GGC junior Nekaybaw Evans seeks to build a career on mindfulness and wellness to help others achieve their best mental and physical health

Lawrenceville native Nekaybaw Evans dreams of the day when she can use her exercise science major to do what she loves – help people develop strong relationships with fitness and exercise to maximize peace and energy in their lives.

“I often picture myself in an environment where I am on a beautiful beachside,” Evans said. “Out there, I’m teaching a group of people breathing techniques after we’ve completed some vigorous training because I want to help them be calmer throughout their day.”

Evans believes that focusing on the concept of energy management rather than time management is the key to greater productivity. She suggests that the idea is to manage energy by being mindful of what we commit ourselves to each day to fulfill our personal responsibilities and achieve our goals.

Evans has found mindfulness especially helpful during her three years at GGC to get the most out of her rigorous schedule that includes challenging classes, her part-time campus job as a student ambassador, and participation in events sponsored by the Greenlight Activities Board, Student Involvement and Wellness Programming, such as Grizzly Health Caves and workshops.

“The informative Health Caves and workshops are especially exciting for me as an advocate for health and wellness,” Evans said. “For example, the healthy relationship workshop taught me how to relate better to friends, family, coworkers and myself. It expanded on the importance of effective communication, active listening and how to engage in conversations to reduce stress and conflict. These skills will be helpful as I network and navigate my career in the future.”

Evans says she is grateful for all the academic and social exploration GGC offers and cited the Academic Educational Center (AEC) as particularly helpful with some of her most challenging classes.

“As a STEM major, I visited the AEC frequently my freshman year for tutoring in math which was not my strong suit in high school,” she said. “Working one-on-one with tutors helped me tremendously. In the end, I received extra points in the course for all the time and practice I put in and even made the dean’s list which set the tone for me each semester after.”

GGC professors have also been essential to Evans’ success, helping her grow personally and academically.

“Dr. Karla Caillouet and Dr. Wendy Dustman helped me recognize that there is no ‘one way’ to learn,” Evans said. “It is important to take a step back and assess your own individual way of learning not only when attempting to grasp new or complex academic concepts, but as practical skills for future development.”

“Nekaybaw is a pleasure to teach and is always willing to explore new ideas and expand her knowledge,” said Caillouet, associate professor of exercise science. “She is also warm, friendly, compassionate and caring. It is exciting to see her efforts and commitment pay off as she works toward completing her degree.”

Evans plans to graduate in May 2023 and pursue her profession as a fitness trainer and massage therapist. She also aspires to become a professional voice actress and doing voice-over work for cartoons, movies and audiobooks.

In her free time, she enjoys traveling to learn about new cultures, longboarding and rocking out on her electric guitar.

“I hope to take all of the knowledge and support I received at GGC and use it to continue to explore the world,” Evans said.

Photo credit: Luis Cerna and Kevin Becerra-Cardo