Staff Spotlight

kristin-bengtsonKristin Bengtson
Manager of Community Strategy

After graduating from Missouri State with a degree in anthropology, and minors in sociology and linguistics, I started volunteering for the Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition. Part of my training included Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training (SAPST). It was during that training when I discovered some profound connections between my educational background in anthropology and the field of prevention work. For example, both fields require a look beneath the surface to understand why people are engaging in (let alone how to prevent) their behaviors. When a position in community prevention opened at NCADA, I knew it would be a perfect fit.

What I love about working at NCADA is the same thing I loved about studying anthropology: it requires many different things from me. I provide knowledge and guidance regarding prevention science and best practices to community coalitions, and in turn, coalitions are better equipped to determine their own, tailored solutions to address the local conditions of their communities.

This means I’ve had to gain a working knowledge of all things related to alcohol and other drugs – from liquor laws and the quirks of Missouri enforcement procedures, to figuring out the legal way to host a community movie night (who knew there were so many blackout dates for showing Disney movies?!). I’ve been to countless trivia nights, town hall meetings, dances, community forums, and youth retreats. As a result, I have a personally preferred magician, print shop, billboard broker, and a hook-up for cookies.

As I celebrate my five-year anniversary with NCADA this month, I realize that rooted in all my duties and activities with NCADA is the same simple motivation that steered me towards anthropology: a desire to help people better understand each other and their environments. When you can accomplish this, change is not only possible, it’s practically inevitable.


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