Featured Health Education Graduates

Mary Wenstrom

Mary Wenstrom
Class of 2003

Majors
Physical Education and Health Education, minor in Coaching, teacher licensure

Career/Position

After graduating from Gustavus, I was a Reserve teacher with the Eden Prairie School District from January-June before going abroad. I have been teaching at different international schools around the world since that time. I taught Physical Education at the International School of Frankfurt in Germany, grades K-12.

Next, I taught at Sotogrande International School in Spain where I was Head of Primary Physical Education Grades Pre K-6, taught Health and Physical Education grades Pre-K to Grade 9, and designed and implemented Health curriculum for IB Middle Years Programme, Grades 6 to 9.

Currently, I am at the International School of Beijing in China where I teach Health and Physical Education grades 1-8. I also coordinate the Outdoor Learning Environment program and am a core leader on the Staff Wellness Council at my school.

Coaching Experience

I'm currently the Varsity Girls Basketball Coach at the International School of Beijing I also coach 7th grade girls basketball which is during a different season.

In addition to coaching, I go on mentoring trips with students (Camping, High Ropes courses, Hiking, Biking, Challenges, etc.) I also Travel to different countries with my basketball team and attend and present at Professional Development Workshops all over the world.

Graduate Degree

I am completing a graduate degree with London University. (This was when I lived in Spain.) It is in the Institute of Education, "Educational and Social Research."

What Advice Would You Give to Gusties?

I would tell future graduates that being a health educator is probably the most important teaching job at a school. You are setting students up for lifetime wellness and success. I would also encourage future graduates to keep on top of their field and learn everything possible about how to use technology. Technology is pretty amazing under our health "umbrella."

I would say, that as a health educator, you need to be able to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. If you're practicing unhealthy behaviors outside of the classroom, how can you expect students to listen to you in the classroom!? Most importantly, make health education fun! Be motivational for your students. I challenge my students to do workouts with me before or after school. I also invite them to come along with me to charity events for different causes. It's cool how many students participate in order to get healthy or to help out. Also, if a student organizes a wellness event, make sure that you're there supporting him or her.

Trystan Hansen

Trystan Hansen
Class of 2008

Majors
Health Education-Non-teaching and Health Fitness

Current Position

I work at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN as Fitness Coordinator at Charter House, a retirement community, and as a Group Fitness Instructor at the Dan Abraham Health Living Center. At Charter House I teach group fitness classes for many different ability levels, conduct personal training sessions for individuals with many needs and chronic conditions, develop and implement fitness incentive programs (like my current "Walk out of Winter, Step out of Spring" Walking Program), and do other fun things like trail walks and lawn games.

Other than my full-time position at Charter House, I recently started teaching group exercise classes at the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center, the wellness facility for Mayo employees. I've also been invited to speak at some professional conferences, like the Mayo Orthopedic Nursing Conference and the Geriatric Care Conference.

Graduate Degree

With Mayo's Tuition Assistance Program, I completed my Master's Degree in Health Promotion and Exercise Science, from the California University of Pennsylvania, in July 2010.

What Would You Like to Tell Future Graduates About Health Education?

There are actually LOTS of job opportunities, with new opportunities popping up all the time! You may be surprised where you end up...I never expected to be working with retired folks, but I took a chance and love my job, and love being in the Mayo system. I don't think I would have had nearly as many great opportunities-or learned nearly as much if I had taken a "safer" job.

I've noticed that people in health-related fields tend to be the most passionate, dedicated, and fulfilled so consider yourself lucky to be a health educator! Other than my full-time position at Charter House, I recently started teaching group exercise classes at the Dan Abernathy Living Center, the wellness facility for Mayo and this has been an incredible experience. It has taken me out of my comfort zone a bit but I love it and have learned so much. I would also remind majors that I don't think a day goes by that I don't mention something I learned, did, or talked about at GAC. So what they are learning is essential information and skills they will actually use whatever they choose to do.

Tony Stadtherr

Tony Stadtherr
Class of 2007

Majors
Health Education, Physical Education, Coaching Minor, Education Licensure

Current Position

I am employed at Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial School District where I teach elementary Physical Education (K and 1st grade) and high school Health Education and Physical Education (grades 10-12). Coaching junior high basketball and assistant coaching high school baseball are also part of my job.

