Kelley was first enraptured by the field of public health while studying to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA. She quickly took interest in areas of community health, nutrition and physical activity education, obesity prevention, food insecurity issues, and empowerment of all people to make healthy food and lifestyle choices.
Upon graduating with her undergraduate degree in Nutrition, Kelley decided to pursue a degree that would allow her to better understand how to communicate health information to various populations through health education programs, campaigns, media, and promotion. She received her Master of Public Health at the Colorado School of Public Health at Colorado State University in December 2011, with a focus in Health Communication.
Kelley’s practicum and Capstone project work gave her further experience in a strong area of interest for her: youth health education. She worked with Mulberry Community Gardens (MCG), a non-profit community garden located in Fort Collins, CO, to develop and implement a summer garden education program for youth in the community. Kelley received direct experience with program development, implementation, and evaluation through her time at MCG, along with an increased passion for educating youth about healthy living.
Kelley currently works as a Youth Nutrition Program Coordinator for the Nutrition Department at the University of California, Davis. She is involved in a control-intervention pilot research project called the Shaping Healthy Choices Program (SHCP). It is an elementary school-based, multi-component program to promote fruit and vegetable consumption, local agriculture, physical activity, and school gardens, with the ultimate goal of reducing incidence and prevalence of childhood obesity. As one component of the SHCP, Kelley provides nutrition education to fourth grade students through facilitation of an upper-elementary California Content Standards-based curriculum, Discovering Healthy Choices, with inquiry- and experiential learning-based lessons in the classroom and school garden.
Through the SHCP project Kelley also develops and integrates cooking demonstrations into classroom lessons, allowing students opportunities to taste new vegetables, taste vegetables they are growing in their school garden, and revisit concepts they learned from Discovering Healthy Choices. Kelley looks forward to continuing work with UC Davis to promote healthy kids and healthy school environments through nutrition education and promotion.
The Colorado School of Public Health provided Kelley the opportunity to further explore aspects of community nutrition, collaborate between areas of nutrition and health communication, and learn how to successfully develop, implement, and evaluate health-based programs in a community. The fields of public health nutrition, health education, and health communication continue to intrigue Kelley as she becomes more involved in supporting healthy behaviors in children, families, schools, and communities.