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Health and Wellness

The Wolfies: A Celebration of Wellness and Recreation Student Leaders

Wellness and Recreation’s 11th annual student employee award celebration took place on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, recognizing graduating seniors and outstanding team members.

students and staff at the 2024 Wolfies event

Ditching their typical work attire of officiating stripes, athletic apparel and swimwear, the Wellness and Recreation team arrived at the 2024 Wolfies Award Ceremony in style. This annual event, made possible by generous donations to the Wellness and Recreation Enhancement Fund, is a celebration of our graduating senior team members and the many achievements of our student team throughout the year.

The top award of the evening is the John F. Miller Award, named for the first Physical Education and Athletics department head and the creator of the first Intramural Sports program at NC State. This award recognizes a top student and program assistant within Wellness and Recreation that demonstrates leadership, teamwork, professionalism, a commitment to leading a healthy, active lifestyle and a positive representation of the department.

The 2024 John F. Miller Award Winner is Kaylyn Poole ‘24, a Political Science and English major with a concentration in Law and Justice, and a Wellness and Recreation program assistant for facility operations. Joining the department in 2021 as a facility assistant before becoming a facility supervisor, one of her nominators wrote of Poole, “Kaylyn is not just one of the hardest-working students I’ve ever supervised, but one of the kindest hearts I have had the pleasure of knowing.” 

Poole ’24 and Executive Director Eric Hawkes

Remarking on this recognition, Poole shares, “Winning the John F. Miller Award means so much to me. I am so grateful for all the amazing people I have met, my experiences, and the knowledge I gained while working at WellRec. This award speaks to how hard all of the WellRec staff work, especially my department of Facility Operations. I would not be able to do my job without all the hard work of the facility supervisors and assistants. I am extremely appreciative of the opportunity to work at and leave my mark on WellRec.” 

When asked about how Wellness and Recreation has made an impact on her experience here at NC State, she said, “Working at WellRec has given me a community like no other. I have met so many different people and learned so much from all of them. I continuously feel supported by this community inside and outside the walls of WellRec. I have made lifelong friends and memories. I am extremely thankful to everyone at WellRec for making my NC State experience.” 

The Wellness and Recreation Friends and Family Student Employee Scholarship was established to provide financial assistance to two undergraduate student employees who uphold the mission of the department, inspire the Wolfpack community to live active and well, are respected by their student peers for their leadership qualities and innovation, contribute to the success of the team, and serve as a role model for healthy and balanced living. This year’s scholarship recipients are Nathan Hoyle, a member services specialist, and Anneke Lam, a personal and small group trainer. Hoyle, an Agricultural Business Management and Agricultural Education student, will be graduating in May 2025, and Lam, studying Mathematics and Coaching Education, will be graduating in May 2026. 

Upon graduation, Hoyle hopes to go into international agricultural sales, and shares that, “​​The biggest thing I have learned since being hired in January 2023 is that being adaptable with any position is so important for success in that field. Even if I am not always sure I know the answer to a patron’s question, I have been able to use my resources to [find it].”

Of his experiences working at Wellness and Recreation, Hoyle remarked, “I have gained a lot of valuable professional and life skills that will benefit me when I enter the business world. My experiences in dealing with customers’ needs have led to confidence when handling situations and [the development of] problem solving skills. Wellness and Recreation has prepared me with the skills I needed to launch my career and be successful out of the gate.”

Lam plans to work in the fitness industry as a supplement to her work as an elementary educator. She states, “Wellness and Recreation has given me lots of opportunities to improve my skills as a trainer to eventually work professionally at gyms after I graduate. This community has helped me develop my exercise practices and become a healthier and more fit individual. The students and administrators I work with have helped me in so many ways and I am grateful to say I have become close with many members of the training community.”

When asked what the single most important thing is that she has learned from working with Wellness and Recreation, Lam states, “How broad fitness and health are. When I started at WellRec I had a very narrow and traditional view of what being healthy is and what fitness looks like. Working here has enabled me to realize that ‘healthy’ looks different for everyone. I have had a lot of fun helping my clients and my PackFit participants figure out what health and fitness look like for them and helping them reach their personal goals. Creating inclusive environments and encouraging community in my classes has helped me bring exercise to a wide variety of people. I strongly believe that fitness is for everyone. WellRec has allowed me to learn how to bring fitness to everyone. This is something that I will continue to learn about and a lesson I will continue to benefit from personally and professionally. ”

This year’s event also recognized 140 graduating seniors, including nine students who have worked for Wellness and Recreation for four or more years:

  • David Baird
  • Evan Baxley
  • Julia Egler
  • Jinny Hompoonsup
  • Adam Larson
  • Mary May
  • Eliza Murphy
  • Parker Shahdad
  • Abbie Seidle

While all 650+ student team members make an impact on campus daily, our John F. Miller Award winner, Friends and Family Scholarships Award winners, and the Team Member of the Year Award winners are employees who exemplify what it means to be a successful employee and stand out among their peers. All current and past award winners can be found on the Wellness and Recreation employment page.