The Advocacy and Welfare (A&W) Team

The Advocacy and Welfare (A&W) Team

UCSA is an independent organisation and the UCSA Advocacy & Welfare (A&W) Team is the sole provider of direct advocacy services for UC students.

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Find out more about the UCSA’s Advocacy & Welfare (A&W) Team!

The University of Canterbury (UC) recognises the importance of student advocacy and student welfare services, and they fund these via the Student Services Levy Fee (SSL). The University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) is an independent organisation who receive funding from UC from the SSL funding pool. The UCSA Advocacy and Welfare (A&W) Team are assigned a limited amount of funding so they can offer services to UC students at no extra cost. The A & W Team are the sole providers of direct advocacy services for UC students.

UCSA’s A&W Team consists of a group of passionate people who are committed to student wellbeing, supporting academic progress and the student experience. We are approachable, responsive, professional, and accountable. We are committed to develop and maintain positive relationships. Our service is confidential and free for all UC students. We put students like you at the centre and work together with you to discuss the best course of action for your circumstances.

Our backgrounds are varied and include experience in social services, education, mediation, student advice, teaching. Our qualifications are in Psychology, Law, Business and Science. Our experience is diverse and extensive when it comes to processes relating to all students who are studying at the University of Canterbury. We utilise professional supervision and professional development to enhance student outcomes. We provide feedback on UC policies and procedures, and look for opportunities to influence change that will improve student experiences at UC. As a team, we strive for continuous improvement and are committed to providing the best support for UC students.

We provide timely responses to all enquiries which may include phone call, email, video-conferencing, and in-person meetings.

We provide a welfare service and readily provide students access to food and hygiene items. We also have a Budget Planning Service that empowers students to get their personal finances in order.


Originally from Singapore. Ee-Li graduated with a BA from the National University of Singapore, a BA(Hons) from Newcastle University (Australia) and a PhD in Psychology from Monash University (Australia). Ee-Li was a lecturer at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) before moving to New Zealand.

She has experience working with children, young people and adults who are experiencing change, loss, and grief in their lives, as well as working with people with intellectual disability. Ee-Li is fluent in both English and Mandarin Chinese, and is also able to communicate in Cantonese Chinese.

Ee-Li adores cats and is a volunteer foster parent for the SPCA. She has various different hobbies depending on her mood, and these include building Lego (mainly motorbikes and race cars), building miniature dollhouses, reading, and watching tv and movies (especially horror movies!)


Originally from the USA, Jessica moved to New Zealand when she was 12. She went to Kaikoura High School and then moved to Christchurch to study Psychology at UC. After completing a Master’s in Child and Family Psychology, she started working full-time at the UCSA.

In her spare time, Jessica enjoys playing tennis, arts and crafts, nature trails, and baking. Fun fact – Ee-Li was foster mum to Jessica’s cat.


Originally from the UK, Nathan moved to New Zealand when he was 12. He went to Middleton High School and studied BLL/BA at UC. After completing his double degree, Nathan worked for a short period of time at a law firm before joining the UCSA A&W as a Student Advocate.

Nathan has a keen interest in writing and has written multiple fiction (which will be published one day). Nathan is also an ardent Lego fan and enjoys making his creation. You may see Nathan and his displays at the annual Brick Show in Christchurch!


Originally from Germany, Nicole graduated with a Diploma in Biology from the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena (Germany). She started a PhD at the Technical University in Munich (Germany) which unfortunately didn’t work out the way she anticipated. Nicole then moved to New Zealand to pursue her PhD in Biological Science at the University of Auckland. She successfully graduated with her PhD and continued to work as a lab manager and teaching technician at Auckland University before making a career change and started working in the Wine Industry.

Nicole moved to Christchurch and decided to go back to Uni. She graduated with a Master in Business Management from UC, and started working at UC as a Student Advisor before joining the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare team in early 2022. Nicole is fluent in English and German, and has once upon a time learned French and Italian as well, however that knowledge is now very basic. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys gardening, hanging out with her cats, cooking, collecting Lego (Harry Potter theme) and is trying to learn to sew.