Collegiate Champion Karissa Becknel cultivates collaborative relationships as a student and health education specialist

Karissa Becknel is a SOPHE Collegiate Champion and health education undergraduate with a concentration in community health at Howard University.

Becknel commits her time as a student leader to educating aspects of health and wellness among her peers.


This semester I collaborated with Howard University’s Substance Abuse and HIV Outreach Program to host an event about sobriety for Sobriety Day. According to the NCHEC, a sub-competency is to establish collaborative relationships in order to provide information (2015). I believe that cultivating collaborations with any organization requires diplomacy. Diplomacy is one of my finest skills as it allows for me to connect and negotiate well with others. Firstly, while organizing the event I created a document that details information about sobriety and aspects associated with alcohol. I researched many different sources in order to find factual points to address at the event. We decided it would be best to hold an exhibition in the lower Blackburn area. Secondly, I made a handout pamphlet detailing sobriety, alcoholism, and some general information about alcohol. The pamphlet covers common myths associated with alcohol, how to manage alcohol consumption, and the long-term effects of heavy alcohol use. I believe it’s important to give an individual all the informational obtainable in order for them to make better health decisions.

Another responsibility I had was to procure the venue for our place and time, as well as, build a unique way to present the information to the passing students. I helped create a questionnaire game in which students would spin a wheel that gave them a topic. From this topic, a question would be selected for the student to answer. I completed a 20 question and answer sheet in order to have a variety of questions for the game.

“This event taught me that as a health professional it is our duty to provide innovative ways to influence others and promote health.”

The day of the event I helped organize the tabling exhibit and presented the various aspects a part of our exhibit. We also collected a demographic sheet of the types and amount of people who visited the table. The exhibit was a success because by the end of three hours we had successfully promoted health to approximately 40 people or more.

*Application information for the Collegiate Champion program for the next academic year will be announced Summer 2018 and open to SOPHE Student members.