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Western Kentucky University

Gerontology Student Spotlight

Read about some of WKU's Gerontology students below.  As you will see, students become interested in the study of aging for a variety of reasons, and aging is relevant to almost all areas of study and careers! Be sure to check out our current students, listed below, as well as our alumni!

Current Student Successes

  • Laura Allen
    My name is Laura Allen, and I am majoring in Healthcare Administration. I have always been interested in working with the elderly, but I knew that I wanted a career in aging after working as a nurse aide at a Personal Care Home one summer. As of right now, I plan to work as an administrator in some type of long-term care facility or aging area of a hospital. My minor in Gerontology is very important so that I can learn about the aging process and the different ways of working with the elderly that can be applied in my career. I am also working toward taking classes to get a Long-Term Care Administration Certificate that is offered here at WKU. Working with the elderly is my passion and I am excited to see it grow as I take more classes in the Gerontology minor.

  • Megan Sircy
    My name is Megan Sircy and I am majoring in Health Care Administration. I intend to go straight into grad school for my master's degree in health care administration. This minor will help me interact and understand my residents' needs when I am an administrator in a nursing home.

  • Cherita Black
    My name is Cherita Michelle Black and I am majoring in Psychology with a minor in Gerontology.  My interest in aging became relevant when I became responsible for the care of my grandmother while she was in home hospice. After her death, I saw it essential that I seek out important elements to improve the quality of life or the older population. Even as a child, I was curious about the older members of my family, because they have experienced so much life and the appropriate care for dealing with changes near the end of life are important for each elder.  My career interests are in Geriatric Psychology and Sociology. Specifically, I want to improve the elements of mental health and well-being for older individuals.  The minor in Gerontology has equipped me with an excellent insight on aging. The minor has allowed me to explore many aspects of aging such as: quality of life, chronic illnesses, retirement, and care administration. I have had the opportunity to educate myself about the diversity, complexities, and controversial issues in aging in our nation and across the world.

  • Sherri Cook
    Hello! My name is Sherri Cook and I am a student at WKU Owensboro Campus. I first became interested in aging as a part of my career while I was working as a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) in a long term care facility (nursing home). I chose to stay with that demographic throughout my 10 years as a PTA. After recovering from a shoulder injury, it became evident that I could no longer handle the physicality of direct care, so I began searching for other career options. I finally decided on Social Work and I was delighted to discover the curriculum allowed for a minor. I jumped at the chance to complete a minor in Gerontology. I am now almost finished with the minor and I am surprised at how much new and interesting information I have learned. I believe having this minor will allow me to be a more effective Geriatric Social Worker and has given me a greater understanding of the journey my own parents as they enter this population. This minor is a great way to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be an elder in the U.S. and a greater appreciation of the challenges all elders face.

  • Naomi Driessnack
    My name is Naomi Driessnack and I am majoring in Photojournalism and minoring in Gerontology and Sales. My interest in aging began when I volunteered to help with a "Senior Prom" in high school. I got to meet with a committee at a retirement home for a couple of weeks to plan a dance at the end of the spring. I had so much fun getting to meet each person that I worked with and to hear each of their stories. The fun I had with the senior committee made me always look for outlets to work with older people, no matter where I am. After I graduate I hope to be an editor of a magazine, and it is my goal to illustrate the stories around the world that lead to a sympathetic understanding that crosses cultural divides and connects people based on basic human truths. One basic and important human truth is that everyone ages. A minor in Gerontology is preparing me with a basis of knowledge to uncover how older adults can thrive.

  • Daven Florence
    As a junior majoring in Exercise Science, I became interested in aging because of the growing older population. I also wanted to give myself options when it comes to the market after I graduate. With my major and minor, I could work in a gym or senior living facility. My career goal is the wellness of the elderly. The Gerontology minor is helping with my career goal by its range of courses that are specific to the overall well being of aging adults.

  •  Rilee Mathews
    My name is Rilee Mathews, and I am currently a sophomore majoring in psychology. I became interested in aging after seeing members of my family cope with debilitating neurological disorders. After graduating, my goal is to work with elderly patients with neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. I recently added Gerontology as my minor to further my understanding of the aging process. I can already see that this minor will greatly benefit my future career plans.

  • Hannah Ruggles

    My name is Hannah Ruggles and I am majoring in Chemistry with a Pre-Medicine Concentration and Gerontology minor.  Working as a pharmacy technician is what initially alerted me to the special needs of the senior population. The relationships I formed with seniors at the pharmacy inspired me to pursue a career in geriatric medicine. My Gerontology minor has allowed me to explore the multifaceted area of aging. Everyone will experience aging at some point in their life and it can only benefit you to learn more about it now, rather than later.

  •  Mckinze Vowels
    My name is Mckinze Vowels and I am a second year Psychology major here at WKU. I chose to compliment my Psych degree with the Gerontology minor because my interest is specifically with the older adult community. Growing up, I always found myself connecting with that particular population, realizing that I have a passion for helping older adults to age well. For the future, I plan to pursue a Masters in Social Work in order to make the final stride in life be filled with meaning and purpose.


WKU Aging Alumni Successes

  • Keely McLaughlin
    I became interested in aging through my advisor and Developmental Psychology professor, Dr. Pfohl, who spent a whole day in class teaching the students what is it like to be an older adult. We put pebbles in our shoes to stimulate the feeling of poor circulation, we used special glasses to imitate vision problems such as glaucoma, and we taped our fingers together to get a feel for what arthritis is like. That day really inspired me to want to help and work with people belonging to the older population. I plan to be an Occupational Therapist in the future, and I truly believe a minor in Gerontology has helped me to understand the older adult population and I know I will enjoy helping them as an Occupational Therapist.








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 Last Modified 6/29/15