WellCAT Ambassadors provide health education through peer presentations

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Three students in the WellCAT Ambassador program pose for the camera. (DJ Render | Collegian Media Group)

The WellCAT Ambassadors are a departmental student organization at Kansas State University under the leadership of Lafene Health Center. The ambassadors are representatives of Lafene and provide scientific research on how to stay healthy to students across campus.

Before becoming an ambassador, students go through an application process involving an interview. If selected, ambassadors take a three-credit hour, semester-long class called EDCEP 360, or Peer Health Education and Leadership. The course trains students in both first aid and CPR and explores many health and wellness topics promoted through the organization.

Abigail Hess, junior in psychology, credited the WellCAT Ambassadors with helping her develop stronger public speaking, leadership and communication skills.

“The class provides us the opportunity to learn in a supportive environment and shows us how to become more comfortable speaking about health-related, sometimes sensitive, topics,” Hess said.

Each ambassador is required to do a minimum of five service hours every semester, and one of those hours must be a presentation for students over a health-related topic.

Holli Woodyard, junior in gerontology and nutrition and health, said the WellCAT Ambassadors try to keep their presentations interesting.

“We try to get feedback from the students as we’re giving the presentations so we can make corrections if we need to or make it better and help them learn more,” Woodyard said.

Annie Dillon, junior in microbiology, said she really enjoys being able to give these presentations to groups that request them.

“I really like getting to talk to people and share information,” Dillon said.

The types of presentations ambassadors give can include topics such as drug and alcohol use, food safety, relationships, sleep, mental health and more.

In the groups that request these presentations, many of the students attending have misconceptions about health and wellness topics, Dillon said.

“I think it’s really helpful that we’re able to present all the information in a clear and concise manner,” Dillon said.

Dillon, Hess and Woodyard agreed they enjoy being WellCAT Ambassadors because of the relationships they form with others through educating students on health-related topics.

“I am so thankful I took a leap to interview and was accepted, because my time with WellCAT Ambassadors has taught me what a peer educator is and how integral we can be as advocates for an understanding of health and wellness on campus,” Hess said.

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