Staffer an invaluable asset to health sciences

26 October 2004

Adri Winckler.

In her softly-spoken and calm manner Adri Winckler explains how she just loves students.

"Young people are so full of potential. Each and every one of them has some good in them. You need to really listen to them and you will get to the core of who and what they are," said Winckler who is in charge of the postgraduate office in the health sciences faculty.

This Five-Star Staffer believes that staff have a responsibility to the many thousands of students who choose to study at UCT.

"Students come to UCT from all over the world and they are alone for most of their stay here. We become their parents and it is our responsibility to look after them. Sometimes we have to reprimand them, but mostly we simply have to encourage and support them."

This attitude has earned Winckler praise from first-year master's student Sebastian Kevaney.

Kevaney, who hails from Ireland, lauded Winckler for being "unfailingly courteous in her responses to my many queries".

He goes on to say that Winckler's knowledge of UCT's academic and administrative systems makes her an invaluable asset to the faculty.

"She is so central to the productivity and smooth running of the office that her absence would be unthinkable. Her efforts have no doubt helped to produce many of South Africa's finest doctors."

And a doctor is what Winckler wanted to be. With a mother who was a radiographer and a father who was a hospital administrator, she says she practically grew up in hospitals and that they have always been close to her heart. Shortly after starting her BSc degree, Winckler was, however, forced to abandon her studies after her father passed away.

"I know the tremendous pressures that young doctors and registrars have to face," she noted.

"Postgraduates are getting younger and younger and there are huge demands placed on them. A lot of them are depressed due to financial and time constraints and this pulls them down. My office is a place where they can come to share their happiness and sadness."

Winckler went on to graduate with a BA in English literature and psychology, which explains her love of reading.

"I'm a read-aholic. I have to read otherwise it feels as if I'm not breathing."

Her other passions, she confesses, are classical music (which she enjoys listening to at home with her husband), watching antique shows and taking pictures with her digital camera. Both landscape and family pics are used to stay in touch and up to date with family members and a fast-growing grandchild who lives in Canada.

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