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Above and Beyond: Student Employees Earn Special Scholarship for Commitment to Wellness

Group Fitness

More than 700 students are employed part-time in various positions with Wellness and Recreation. As an integral part of the day-to-day operation, these students perform a variety of tasks—all for spreading the message of well-being to the campus community. Each one has an extraordinary story and unique life experiences. However, the impact of wellness is similar for most students.

This year, Carson Kelber ’21 and Dani Dalton ’21 were selected as recipients of the Wellness and Recreation Friends and Family Student-Employee Scholarship. The award provides financial assistance to two undergraduate student employees who uphold the mission statement, encourage and inspire the Wolfpack community to live active and well, are respected by student employee peers for leadership qualities and innovation, are reliable and willing to contribute to the success of the team, and serve as a role model for healthy and balanced living.

“It means the world because it shows not only are you making an impact as a student employee, but that you are also forming bonds with people and bringing people together and creating this extremely memorable experience,” said Dalton. “Wellness and Recreation has allowed me to better myself.”

Both were recognized during the 2020 virtual “Wolfies” celebration in April. The scholarship will go toward tuition for the upcoming fall semester.

“By giving back, you’re playing your part. It’s helping your community,” said Kelber.

About the Recipients

Carson Kelber ’21 started her wellness journey at an early age with gymnastics, cheer, and dance, eventually stopping competitive participation when she arrived at NC State. As a first-year student, Kelber was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, causing an immune reaction to gluten. The disease began to impact her well-being negatively, leading her to spend most of her time in her residence hall room and lacking energy to even get out of bed.

Looking to make a change, she started to visit Carmichael Gym, first as a coping mechanism after receiving her diagnosis.

“I was stressed and wasn’t taking good care of myself because I was trying to get adjusted to school,” said Kelber. “I just started going to the gym.”

Starting to prioritize her well-being, Kelber then found that eating well and working out was only a part of taking care of herself. “I started to take it more seriously,” she said. Once a routine was set, sleeping better and doing well in class followed.

With a sense of inspiration, Kelber, at the urging of her brother, visited a Wellness and Recreation student-employee recruitment fair. After visiting the event, she applied and was hired as a wellness assistant. 

Inspired by work the team was doing and wanting to interact with others, Kelber sought out and earned certification as an American Council on Exercise health coach.

Carson Kelber
Photo courtesy of Carson Kelber

“I like the idea of being able to help clients one-on-one,” she said. “It was a good way to get involved in something that I cared about.”

Kelber has since expanded her portfolio, also receiving certification as a National Academy of Sports Medicine personal trainer, integrating holistic wellness with her clients.

“It’s rewarding being able to be there for my clients and knowing that people care,” she said. An applied nutrition major, Kelber hopes to one day own her own business, providing health coaching and personal training services.

For Dani Dalton ’21, leaving her hometown of Boston for North Carolina was a great opportunity and, to her, a new world. Fascinated by the vast landscape of the state, she immediately chose NC State after just one visit.

A member of the Arts Village, Dalton found community through the close-knit group she was living with. The village members did everything together—including walking across the street to take group fitness classes at Carmichael. From taking the same classes together, to working out as a group, the large university and the sea of people felt smaller.

Before her sophomore year, Dalton tragically lost her mother. Mourning the loss, she had difficulty getting out of bed. Over time, she started to register for 6 a.m. group fitness classes the night before, to hold herself accountable. From this, she discovered one of her favorite classes: an early morning TRX® suspension-training class.

“Seeing the positive effects of having a fitness routine and how much that changed my mental and physical well-being and the overall sense of self inspired me,” said Dalton.

Wanting to make a difference and to be a mentor to others, and through the urging of a friend who was a group fitness instructor, Dalton received her certification as an ACE® group fitness instructor and was soon hired to teach classes.

Dani Dalton
Photo courtesy of Dani Dalton

“I challenged myself in what it means to be present in a space and to be there for other people, to help them in their fitness journeys,” said Dalton.

Dalton teaches early morning classes and thrives off of the community they build. It is her favorite time of the day to teach.

“You have people from across campus coming, you have people who have taught here for years, and you have people who are there in their first year,” said Dalton. “They are so eager and so determined and so ready.” 

“It’s a certain type of camaraderie to crawl out of bed when it is still dark out and bring yourself to the gym.”

Dalton is also an avid climber, using it as metaphor for life.

“You’re climbing hurdles. You’re conquering mountains, you’re fighting your way to the top,” said Dalton. “That mentality is perfectly translatable to whatever you set your mind to.”

Admittedly having a fear of heights, Dalton first experienced climbing while visiting the indoor climbing wall at Carmichael during her first year as a resident of the Arts Village. Since then, Dalton has challenged herself and now visits climbing gyms and outdoor climbing spaces across the country.

Dalton’s impact on campus extends far beyond Carmichael. This year, she was selected as a recipient for the Chancellor’s Creating Community Award. The award, presented by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, honors outstanding faculty, staff, colleges, students, and student organizations that have made exceptional efforts and contributions in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Dalton was selected through her work as founder and president of the Feminist Collective of NC State, developing a space for social justice organizations to collaborate, create, and connect.

A women and gender studies major and philosophy minor, Dalton hopes to continue her academic career through a master’s or doctoral program, furthering her work and advancing the field of feminist thought and theory.