Dr. Kimball was awarded the Coast Guard Public Service Commendation for her service writing about military families in 2018. She received the Swivel Shot Award in 2014, an award from the commandant of the Coast Guard, in recognition for outstanding service and leadership. She was also recognized as the 2013 Coast Guard Spouse of the Year in 2013 by Armed Forces Insurance. Shelley was also once part of MFAN staff and served as the Senior Director of Research and Program Evaluation.
She holds a doctorate in mass communication, with a specialization in media law.