Linda Carson, Ed D
Founder, Choosy Kids, LLC
Ware Distinguished Professor Emerita
West Virginia University
West Virginia University
Linda Carson is the Ware Distinguished Professor Emerita at West Virginia University. Dr. Carson is the founder and CEO of Choosy Kids, LLC, a company devoted to developing healthy preferences early in life. Choosy Kids provides professional development training and educational resources to early care and education professionals nationally and internationally. Dr. Carson has received many honors and awards over her career for distinguished service to teaching excellence and health promotion.
As the former Director of the WV Motor Development Center she developed innovative learning laboratories for WVU students and award winning physical activity programs for infants, babies, toddlers, pre-school, and elementary school age children in both land-based and water-based learning environments, earning recognition for involving family members as play partners.
Dr. Carson has produced children’s music that has earned Parents’ Choice Awards as well as other resource materials with embedded health messages showcasing her influential children’s health hero, Choosy. Early educators, child care providers, parents, pediatricians, and dentists use Choosy’s messages to reinforce their ongoing efforts at promoting a balance of healthy habits every day including physical activity, healthier nutrition, and brushing teeth.
Dr. Carson has served as an expert trainer for the obesity prevention initiatives, “I Am Moving, I Am Learning “ and “Little Voices for Healthy Choices,” launched nationwide by the Office of Head Start. She has served on national boards including the Advisory Board of Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play. Dr. Carson has devoted her career to promoting healthy preferences for young children and the adults who make decisions on their behalf.
Amy Requa, MSN, CRNP, CPNP-PC
Amy Requa is a board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and the Pennsylvania State Oral Health Coordinator for the DentaQuest Foundation Venture Fund Grant “Building Successful Collaborative State Oral Health Consortiums.” Ms. Requa works with the Pennsylvania Head Start Association in collaboration with the Massachusetts Early Childhood Consortium and Massachusetts Head Start Association to improve access to comprehensive oral health services for children and families in Pennsylvania.
Ms. Requa is currently Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Healthy Smiles Oral Health Task Force, a statewide group of stakeholders working together since January 2011 to improve oral health outcomes for Head Start children (Birth to Five) and vulnerable families, in collaboration with the Office of Head Start, PA Department of Public Welfare, Office of Medical Assistance Programs, PA Department of Health, PA Head Start Association, PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the broader medical/dental community.
Ms. Requa has 20 years of experience in public health nursing, maternal and child health, family and community health promotion, in project director, management, clinical, and training and technical assistance roles. She has extensive health expertise in oral health, childhood obesity prevention, and child nutrition. Ms. Requa has a proven record over the past 11 years for building consensus and engaging public/private stakeholders and multi-agency partners, at the local, state, regional and national levels, around a shared mission to improve health outcomes, including oral health, for low income children and families.
Ms. Requa is a national presenter, Keynote Speaker, and the co-author and developer of nationally recognized, award winning early childhood obesity prevention, nutrition, and physical activity programming for the Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families, at the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Christine Cox, B.A., M.S.
While going to school, she was constantly writing and being published. But after graduating from WVU, it was time to find a full-time job in the corporate world so she became the communications coordinator for a manned security company in Pittsburgh, PA. Even though she loved her corporate job, she decided it was time to get out of that world and become a stay-at-home-mom.
That didn’t last long. After three months, the self-diagnosed workaholic began looking for something she could do from home while still spending a majority of her time with her daughter Capri. That is when Choosy Kids came into the picture. Perfect timing and the perfect opportunity!
You can always find her and Capri, along with her new brother Cam, playing outside or inside watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Sheriff Callie. Both foodies at heart, but not great cooks (although Capri is the master of cooking on her play kitchen!), Christine is now learning to make quick but healthy and nutritious meals for her family, which she will be sharing with you! She will also share stories from her own experiences of raising a child as a choosy parent and how you can engage your family and others to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
Heather is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian. She currently works at an outpatient pediatric and family medicine clinic, counseling patients with a variety of health situations, and in ages ranging from infancy to elderly. Heather also consults for the WV PEIA insurance company’s Weight Management Program and is an active member on the board of the West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her most important job, however, is as mother to her 4 beautiful children and wife to her wonderful husband. Heather and her family live in Fairmont, WV.
Kerry McKenzie, B.A., M.S.
Kerry McKenzie, M.S., in Physical Education and Health from West Virginia University and B.A. in Psychology from Wheeling Jesuit University, has been working in education for over 13 years. Kerry was a clinical instructor in the Physical Education Department at West Virginia University for several years where she instructed future teachers in physical education and early childhood motor development. She was the lead teacher and assisted in the development of award winning physical activity programs for infants, babies, toddlers, pre-school and elementary school age children in both land-based and water-based learning environments. In addition, Kerry was the Program Coordinator of the Motor Development Center and the co-creator of a character named Choosy who promotes healthy decision making by children and grownups. She continues to develop materials for Choosy Kids, LLC and is on the “I am Moving I am Learning” national training team.
Kerry currently resides in Pickens, SC and works at Greenville Health System Children's Hospital as the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coordinator. She dedicates her time helping children, parents and teachers lead healthy lifestyles through community and school programs and health and nutrition education presentations. Kerry also loves to offer ideas on age appropriate natural playground design and how to make play props out of recycled materials. Gardening and yoga have always been a part of Kerry’s life so she volunteers her time to help build school and community organic gardens as well has organize fundraising events by offering donation based yoga classes. She advocates that young children need ample opportunities to move and learn about healthy lifestyles so they will acquire healthy habits at an early age.
Additional community projects and boards she serves on:
Live Well (YMCA)
Greenville Organic Food Organization
Certified Yoga teacher
Certified Health Coach through Institute of Integrative Nutrition