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Alumni Diary

Honoring a distinguished alumna

CPASS graduate and 2017 Outstanding Alumna Linda Carson was one of four trailblazers in the fields of engineering, agriculture, business and education honored as this year’s inductees into the Academy of Distinguished Alumni, one of the highest honors awarded to graduates of WVU.

Carson joined Dr. George Fahey, Katherine Johnson and William Bayless as an elite group of WVU graduates inducted on May 19 during a recognition ceremony held at the Erickson Alumni Center.

Carson, the Ware Distinguished Professor Emerita at WVU, served on the faculty of the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences for 30 years. She earned her doctoral degree from WVU and, after serving on faculty at Purdue University, Professor Carson returned to WVU to join the faculty of CPASS in the Teacher Education program. She was the first professor representing CPASS to be recognized with WVU’s Outstanding Teacher Award. Carson was also inducted into the WVU CPASS Hall of Fame in 2012 and was the recipient of the CPASS Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2016.

“In its 150th year, WVU graduates continue to push the boundaries of innovation and excellence . . . It truly is an honor to induct such exceptional alumni.”

Sean Frisbee WVU vice president for alumni relations

Carson is the founder and CEO of Choosy Kids, a West Virginia company devoted to developing healthy habits early in life. Under her leadership, Choosy Kids has become nationally known for professional staff development training and for creating educational resources for early childhood educators and allied health professionals.

As the former director of the CPASS Motor Development Center, Carson developed innovative learning laboratories for WVU students and award-winning physical activity programs for children.

Her unique children’s music containing embedded health messages has earned several Parents Choice Awards and the 2016 CD of the Year for Childrens Music awarded by Creative Child Press. Choosy Kids music, recorded by West Virginia native Scott Simons, has been enjoyed by more than a million young children, and her unique children’s character, Choosy, also a West Virginia native, can be found in Head Start, pre-K classrooms, childcare centers nationwide and in other countries.

Carson has served as an expert trainer for obesity prevention initiatives launched nationwide by the federal Office of Head Start. One of the national initiatives she developed was recognized with the National Partnering for Excellence Award by the Administration for Children and Families, and was designated an innovative early childhood program in the President’s Task Force Report on Childhood Obesity.

Choosy Kids, led by Carson, was selected by the American Academy of Pediatrics to lead the current training team for the Head Start National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness providing ongoing staff development training to Head Start and Child Care professionals nationwide.

While at WVU, Carson served on the leadership team for West Virginia Games for Health, a series of grant-funded projects based on the team’s pioneering research that demonstrated significant positive changes in the health indicators of obese children as a result of playing active video games.

Currently, Choosy Kids and Carson’s team are leading the training and support services for three West Virginia early childhood projects, funded by State or federal agencies, designed to promote healthy lifestyles in West Virginia families and their young children. Choosy Kids has collaborated with Greenville Hospital System in South Carolina and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine to introduce Choosy to their pediatric clinics. In addition, Choosy’s Oral Health educational resources have been approved by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and piloted in projects with Head Start programs and their local partner dentists in West Virginia and Maryland.

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