Kelly A Zepelin, PhD

Adjunct Professor
BA Psychology Online
BA, Psychology, specialization cognitive science and neuroscience MA, Cultural Anthropology, specialization health and wellbeing PhD, Cultural Anthropology
BA Psychology Online

I have been Zen Buddhist for nearly two decades, practiced monastically in Asia and at monasteries in Colorado and Oregon. As a Fulbright scholar and research fellow, I have worked as a cognitive scientist in India, Japan, and Sri Lanka where I researched the impact of meditation on the brain, cognition, bodily awareness, and interpersonal perception. It was working in this capacity — with monks and nuns, who for example had been meditating in a cave for decades — that made me feel a need to find a more holistic way to study human experience outside of quantitative data. This is what led me to move into anthropological study of human experience and utilize qualitative research methods. I recieved my MA in the anthropology of health and wellbeing where I examined the impact of meditation on views of self/ecology among American Zen monastics. After a surprise diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2016, however, I became interested in the role of diet in inflammatory disease. I pursued my PhD in cultural anthropology to examine contemporary wild food traditions of the United States and the human and ecological health ramifications, as well as the legal issues of such “alternative” food practices within a colonial context. I am currently based in Durango, Colorado, with my husband, dog, and my young daughter, Lily.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

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