Alex Mays

Senior National Program Director
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About Alex

Hometown: San Francisco

Education: BA, Neuroscience, Pomona College | Master of Health Science, Johns Hopkins University

Hobbies: I love being active, especially running and basketball. I played basketball and softball in college and still play for fun whenever I can. I also love being outside and take advantage of any opportunity I have to go hiking and camping, especially in national parks. I’ve done cross-country road trips multiple times and had the chance to visit over a dozen national parks.

Who are you?

I am HSC’s Senior National Program Director. I develop, track and support national and state policies related to school food, physical activity, school health services and environmental health. I love being able to work on so many different issues and learn about all the different ways schools can help support student health and wellness. A big part of this work is collaborating with our partner organizations—like the National Education Association and National Association of School Nurses—across the country to support these policies. Our partners are fantastic and it’s wonderful to be able to support one another’s work.

I also spend part of my time writing HSC’s grant proposals and reports. Grant writing is a great way for me to keep up to date with all of the exciting work going on at HSC, not just our policy work. I’m always amazed at how much our organization is able to accomplish and feel lucky to be able to share this through our grants.

What makes your job great?

I love working for an organization that has a mission I believe in and people who are committed to the same cause. I’ve learned so much from working at Healthy Schools Campaign and learn more every day and enjoy being in an environment that enables me to do this. One of my favorite things about working for HSC is that so much of our national policy work is informed by our work in Chicago. It helps me stay grounded and understand how the policies we’re advocating for will impact the communities and people we work with in Chicago.

For example, through our school nurse leadership program we learned what amazing champions school nurses can be for health and wellness in their schools. When we learned that not every student has a full-time school nurse in their school, we began working at the federal level to make changes in policy that can mean more resources for more school nurses. I know that if these changes are made, more kids in Chicago and across the country will have access to a school nurse that can help them lead healthier lives.

When did you come to Healthy Schools Campaign?

I worked at HSC as a graduate school intern during the summer of 2009. I became really interested in school health during the internship and returned to graduate school and took every class I could find related to school health. I joined HSC full time in August 2010 after I’d finished graduate school.

Why did you join Healthy Schools Campaign?

When I interned at HSC I was immediately drawn to the mission and work of the organization and didn’t want the summer internship to end. It was wonderful to be able to work with a group of smart, like-minded people for a cause I believed in and I knew I wanted to come back if they’d let me. Lucky for me they did!

Where does your motivation come from?

I’ve always been passionate about healthy living and feel lucky to work for an organization that helps make sure people have the opportunity to eat healthy food, be physically active and learn in a healthy environment. I also love working for and with kids. Kids aren’t always able to advocate for themselves, so I feel lucky to be able to speak for them and push for them to have the best opportunities possible. I know that our work can have a direct impact on kids across the country which makes coming into work every day easy.

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