NC State
Wolfpack Wellness

Join us the third Friday of every month at 2 p.m. for a series of short talks (30 minutes on average) about the research and the connection to health and well-being.

Each talk will be recorded and available on the Wolfpack Wellness YouTube channel.

2021 Speakers

Kari Lewis

Kari Lewis, Ed.D,  has more than 30 years of experience working as an educator, consultant and board-certified ADHD coach.  She has a master’s degree in special education and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from North Carolina State University. She completed a postdoctoral study at the University of Kansas which focused on the quality of life for families of children with disabilities. 

Teaching at the Institute of Logopedics in Wichita, Kansas, was the motivation Dr. Lewis needed to pursue advanced degrees in special education.  Since then, Dr. Lewis has been a lecturer and assistant professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Studies at NC State. Additionally, she co-developed the Challenge and Champions Program at NC State.  During the summers of 1995 and 1996, she was the educational coordinator for the Multimodal Treatment Study for Children with/without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at Duke University. This national study is recognized worldwide as one of the foremost research studies examining the most effective treatment for children with ADHD.  

Because of her commitment to physical fitness and her interest in ADHD, Dr. Lewis developed a unique class at NC State.  She teaches the required curriculum for one section of fitness and wellness (HESF 101) and combines that with ADHD coaching for a small group of students with ADHD.  Her research focuses on examining the benefits of regular physical exercise on self-esteem and grades for students with ADHD.

Dr. Siddhartha “Sid” Thakur

Dr. Siddhartha “Sid” Thakur is a professor of molecular epidemiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University and the director of the global health program. He was the associate director at the Comparative Medicine Institute and led the emerging and infectious diseases research program.

He received his degree in veterinary medicine and master of veterinary public health from India. He earned his Ph.D. in population medicine at NC State. Before joining the faculty at NC State, Thakur was an Oakridge Research Fellow at the Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA, Maryland. He espouses the concepts of “One Health” and the focus of his research is to fill critical knowledge gaps that exist in the complex chain of events leading to the development, dissemination and persistence of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacterial foodborne pathogens that affect both animal and human health. seeks to understand how antimicrobial resistance develops in “superbugs” that affect animal and human health. He has won numerous awards including the Larry Beuchat Young Researcher Award by the International Association for Food and the Outstanding Global Engagement award by NC State. A NC State Chancellor faculty scholar, Thakur has authored or co-authored 65 peer-reviewed publications and edited two books on food safety.

Randy Jirlte

Randy Jirtle

Randy Jirtle is a professor of epigenetics in the Department of Biological Sciences at NC State University and a visiting professor for the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research in the Department of Oncology at the University of Bedfordshire in Bedford, UK.

Jirtle was a director for the epigenetics and imprinting laboratory in 2012 in North Carolina. 

He identified the first imprinted human tumor-suppressor gene, known as IGF2R, that increases tumor resistance to radiotherapy. Jirtle’s research uses the Agouti mouse model, which shows the environmental effect agents have on a sample mouse population’s susceptibility to disease. 

He received the Jean Andrews Centennial Faculty Fellowship in Human Nutrition and the Linus Pauling Award from the Institute of Functional Medicine. 

Jirtle’s research interests now involve defining the human imprintome and the role that induced environmental deregulation of imprinted genes play in understanding human diseases and neurological disorders. 

Nilda Cosco

Nilda Cosco

Nilda Cosco is an associate research professor in the College and Design and the director of the Natural Learning Initiative. 

Cosco received her bachelor’s degree in educational psychology from the Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires. Additionally, Cosco, an expert in landscape architecture, received a Ph.D. from Heriot-Watt University, Scotland [Need Date]. 

At NC State, Cosco co-founded the Natural Learning Initiative in January 2000. In this initiative, she is responsible for conceptualizing and managing projects, design programming, outdoor environmental research with children with or without disabilities and programs applied to outdoor play and learning for children.  

Her current research focuses on the impact outdoor environments have on health outcomes, including obesity, attention functioning, sedentary lifestyles and overall well-being. This research is supported by many foundations, including the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Environmental Health and the Buffalo Hospital Foundation. 

Additionally, The Center for Universal Design sponsored Cosco in 2005 for her involvement in Post Occupancy Evaluation of Kids Together and is a co-author for the book “Well-being by Nature: Therapeutic Gardens for Children.” 


Mary Haskett

Mary Haskett is a professor in the Department of Psychology at NC State University and the director of the Family Studies Research Team. Haskett received a Ph.D. at Florida State University in 1988, completing a school and clinical psychology dissertation. She is also a co-chair of the NC State Student Food and Housing Security Initiative. This research project includes data collected on food and housing security among NC State students, comparing this population with food and housing insecurity trends to North Carolina households and high school students.

Haskett is an advisory board member on homeless and vulnerable children, an advisory council member for the REACH program (Resilience, Empowerment, Access for Children Experiencing Homelessness). She sits on the chair for NC Yay Babies, an initiative that helps increase early intervention steps alongside early education services for newborns and young children who experience homelessness.

Aaron Hipp

Aaron Hipp

Aaron Hipp is an associate professor of community health and sustainability in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management and the Center for Geospatial Analytics. 

Hipp, an expert in social ecology, received a Ph.D. from the University of California in 2009. He received a B.S. in biology from Wofford College.

At NC State, Hipp is a member of the Health and Well-being Research Circle, the Center for Human Health and the Environment and the Center for Geospatial Analytics.

His current research involves how, where and why public spaces impact health behaviors centered around physical activity and communal recreation. Using emerging technologies and crowdsourcing methods, he studies these environments and their interaction on community health behaviors.

Additionally, Hipp strives to improve public environments through physical activity and the effect they have on places we spend the most time doing physical activities. 


Watch a previous session.

Exercise for Students with ADHD

Special Guest: Kari Lewis

During this episode, Dr. Kari Lewis, an assistant teaching professor with the Department of Health and Exercise Studies in University Studies, discusses best practices when incorporating exercise for students with ADHD.


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