The Shine Cast | Official Podcast of U of G's Wellness Education and Promotion Centre

The Shine Cast podcast

The University of Guelph Shine Cast is a podcast where we’re having conversations with students, staff, and faculty at the University of Guelph around mental health, mental illness, how we cope and how we thrive throughout our journeys. The Shine Cast is produced by the Wellness Education and Promotion Centre and can be found across all major podcast platforms. The Shine Cast officially launched on Thursday, January 28, 2021! New episodes are available every other week. Head to your favourite podcast provider now to listen, rate and subscribe!

Available On:
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The Shine Cast Student Wellness Services U of G Podcast

Episode 15: Chelsea - The Scarcity Mindset (Available March 24, 2022)

Our guest this episode is Dr. Chelsea Larsson, a newly minted PHD in Scottish History, who’s also a Writing Specialist with the U of G Library. Chelsea shares what she’s learned about finding balance between academic and work pursuits and her self-care. Her tips? Work in environments that respect your boundaries, find the things that nourish you, and frame every act of self-care as an anti-capitalist, feminist movement. And of course, also visit Learning Services in the Library.

The Shine Cast Student Wellness Services Podcast U of G
Episode 14: Farqd - Setting Boundaries (Available March 10, 2022)

In our second episode of season 3, Marco and Jordie are joined by Farqd, an upper year UoG Wildlife Biology and Conservation student. Over the course of the episode, Farqd takes us through her journey of navigating life and balancing expectations as a young person, a university student, and a daughter. She explains her transition to campus life, molded together with internal battles encompassing identity conflicts, faith, and family dynamics. In an attempt to provide insight into her personal mental health journey, Farqd takes us through a timeline that began with a hesitant and nervous young person that later evolved into someone with the ability to reflect on their experience while learning how to avoid negative self talk, self-blame, and get professional help.


Trigger warning: Suicide and self-harm
*If you'd like to skip this section around suicidal ideation, we recommend skipping 36:00 to 49:05 min. There will be 3 beeps at 36:00 to prompt you.


ShineCast Podcast Header Black and White Thinking

Epicode 13: Bella - Black and White Thinking (Available February 24, 2022)

In our first episode of Season 3,  Jordie and our new co-host Marco sat down with Bella Mangiapane, a 3rd year U of G student studying Agricultural Science with a minor in Business. Bella gets the conversation started with a struggle that all university students can relate to (especially now) - making social connections. From there Bella shares her story about her on-going mental health journey, and how an unrelated trip to the ER helped Bella to break down her own mental health stigma and begin to get help for what would later be diagnosed as anxiety and manic depression. Join us to hear how Bella has learned to manage her “black and white thinking” and how she has helped her family to learn more about mental health and break down their stigma.

Trigger Warning for mention of non-suicidal self-injury

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Episode 12: Wing - Intangible Illnesses, Tangible Trauma (Available December 2, 2021)

In the final episode of season 2, we hear from Wing Tse, a University of Guelph student pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in Studio Art. In addition to this, he has served in the armed forces and is currently a firefighter. Wing describes his tough upbringing and recalls his struggle with mental health beginning at a very early age - a time where he had limited access to resources and support. He reflects on finally accepting his identity and background, now seeing his story as a chance to be resilient and to extend unspoken empathy. Listen as Wing provides insight into the stigma tainted perception of mental health in male dominated environments, the value of self-development according to a personal definition of what it means to be healthy, and the importance of “prevention and protection rather than isolation and avoidance”.

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Episode 11: Kim - The Ups and Downs of BPD (Available November 18, 2021)

In the penultimate episode of season 2, we talk to Kim Barton, a University of Guelph student, working towards a Masters in the Family Relations and Human Development program. She dives into her mental health journey by sharing the details of her day-to-day struggles which negatively affected various aspects of her life from childhood through to university. Kim goes on to talk about the long process that was her diagnosis, including how being treated for depression and anxiety actually worsened her symptoms. It was later realized that Kim was suffering from Bipolar-2 Disorder, which had a very different treatment plan. Kim brings to light her path to recovery, and the stigmatization she experienced regarding Bipolar Disorder.

Episode 10: Matt - Learning and Discovery Moments (Available November 4, 2021)

This episode we talk with Prof. Matt Demers, an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Guelph. Matt explains his journey transitioning from high school to university, from his undergrad to his masters, and finally his PhD and professorship. He explores what has helped him through all those changes and the joy he has always had for teaching. He describes his experience with impostor syndrome, social comparison, and managing failure. Through detailing his journey and describing what he did to manage his mental health, Matt shows how experiences of failure are exactly when we learn the most – those are the life changing moments.

