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Local earns State Walking College Fellowship


TOPEKA, Kan. — Courtney Koenig, of Pittsburg, was recently named by AARP Kansas as one of 18 individuals who have received Fellowships to participate in the 2023 Kansas State Walking College.

The program is presented in partnership with America Walks, a national education and advocacy organization which works to advance safe, equitable, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and move by giving people and communities the resources to effectively advocate for change. 

Fellows will complete a series of modules covering leadership development, coalition-building, walkable community design, local public policy, and strategic planning. The instructional content includes online study materials, video-conferenced discussion forums with other Fellows, and community assignments. Each Fellow will receive one-on-one coaching from a Personal Mentor to assist them in developing a Walking Action Plan for their community.  

"We are delighted to welcome this group of passionate local leaders, who are working to improve walkability and livability in communities throughout the state," said Glenda DuBoise, State Director for AARP Kansas. "The Fellows represent a range of backgrounds and experiences, including community organizing, health and wellness, economic development, and planning.”

Koenig received a Master of Public Health from Concordia University, Nebraska with a Community Health Education concentration. Growing up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming and living and working in Southeastern Kansas farming communities has led her to have a passion for the health and vitality of rural communities. 

Koenig currently works for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment as the Physical Activity and Nutrition Program Manager. She provides technical assistance to local communities as well as works on state-wide efforts to reduce the burden of chronic disease on Kansans. She also administers the Kansas Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

The other Kansas State Walking College Fellows are: Rebecca Armstrong, of Bel Aire; Kyle Beauchamp, of Derby; Dora Gallo, of Wichita; Chris Gralapp, of Olathe; Michelle Griffin, of Salina; CW Harper, of Garden City; Sheila Kjellberg, of Salina; Marcia Lawrence, of Emporia; Myron Leinwetter, of Rossville; Michael McCorkle, of Wichita; Kara Moment, of Bel Aire; Tia Raamot, of Wichita; Caela Simmons Wood, of Manhattan; Ashley Svaty, of Hays; Josh Thede, of Mission; and Kelly Villiers, of Valley Center.

The following Walking College Mentors have been appointed to provide individual coaching and facilitate group discussions among the Fellows: Andy Fry, Director of Planning with Topeka Metro and President of Topeka Community Cycle Project; Jessica Mortinger, Transportation Planning Manager with the Lawrence – Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization; and Chris Tilden, researcher with University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and Research and Chair of LiveWell Douglas County Healthy Built Environment Work Group.

About America Walks

America Walks is a national education and advocacy organization devoted to increasing walking and expanding walkable communities throughout the U.S. With a network of more than 30,000 individuals and 700 partner organizations, America Walks’ programs include webinar broadcasts, federal advocacy initiatives, online technical assistance, community-based workshops, the National Walking Summit, and the Walking College.

The Walking College was developed in 2014 by America Walks, with funding support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal of the national program is to build the capacity of local walkability and pedestrian safety advocates across to improve their communities.

In 2021, AARP Livable Communities partnered with America Walks to develop and implement a series of State Walking Colleges.


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