Cristen Kennedy: Education Track Alumni Highlight 3 of 3

Cristen Kennedy, MEd
Program Coordinator for Prevention Education, Barnard College
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

 Tell us a little about your new role:
I am the Program Coordinator for Prevention Education at Barnard College. In my role here I oversee the Being Barnard initiative that was created to address sexual and intimate partner violence prevention in a more holistic way. Working with a number of campus partners, such as the Title IX office and Student Life, the initiative produces programming that helps students engage in ongoing personal development and skill building across the areas of Intervention, Social Identities & Social Power, Violence Education, Relationships, and Wellness. In addition to working on the Being Barnard initiative, I also work with the Primary Care clinical team as a sexuality educator. I provide sexual health consultation, sexual risk management counseling after an STI diagnosis, and I train with our team to develop best practices for addressing sexual health concerns across our student population.

What is your favorite part of your new job?:

In my role with the Primary Care clinical team I am able to do one on one sexual health consultations with students, which is so important as it integrates sexuality into the wider health discussion and provides students a safe place to ask questions and receive education that they may not have gotten in their earlier schooling. The one on one sessions have a profound impact on me because it really drives home the importance of what we do as sexuality educators.

How are you using what you learned at CHSS in your new role?:
Curriculum and lesson plan writing are a large part of my day-to-day job and the education I received on how to do that effectively has been invaluable to me.

What advice would you offer to current or future Education Track Students?:
The sexuality field, though it doesn’t feel like it, is really very small. The people from this program – students and teachers – will be your colleagues as you move forward. I currently work closely with a member of my cohort (Joli) because she does similar work to me at Columbia (our sister university). That connection was partly why I got my job at Barnard. Forge meaningful relationships while you are in the program and keep in touch with folks – they can be a wonderful support system and can also open up opportunities for jobs and networking.

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