DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Student Spotlight > Christine Augustin and Claire Newby
By Carolyn Brinckwirth /
May 15, 2020 /
Posted in: STUDENT SPOTLIGHT /
Peer-to-peer education plays a large role at DePaul in educating and supporting students seeking information on a wide range of subjects. Christine Augustin, a senior psychology major with a minor in sociology, and Claire Newby, a senior majoring in health sciences and minoring in Spanish, are both peer health educators as part of the Health Education Action Team out of the office of Health Promotion and Wellness.
The HEAT team is integral in ensuring their fellow students are well-informed and up to date on a variety of health and wellness topics, especially during the time of COVID-19. As peer health educators, Augustin and Newby work to address issues ranging from alcohol and substance use to healthy sleeping habits and stress management.
“We aim to create open environments where we interact with students to ensure our peers are aware of resources offered by DePaul and the greater Chicagoland," Newby says.
Each peer health educator has their own set of responsibilities and ideas for wellness education. Prior to COVID-19, Newby was the liaison for the Substance-free Environment Empowering DePaul Students, known as SEEDS, in the Belden-Racine residence hall. Launched this academic year, SEEDS is an on-campus, designated living-learning community for Blue Demons who want a substance-free living space.
In the winter quarter, Augustin led a workshop on healthy relationships. She was in charge of organizing the event as well as coordinating other departments' involvement.
“To develop this program I worked with different program assistants from the Office of Multicultural Student Success cultural centers," Augustin says. “I detailed what the event was going to be, how it would work with questions submitted anonymously and what topics would be covered, including sexual relationships as well as relationships with friends and family. I made sure everyone who wanted to share their opinions was heard."
After working with HEAT for almost two years, Augustin and Newby agree the best part of their roles has been discovering what they enjoy doing and applying it to their career paths.
“I have realized just how much I like my work and the environment I'm in," Newby says. “I know I'll never settle for less after having such great coworkers and supervisors who have all helped me flourish."
Augustin's pursuits in psychology and sociology have become more clear during her time as a PHE.
“My favorite part has been learning what I'm passionate about," she says. “I now know I want to work with people struggling with mental health, stress management and building healthy relationships."
Beyond their time spent as peer health educators for HEAT, both Augustin and Newby involve themselves in different kinds of outreach at DePaul and in Chicago. Augustin founded the student organization called Roots to Ends. As a community organization, R2E brings together African-Americans at DePaul who want to learn more about and embrace their natural hair. Newby volunteers with Chicago Votes, an organization encouraging young people in Chicago to get to the polls and vote.
Augustin and Newby are both dedicated to HEAT's mission of supporting and educating their peers on all kinds of health and wellness topics. Without this kind of outreach, many students might find themselves in unfavorable predicaments without proper knowledge.
Read more in Newsline about advice on coping with the stress COVID-19. For more information or to speak with a member of HEAT, visit the group's website.