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Kristel Gallagher's Spotlight

Kristel Gallagher ('12)

IMAGE: Kristel Picture 2

Graduate Program of Study: Psychology
Degree: PhD
Graduation Date: August 2012
Areas of Research: Social Health Psychology, Health Behavior, Physical Activity, Nutrition, Health Communication
Hometown: Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Current Employment: Keystone College, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Health and wellness has always been a fundamental part of Kristel Gallagher’s life.  In fact, Kristel’s passion for health promotion inspired her to pursue a career as a social health psychologist and teacher. Attaining a PhD in psychology at Kent State University gave her the ability to achieve her dreams of making a difference in students’ lives.  Kent State provided Kristel an opportunity to develop as a scholar and teacher as well as collaborate and work with her advisor, Dr. John Updegraff, which she could not pass up.

Continuing to grow, learn, excel as a teacher and mentor is Kristel’s future aspiration.  “I believe it is my time to ‘pay forward’ the good fortune I have had and become the person who can help others find their path.  I don’t know how else to thank all the people in my life who helped me become so successful except by returning the favor to my own students,” she exclaimed.

Kristel feels Kent State prepared her well for her current position at Keystone College.  Her graduate experience taught Kristel the importance of balancing teaching and research, which is essential for her current assistant professor position.  As a student, Kristel successfully balanced her academics with campus student leadership.  Specifically, while at Kent State, Kristel was a teaching fellow for Graduate Student Orientation (GSO); her role as a GSO leader has afforded her an opportunity to work closely and help incoming graduate students transition to graduate student life at Kent State.  Kristel also published several times in peer-reviewed journals, and she is recognized as one of the best graduate teaching instructors not only within the Department of Psychology, but also the entire university.

Kristel credits her mentor, Dr. John Updegraff, for his support.  “Dr. Updegraff not only developed me as a scholar in our field, he also helped me develop into a caring, compassionate, and respectful mentor now that I am an assistant professor. He sought to understand me as a whole person-a feature I think made our relationship so productive and satisfying and one that I hope I can use just as successfully throughout my career.”

During her spare time, Kristel enjoys running and volunteering as a coach for an afterschool program Girls on the Run, which is a transformational learning program that teaches life skills for young girls.  She wishes to provide the following advice for new Kent State graduate students: “Graduate school is a marathon, not a sprint, so set your pace accordingly.  Don’t spend time worrying about what others are doing or where others are in their journey.  The race is long, and in the end, the only standards you need to worry about living up to are the ones you set for yourself.  Have faith in your abilities and know that the mountains in the distance can only be climbed by taking one step at a time!”

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