Public health undergrad Kédrine Gayle wins USF Pageant

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USF College of Public Health (COPH) junior Kédrine Gayle is the winner of the USF Pageant.

The annual pageant, which is hosted by the USF Center for Student Involvement, aims to support USF students and foster an environment of representation, belonging and community.

“Apart from my amazing friends encouraging me to enter the pageant, I was always interested in serving the USF community and truly advocating for underrepresented students in any way that I could,” Gayle said. “I figured that being in this pageant would push me out of my comfort zone, making way for growth, and provide me with a greater platform to share my passions in public health and sociology with the rest of the USF community.”

USF College of Public Health student Kédrine Gayle, 2021 winner of the USF Pageant. (Photo courtesy of Gayle)

Each contestant ran on a platform of their choice and Gayle’s focused on “shining a light on the detrimental effects of police brutality on Black adolescent mental health.”

Gayle said she was inspired to run on her platform to help others view the issue through a public health lens.

“The recent instances of police brutality have only added to the escalating rate of Black adolescent suicide ideation,” she said. “Each killing affects individuals and communities both physiologically and emotionally. We need our future (the youth) to survive.”

Gayle, originally from Jamaica but living in the Orlando area, is involved in numerous organizations including the Black Leadership Network, USF Ambassadors, the National Council of Negro Women, and the Jamaican Alliance Movement.

She’s also co-chair for the Intercultural Students Leadership Conference for the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

This year’s pageant was held virtually on Feb. 25 via Microsoft Teams and Gayle said winners become advocates and ambassadors for USF.

Kédrine Gayle shares more information about her platform and why she decided to run for a Facebook Live on the USF College Public Health’s Facebook page. Watch the video. (Image from Facebook)

“When I heard my name being called as the USF Pageant title holder, I became so emotional,” she said. “Throughout the entire pageant process, I was facing a few internal battles that pushed me to realize the divine purpose, potential and promise instilled within me, in a rather unusual way. Winning the pageant was truly a moment of rest and crowning glory given my present circumstances.”

Gayle said she hopes to one day become a nurse practitioner and finds majoring in public health will make her better suited for future health advocacy work.

“My overall goal is to tackle the healthcare system by being an advocate for the underprivileged populations,” she said.

Gayle said she is thankful for the support she received during her pageant run, which also included managing an Instagram page with original content.

“I am forever grateful for my family, friends, well-wishers, fellow pageant contestants, Professor Sarah Bonnema at the USF College of Public Health, the entire USF College of Public Health and the Center for Student Involvement,” she said. “My motto in life comes from Philippians 3:14 (AMP) in the Bible. It says, ‘I press on toward the goal to win the heavenly prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’ Whether I gain the whole world or lose everything that I have, nothing truly compares to the promise I have in God, therefore I shall continue to press toward this goal.”

Story by Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health