Jennifer Benoit ‘22OD loves being a student ambassador. Not only does she get to conduct tours for prospective students and help with University events like commencement and the Dean’s Winterfest, but she gets to meet a lot of interesting people.
“I get to meet people in different programs at Salus who I wouldn’t normally have met,” said Benoit, who became the University’s student ambassador coordinator in August 2019. “And, one of my favorite things is doing tours for admissions because you get to meet people who are either on the fence about a program or are on the fence about Salus. It’s great to pick their brains, see where they’re at and offer a voice from someone who has gone through the process.”
That diversity of the Salus student ambassadors from across the University’s programs, was a strong draw for Benoit to become involved in the group and to take on a leadership role.
“I do believe the ambassadors’ group is one of the most diverse groups on campus, just because it’s not tied to any one program,” she said. “We have multiple programs apply (to be ambassadors) and we can use that to our advantage. Salus is all about being an interprofessional workplace, and just the networking alone really helps you understand what other professions do, how to refer to them and the different nuances that I wouldn’t have known if I had not been friends with people in other programs.”
Currently there are 21 ambassadors in the group. In addition to Benoit, they include Leigh Balatgek ‘21PA; Ojaswita Bastola ‘23OD; James Brand ‘22AUD; Brenna Childers ‘23OD; Perla Delgado ‘23OD; Viviana L. Di Stefano ‘20PA; Matt Graden ‘23OD; Cameron Keller ‘21SLP; Renee Kochinski ‘23AUD; Zachary LeBarth ‘23AUD; Lucia Leone ‘22OD; Umar Mahmood ‘22OD; Camille Menns ‘21OT; Jordan Oliver ‘23OD; Erica Sheehan ‘20OT; Renee Thiringer ‘20OT; Katie Vang ‘22OD; Alexis Wylam ‘23OD; Rachelle Yang ‘22OD; Missy Young ‘23OD.
To be selected as an ambassador, students have to submit a letter of intent and resume for consideration. The second step is an interview with Monae Kelsey, assistant director of Admissions and associate director of Student Engagement, and the student ambassador coordinator. Those that advance then are involved in a group interview with representatives across the University, who then make recommendations on the ambassador selections. Once selected, students have to be in good academic standing to remain an ambassador from year to year.
The ambassador commitment is about two and a half years for four-year students. Once they reach the fall semester of their third year, they’re no longer expected to perform ambassador related duties because of the increased clinical hours. With two-year students, the ambassador commitment is for a year and a half before they start externships.
Benoit, a native of Coventry, Conn., received her undergraduate degree in Athletic Training from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Fla. After graduation she worked as a certified athletic trainer at the high school and college level. As a student ambassador, and now coordinator, she says she is developing skills she needs to communicate effectively and be exposed to in an integrated interdisciplinary workforce.
“I think the relationships you build with people, it’s great to have that sounding board,” said Benoit. “I know that people here at Salus have always been very open to communication with students, even after they graduate. I think having a familiar face to come back to and bounce things off is going to be invaluable.”