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Brittany Hensley

Navigating College and Building a Wellness Community: A Journey with Brittany Hensley

Embarking on a journey into higher education can be both exciting and daunting, especially for first-generation college students who venture far from home. Brittany Hensley, a proud graduate of the University of West Florida (UWF), is a shining example of how embracing challenges and seeking opportunities can lead to a fulfilling and impactful career.

Brittany's collegiate journey began with a courageous move, traveling eight hours away from her hometown to pursue her education. Her first semester proved to be a maze of uncertainty, but she found her guiding light in an unexpected course – "Sex & Booze: A Peer Health Education Course." This unique class not only provided her with a refreshing balance amid her challenging coursework but also ignited her passion for wellness education.

In Brittany's words, "This course taught me a lot about wellness topics that my family did not educate me on growing up… Little did I know at the time, but this course served as a prerequisite to becoming a Peer Educator at UWF." 

Brittany's path took an unexpected turn, leading her to join UWF's Peer Education program, where she discovered a sense of community and purpose. This pivotal decision not only enriched her college experience but also laid the foundation for her future career.

By majoring in Psychology and later completing the Master of Public Health (MPH) program with a concentration in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Brittany gained a comprehensive understanding of wellness principles. However, it was her hands-on experience as a Peer Educator and Graduate Assistant for Wellness Services that truly set her on the trajectory to success. She emphasizes, "Both my education and experience working as a Peer Educator and Graduate Assistant for Wellness Services gave me the tools and skills to help me land my first full-time job in my chosen career field."

During her time at UWF, her primary focus was always on educating college students about holistic wellness. Reflecting on her time as a Peer Educator, she shares, "I felt very fulfilled being able to share this information with other college students to benefit them on their wellness journey." This passion drove her to transition from Psychology to pursue an MPH, enabling her to continue this impactful work.

Today, Brittany thrives as a Peer Education Coordinator, responsible for nurturing and guiding a group of 20 to 35 peer educators. Her role involves recruiting, training, and providing ongoing support to her peer educators, ensuring that these dedicated individuals can effectively share wellness information. Collaborating with various campus partners, Brittany also orchestrates multiple wellness outreach initiatives and shares helpful, current, and relevant information to the college population.

When asked about her favorite aspect of her role, Brittany's response is immediate: "My favorite part about my role is the students." Her connection with both peer educators and the wider student body is evident in her enthusiasm for fostering growth and well-being. As she leads and supports her peer educators' professional development, she finds herself reliving the transformative journey that shaped her own career.

With a heart full of wisdom, Brittany's advice for aspiring students echoes her own path: "I think the best piece of advice I could give is to get involved." She emphasizes the power of seizing opportunities, as these experiences have the potential to shape one's career and personal growth in unforeseen ways.

Brittany Hensley's journey from a first-generation college student to a dedicated Peer Education Coordinator serves as an inspiring testament to the transformative potential of higher education. Through her commitment to wellness education and her genuine passion for supporting students, Brittany has not only crafted a meaningful career but has also left an indelible mark on countless lives. Her story reminds us that embracing challenges, seeking opportunities, and finding purpose can lead to a fulfilling and impactful journey through academia and beyond.