Student Spotlight: Kayla Ventura
As a Junior in the BHS program, Kayla Ventura expresses her interest in public health through social advocacy. She has been involved with UPD’s Office of Victim Services as a Peer Advocate and coordinates outreach and educational events about sexual assault, interpersonal violence, and resources available on campus. For example, every February, Kayla contributes to planning UF’s Cupid’s Consent event with organizations like STRIVE and Gatorwell to help promote awareness about consent and prevent sexual assault. This semester’s theme is “50 Shades of No Grey Area about Consent—It’s Always Black and White!”
Conducting these outreach events made Kayla realize the necessity of a comprehensive sexual education program at the University of Florida. For the past two semesters, she has been collaborating with fellow BHS students Catalina Garcia and Phillip Hahn to conduct survey-based research on sexual behaviors and attitudes among college students to pinpoint where students draw the line regarding consensual sexual behavior. The results of this research will then be used to design sexual education programs at UF to hopefully reduce sexual assault on campus.
In the meantime, Kayla spends her time doing botany research in the UF Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolutionary Genetics, volunteering as a phone counselor for the Alachua County Crisis Center and Suicide Hotline, and working on her BHS degree in General Health Sciences and minor in Public Health. She hopes to get a part-time job as a CNA and shadow at the Medical Examiner’s office this semester. Kayla plans to one day become a Physician Assistant.