The Illinois Society for Public Health Education (ISOPHE) was pleased to offer its first ever ISOPHE student scholarships in fall 2014 due to the generosity of a long-standing member. College seniors majoring in health education in the state of Illinois were eligible to apply. Two scholarships in the amount of $1,000 were awarded to two Illinois State University health education seniors, Wendy Dover and Laura Mayer. They both have shown a strong passion and commitment to the health education profession.

Dover is a nontraditional student. She has a passion for making a difference in the lives of other people. After 20 years as serving the geriatric community as a certified nursing assistant, she is excited about her new career. She believes through this career path she can better fulfill her passion of being of service to others, and educating and empowering others to make informed decisions about their health. Dover is interested in serving diverse under-served communities, and being the voice for people who feel they do not have a voice. To be of service to others requires mindfulness about diversity, and understanding the root cause of issues. Additionally, she believes that health educators must look beyond the disparities of race or class while working to improve health and achieve equity in health status for all.

Mayer is a senior at Illinois State and chose health education as her major because of the experiences in her life. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are health problems that are common in her family, and because of that, she has always made it a priority to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Mayer’s personal philosophy of health education is based around self-efficacy and engaging others to be passionate about the aspects of health that are most important to their lifestyle. Her goal in health education is to also change a community’s outlook on the ways in which health can benefit their lives. Mayer wants her role in health education to impact many individuals in order for them to utilize healthy behaviors as much as they can to improve their overall health and extend their lifespan.

ISOPHE’s mission is to provide leadership to the profession of health education and health promotion and to contribute to the health of all people through advances in health education theory and research, excellence in health education practice, leadership through a code of ethics, standards for professional preparation, and the promotion of public policies conducive to health. The Illinois State University health education program has been a long-standing partner with this organization. Over the past 15 years many faculty and students have been active members and have served on the ISOPHE board.