McKenna Montenegro, Coordinator of Student Health 101 Blog at Andover

Working with students from the Andover wellness publication Dear Sam, McKenna Montenegro, Wellness Programming Coordinator, has brought Student Health 101 (SH 101) to campus with content customized to fit the needs of Andover students. Montenegro began integrating the third-party online publication into Andover’s Health and Wellness program in 2016, and began adding Andover-specific content last winter. The service also offers a text notification that sends info and tips about health and wellness content by texting “PHILLIPS” to 71441. Since then, Student Health 101 has flourished, offering advice and information covering topics such as fitness, mental and sexual health, and college prep.


What is Student Health 101?

The intent of this platform is to complement other wellness programming and education that is already happening at Andover, not to replace it or be the only resource. Some of the content is just fun and interesting. Student Health 101 contains information about new health/wellness apps that you can try, healthy recipes, fitness tips, sleep solutions, college prep, etc. in addition to the heavier or more in depth content like depression, anxiety, sexual health, bullying, etc. and so much more.

When did you start Student Health 101?

Student Health 101 was started before I began working at Andover. Dr. Patel and our Administrative Director, Cathy Golas, found out about SH 101 and brought it to our campus in 2014. I started to customize our SH 101 with more Andover specific content during winter term 2016, so this is a relatively new platform that we are using. Does anyone help out with the blog? The Student Club heads of Dear Sam, Andrew Cortner ’17 and Niko Skrivanos ’17, provide some student based custom content for the blog. I think it is important to have student involvement in this blog, as peer-to-peer conversation and advice can have a very different impact than adult-to-student conversation and advice. All of their content is approved by me and Dr. Patel before it is posted.

Why do you feel the information on your blog is relevant/ necessary for students to know?

The content on this blog, both the custom content and that produced by Student Health 101 experts, is vast within the scope of health/wellness, but it is really targeted toward Andover high school students. With that said, it is certainly relevant. The intent of this platform is to complement other wellness programming and education that is already happening at Andover, not to replace it or be the only resource. Some of the content is just fun and interesting.

Do you have any future goals for this blog?

I would love to see this blog more widely distributed and accessed across campus by students to students. I think it has a lot of valuable and fun information in it, and I would like to see students engage with it more for their benefit. I would also love to see other student clubs or independent students with an interest in health slash wellness submit content to me to post on the blog. It is intended to be complimentary to all of our other health/ wellness programming, as is our PA Wellness social media platforms.

Where do you come up with ideas for articles on your blog?

This is an ongoing project for me, and one that I am hoping to explore further during this academic year. Student Health 101 has been slow to start, and their company just went through some major, but good, platform changes over the summer so I am starting from scratch to populate the blog with more information at this point in time. The Wellness Educators here at Andover do provide me with some good topics on occasion. Andrew and Niko from Dear Sam choose their topics based on what their club is focusing on and/or the trends that are taking place in Andover’s current student climate and culture.

Have you learned anything while researching for your blog that has helped you in your life?

I think that one should never stop learning. Through researching articles for some of our wellness programming, or working with our team in the Wellness Center to communicate out about information regarding important health and wellness initiatives, I am constantly learning new information. I think challenging oneself intellectually and chasing knowledge is a very important part of one’s own personal well being, and this is something I try to intentionally do in my own life regularly.

Did you have a resource like this while you were in high school or college? How did you get that information?

No, unfortunately, I did not have a resource like this or any of the other health/wellness resources that Andover students currently have when I was in high school and college. I had a personal investment in my own health and wellness and went on to college to study Kinesiology where I was exposed to higher level content related health and wellness as a result of my major. My peers at college who were focusing on other areas of study, however, did not get this information.

Any health advice for Andover students?

Your health and wellbeing is the cornerstone of your success. Making time for self-care and establishing balance in your life is something that we all struggle to do at times, but your health and wellbeing should really be your highest priority. Make time for it every day. If you are ill and unwell, then you will be limiting yourself and your success in any given area.