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.


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


Ellen W. Stowe, MP

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


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


Kelsey Thomas, BA

Kelsey is an incoming graduate 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 Arts in Experimental Psychology at the University of South Carolina in May of 2021. Kelsey’s research interests stem from her experiences working with disadvantaged youth and observing health disparities in marginalized communities. She currently serves as a research assistant for various projects in the BEACH Lab. In her free time you are likely to find Kelsey tending to her plants, playing video games, or cooking up a big dinner.

email: kmt10@email.sc.edu