Peer Education Program: Capital Peers

Capital Peers are a group of peer health educators who work directly with the Division for Student Affairs to provide health promotion and education to the GW student body. Through events, workshops, marketing campaigns and more, Capital Peers serve as educators and role models for GW students related to all things health and wellness. Students who participate in the Capital Peers program are nationally certified peer educators through the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) affiliate, BACCHUS Network.

Vision and Mission of Capital Peers

The vision for the Capital Peers is to be a preeminent group of student leaders who influence and inspire GW students to prioritize health and wellness within themselves and the GW student community. GW Capital Peers are a diverse group of students whose mission is to educate, promote, and inspire GW students to live healthy lives. Through education and outreach on various college student health topics, Capital Peers equip their peers to practice healthy living to help them achieve success in college.

Follow Capital Peers on Instagram!

Executive Board

Sophie Hirshfield

Sophie Hirshfield



Hometown: Marlton, NJ

Majors/Minors: International Affairs; Global Public Health

Fun Fact: I take different LSPAs every semester for a fun and free way to have a workout class!

Nikki Vivekanandan

Nikki Vivekanandan

Vice President, Communications


Hometown: Columbus, OH

Majors/Minors: Nutrition Science; Chemistry

Fun Fact: You can follow my health and wellness blog @livemashealthy on Instagram :)

Sarah Lawrence

Sarah Lawrence

Vice President, Membership


Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Majors/Minors: International Affairs

Fun Fact: I am a dancer!

Defne Aybar

Defne Aybar



Hometown: Annapolis, MD

Majors/Minors: Biological Anthropology

Fun Fact: I can speak 3 languages!

Bree Elgart

Bree Elgart

Task Force Leader, Nutrition & Body Image


Hometown: New Jersey

Majors/Minors: Public Health; Psychology; Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Fun Fact: I love doing Zumba!

Carrie Kowalyk

Carrie Kowalyk

Task Force Leader, Sexual Health & Healthy Relationshps


Hometown: Greensburg, PA

Majors/Minors: Public Health

Fun Fact: I play club volleyball for GW!

Julia Hyatt

Julia Hyatt

Task Force Leader, Stress Management & Emotional Well-being


Hometown: Rockland, NY

Majors/Minors: Public Health; Psychology

Fun Fact: I love doing facemasks after a stressful day!


Marjanna Smith

Task Force Leader, Substance Education & Alternative Programming


Hometown: Huntingdon Valley, PA

Majors/Minors: Public Health; Business

Fun Fact: I am going to run my first race (a 5k) this semester!

Anissa Williams

Anissa Williams

Student Health Advisory Council Member, Graduate Representative


Hometown: Henderson, NC

Majors/Minors: MPH in Health Promotion

Fun Fact: One day I hope to create my own nonprofit to promote health and provide access to resources for rural communities!

Zack Love

Zack Love

Student Health Advisory Council Member, Undergraduate Representative


Hometown: Talladega, AL

Majors/Minors: Public Health; Pre-Health; Emergency Health Services

Fun Fact: I played varsity tennis in high school and love playing in my free time as a college student!





Meet the Capital Peers!

DSA Partners 

The Capital Peers support the Division for Student Affairs in a variety of ways.


  • Educating students on health and wellness topics by facilitating events, workshops, and presentations
  • Assisting with staffing outreach and health assessment contact tables
  • Planning, organizing and facilitating health and wellness events based on student interests, campus needs, and/or campus requests
  • Collaborating with other student organizations and departments to promote wellness and educate students on relevant health topics

Recruitment and Membership

  • Assisting with the recruitment of new members to the Capital Peers program
  • Planning team building events for Capital Peers members
  • Assisting with the development and facilitation of Capital Peers trainings


  • Acting as a positive role model for other students by participating in healthy lifestyle choices and behaviors
  • Providing an open-minded and nonjudgmental approach to health and wellness topics with GW students
  • Offering education on resources available to students looking for or needing extra support

How do I get involved?

Applications for the Capital Peers program are available every fall semester. Selected applicants must participate in the Certified Peer Educator Training Program developed by the NASPA's BACCHUS Network during the following January. After successful completion of the program, students will become Certified Peer Educators and are expected to serve a minimum of two semesters as a Capital Peer. 

In addition to becoming a Certified Peer Educator, students participating in the Capital Peers program will develop valuable leadership skills, such as:

  • Event planning
  • Public speaking
  • Creating, organizing, and implementing health promotion campaigns and initiatives
  • Goal setting and evaluation of health education outcomes
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Networking with student organizations and university departments
  • Working with a diverse student body

Who can become a Capital Peer?

Both undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to apply to the Capital Peers program. Students must also meet the following criteria to apply or be a part of the Capital Peers program.

Must be in good academic standing with the university:

  • Not on academic probation
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5
  • Must be in good conduct standing with the university

Serve as a positive role model and representative of the Colonial Health Center in the following ways:

  • Model desired behaviors for peers
  • Display team-oriented behavior
  • Possess a positive attitude
  • Demonstrate an openness to learning, growing, and working with students of diverse backgrounds

Fall 2020 Virtual Information Sessions

Want to learn more about joining Capital Peers? Register for one of our information sessions via Webex!

If you have any questions about the Capital Peers program, please email [email protected]