Christy Chiarelli was born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi. Her love of agriculture was instilled by her grandfather and his cattle operation. She showed market lambs and Brahman cattle as a member of her local FFA chapter and was also a 4-H member. Her involvement in the National FFA Organization culminated in being elected a national FFA officer.
Her undergraduate and graduate degrees are from the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in agricultural education and communication and agricultural leadership. Prior to directing the Wedgworth Leadership Institute, she worked for the Center for Public Issues Education and UF/IFAS Advancement.
Christy and her husband, Elio, live with their two children live on a small farm in Alachua.