U of G Shine Cast Podcast

Episode 9: Maryam - The Journey is the Reward (Available October 21, 2021)

In this episode, we chat with Maryam Maamoun, a University of Guelph student pursuing her Bachelor of Science with a major in Biochemistry and a minor in Microbiology. Beyond her academic focus as a student, she continues to wear multiple hats on campus through her work as a volunteer and as a field hockey player. We hear about Mary’s experiences with performance over-analyzation leading to anxiety as a goalie, the importance of having a sleep related routine, and some advice she has for all students. Listen to Mary delve into her journey as an undergraduate juggling a busy schedule and as she opens up about learning to accept the way she’s feeling, even if it isn't “100% awesome and super fantastic” all the time.

Episode 8: Victoria - Failure: A Prerequisite for Success (Available October 7, 2021)

In the second episode of the season, we talk to Victoria Fritz, U of G staff as well as a PhD candidate in Family Relations and Human Development at the University of Guelph. Victoria’s PhD is focused on researching and understanding student’s experiences of academic failure. She tells us about her experience as an undergrad and how her original post-grad plans did not work out the way she thought they would have. We hear about how Victoria managed her emotions throughout her undergrad and learned that it’s okay to be unsure of yourself along the way. Victoria now has a position with the University of Guelph, helping students manage their emotions and reactions to academic failure. She explains how students should avoid comparison with others and stay on their own path.

Episode 7: Kailyn - Trusting My Body, Trusting Myself (Available September 23, 2021)

In the first episode of Season 2, we sit down with Kailyn Brewer, a University of Guelph Student pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Family and Child Studies. Kailyn’s mental health journey began at a very young age, and like with most mental health stories, her healing is far from linear. We hear about her experience with coping during times when everything felt out of her control, her struggle to obtain therapy and a diagnosis, and her inspiring path to self-advocacy. Listen to Kailyn share her story with raw honesty as she details the peaks and valleys she has faced with anxiety and depression, and how she achieved facing her mental health on her own terms.

In our Season 1 finale, we’re talking with Sarah, a clinical counsellor (aka a veterinary social worker) with the Ontario Veterinary College. Sarah shares what exactly ‘veterinary social work’ is and why it’s so important to the field of veterinary medicine. We also discuss what it’s like to deal with grief, how pets truly become members of the family,  how to deal with imposter syndrome in such a small professional, and of course share personal stories around mental health.

We'll be back for Season 2 of The Shine Cast in September 2021!

Episode 7 Transcript

Episode 6 - The SHINE Cast podcast

Episode 6: Sarah - A Member of the Family

In our Season 1 finale, we’re talking with Sarah, a clinical counsellor (aka a veterinary social worker) with the Ontario Veterinary College. Sarah shares what exactly ‘veterinary social work’ is and why it’s so important to the field of veterinary medicine. We also discuss what it’s like to deal with grief, how pets truly become members of the family,  how to deal with imposter syndrome in such a small professional, and of course share personal stories around mental health.

We'll be back for Season 2 of The Shine Cast in September 2021!

Episode 5 - The SHINE Cast podcast

Episode 5: Sonia - Helping Myself to Help Others (Available March 25, 2021)

This episode we’re chatting with Sonia, an undergrad student at the University of Guelph. Sonia is double majoring in Biology and Psychology with the hope of pursuing a career in the mental health field. Sonia’s interest in mental health stems from her own experiences following major surgery to treat scoliosis in high school. Since then, Sonia has learned a lot about her own mental health and how to help others. This episode we also learn about Jack.Org, a great organization which helped Sonia along her journey. You can learn more about Jack.Org by visiting their website or finding your local chapter.

Episode Resources:

Jack.Org Guelph Chapter:

Episode 4 - The SHINE Cast

Episode 4: Jaime - Admitting I Deserve Help (Available March 11, 2021)

This episode we’re chatting with Jaime, a student currently doing two degrees as a University of Guelph Business student, as well as studying Astrophysics at Western University. Jaime shares with us her story of living with her multiple diagnoses of anxiety, depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Jaime walks us through some common misconceptions about OCD, what her experience has been like, and how she has found ways to adapt and thrive.  

