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 or check out our student recruitment page.

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Andrew Kaczynski, PhD

Dr. Kaczynski is an Associate 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.

email: atkaczyn@mailbox.sc.edu


Melissa Fair, MPH

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Melissa Fair is a 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.

email: melissa.fair@furman.edu


 Ellen W. Stowe, MPH

Ellen Wenders - USC PF Photo

Ellen is a 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 husband and two dogs, Indiana and McCoy, and always enjoys traveling to new places.

email: ewstowe@email.sc.edu


Marilyn Wende, MSPH

Marilyn is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the Ohio State University and Master of Science in Public Health from the Department of Epidemiology at the University of South Carolina. While earning her masters, she studied health behaviors and weight outcome for pregnant women and continued her education to focus more on her interests of physical activity and diet and how they related to obesity outcomes.  She currently serves as a graduate research assistant for numerous projects within the BEACH Lab, including the ParkIndex project, Spartanburg Healthy Schools Initiative and the Rural Obesogenic Environments project. Marilyn enjoys riding her bike on the SC trails, doing yoga, gardening and anything else that involves being outside.

email: mwende@email.sc.edu


Kara Davis, M.Ed

Kara is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Psychology from Northwest Missouri State University and Master of Education, Student Affairs Administration from Clemson University. She currently works in the Institute for the Advancement for Community Health (IACH) at Furman University in Greenville SC. As a team member of the IACH, she serves as the evaluation coordinator for the Medical Legal Partnership in the Upstate, a collaboration between Prisma Health, South Carolina Legal Services, and Furman University. Outside of work and studies, Kara enjoys running, cycling, cooking/eating all the delicious food, and enjoying time with her husband, two dogs: Ellie and Cora, and spoiled rotten cat, Leo.

email: kara.davis@furman.edu


Shirelle Hallum, MPH

Shirelle is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health at the University of Texas and Master of Public Health from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. While earning her masters, she focused her studies on active transportation, and studied how to collaborate with city planners and policy makers to create a built environment that encourages physical activity. She currently serves as a graduate research assistant for numerous projects within the BEACH Lab. Shirelle enjoys hiking, eating good food, and going on as many adventures as possible. On a day off, you’ll find her walking to a local coffee shop with her husband and perfect baby girl, Nora.

email: shallum@email.sc.edu