UWL’s wellness coordinator earns state award for mentoring UWL’s peer health advocates
Cassandra Worner, UWL’s wellness coordinator, received Wisconsin’s Student Employment Supervisor of the Year Award in May.
Nominated by UWL students who serve as UWL’s peer health advocates, Worner first received UWL’s Employment Supervisor of the Year Award in April when she was serving as interim wellness coordinator. Her name was then submitted for the state-level award, which recognizes student employment supervisors who have shown outstanding leadership, professionalism and mentoring.
Worner’s role includes supervising UWL’s peer health advocates as part of the Student Life Office. She trains them to work directly with UWL’s student body to provide health education information with the goal of helping UWL students make their own health decisions supported by best practices.
UWL Peer Health Advocate Shelbey Hagen says Worner worked with the student peer health advocates through any challenges they faced, and she embodies what a true leader should be.
“Cassandra was always kind, professional and extremely reliable,” says Hagen. “She made this job one of the best possible experiences of my college career, and she did all of this coming in midway through the semester as an interim employee while being a full-time student. Cassandra is truly an amazing person and professional.”
Worner, a May graduate of UWL’s master of public health program, knows what it is like to be a busy student working to balance work, personal life and school. Her goal has been to connect with and support the students she supervises both personally and professionally. Worner says she has relied on the peer health advocates and the Student Life Office as she navigated earning her degree while managing a full-time position.
Worner also recognizes the expertise of the students she supervises – many who are majoring in public health and community health education. She lets them take the lead in deciding what health topics and challenges students are most interested in learning about.
“They are all the experts, so I see my role as supporting them,” says Worner.
She also creatively incorporated her graduate thesis work into her interim wellness coordinator role. For instance, Worner’s graduate research assessed a health program that she created for UWL’s wellness office called Bystander Intervention, which focuses on empowering students to help their peers in potentially dangerous situations.
Worner would like to continue working with college students in the future, supporting their personal growth and professional development.
Worner has also worked as the graduate assistant for UWL’s Violence Prevention Office and as a graduate assistant in the Department of Health Education and Health Promotion.