Jaime also talks about her experience speaking on last fall’s Mental Health Panel, part of the University of Guelph’s SHINE Mental Well-Being Week! Our next Mental Health Panel is coming up on Wednesday, March 17th at 5:30pm, so please join us to hear more stories like Jamie’s! Register at:  

Episode Resources:

University of Guelph Counselling Services:

Crisis Text Line powered by Kid's Help Phone OR Text "UofG" to 686868

Episode 4 Transcript

Episode 3 - The SHINE Cast podcast

Episode 3: Brooke & Darian - Athletes Without Sports (available February 25, 2021)

This episode we’re talking with two University of Guelph undergrads: Brooke and Darian. Brooke and Darian are both student athletes and co-leads of UofG’s SAMHI (Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative). We hear what it’s been like transitioning from high school, to university, to pandemic life and how that’s affected their sports, schooling, and of course mental health. This episode we hear about several helpful UofG resources, including SAMHI, the Student Support Network, and the Indigenous Student Centre.

Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative Instagram

Indigenous Student Centre

Student Support Network

Episode 3 Transcript

Episode 2 - The SHINE Cast

Episode 2: Cayden - Coming Out Saved My Life (available February 11, 2021)

This episode we’re chatting with Cayden, a University of Guelph alumni now pursuing a degree in Behavioral Psychology. Cayden has lived through more than most, experiencing the struggles of chronic physical illness as well as gender dysphoria. Now he is an out and proud trans man looking to help others battling mental illness. Listen to Cayden describe his journey of mental and physical illness and how coming out helped save his life. 

Episode 2 Transcript

The SHINE Cast - Ep. 1 header

Episode 1: Katie - The Evil Part of Your Brain

In our very first episode, we’re talking with Katie McLean, a University of Guelph staff member and alumni currently pursuing a Master's degree in Counselling Psychology. As the current Coordinator, Neighbourhood Relations and Off-Campus Living at the University of Guelph, Katie is accustomed to helping people through challenging situations. But even those in a helping role sometimes need a bit of help themselves. Listen to Katie share her story of living with anxiety, and how accepting her condition helped free herself from its restraints.

See the links above to listen on your preferred platform, or search for "The Shine Cast" on your podcast app. Our debut episode will be available on Thursday, January 28, 2021! 

Episode 1 Transcript

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Mental Health Support at the University of Guelph

About our Team - The SHINE Cast

Jordie Lescard headshot - host of The SHINE Cast 

Jordie Lescard (Host)

My name is Jordie Lescard and I am one of the hosts of The Shine Cast. I’m an undergraduate here at the University of Guelph and an aspiring Psychologist, Teacher, Writer and Mental Health Advocate. I have the great pleasure of speaking with Gryphons about mental health, how we cope, how we thrive, and how we can improve life.

Linnea Velikonja headshot - host of The SHINE Cast

Linnea Velikonja (Host)

My name is Linnea Velikonja (she/her) and I am the other host of The Shine Cast! I am a Graduate student the University of Guelph studying a Master’s in Family Relations and Human Development, and I’ve recently applied for therapy programs in the pursuit of becoming a sex therapist. Being a part of this podcast has been such a passion project and I’ve loved getting to talk with and learn from all our guests!

Tony Nguyen – Scheduling Coordinator - The SHINE Cast

Tony Nguyen (Scheduling Coordinator)

Hiya! My name is Tony Nguyen (he/him). I help in scheduling podcast guests onto The Shine Cast and conduct pre-interviews with each guest to help our hosts get to the core of their story. It is a true joy creating an inclusive environment where we can have an open conversation on mental health!  

Charlotte Cherkewski – Marketing Coordinator - The SHINE Cast

Charlotte Cherkewski (Marketing Coordinator)

My name is Charlotte and I’m a second year undergraduate student at the University of Guelph. I work on promotion and marketing for The Shine Cast, everything from episode descriptions to what you see on Instagram!

Shannon Brown - producer (The SHINE Cast)

Shannon Brown (Producer)

My name is Shannon and I'm a producer for The Shine Cast, working with our student and staff team to create this amazing content. I have a Master of Public Health from the University of Guelph, a longtime love of podcasts, and the pleasure of helping bring our guest's stories to you.

Rebecca Skelhorn - producer - The SHINE Cast

Rebecca Skelhorn (Producer)

I’m Rebecca, a Wellness Educator in the Wellness Education and Promotion Centre, as well as the other producer for The Shine Cast! I work with our Peer Helper team and our editor, Dawn Matheson, to bring all of the pieces together. As a U of G Alumni, it is an incredible opportunity to share these stories with our community.

Dawn Matheson - consulting producer - The SHINE Cast

Dawn Matheson (Consulting Producer)

The Shine Cast was created with the support of interdisciplinary artist Dawn Matheson, who took on the role of editor as well as helped guide our team in interview best practices. See more of her work at


The Shine Cast logo and header were designed by Emma Hak-Kovacs. See more of her work on Instagram @bitofadilemma. For inquiries about The Shine Cast, contact us at