Team Members

Want to get involved with the BEACH Lab?

If you are interested in assisting with new or existing projects (as a research assistant, donor, partner, etc.), please do not hesitate to contact us. Read on to learn more about the current team members in the BEACH Lab.


Andrew Kaczynski, PhD

Kaczynski photoDr. Kaczynski is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior within the Arnold School of Public Health and is also affiliated with USC’s Prevention Research Center. Prior to joining the University of South Carolina in 2012, he was a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology and Co-Director of the Physical Activity and Public Health Laboratory at Kansas State University. Andy’s research focuses on the impact of community environments and policies on physical activity and obesity, with a particular emphasis on the role of parks in promoting active living and health among children and adults. His educational and professional background is in the field of parks and recreation management and he has collaborated and consulted widely with agencies in Canada and the United States on projects related to planning and health. In his free time, Andy enjoys playing a wide variety of sports with his three daughters.


Melissa Fair, MPH

Melissa headshotMelissa Fair is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior within the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.  Melissa also received her Masters of Public Health from the USC Arnold School of Public Health, and her Bachelors of Science degree in Health and Exercise Science from Furman University. Melissa is a Greenville, South Carolina native where she currently resides and works for LiveWell Greenville, a coalition of private and public partnerships focused on improving policies and environments that support healthy eating and active living. Currently she serves as LiveWell Greenville’s Evaluation Coordinator, as part of the DCH Partnerships in Improving Community Health (PICH) Grant. Melissa’s background includes coalition development with a focus on relationship building with community partners, as well as evaluating community based public health programs. In her spare time you are likely to find Melissa running, hanging out with her Labrador retriever rescue, reading good books, or eating really good food.


Ellen W. Stowe, MPH, BS

Ellen Wenders - USC PF PhotoEllen is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior in the Arnold School of Public Health and a Presidential Fellow at the University of South Carolina. While at the University of Georgia, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, minor in Childhood and Family Development, and Master of Public Health from the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior. Ellen’s research interests stem from her experience working in the behavioral health field, as well as from her time spent studying the built environment, primarily neighborhood factors influencing mental health, physical activity, and obesity. She currently serves as a graduate research assistant for various projects within the BEACH lab. Ellen is an avid science fiction and fantasy reader, loves spending time outdoors with her family and two dogs, Indiana and McCoy, and always enjoys traveling to new places.


Marilyn Wende, MPH


Sarah King, BS

SKSarah is a second-year master’s student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior within the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. A recent graduate of Furman University with a B.S. degree in History and Health Sciences, she has worked to reduce adolescent obesity rates in Greenville, South Carolina through the promotion of physical activity initiatives in her research and fellowship with LiveWell Greenville. As a research assistant within the BEACH Lab, Sarah is currently working on a project to evaluate and improve nutrition and physical activity measures within school environments in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. She also serves as a graduate assistant for USC’s health coalition, Healthy Carolina. When Sarah is not on the university’s campus, she can be found traveling to new places, hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, visiting family, or going to the local farmers’ market with friends.

E-mail: sarahbking1216@gmail.comm

Shea McCarthy

Shae_websitephotoShea is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina. She is pursuing a B.S. in Public Health with intentions to earn an MPH in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. Her research interests include community health, obesity prevention, and parks and recreation. Shea is serving as an undergraduate research assistant, currently working on a project that examines the effect of park availability and quality on childhood obesity. She has hopes of initiating her own research project soon. In her free time, Shea enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing.

Hope Woolf

Hope is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Arnold School of Public Health. She is pursuing a B.S. in Public Health. Her future goal is to pursue an MPH. Her main interests in public health are focused around expanding accessibility in minority communities and during summer 2017, she participated in an internship that solidified her passion for the field. Hope’s research interests include community health and evaluation of interventions. She is currently serving as a research assistant within the BEACH Lab for the Spartanburg Healthy Schools Initiative evaluation. Hope is involved on campus working in the Visitor Center as a University Ambassador, as well as the community outreach member of the Public Health Society, and she is the undergraduate representative to the Arnold School of Public Health Dean’s Student Advisory Committee.