

Blurb: I am a sophomore majoring in physiology, and I enjoy writing, playing the piano, and hiking. I also really like to eat on the Ave with friends, and if it weren’t for the dining plan, I would go more often…

What would you say to someone interested in joining HSPA? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us, no matter what time of the year! If you are looking for an organization to help promote mental health awareness, you have come to the right place. HSPA is an awesome environment with wonderfully supportive people. We would love to see you here!

Why did you join HSPA?  My high school didn’t have any opportunities for students to promote mental health awareness, so I knew that one of the first things I wanted to do in college was to join a mental health organization. My experiences with mental illness and recovery have shaped me in profound ways, and I wanted to be able to use those experiences to educate about mental health and provide better support to the people around me.

What has been your favorite part of HSPA? The people. My first year in HSPA, I felt an instant connection to the members when I volunteered with them for HSPA’s events–some of those members are now officers, too! I’m very excited and grateful to get the opportunity to work with them, and I look forward to getting to know our members through our meetings and events. 🙂


mikaelaName: Mikaela Schilling

Position: Volunteer Coordinator

Blurb: Year: Sophomore
Major: English
Hobbies: Hiking, watching TV, reading poetry, listening to music (usually Bon Iver), making playlists, hangin’ out with friends and family, petting cats, petting dogs, community service, writing angry advocacy posts on Facebook.

What would you say to someone interested in joining HSPA?  YOU WON’T REGRET IT! This club is both a wonderful community and a fantastic resource. HSPA teaches you how to better exercise self-care, how to break stigma, and how to have the types of difficult conversations that save lives. I walked away from my first year of membership feeling empowered and inspired to do more for my mental health and for mental health in the community at large. I felt more capable of addressing people considering suicide, and more comfortable talking about my own experiences with it. To put it in a philosophical way… I felt heard, and then became ready to speak.

Why did you join HSPA? Since sophomore year of high school, I have had anxiety with varying levels of dysthymia (sometimes reaching the point of suicidal ideation). My senior year of high school, my friend Chris died by suicide. This cause is very personal to me. I want to prevent as many suicides as possible, promote mental health for everyone, not just those with mental illnesses, and kick hopelessness in the booty.

What has been your favorite part of HSPA?  Getting to know such like-minded compassionate people and participating in a cause I believe to be super important for society!

If you could describe yourself in one word it would be… Hobbit:)


img_7386Name: Chia-li (Amy) Yu

Position:  Social Media & Publications Chair

Blurb: I love French Café Jazz music; I love playing piano; I’m crazy about watching sunrise and sunset!

What would you say to someone interested in joining HSPA? Come to our club often, and you will feel like this is your home 🙂

Why did you join HSPA? I joined HSPA seeking to be more open to talk about my feelings, while listen to other people’s stories. Their emotions and feelings very usually resonate with me.

What has been your favorite part of HSPA? One of the reasons I love HSPA is that it’s so hard to find such a safe space for everyone regardless of what experiences you’ve had, to be open to share personal stories.

If you could describe yourself in one word it would be… I love food.


12391404_10208085072870431_1184810763278798768_nName:  Kayla Magers

Position: Social Media & Publications Chair (AKA the controller of the facebook)

Blurb: I am a senior getting a BFA in Photomedia and a BA in International Studies. I am from Cheney Washington. I have a squeaky high pitched voice (sneeze and yawn too) so much so that my nickname is Squeaks/Squeaker/Squeaky. I love photography and traveling (I have been to Jamaica, Ghana, London and can’t wait to go everywhere!) I occasionally roller skate in my free time. I love food and shoes!

What would you say to someone interested in joining HSPA? We would love to have you! HSPA is an incredible group of people that grows and changes and respects each other and new ideas and input. We talk about tough issues but we have a lot of fun! We stress the importance of de-stressing, self-care, safety, and respect. It’s a great place to be yourself and to make a difference.

Why did you join HSPA? I joined HSPA because I was looking for a club to be a part of that was something I was passionate about. In High School I was an officer for a club called SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and we were trained to give presentations to our health classes about suicide prevention. That training was really understandable and changed how I thought about suicide; it made it more approachable. My mom is a social worker and I know people who struggle with mental illnesses so I understood the significance of mental health and I think breaking the stigma is soooooo important and I want to help do that as much as possible and HSPA is a great club that does that.

What has been your favorite part of HSPA? I love the puppies! Therapy Dogs is sooo great. I also really love meeting new members who care so much about mental health and suicide prevention and it makes me happy to know other people are this passionate about it and we can come together to have fun and create new ideas for breaking the stigma and helping people out!

If you could describe yourself in one word it would be… determined






One thought on “Meet the Officers

  1. Pingback: Website Construction + Meet the Officers! | HSPA

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