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Empowering Faith Communities with Christian Woods

Growing up with parents immersed in the education field, Christian Woods found himself engaged with families, youth, and communities from an early age. Much of his formative years were spent interacting with students in his parents’ workplaces and actively participating in his church community. These experiences instilled in him a deep understanding and appreciation for family dynamics and the factors that contribute to their resilience and prosperity.

Currently pursuing a Master’s in Youth, Family, and Community Science with a concentration in Family Life Education and Coaching, Woods discovered the YFCS program and felt it aligned perfectly with his career aspirations. In his former position as a nutrition education outreach and materials management extension assistant on the Steps to Health team, he contributed to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education program. In that capacity, he aided social media efforts, trained extension agents, sourced materials, and created success stories in written and video formats. He currently works in the Department of Crops and Soil Sciences now as an Outreach Communications Specialist who supports two USB-funded soybean grants, Between Science for Success and Better Together and collaborates with land grants around the state.

Woods is actively working on his thesis, focusing on how black church congregations coped with teleworship during the pandemic. He intends to connect his research with the Steps to Health team’s adult program dedicated to faith communities. His work is notably significant as it addresses everyday issues and strives to bridge cultural and perspective gaps. Expressing his passion for community improvement, Woods emphasizes the incremental nature of change, stating, “I know that change doesn’t happen overnight, so in order to make real waves of change you have to do it one step, one conversation, one person at a time.”

Acknowledging his parents as influential figures, Woods reflects on their impact, highlighting their work ethic, emphasis on self-belief, prioritization of faith, and commitment to giving their best in everything. At NC State, he expresses gratitude to individuals such as Geri Bushel and Sarah Kirby for their unwavering support since the program’s inception, crediting Kim Allen and Deidra Craig as initial sources of inspiration. Former colleague Ariel Fisher’s belief in him and encouragement fueled his academic journey, and Chanelle Corpening provided steadfast support.

CBS17 assisting with a TV segment for our social media campaign
Woods with Steps to Health team members at CBS17 assisting with a TV segment for a social media campaign

Professionally and personally transformed by his time at NC State, Woods has developed an affinity for qualitative research. He remarks, “I enjoy capturing lived experiences through research and using what I learn to better our overall understanding of the society we live in”. Looking ahead, he plans to delve deeper into qualitative research, aspiring to become a faculty member at NC State. Upon graduation in the spring of 2024, he intends to pursue an EdD in Agricultural and Extension Education, focusing on family systems, faith communities, and youth development. His future vision includes completing books and engaging in outreach activities in North Carolina communities and beyond.