ResumeCurriculum Vitae
Last updated: May 2023

Dr. Chelsea Richard is the Director of Research and Strategy at South Carolina First Steps, the state’s only dedicated, comprehensive early childhood initiative focused on getting children ready for school and life success. As both a state agency and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, First Steps works with families, early educators, and partners statewide to support children from birth through age five.

At First Steps, Dr. Richard directs all agency data infrastructure and capacity building, strategic planning and performance measurement, evaluation, and research for the agency and supports the early childhood system at-large via the Early Childhood Advisory Council. She leads a team of four, who support data infrastructure, evaluation capacity, and continuous quality improvement.

In 2021, she was named one of Columbia’s “Best & Brightest 35 and Under” by Columbia Business Monthly. Prior to First Steps, Chelsea’s roles included Survey Program Coordinator at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Intramural Research Training Awardee at the National Institutes of Health, and Data Manager at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Chelsea has Doctor of Philosophy (2021) and Master of Science in Public Health (2015) degrees in Epidemiology, both from the University of South Carolina (USC). Chelsea was awarded the Presidential and Winona B. Vernberg Fellowships at USC for her studies and is a member of the Mu Chapter of the Delta Omega Honor Society.  Chelsea earned a Bachelor of Science (Magna cum Laude) degree in Biology (2012) from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She completed the Certified Public Manager certificate program with the State of South Carolina’s Department of Administration in 2023. Additionally, she currently serves as a Board Member for Richland Library and as an Editorial Advisory Board Member for the Maternal and Child Health Journal.

In her free time, she likes to read, watch terrible reality television, and hang out with her husband, Drew, and animals (two dogs, Chevy and Kevin, and big fat cat, José).

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