UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

2014 - Jennifer Elsesser

 

Those of you familiar with trends in student mental health issues are fully aware that the workloads and demands on counselors such as Jennifer are at record highs. Jennifer was instrumental in the development of the Counseling Center's intake model, which has allowed the university to serve more students in a time of decreasing resources. As a counselor and an individual, Jennifer is steady, caring, positive, and has a much appreciated sense of humor.

Jennifer coordinates support and marketing for campus-wide health and wellness programming and provides outreach activities that support wellness such as leading free weekly mixed-level yoga classes in the University Center. While her work in Counseling Services alone would make her a worthy candidate for this award, Jennifer has gone above and beyond in serving our students' holistic needs. Countless wellness efforts organized and often facilitated by Jennifer such as yoga, art therapy, zumba, disc golf, pet therapy, and the award winning iRock program have benefited hundreds of UW-River Falls students.

"Regardless of who walks into her office or who she encounters in passing, Jennifer has the ability to inspire and positively influence those around her," Ann Lawton, associate lecturer of art, said. "The disposition and fresh approach to counseling and wellness, and her overwhelming dedication to UWRF are undeniable."

She has wrote several grants related to mental health and engaged learning, co-created iRock wellness program, recipient of 2009 Chancellor's Award for Program of the Year, assist in maintaining Counseling Services website, coordinate Student Health and Counseling Wellness Program, lead free yoga classes on campus (certified Yoga Instructor through Yoga Fit), wrote Assisting Students During Emotional Distress resource for faculty and staff, presented at several National College Health Association conferences on mental health and wellness issues

Elsesser, of Hudson, began her career at UW-River Falls 12 years ago. She is a licensed professional counselor and coordinates support and marketing for campus-wide health and wellness programming. She has presented at several National College Health Association conferences on mental health and wellness issues and was the recipient of the 2009 Chancellor's Award for Program of the Year. Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in health education from St. Cloud State University and a master's degree in counselor education from Winona State University.

Jennifer has been selected to receive a 2015 Regents Academic Staff Excellence Award for an individual. She was be presented the award at the UW System Board of Regents meeting in June at UW-Milwaukee.

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