Kathy Kelly

Kathleen Kelly

Partner and Strategy Director
Columbus, OH

Kathleen is a practicing architect and is a partner and strategy director for Wellogy. A majority of Kathy’s contributions in her 30-year career in the architectural field are centered in teaching and research laboratories and academic healthcare. Formulating campus altering masterplans and buildings across numerous university campuses in multiple countries in collaboration with integrated teams lends to a body of work and Kathy’s expertise in innovation, wellness and creating inclusive environments. The firm operates from three locations including Columbus, Ohio, Denver, Colorado, and Orlando, Florida.
Kathy’s educational path includes a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from the University of the People. She was an early adaptor of sustainability, earning her LEED certification in the organization’s early years. Kathy is active in a wide variety of professional and non-profit organizations including an executive board position for Directions for Youth and Families and a several year commitment to the council of the north central region of SCUP.

SCUP Fellows Project

Project Name: Inclusion and Equity for the Neurodivergent Campus Community

The percent of the collegiate population impacted by varying degrees of neurodivergent symptoms is pressing upwards of 30 percent. Research suggests neurodivergent challenges result from complex interactions between behavioral, genetic, and environmental factors. Continued threats to the climate and chronic health concerns as well as other pressers, cause neurodivergent concerns to continue to rise. Efficient, technology-rich, cost-effective, and branded space defines great spans of campus life while frequently failing with these choices to address the environmental needs of the neurodivergent.

Through this research project, we gain understanding of how and why people respond to stimuli in the built environment which informs design and planning of campus space. Evidence-based practices will improve human and environmental outcomes and bring society much closer to achieving the sense of belonging that drives learning, achievement, and long-term retention, the basis of innovation. The research project aims to promote inclusivity for neurodiverse individuals on college campuses through collaborative efforts between diversity, equity, and inclusion offices, disability offices, neurosciences, and neurodivergent individuals. The project seeks to identify emerging trends in achieving inclusivity, investigate the neuroscience behind existing barriers, and conduct human reaction studies using virtual models through participatory design. The ultimate goal is to create evidence-based, inclusive environments that eliminate environmental barriers for individuals with unique social needs. Understanding physiological reactions and responses to form, shape, color, light, sound, texture, and graphics: designers eliminate artificially stimulating spaces, reduce stress, and create truly inclusive space.

Space designed to recognize neurodiversity, allowing people to be apart together, to retreat, or to socialize is a requirement in guaranteeing inclusion and equity for a diverse audience. Through the analysis of the neurodivergent campus experience and forging the definition and test of a neurodiverse playbook, the research project further advances inclusivity in the academic environment.