January 28, 2013
The N.C. Center for Health and Wellness at UNC Asheville (NCCHW) has been fortunate to welcome Laura Gardner to the NCCHW team. Laura is currently a senior studying Health and Wellness Promotion (HWP) and enjoys being an active member of on-campus life.
In addition to her duties with the NCCHW, Laura is also the coordinator for the Sherrill Center Wellness Ambassadors. Through this role, Gardner represents the NCCHW and provides tours of the Sherrill Center to community members and campus guests. Additionally, Gardner is the president of the National Wellness Institute (NWI) Student Chapter at UNC Asheville and is co-creator of the NWI Health and Wellness Promotion mentoring program.
In her studies, Gardner has worked with an undergraduate research team to brainstorm healthier eating habits for the Latino community in Asheville. She has also been involved in two service learning classes that will go towards her graduating with the honor of Community Engaged Scholar. In addition, Gardner has been involved in the University’s Workplace Wellness group, teaching Lunch and Learns to UNC Asheville faculty and staff. Laura will also be taking part in the Endeavor Leadership Experience, where she will be learning leadership skills and utilizing them in a final capstone project. Additionally, Gardner has worked in tandem with the Buncombe County Health Department, conducting surveys of the perceived health needs and risks of the community.
Being a student and working at the NCCHW has been both an interesting and rewarding experience for Laura, “I love that I have had the opportunity to work in a professional environment alongside my professors. The dynamic is rewarding for me in the office and in the classroom. I feel like I have been able to build that much more of a personal relationship with each one of them.”
Laura has also had the unique and exciting opportunity to extend her classroom knowledge. This spring, Gardner began an internship with Andrea Fiedler, communications coordinator for the NCCHW. Through this internship, Laura will be able to add another layer of expertise to her repertoire. “In my communications internship, I am working in partnership with a communications student from UNC Asheville to promote the NCCHW’s Creatively Collaborative campaign. The project will jump start the awareness of the Center’s functions and those of its partners. Andrea has provided us with a variety of communications projects to work on and gain experience from, and I can’t wait to see how our efforts come to fruition.”
Gardner is also working with Dr. Rebecca Reeve, director of research programs, to develop a FORECAST process evaluation strategy for the Western North Carolina Health Network (WNCHN) Triple Aim Initiative. The project strives toward reducing healthcare costs, promoting the health of the Western North Carolina population and ensures a positive experience for patients. The Triple Aim Project will help Gardner complete the requirement for graduating as a Community Engaged Scholar.
While her classes and extra-curricular involvement are providing her with a great deal real-life experience, her current position as administrative assistant for the N.C. Center for Health and Wellness is providing her with valuable hands-on experience. “I am so lucky to work with such an intelligent, kind, forward-thinking and passionate group of people. I could not ask for a better environment to work in,” said Gardner. “Working with the NCCHW has really prepared me for my life post-graduation. My co-workers have given me a lot of responsibility, which makes me feel trusted and respected. I really feel like a part of the team.”
Andrea Fiedler, communications coordinator for the NCCHW said, “Laura has really embraced her role with the NCCHW. She is an extremely dedicated, organized and well-rounded intern and co-worker. She has brought a great deal to the Center and I know she will be a huge asset to whichever organization she will work for in the future. We really have enjoyed having her be a part of our team.”