Sara Hanna receives Western Engineering Award of Recognition

Sara Hanna, Student Wellness Counsellor at Undergraduate Services in the Faculty of Engineering, has been honoured with the esteemed Western Engineering Award of Recognition for her outstanding dedication to student well-being. 

Since joining the faculty in 2021, Sara has exemplified a commitment to fostering a supportive environment and promoting mental health awareness, particularly crucial during the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

sarah-h-ar-ins“This award was something that I was truly not expecting,” said Hanna. “Being recognized is incredibly humbling and rewarding. It feels amazing to know my work has positively impacted students and colleagues.” 

She added: “This recognition reaffirms my passion for helping others and motivates me to continue growing in my role. I'm filled with gratitude for the support of my colleagues and the trust of the students who have allowed me to be a part of their journeys." 

In a nomination letter, one colleague said, “She has fostered an environment that not only destigmatizes but emphasizes the importance of wellness for our students and lives by this example every day.” 

Hanna's impact has been nothing short of transformative, especially considering the diverse population of students within the faculty with student feedback ranging from “typical appreciation to quite literally, 'Sara saved my life.'” 

This impact is tremendous and cannot be undervalued. An Engineering student, who worked with Hanna due to her role as a Wellness Commissioner of the Undergraduate Engineering Society, attests to Hanna's genuine passion for helping students. "The passion she carries to help students is genuine," she said. "I feel reassured knowing that when my peers inquire about support, I can confidently direct them to our dedicated Engineering Wellness Counsellor. 

Hanna also reflected on her inspiration, saying, "The resilience and creativity of the students I work with fuel my passion.” She added: “The support from my family, friends and colleagues, especially my manager, Nicole Sansone and my director, Stephanie Tigert, has been a pillar of strength. I feel honoured to work with exceptional colleagues who inspire me daily." 

A member of staff, commended Hanna's exceptional contributions, stating, "Sara has created an environment where students feel comfortable seeking the support they need without fear of judgment."

Hanna has been lauded for her role in developing the Engineering Wellness Workshop Series, which addresses not only mental health challenges but also essential social-emotional skills. 

The initiative has not only shifted perceptions about the faculty but has also provided invaluable support to students navigating the complexities of academic and personal life. 

Joining this sentiment, a faculty member emphasized Hanna's transformative impact on the engineering student body. 

"Sara's dedication to psychoeducation and her focus on enhancing students' understanding of mental health have significantly alleviated stress and anxiety, paving the way for academic success and personal development.” 

In the numerous letters of support received, faculty and staff members contend that Hanna’s transformative approach to counselling has created a supportive and healing environment for students, fostering a culture of openness and resilience within the faculty. 

The Western Engineering Award of Recognition celebrates individuals who demonstrate exceptional dedication, accomplishments and contributions to the Faculty's strategic development and morale. Hanna's outstanding efforts exemplify the spirit of this award, making her a deserving recipient.

For those aspiring to achieve similar recognition, Hanna advises, "Find what drives your passion for the work that you do and embrace challenges. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and bring forward ideas that are not ‘ordinary’.”

“I would also encourage anyone to ask questions and ask for help! We can’t be experts in all areas, but we create lots of great work when we all work together and contribute our unique talents,” she concluded.

Hanna's colleagues, faculty members and students extend their heartfelt congratulations to her on this well-deserved achievement. Her impact on the engineering community at Western University will undoubtedly continue to be felt for years to come.