College of Health Solutions graduate wants to get students up and moving

College of health solutions grad Kylie Wilson

College of Health Solutions graduate Kylie Wilson. Photo courtesy of Kylie Wilson.

By Aidan Hansen

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

College of Health Solutions doctoral graduate Kylie Wilson is working to improve the community through promoting movement and health in schools.

“I just like to do my work knowing that it's contributing to the betterment of these communities,” Wilson said.

Wilson has already accepted a position at ASU’s Knowledge Exchange for Resilience program. This program brings data from across sectors to perform research that drives change and supports the development of community resilience. 

“I saw the position posted online, I reached out, and I applied," Wilson said. "I feel so lucky to be able to stay in Arizona, because I love Arizona. I feel passionate about doing work where you feel like it matters.”

Community work drove Wilson into her doctoral program and was one of the main reasons she connected with her mentor Allison Poulos so well. 

“Allison is someone who's out doing work in communities that I love." Wilson said. "So I immediately was drawn to that and from there we just… I said yes, she said yes, and we just started working together from there.” 

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I taught secondary science, and then looked around to start working on my master’s degree. When I was teaching, I particularly enjoyed anatomy and physiology. And I think where I’ve ended up now does have to do with this background, and being athletic and in the fitness realm in my personal life, but more so the science part of it. So that's why I went into my master's in kinesiology, and then that experience directly led into my doctoral work focusing on movement for public health benefits.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: Part of me was optimistic about being able to be closer to my family for one, but secondly, I liked that the program was exercise and nutrition. And I thought it was just a really nice blend and acknowledgment of the idea that these things aren't separate and there are multiple factors that go into living a healthy lifestyle.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: One is that everything really is connected, and then two, little things do make a difference.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Allison Poulos; I mean, that's where my “everything matters” mentality comes from. She's so patient, first of all. Sometimes I just say off-the-wall things, and she's just so patient and thoughtful, and helps me keep in mind that little changes do add up over time to make a meaningful impact.  

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: When we’re not out doing work at schools, the magic happens in the Arizona Biomedical Collaborative building in room 223. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: There is no right answer. You just have to make a decision and make it the right one.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I will be working as a postdoctoral scholar in the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: There is so much wasted infrastructure, in my mind, that could be used for positioning schools as central hubs for community betterment. If we could use this money to reimagine school infrastructure, ensure schools are meeting all sorts of codes like ADA accessibility standards for example, and support schools and their communities to work together and create these welcoming, safe places where residents can connect — and especially places where they can be active — then I think we could set our communities up to thrive.

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