My UMR with Kris Barry - Director of Health and Wellness

Authored By: Mamisoa Knutson 09/23/2019

Kris BarryWhat brought you to UMR?
I started working part-time with the UMR Connects program and when they needed someone to fill in for Director of Residence Life, HR contacted me. We quickly recognized there were student service needs that weren’t being met as far as counseling/advocacy to students. I then transitioned to my initial role in health and wellness. 

What is your role at UMR?
I am the director of health and wellness and perform a variety of duties. I provide advocacy services to any student in need, struggling or needing resources in the community. I’m also on the Title IX team so I help if anyone has concerns about sexual harassment, sexual assault or anything Title IX related. I do programming around health and wellness: lunch and learn and supper series where we get off campus and bring in a health and wellness. I am the liaison with the YMCA and Olmsted Medical Center (OMC).  I can also help answer any questions about insurance and health services. 

Why did you decide to do the work you are doing now?
It’s been an evolution of sorts. My background is in psychology. Since graduating from college, I’ve had a real interest in meditation and mindfulness which led me to start teaching yoga and I was able to bring that in conjunction with the work I was doing here. 

What is one of your favorite things about UMR?
I love the innovation here. I truly love my colleagues and students and I enjoy working closely with a great team. I feel that the boundaries between staff and faculty blur and that’s wonderful. There are initiatives here that I haven’t come across at other universities such as our culture of risk-taking and innovation and how we learn and grow from that. The size of the university allows me to get to know students well. Similarly, our agility and ability to get things done quickly and be sprite leads to more innovation. 

What is one interesting fact about you that you want others to know about you?
I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I love skydiving, scuba diving, bungee jumping and cliff jumping. 

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
I love, love, love horseback riding. It’s been a part of my life for a long time until recently. It always comes first to mind.

If you could convince everyone in the world to do one thing at one point in time, what would that thing be?
Travel because travel is so important to me. Read a poem. Poetry has been life-changing for me. 

What advice do you have for UMR students during their time here?
Self-care. Take time outs. Take deep breaths.