Student Highlight: Public Health and Wellness Approach |

Jan 7, 2021 12:30:00 PM | student highlight Student Highlight: Public Health and Wellness Approach |

Carolyn Kelso, an MS in Holistic Nutrition student and MS in Health and Wellness grad, talks about her education and business plans.

Carolyn Kelso Blog HeaderCarolyn Kelso is a student in the MS in Holistic Nutrition program and a graduate of the MS in Health and Wellness program at ACHS. She is the owner of Betty Carry and also plans on starting a health and wellness coaching business after she graduates.

Discovering Holistic Health

Carolyn Kelso Betty CarryServing in the United States Marine Corps for ten years, Carolyn injured her back while she was on active duty. Previously she had led a very athletic lifestyle and even ran marathons. Without the ability to exercise while her back healed, she realized that she would need to change some of her lifestyle habits in order to stay healthy and not gain extra weight. "I didn't have the physical structure to work out and to actually take that weight back off. So my goal was to prevent it from even coming on," she says.

Carolyn got some books on nutrition and started researching different diets. "I came to find out there were a zillion different diets out there," she says. She wanted to learn more about nutrition from a reliable source so she went to the Department of Veteran Affairs and asked to be accepted into their vocational rehabilitation program.

Carolyn was approved for the program and ended up getting her Bachelor's in nutrition science at Kaplan University. "Through that whole process of completing my Bachelor's in nutrition, I never thought I would learn so much more about the whole environment around nutrition," she says. "That’s how it all got started. I had a personal injury that developed into a personal need. As I looked into it for the need, I found that I was actually interested in it. And that sparked a lifelong passion from there."

Finding ACHS

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"In the midst of getting my nutrition degree, I learned about the holistic side of nutrition," Carolyn says. In the resources provided by her nutrition degree, Carolyn found out about the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP). She signed up for a student membership and went to one of their conferences.

"That’s where I met some of the staff from ACHS who had a booth there," she says. "I had just recently finished my Bachelor’s so they talked to me about going on with a Master's at their school. And honestly, I kind of got excited about it!" Soon after, she enrolled at ACHS to complete an MS in Holistic Nutrition.

Somewhere along the way Carolyn switched to an MS in Health and Wellness instead, which she completed in the summer of 2020. Then, she learned that she only had 4 classes left to also get an MS in Holistic Nutrition! "Using my Post 9/11 GI Bill, I thought I would knock out those 4 classes and get it done. I’m excited about that," she says.

"In the midst of my degree, I found out that I really like coaching," Carolyn says. She plans on finishing her Master's degree at ACHS and then going on to get a coaching certification before she opens a holistic health coaching business. "I want to have the credentials to move forward and provide a solid product and coaching to the public," she says.

Note: If you would like to learn more about how to use military benefits with school, such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill that Carolyn will use, please watch our free Guide To Military Benefits here, or email us at

Public Health Approach To Firearm Safety

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  • In her MS in Health and Wellness program at ACHS, one of Carolyn's assignments was to pick an objective from the Healthy People 2020 page to do a mock public health campaign about.
  • She became interested in two objectives under injury and violence prevention: reducing firearms-related injuries and firearms-related deaths.

"That really gave me some pause and I thought wow, wouldn’t that be neat if I could put that under a public health and wellness approach," she says. She says that no matter your position on gun control, the reality is that many people do own guns and it is important to teach people proper firearm safety handling skills. 

Inspired by her class assignment, Carolyn opened her own firearm training business: Betty Carry. "I just started this past august and I’m super excited about it," she says. 

Taking a public health approach; Betty Carry, LLC., a woman, veteran owned company, firearms training advocate and affiliate of the A.L.I.V.E. Active Shooter Survival Training program aims to support Healthy People 2020 Objectives (IVPs 30 & 31) focused on reducing firearms-related deaths & non-lethal firearms related injuries by promoting the A.L.I.V.E. Active Shooter Survival Training program as well as offering certified firearms training/courses to both the general public and business entities. [source]

Advice for Students and Entrepreneurs

dreamstime_m_102055239If you dream of opening a business but haven't made the leap yet, Carolyn has some advice for you. "I think having a degree is step number one," she says. Once you have a degree, it is important to do your research and listen to what clients want.

"If you wake up with the prickles on the back of your neck and you wake up with an idea that's so profound, don’t let that big fire burn down to little tiny embers. Write it down and capture the idea," she says. 

It can be hard to work on a degree, especially when you are at home with children. Carolyn's advice is to take a deep breath to calm down, and then realize that it's okay if you are not doing as much for others as you usually would.

"Tell yourself it’s okay to not work at 100% for this short time. Because you’re going to be working 100% for you," she says. You have to learn when to do more for you and less for others. It doesn’t mean you’re not doing for others, it just means you're doing less. You have to build that balance. Every time I have that stress or doubt, that only happens when I think I'm supposed to do a lot for other people and not paying attention to my own stuff. "

Carolyn says that the stress management course at ACHS really taught her a lot about the importance of intentionality: "You need to be intentional in your life with your choices and your responsibilities, and your successes and your failures. Be intentional about recognizing and processing them and seeing how you could have done things differently, or even just accept things and just move on."

How will you be intentional about your goals in 2021? Let us know in the comments.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the social media & PR specialist for the American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine. 

About American College of Healthcare Sciences

ACHS Founding President Dorene Petersen with three studentsAmerican College, founded in 1978, is a fully online accredited institute of higher education specializing in holistic health. Based in Portland, OR; our goal is to make research-driven and science-based holistic health education taught by industry-leading experts accessible to anyone anywhere while still giving students a hands-on experiential learning experience like a traditional college and a strong sense of community, school pride and student bond.

This commitment to our students and graduates reflects in our current survey results that reflect 98% of our students would recommend ACHS to a friend or family member.

We believe education is the most powerful tool for changing an individual and the world around us. 

When a person enrolls as ACHS, it is vitally important that they graduate with tools they need to forge their own holistic and sustainable missions, build up their communities confidently and changing the face of healthcare with knowledge.

Gillian Turner

Written By: Gillian Turner

Gillian joined ACHS after graduating from Linfield College with a BA in Mass Communication and a minor in visual studies. She grew up off the grid in rural southern Oregon and spent time exploring the forest surrounding her house and teaching gardening classes to other children in her garden. While at Linfield, Gillian gained valuable experience in public relations, social media management, and digital art. She was awarded a strategic communication scholarship and inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a national college honor society “that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.” When not at work, Gillian can most often be found making art, enjoying nature or drinking coffee with her husband, Preston. Her interests include sustainability, mental wellness, and trying to stay connected to nature while living in the city. She studied abroad at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has traveled to over ten different countries. Her favorite place that she has visited is the Scottish Highlands, and she hopes to visit many more countries in the future.