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.

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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.

E-mail: atkaczyn@mailbox.sc.edu

 Morgan Hughey, MPH

Curriculum Vitae

MorganHughey2Morgan is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior department in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.  She received a B.S. in Health and Exercise Science from Furman University and a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) from the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina.  She has served as a graduate research assistant for several years on multiple community-based projects and worked for two years with a coalition, LiveWell Greenville, to implement physical activity initiatives focused around parks and recreation systems in Greenville, South Carolina.  Morgan’s research interests focus on examining the relationships between community environments and health behaviors like physical activity and healthy eating. She is particularly interested in health inequities within different communities and how community-based approaches may help reduce such inequities. Morgan enjoys playing sports, especially flag football and softball, hiking, biking, and enjoying lake activities. Morgan likes to spend time with friends, family, and her boxer mix dog, Tyson.

E-mail: morganhughey@gmail.com

Melissa Fair, MPH

Melissa headshotMelissa Fair is a second-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.

E-mail: mfair@livewellgreenville.org

Ellen Stowe, MPH

Ellen Wenders - USC PF PhotoEllen is a first-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 and as a graduate teaching assistant for two undergraduate courses at USC. 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.

E-mail: ellen.w.stowe@gmail.com

Sarah King

SKSarah is a first-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

Lauren Boeckermann

BEACH website picture boeckermann 2Lauren is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Arnold School of Public Health. She is pursuing a B.S. in Public Health and is planning to minor in Women and Gender Studies and Medical Humanities. Her goal for future education is to pursue both her MPH and MD. After studying abroad for a semester in India, her focus has turned towards global health and inequalities in the health system, especially those affecting women. She is in the early stages of starting a project to compare perceived health outcomes and neighborhood safety among women. Outside of academics, she loves relaxing in coffee shops, traveling to new places for concerts, and trying different foods and cuisines.

Elizabeth La Valley

thumbnail_12961342_10154049682413851_2187652719928115020_oElizabeth is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina. She is pursuing a B.S. in Public Health. Her goal for future education is to pursue an MPH with an emphasis in Health, Promotion, Education, and Behavior, or Health Services and Policy Management. Elizabeth’s research interests were influenced by her work with Sustainable Midlands, a non-profit in Columbia, and include active transportation, urbanization, and the built environment. Elizabeth is serving as an undergraduate research assistant in the BEACH Lab, currently working on a project that examines the effectiveness of a faith-based program designed to increase physical activity and encourage healthy eating in South Carolina. In her free time, you will find Elizabeth perusing the Soda City market, drinking coffee, dancing, leading Young Life, or reading a book.

Shea McCarthy

Shae_websitephotoShea is a third-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.