Peer education is at the heart of the MESSA Project. Although our peer educators have varied academic interests and career aspirations, they share a common desire to work with area youth in support of healthy lifestyle choices.

Peer education is an invaluable tool, particularly when working with young people. As detailed by William Damon, an education scholar and director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence, peer education enables participants to “motivate one another to abandon misconceptions,” to “master cognitive processes such as verification and criticism,” and to “encourage creative thinking.”

Through the teaching of media literacy skills, our peer educators help local teens challenge cultural norms and social pressures involving the use of alcohol, tobacco products, and drugs. They are also agents of empowerment, working with local youth to create the changes they want to see in their communities.

2016-17 Peer Educators

Anne Coppes is a sophomore nursing major from State College, Penn., and she is working toward becoming an emergency room nurse.

In her free time, Anne likes to read, binge watch Netflix, and cook. She gets her news primarily from (British Broadcasting Corporation) because she likes the international perspective.

Kayla Keany is a senior community health and wellness major, with minors in mathematics and biology. A native of East Bridgewater, Mass., Kayla intends to enroll in an accelerated registered nursing program after graduating from Curry.

In her free time, Kayla likes to spend time with her family, shop and ride horses. She gets her news from local TV and is an avid user of Google to research and verify information.

Michael Leu is a junior communication major from Sudbury, Mass., with a concentration in journalism. Michael aspires to one day work at The Wall Street Journal as a business reporter.

In his free time, Michael enjoys reading, playing video games and sports. He gets his news primarily from The New York Times and The Journal.

Marianna DelGuadio is a senior nursing major, with a minor in biology, from North Branford, Conn. After graduating this May, Marianna plans on earning a full-time nursing position and eventually work in maternity.

In her free time, Marianna enjoys walking/playing with her dogs, scrapbooking and traveling. She gets her news mostly through iPhone apps, such as CNN’s.

Stacy Sirkissoon is a junior communication major with a concentration in TV and digital video. She hails from Holyoke, Mass., and is an aspiring broadcast television journalist.

In her free time, Stacy enjoys traveling, working out and shopping. She gets her news and information from CNN, WGBH, E! News, Twitter and Instagram.

Matt Katz is a junior criminal justice major from Fairfield, Conn., who hopes to serve the public good in some form after graduation.

In his free time, Matt enjoys hanging out with friends, playing video games and trying out different restaurants. He’s a daily reader of The New York Times, but only through the publication’s website.

Nicolette Moyer is a junior graphic design major, with a minor in corporate communication. A native of Los Angeles, Calif., she aspires to go to graduate school for textile design.

In her free time, Nicolette likes participating in and attending theater productions, drawing and horseback riding. She gets her news and information mostly from newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and Time magazine.

Kaylee Beers is a junior psychology major, with a minor in criminal justice. A native of Avon, Mass., Kaylee is working toward a career as a probation officer or as a social worker for adolescents.

In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends, traveling, and sleeping. Kaylee gets a lot of her news and information from Facebook, as well as local television news broadcasts.

Michele McGraw
, associate director of the MESSA Project, is coordinator of Curry College’s Substance Abuse and Wellness Education office. She joined Curry in 2014, having previously worked in student affairs at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, and Caldwell College in New Jersey.

A native of Connecticut, Michele earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in counseling/student development in higher education from Central Connecticut State.

Jeff Lemberg, director of the MESSA Project, is an associate professor in the Communication Department at Curry College, where he oversees the journalism program, and teaches multimedia storytelling, media literacy and communication theory. Jeff founded the MESSA Project to help local teens and college students develop a greater understanding of the media messages that define their reality, and to provide them with the analytical and creative tools necessary to make healthy choices in their lives.

A native of Malden, Mass., Jeff earned his bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, his master’s degree in journalism from Boston University, and his Ph.D. in journalism/public communication from the University of Maryland.

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