Kathryn Southard

Kathryn Southard promotes a healthy college lifestyle through research

“The transition from high school to college often comes with poor lifestyle choices such as decreased physical activity, and I want to focus my research on understanding this time in students’ lives and promoting healthy habits,” said Katy.

Finding interest in this topic came from her master’s program research, which involved getting students active. Katy understands the significance of the age students are at when in college and the importance of building healthy habits at this point in life.

“I want to teach and inspire students, as well as conduct research that can broaden the basis of college student health and wellness,” said Katy.

Before she graduates, Katy will already be on her way to achieving this goal due to her research. Katy’s research is building a motivational interviewing practice called Cyde Kicks. Cyde Kicks are peer health coaches who help students one-on-one, for free, find ways they enjoy staying healthy while also setting goals.

“Currently, to be a health coach you have to enroll in our class [KIN 494X: Practicum in Motivational Interviewing] offered in the fall,” said Katy. “If you want to receive health coaching, you can sign up for one of our research projects on the Student Wellness website.”

By the time Katy graduates, she hopes to make the health coaching program a fully functioning availability to students and not just through research studies. Throughout her research, she collaborates with facilities like the Thielen Health Center and the Iowa State University Student Wellness Office. Katy realizes the extent other people care about this topic as well and knows it will drive the impact of health coaching further.

She encourages other students to get involved in the growing program; however, Katy says students can make positive lifestyle changes on their own if they are willing.

“It’s important to just get engaged,” said Katy. “Reach out right away so you can thrive in college. From recreation to research, the amount of opportunities for positive growth are endless.”