Every week, the PHEs can be found in Johnson Hall holding office hours, in the Upper Quad hosting outdoor recreational activities, or around campus leading informational sessions designed to help their peers stay well and deal with stresses associated with College.
At the same time, these young leaders are gaining career-focused skills that will help them as they develop their future professional goals.
Meet the Peer Health Educators
Hana Abdullah '23 is a kinesiology major, student-athlete with the Poet Volleyball team, and senate member representing PSALA, the athletics leadership group on campus. Abdullah wants to become an occupational therapist and views the Unihealth PHE position as an exciting opportunity geared towards her future career goals to pursue a career in the allied health field. Contributing to the community and being involved on campus are her main goals as a new PHE. Wellness and health are topics she loves to discuss. She envisions that the goals of the PHE program are to listen, learn, help, empathize, and truly be able to connect with individuals.
Mursalle Khwajazada '25 is a pre-med biology major. She is passionate about medicine, mental health, and wellness. Khwajazada has been a volunteer at City of Hope, a cancer and research hospital, for the last three years, performing various positions throughout the hospital. Currently, she is a volunteer at the blood donor center. Khwajazada is also a member of the Pre-Health Club on campus, which helps pre-health majors in deciding and advancing their career paths. Her overall goal is to become an innovator in medicine and healthcare. Outside of work she enjoys reading, painting, and listening to music.
Aleena Mendoza '23 is working towards her degree in psychology with a minor in child development and Spanish. Aleena is captain of the Poet women’s golf team and a member of the Whittier College chapter of Psi Chi—the international honor society in psychology. As a first year Unihealth PHE, she hopes to gain more insight into her peers on campus and provide them with resources. She aims to become more knowledgeable in the health and wellness field to help others in society and provide them with opportunities to grow. Outside of work, Aleena likes to relax and enjoy nature. This ranges from reading a book, listening to podcasts, going out, and playing golf with friends and family.
Caitlin Rainey '24 (she/her/hers) is majoring in sports psychology through the Whittier Scholars Program. She hopes to work with injured and retiring athletes in the future. Rainey is also a recent member of the Psi Chi chapter on campus and regularly attends its events. She will be working as a TA for a psychology professor's research methods course this coming fall. Her goal throughout college is to build connections with her peers and learn as much as possible about her intended field. Rainey enjoys photography and traveling in her free time.
Fernando Ramirez '24 is a pre-med biology major. As a member and officer of the Sustainability Club and Food Recovery Network, he enjoys finding unique ways to serve and improve the Whittier College community. As a UniHealth PHE, Ramirez enjoys creating safe spaces and events where students can converse about any topics that might be on their minds. As an aspiring medical professional in the primary care field, Ramirez wants to build a culture of accessible preventive care that is equitable and worry-free. In his spare time, he enjoys propagating plants and experimenting with jewelry-making.
Shayla Sakkakhanaune '25 is working toward a degree in sociology, is a Leadership Scholar, and plays on the Poet women's soccer team. As an athlete, Sakkakhanaune is primarily interested in nutrition, physical fitness, and physical therapy as it relates to athletics. Through the Unihealth PHE program, she hopes to share her ideals of health and wellness with fellow peers and the surrounding community. Outside of soccer, work, and school, you can find Sakkakhanaune at Barnes & Noble, listening to music while she works on her bullet journal, or watching a show.
Dominic Samanta '23 is majoring in biochemistry and minoring in business administration. He is a board member of the Whittier College American Red Cross Club and the Pre-Health Club. He also volunteers his time as a research assistant in the labs of the Science & Learning Center. As a first-year UniHealth PHE, he strives to promote overall health and wellness awareness among college students. His focus is on time management issues and discovering/improving upon a balance between social and work life to help positively affect mental and emotional health. In his free time, he enjoys listening to new music, swimming, and going to concerts.
Rayba Shaw ‘23 is a biology major. As a first-time UniHealth PHE she is passionate about mental health and creating an innovative Healthy Life Lab for the College. Shaw is also involved in various positions with the Center for Advising and Academic Success. After Whittier, she hopes to attend medical school to continue to improve and change health systems. In her free time, Shaw enjoys listening to music, baking, and hiking.
The Peer Health Educator program is supported by the Unihealth Foundation.