Profile: Alyson Karges
Alyson Karges' enthusiasm about improving the community is exemplified through her roles as both an MSU employee and community volunteer.
In her role as a researcher at the Social Science Research Center, Karges works on numerous projects benefitting Mississippi and its citizens, including the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program. She also works on the Pathfinders Project, the university's freshmen retention tracking program.
As a volunteer, she is a member of the Healthy Starkville Committee that provides information about health-related events, promotes safe environments for physical activity and encourages healthy lifestyles through community activities.
In 2011, she was committee chair when Starkville was awarded a Mississippi's Healthiest Hometown designation and $50,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. She also was instrumental in Starkville's recognition as a 2013 Healthy Hometown.
"That we've been awarded this not once, but twice, is huge," Karges said. "When we first won in 2011, I didn't realize all the different ways Starkville strived to become a healthier place."
Additionally, Karges managed the popular downtown Community Market for three years. She played a key role with the market's relocation and the process to design the new site at the intersection of Jackson and Lampkin streets.
The daughter of a former Starkville alderman, Karges has been a first-hand witness to what community involvement can accomplish.
"I have seen, and even been a part of, a tiny group of people who sat around thinking about how to fix a problem or concern, and then growing into active advocating, campaigning, political negotiating, grant writing and finally hands on work to achieve something great," she said.
Among many other reasons the lifelong Starkville resident is so passionate about helping the community are her husband Dylan, a technical illustrator for the Cobb Institute of Archaeology, and their three children. She works very hard to make sure the five spend lots of quality time together.
"I am a big believer in family meals," she said. "We eat breakfast and dinner every day at the dining table overlooking the garden and our chickens."Writer: Margaret Kovar | Photo: Megan Bean
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