Wellness management major Carolyn Simplicio recently earned the 2024 Eta Sigma Gamma (ESG)/National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Outstanding Undergraduate Major of the Year Award.

"ESG is an honor society for wellness management majors, it's really a good thing not even just to build up a resume, but also you get involved within wellness management, but also within other communities in the school," Simplicio said.

When looking at scholarships and opportunities, Simplicio found this award and thought: "Wow, this is really something that I'm interested in," she recalled.

"The award is being a good academic student, but also asks: Are you facilitating things outside of school?" Simplicio said. "Are you being that good student, but also somebody that is a good member of the community?"

For the hard-working Simplicio, who also is a member of the Laker varsity volleyball team, it seemed like a good fit.

"I have a lot of things that keep me busy throughout the day," Simplicio said. "I'm a student-athlete, so it keeps me on a tight schedule and it helps me time-manage very well."

Mentor and health promotion and wellness faculty member Jessica Harris, who recommended Simplicio for the award, said her "hard work and dedication to not only the field but her research and practical experiences" made Simplicio and great candidate.

"For example, Carolyn, along with her classmates, planned and implemented a health promotion program in the fall semester called 'Fitness Fiesta; to educate SUNY Oswego students on the impact of physical activity while providing interventions to promote exercise and fun," Harris said. "Her expertise in health education and willingness to improve the quality of life within communities through promoting wellness strategies really showcases her professionalism and leadership."

The community service includes working in local senior centers through classes, taking initiative on projects and interning with Oswego's intercollegiate athletics program in Laker Hall.

"I'm on track to be a physical therapist, and I'm doing applications right now," Simplicio said. "A lot of physical therapists have to do geriatric work."

With America's aging population, this is an area where a lot of employers and clients need help. Simplicio will start applying for graduate schools this summer in the field of physical therapy.

Simplicio credited the supportive environment at SUNY Oswego and in the Health Promotion and Wellness Department as instrumental in her success.

"I've had Jessica Harris for a couple classes now, and she is amazing," Simplicio said. "Professors are very understanding. And, the people that you meet here, it's amazing."

Harris, who first taught Simplicio in an introductory course, saw quickly that she could have a positive impact on the program, the campus and the wider field.

"Her leadership qualities, coupled with her academic excellence and unwavering commitment to promoting health and
wellness, make her a standout candidate for this prestigious award," Harris said. "To be recognized nationally out of all Health Education students in the nation is quite an honor and speaks volumes about Carolyn's academic abilities, character and potential to make a lasting impact in the field of health education."

When looking at programs and universities, Simplicio -- who is from Rochester -- wanted to do studies by the water, and in addition to its academic offerings, Oswego was the right distance from home to go back and forth when needed.

"And I love the campus," Simplicio said. "It's a beautiful campus."