Amanda (she/her/hers) is responsible for developing the comprehensive health promotion strategy for the campus; and the research, development, implementation and evaluation of health education initiatives, trainings, programming and outreach.
Amanda has over 25 years of experience in Health Education and Health Promotion. She has served as a Health Educator at several institutions of Higher Education specializing in comprehensive sexual health education, violence prevention and student leadership. She started her career as a Peer Educator at her undergraduate institution and still believes in the power of peers to influence and educate their community. She is particularly interested in exploring, confronting and building skills in the community to change and navigate the ways in which identity impacts the health and well-being of our students. In previous positions Amanda has supervised numerous peer education programs, including an award-winning sex education theatre troupe, directed an anonymous HIV antibody testing site and trained athletic teams through the CHOICES program. As an adjunct lecturer in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amanda taught large introductory lecture classes, small seminars and oversaw independent study students. A presenter at both regional and national conferences, and a consultant and trainer for various museums, educational institutions and private businesses Amanda believes in the power of education to transform lives.
Amanda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Master of Education degree in Health Education from The Pennsylvania University where her thesis focused on Sexual Violence Prevention Programs for Women. Amanda is a certified Doula. She has served on the Board of Directors for various non-profits including the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition and the Abortion Rights Fund. She served on the Advisory Board for Planned Parenthood Springfield and as the State Coordinator for BACCHUS Area 10. Amanda is a former member of The Governor’s Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence for the Patrick Administration and a current elected Town Meeting Member.
When Amanda isn't at work loves to be with her family and their puppy Daisy. She enjoys reading, cooking, baking, gardening and spending time outside.
Amanda would love to meet with you if:
Lauren (she/her/hers) joined the Amherst College community in 2019 and serves as the Sexual Respect Educator in the Department of Health Education. In her role, she coordinates a range of campus-wide initiatives focused on violence prevention, bystander intervention, consent education, and sexual respect promotion.
Specifically, Lauren supervises the Peer Advocates for Sexual Respect; chairs the Amherst College Sexual Respect Task Force; serves on campus and community committees related to sexual respect; and provides education through training, programming, and consultation to all members of the Amherst College community.
Lauren has a MEd from Bridgewater State University in Student Affairs Counseling, along with a BA from Providence College in Public & Community Service Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies. Her professional background has consisted of working in both higher education and the non-profit sector, centering her work around sexual violence prevention, student leadership development, and community engagement. Lauren roots her work in empowering students to be leaders of social change and promoting equitable wellbeing so that all members of our campus community can thrive.
Karrina (she/her/hers) joined the Amherst College community in 2021 and serves as the Alcohol and Other Drugs Educator in the Department of Health Education. In her role, Karrina takes a harm reduction approach and is responsible for trainings, programming, outreach, and education on topics relating to alcohol and other drugs. Karrina also supervises the Student Health Educators.
Karrina has a MEd from Geneva College in Higher Education and a BS from Whitworth University in Health Science. Karrina has a deep passion and commitment to wellbeing, and she has integrated it into the work she has done at other colleges and universities. Karrina has experience in Residence Life, on-call crisis management, student development, and training of various student leadership positions.
Karrina believes that the work of Alcohol and Other Drugs is a community effort and that everyone has a role to play in education and harm reduction. She roots her work in curiosity and challenging students to think critically about the impact they can have on themselves and others. Karrina would love to connect with anyone who wants to partner on this work and/or has questions about alcohol and other drugs.
Katherine (Kat) Newman (she/her/hers) was born in the “biggest little city in the world,” Reno, Nevada. She completed her undergraduate degree at Mount Holyoke College where she double majored in Gender Studies and Spanish. She also holds an M.Ed. in social justice education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Kat has worked in non-profit and higher education for over a decade, specializing in youth development, community outreach, and peer-based model interventions. She has designed youth programs, trainings, and taught high school and college-level courses on topics of gender, sexuality, and race-based dialogues. Kat has experience working with self-harm reduction, suicide prevention, and reducing high-risk drinking. Her passion and advocacy work examine the intersections of mental health diagnoses, LGBTQ issues, access to education, employment, and housing, using trauma-informed, trauma-centered approaches. Most recently, Kat helped create the Town of Amherst’s COVID-19 Ambassador program and served as UMass’s Team Positive Presence and Walk This Way Program Coordinator.
Working with Amanda Vann, Director of Health Education, Kat’s role will contribute to a campus-wide wellbeing strategy with the goal of creating an environment that is supportive of and builds skills in holistic wellbeing. This position contributes to building skills in the Amherst College community to help create a healthy campus community and promote a culture of respect, self-awareness, and healthy decision making. The work encourages and supports students to grow and learn academically, socially, and emotionally.
Kat and her incredibly handsome service dog, Brady, love to connect with people and are eager to become a part of the Amherst College community! When not working, Kat loves spending time with Brady, competitively powerlifting, learning, traveling, and eating snacks. Brady loves competitively napping, learning silly people tricks (such as “circus dog”), and also eating snacks.
The Student Health Educators (SHEs) are a group of Amherst students that actively address a variety of health issues through workshops, innovative programs and events, outreach and printed materials.
The Peer Advocates for Sexual Respect (PAs) are a group of trained student educators at Amherst within the Department of Health Education.