Senior Spotlight

← Return to Blog Home

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