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.

E-mail: atkaczyn@mailbox.sc.edu

Melissa Fair, MPH

Melissa headshotMelissa Fair is a fifth-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: melissa.fair@furman.edu

Ellen W. Stowe, MPH

Ellen Wenders - USC PF PhotoEllen is a fourth-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 husband and two dogs, Indiana and McCoy, and always enjoys traveling to new places.

E-mail: ewstowe@email.sc.edu

Marilyn Wende, MSPH

Marilyn 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 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.

E-mail: mwende@email.sc.edu

Shirelle Hallum, MPH

Shirelle is a second-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.

E-mail: shallum@email.sc.edu

Kara Davis, M.Ed.

Kara is a first-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 serves as the Director of the Metropolitan Studies Institute at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, where she currently resides and works with community partners across the State of South Carolina conducting research projects, including community health assessments and racial equity index reports. Outside of work and studies, Kara enjoys running, cooking/eating all the delicious food, and enjoying time with her husband and two dogs, Ellie and Cora.

email: fergus42@mailbox.sc.edu

Haley Livingston

Haley  is a fourth year undergraduate student in the Arnold School of Public Health. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health with a minor in Psychology. Her main interests in public health are focused around the impact that the built environment has on obesity rates, specifically within children of lower socioeconomic groups. Her future goal is to pursue a Master’s of Science degree in Occupational Therapy and work with specifically pediatrics. She hopes to apply her knowledge of public health to her patients’ daily lives to help improve their overall well-being. Haley spent last summer volunteering with children diagnosed with social deficits. She was able to see firsthand how important physical activity is to the overall well being of children, especially those with disabilities. As an undergraduate research assistant within the BEACH Lab, Haley is expanding her knowledge on how walkability impacts individuals’ BMI. Outside of school, Haley enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and watching good movies.

Brittney Calatayud

Brittney is a fourth year USC Honors College undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health with a minor in Spanish.  She is especially interested in how access to healthy foods and barriers to physical activity affect health.  Her goal is to attend medical school after graduation to pursue a combined MD/MPH degree.  She plans to apply her knowledge of public health to her patient encounters and treatment plans to improve health outcomes.  As an undergraduate research assistant in the BEACH lab, Brittney is learning more about how the built environment impacts health.  Outside of school, Brittney enjoys reading, going to the beach, and traveling.

Madison Edenfield

Madison is a third-year USC Honors College student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health.  The impact of nutrition, built environment, and physical activity on overall health has always been a special interest to her.  With the ultimate goal of becoming a medical professional, she hopes to apply her knowledge of public health to everyday practice, enhancing her patients’ care.  Madison recently worked with a pre-medical honors society from USC to provide free medical and dental care to a small village in rural Nicaragua. While volunteering, she saw firsthand how socioeconomic class correlates with access to proper nutrition, healthcare, and physical activity sites.  As an undergraduate research assistant within the BEACH Lab, Madison is expanding her knowledge on the promotion of active living. Outside of campus, she loves traveling and experiencing other cultures, enjoying nature, and is currently learning how to play the cello.