Graduate Degree

This spring I will complete a Masters Degree in School Health Education from Mn State University, Mankato.

What Would You like to Tell Future Graduates About Health Education?

I think you have to truly have a passion for the topic to be successful as a teacher. It’s important to take every chance you get to learn more because health is an ever-changing topic. Other than that it’s beneficial to learn from all of those around you who are more experienced and have something to offer. Mentors are such important people.

Catherine Osterhaus

Catherine Osterhaus
Class of 2009

Majors
Health Education and Health Fitness

Current Employer

Health Educator at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation

Women on the Move

Description: The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation is a non-profit located on the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Campus in Minneapolis. The Foundation strives to promote and improve cardiovascular health, quality of life and longevity for all, through clinical research and education. As a health educator I plan, promote, implement, and evaluate health education programs that focus on heart disease prevention using physical activity, healthy eating, and stress management. I work with community groups in urban and rural areas, worksites, schools, and other community organizations to improve the health of the community.

CHES AND SOPHE: I am a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) (took exam in April 2010) and a member of the Society of Public Health Education (SOPHE).

Coaching: I served as assistant gymnastics coach at Eastridge High School during 2009-2010 academic year.

Graduate Degree

I do not yet have a graduate degree since I have been so busy with a full-time position.

Important Things I Want To Tell Future Health Educators

The field of health education is exciting because you are constantly learning. You will learn from new research, your colleagues, the media, your students and the groups you work with. Be open to the information these sources provide. As a health educator you have the opportunity to guide and improve people's lives but if you want people to learn from you, you must first learn from them. By meeting people where they are and learning from them, you can build trust and give them tools to make lasting positive changes in their lives.

Tina Strauss

Tina Strauss
Class of 2008

Majors
Health Education and Physical Education with Coaching Minor and Teaching Licensure

Current Position

Elementary Physical Education Specialist at Sumner Elementary in Austin, MN. I teach first to fifth grade students. I love the energy the students bring to class each and every day. They are excited to participate and are actively engaged. During my first year in Austin, I also created and taught the curriculum for the Advanced Health class at the high school.

Coaching

Head Softball Coach for Austin High School. My favorite part about coaching is watching them succeed on and off the field and helping them achieve their goals.

Graduate Degree

I will complete my DAPE certificate this spring from Winona State University. I plan to complete a Masters degree in the near future.

Important Things I Want To Tell Future Health Educators

At Gustavus, the Health and Exercise Science department and the Education department do an excellent job preparing you for a career in Health and Physical Education. You will work very hard, learn more than you thought was possible, and reach goals you did not think were attainable. I can honestly say that I am grateful for the education I received and for the professors at Gustavus that challenged me every day. My bachelors degree is worth every penny I paid in tuition; I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Enjoy every minute while at Gustavus, work hard and give your best effort ....it will pay off.

A Final Thought…

Love and treat your students as if they were your own children!

Kate Bergstrom

Kate Bergstrom
Class of 2002

Majors
Health Education and Physical Education with Coaching Minor and Teaching Licensure

Current Position

(Fall 2006-Present) Teaching Health and PE at Cleveland Public School, Cleveland, MN. I teach Physical Education to students in kindergarten, first, third, fifth, eighth, and tenth grade, and Health Education to students in eighth and tenth grade.

From Fall 2002-Spring 2006, I taught at Chaska Middle School West, Chaska, MN. Teaching both Physical Education (sixth and eighth grade) and Health Education (seventh and eighth grade) kept me more than busy.

I love teaching! I love teaching students the importance of being physically, emotionally, and socially in shape with themselves. Teaching in a small school allows you variety and opportunities that go beyond any normal workday.

Graduate Degree

Masters of Teaching and Learning—St. Mary’s University

Important Things I Want To Tell Future Health Educators

  • Be Firm, Fair, and Friendly when teaching
  • Absorb everything you can now, because when you teach, your GAC foundation will be critical.
  • Find ways to get experience teaching everything…it will make you a better teacher.