By Shaymaa Mohammed
Danielle Bavoux is an Honor’s student in her senior year at Worcester State University pursuing a nursing major and Spanish minor. She chose nursing because of her desire to make a difference in people’s’ lives, as well as the fact that many people in her family are in the healthcare profession. While at Worcester State, she developed a program called “Hump Day” aimed at educating people about safe sex and STD prevention.
Tell me about the “Hump Day” program? How did you get the idea?
We were trying to find out some fun way to educate students about safe sex and STD prevention and awareness, because talking about it can sometimes be awkward for students. There was one school that kind of had an idea similar to Hump Day, except that they had a wagon and they filled it with condoms and candy and information pamphlets, and they walk around campus and give them out. We were like, “well, we are too lazy to walk around; let’s just have a table.” We give out pencils that have funny phrases like “frisky is risky,” which is the name of our program and we trademarked it. We give out pencils, condoms, candy, and we also made educational pamphlets on safe sex and STD awareness and prevention in English and translated to Spanish by the Spanish Department at Worcester State.
Why are you motivated to do this?
I think I am motivated to do this because of my background in nursing. I work in an emergency room as well, so I spend a lot of my week just trying to help people in urgent situations. STDs and STIs are not really urgent at first, but they can be dangerous later on if you don’t take care of them with prevention.
I like helping other students. It’s nice that I am a student and I get to make a difference in other students’ health choices. Sometimes students remember me and they will be like “Oh my God, you held an information table about cancer screenings” or “Oh, that Hump Day.”
How does that make you feel?
It makes me feel good. It’s really nice… it makes me feel like I’m an adult.
How often does the Hump Day take place?
It’s usually once or twice a month and it’s always on Wednesday, because that is the hump of the week. We usually try to do it every two weeks. We either hold it in the Sullivan T, in the student center, or the Sheehan building right in front of the cafeteria.
What activities do you engage in outside of class for your academic career?
I was the president of the Peer Health Educators. It’s no longer a club. It’s a special interest group in campus. The Peer Health Educators run events in campus to educate students about things like sex, STD awareness and prevention, alcohol awareness and prevention, cancer screening. We also work with the American Red Cross to run the blood drive.
I know you are an athlete. How do you manage your time between school work and activities and being an athlete?
When I’m not in the Spring track season, I work once a week at the emergency room. Sometimes balancing classes with the club events that I do for the Peer Health Educators can be stressful to try to figure out my time, but it’s worth it because I actually enjoy sitting at the table and educating people. So, when I have free time, I just find time to do tabling events to teach other students.
I think it is really important to balance school work with exercise. Sometimes it can be hard, depending on how much school work I have. I put the school work and educating students above all.
Ideally, what would you like to be doing after graduation?
I have two options: I would like to work in an emergency room or in an Intensive Care Unit as a nurse. But I’ve also thought about going further on in my schooling to either become a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. My biggest dream would be to go to countries and Latin America and just live down there, to work in the rural areas where they don’t have a lot of health care. I will work with prevention and treating diseases.
What do you like to do outside of your academics?
I am going to start training for another half marathon by the start of the Summer or the Spring. I run half marathons.
What is something you know you do differently than other people?
I use nutrition therapy. I was a volunteer student nurse working in a Chinese camp over the summer. It’s the New England Chinese Youth Summer Camp. It’s held at Regis College. I learned a lot about alternative medicine therapies and Eastern medicine.
What advice would you offer to underclassmen?
I wouldn’t underestimate how much time you have. Fill as much time as you can with as many activities that will enrich your life.
Sometimes students are worried that they won’t have enough time to study, but I think it’s also important to try to be involved with other things like sports or a club or even just volunteering . Really just enrich their experience here at Worcester State.