Senior Spotlight

Meet Shelby Kuchenbrod

Class of 2017 >>

Major: Psychology >>

Fun Fact: When I was little and graduated from a crib to a "big kid bed," I fell out and broke my collar bone. >>

Step Into Growth is a collaborative, online-based project that places an emphasis on self-care and learning to love yourself. It started with a photography project that was meant to convey the strong emotions that are felt while having an eating disorder. Susie Moore (the co-founder) and I wanted to reduce the stigma of eating disorders and engender empathy in the viewers, regardless of their experience (or lack thereof) with eating disorders.

 what inspired you to begin Step into growth?


We were inspired to go beyond this one-time photography project by Recovery Spark, a team of artists who produce popular recovery/inspirational films about eating disorders. As we were exploring what direction to go in, we found a great need for something more universal than eating disorders. What leads to an eating disorder? How could we help before an eating disorder develops? The answers to these questions led us to the world of self-care.

As college students, we live in a community deprived of relaxation and care, and as we look ahead to entering the "real world," we can see the potential to get caught up in jobs, families, taking care of a house, and providing for other people, which can prevent us from listening to ourselves and what we need. So how were Susie and I supposed to convey this message to other people? Answer: original, unique art.

Creativity is such a fascinating concept that is often overlooked in the academic world, and we want to bring it back! This is why we chose the loosely-interpreted term "art" to describe the methods by which our message is portrayed. So far, we have blogs, photography, and a video, but we will soon be expanding to music!

What are your hopes for Step into Growth?


When I think about the future of Step Into Growth, I picture a place where people's voices can be heard, seen, and felt. There are so many of you who have powerful stories to share, and many others who want to hear them! I want the Step Into Growth community to interact with each other and with Susie and I, because there's no point in posting what I want to see. Step Into Growth is first for the collaborators, artists, viewers, etc. and second for Susie and I.

Why is this important and how can others get involved?


I believe that self-care has the ability to heal. I believe that communities empower people to change and be heard. If you are passionate about art, self-care, self-love, body positivity, healthy eating habits, or full recovery from eating disorders, then I encourage you to get involved or just talk with us! You can contact us through our website and connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

all social media: @stepintogrowth

Meet Dylan Byrne

Hometown: Glenmoore, PA  

Class of: 2016 (originally 2017)

Major: Economic Development

Fun Fact: I fix and build computers.

 Dylan Byrne was recently awarded the Barnabas Servant Leadership Award (alongside Patience Ackerman '17 - also LFP) during Eastern University's Fall Convocation.

The Barnabas Servant Leadership Award is given to rising seniors who have demonstrated outstanding leadership on campus or in the community. The purpose of these awards is to promote the ideals of servant leadership. Awardees are recognized during Fall Convocation, and receive a monetary grant and additionally receive a matching grant to be awarded to the charity of their choice.

 Why did you choose Come Unity as your charity?

Why: The summer after my first year at Eastern, I was an intern for Come Unity. During this time, I got the amazing experience to learn from the founder while getting professional experience. Come Unity is a very unique nonprofit, with three simple goals for the communities they aid: meet basic needs by providing food, water, and sanitation, provide education for children through sponsorship, and create sustainable communities. Through these goals, Come Unity is dedicated to education and helping the community to become sustainable.

How has your involvement and leadership positions at Eastern influenced you?

Through the past three years at Eastern I have had numerous opportunities in leadership roles to give back to our community. Every position which I have held has influenced me a great deal. During my time as Chair of the Student Activities Board, I learned how to run a meeting, delegate tasks, time manage, work out conflicts, work with a team, and ultimately learned how to have fun even when we were running around at the last minute to finalize an event. During this time, SAB influenced me through the understanding that even when you are the leader you must rely on your members.

Tell us your future plans for after graduation.

After I graduate in December, I will be starting at Vanguard in January as a Processing Associate. For this position I will be studying to obtain two financial licenses to be able to perform the job long-term.  

Note from the Director:

Dylan a previous Chamberlain Award winner '15 (for his contributions to Student Development and positive impact on the Eastern Community) is one of the most ambitions leaders we have had in the program.  Most notably Dylan has served in leadership positions for Student Activities Board (SAB chair for 2 years), a Resident Assistant in K-G, President of the First Year class, Special Assistant to the LFP Board, and numerous tiles and roles in the Office of Talent and Careers.  We thank Dylan for all of his years of servant-leadership and are excited to see how God will use him at Vanguard and beyond.