Coordinator of the Month: Addison Jendza | March 2020
Name: Addison Jendza
Hometown: Warren, MI
College Attended / Graduating Class / Major: Eastern Michigan University, Class of 2019, Public Health concentrating in Health Education
HealthCorps School Placement / City / State: Newcastle High School in Newcastle, OK
Fun Fact: I recently started taking martial arts classes!
Question #1: Why did you choose HealthCorps?
Ever since my junior year of high school, I wanted to do a 2-year program that involved helping others, but I wasn’t entirely sure where or even how I would do that. Fast forward six years to the weekend I graduated from college, and I heard about HealthCorps from one of my professors. Once I started researching this organization, I knew that this was where I wanted to be and the exact type of work I wanted to do.
Question #2: What role do you play in your school(s) beyond “HealthCorps Coordinator”?
I have been called an abundant of titles since entering my school including, “the health lady,” “health teacher,” and “the nurse.” Health educator isn’t a position that most people have heard of before, so I feel that half the battle is explaining all the things I get to do in the school besides facilitate classroom lessons. I am also located in the nurse’s office, so that explains the nurse bit.
Question #3: What have you learned during your placement so far? What has surprised you most?
The lessons I have learned, both professionally and personally, since moving to Oklahoma and working at NHS have been endless. The biggest surprise I would say is the cultural difference from my school experience in Michigan to the school experience I see among the students in Oklahoma. While health wasn’t the number one concern at school in Michigan, I still was required to take a year of Health and Physical Education to graduate. Here in Oklahoma, neither is required, which is one more barrier to overcome in stressing the importance of health to my students.
Question #4: What advice would you give to teachers, parents, communities, etc. who are looking to create more programming focused on healthy living for their students?
I would tell them to not be discouraged if something about their program doesn’t work well the first time. Health education, I have come to find out, is all about trial and error. It takes a lot of time to figure out what works best.
Question #5: What advice do you have for future Coordinators or anyone looking to join health-related fields?
For future coordinators, the first task you should focus on setting up in your school and building relationships with the administration, teachers, and students. That will make it abundantly easier when you start your programming and need to ask for assistance.
Question #6: What do you plan to pursue after your placement, and how is your time with HealthCorps helping you achieve that goal?
My plans for after my placement are still up in the air. I will most likely apply for grad schools in possibly getting my MPH, but I wouldn’t mind finding another public health position that works more on the administration side. Working for HealthCorps has given me much to think about what I would like in the future, and it has given me invaluable experience. I’m excited to see where I go next!