Nathan Salyer is a third-year junior at WSU completing a B.S. in neuroscience and a B.A. in Chinese. He joined the peer health education program in the spring of 2019. His peers in the program nominated him for the October Peer Health Educator of the Month award. This award is given to peer health educators in recognition of their hard work and dedication to the program. We sat down with Nathan to hear more about his time in the program and why he thinks other students would benefit from joining.
How has being a peer health educator been meaningful to you?
Nathan Salyer: I’ve always been passionate about health education throughout high school. It has been good to be in a program where I can go out into the public and reach people who are interested in learning. It is a great way to help people become more comfortable with healthcare and learn to do things on their own.
How do you think being a peer health educator has built career skills?
NS: One skill has been the customer service aspect of health education. I want to become a doctor and learning how to teach is definitely vital. If someone doesn’t understand what you’re saying, you have to be patient with them. You try to find another way to explain to them so they can understand what you are trying to say.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned as a peer health educator?
NS: One of the most important things I’ve learned is it’s okay to not have the answer. There is a large amount of information I need to know to be able to present a workshop, but it doesn’t cover everything actually known about a topic.
If someone asks a question in a workshop I’m facilitating with someone else and I don’t have the answer, I can step aside and look it up really quick. If I’m by myself, I can say that’s a great question, but I don’t know and ask them to talk to me afterward. Then we can figure it out and look it up together or I can give them contact information for people who are much more knowledgeable than I am.
What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a peer health educator?
NS: I’d say go for it. The time and effort you put in to learn all the information is very beneficial if you want to have an impact on people. If you have any sort of passion for it, then go for it.