Sexual Health Peer Education

Become a sexpert!

The sexual health peer education experience

The Office of Health Promotion and Education at Sindecuse Health Center offers students of all sexual orientations and backgrounds a unique and valuable opportunity to receive training to become a sexual health peer educator. The program works to educate individuals about sexual health through presentations, one-on-one appointments, and a variety of campus events. Sexual health peer educators provide their peers with the information and skills needed to help them make healthy choices about sex and relationships. Training and serving as a peer educator is a rewarding experience—personally, professionally, and academically.

Western Michigan University ranks 11th in the nation for best sexual-health education programs.

Benefits of being a peer educator

  • Develop the ability to effectively present both complex and sensitive information to small and large audiences.
  • Develop the ability to facilitate group discussions on difficult topics.
  • Grow in self-confidence and poise.
  • Build your resume for graduate school and employment.
  • Receive formal documents for your portfolio.
  • Earn letters of recommendation.
  • Earn academic credit.
  • Fulfill an internship or field experience requirement in your major.
  • Become knowledgeable about important health issues.
  • Make connections on campus: meet faculty and staff.
  • Make new friends: be part of a team that works closely together.
  • Make a difference: do meaningful work.
  • Become the go-to “sexpert" in your crowd!

Want to apply?

Download the sexual peer education application, complete, and submit to the Office of Health Promotion and Education, Room 3120 of Sindecuse Health Center.

  • Applications will be accepted for the fall semester from March 15 to April 15.
  • Applications will be accepted for the spring semester from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1.
  • Applicants who meet minimal requirements will be contacted and a 30-minute interview will be scheduled.

If you have specific questions about becoming a Sexual Health Peer Educator, please call or email:

Lacey Twardowski
Sexual Health Coordinator
Sindecuse Health Center
Phone: (269) 387-2995
Email: lacey.r.twardowski@wmich.edu

What do peer educators do?

This program consists of a two-semester commitment and is designed to prepare students to become peer educators of sexual health. Sexual health peer educators will present educational programs to students on WMU’s campus as well as local high schools and community colleges. Sexual health presentations cover a number of issues and topics including: the elements of healthy intimate relationships, including healthy communication; common risky behaviors of college students; prevalent sexually transmitted infections and methods of protection; and available methods of contraception.

Peer educators will attend weekly professional development classes that will increase their knowledge and proficiency of sexual health related information. Peer educators will learn the basics of the program by attending weekly practice sessions in addition to the weekly classes. Practice sessions will help peer educators work to master the techniques involved in successful presentation skills.

Basic requirements

  • Must be willing and able to make a two-semester commitment (fall/spring or spring/fall).
  • Must be able to give six to 10 hours per week to program-related work.
  • Must be available for weekly professional development class.
  • Must be available for weekly practice sessions. Two to three times will be available to choose from.
  • Must be available to attend weekend certification training, dates will be discussed in interview.

In selecting students to be peer educators, we attempt to achieve a diverse group that represents all students at Western. We encourage students of any gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and nationality to apply.

Earning certification

One reward for successfully completing your two-semester commitment is earning national certification as a sexual health peer educator. Certification gives you:

  • A formal certificate stating that you have successfully completed training and service as a SHPE during a specified period of time
  • An official letter that states in detail the nature of your training, service, and skills. You can include this letter in your portfolio and use it when applying for grad school or employment
  • A guarantee that the coordinator of the SHPE Program or the director of Health Promotion and Education will promptly and thoughtfully respond to all requests by you for letters of recommendation or telephone reference interviews

In order to earn certification and its components, you must

  1. Complete two full semesters as a sexual health peer educator, and
  2. Fulfill all of the requirements established for sexual health peer educators, to a level equivalent to a “B” grade.

You will be given a separate grade for each semester of your work as a sexual health peer educator.  This grade will be stated in all written documents listed above and referred to in oral references given for you. The grade will be determined based on points given for your performance of each of the following (requirements may be subject to change):

  • Attendance and participation in the weekly professional development class
  • Attendance and participation at weekly practice sessions
  • Knowledge of the content of the scripted presentations
  • Skill and effectiveness in presenting programs
  • Attendance at scheduled office hours (second semester only)
  • Sexual health related assignments