Where are they now?

Lindsay Pitzer, PhD

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Lindsay Pitzer, PhD

Center on Aging and the Life Course Alumnus, Lindsay Pitzer (Ph.D., 2009, Child Development and Family Studies) packed up her bags after Summer 2009 graduation and headed straight up US 31. Lindsay became a Boilermaker among the Fighting Irish as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame in the Adult Development and Aging Lab, supervised by Dr. Cindy Bergeman. This project is home to the Notre Dame Study of Health and Well Being, a longitudinal study that includes two distinct samples, one representing middle aged people and the other representing people in later life, and two 56-day daily diary bursts for each sample. Lindsay’s responsibilities include, first and foremost, publishing from the Notre Dame data, assisting with grant applications, and graduate students. Lindsay has used Notre Dame data to explore a variety of issues on daily stressors, positive and negative affect, and affective synchrony. As a true fan of methodology, these data and projects allow her to continue to learn more about multilevel modeling and other new assessment tools, like accelerated longitudinal analysis, SEM, and dynamic systems modeling.

What do you remember best about your time in the Gerontology Program?

I always had great times learning about practical issues in Dr. Ferraro’s seminar. I still remember the advice we were given in that class and use it to this day. I got to learn from and work with such a great group of scholars from all corners of the academic world.. Most of all, however, I met a great group of grad student colleagues—some of whom I am still friends with to this day!

Who were your mentors?

Karen Fingerman was my advisor and committee chair. She is an extremely motivated scholar and hard worker. She definitely got me moving and taught me to stay in that chair until all the work was done. She also had a great deal of confidence in me, which helped when times got tough. Dan Mroczek was like my “second advisor.” Dan is really smart, extremely energetic, and had a tremendous amount of faith in my abilities. Ken Ferraro and Jill Suitor were also important in my journey at Purdue.

How did you get interested in gerontology?

Completely by accident! I had been working in Washington, D. C. for three years studying the effects of early childhood care and pre-kindergarten programs. The former CDFS department head steered me toward Karen and her work, as it might be a good fit with my interest in the long-term effects of childhood traumas. When I came to work with Karen, her work opened my eyes to this whole new field of life course development! I would not change a thing and love that I am a gerontologist.

What research experiences did you have at Purdue that helped form your current agenda?

Every research experience I had at Purdue was important to shaping my agenda. If I had to pick a major one it would be the independence that I was given on my dissertation to explore risk, resilience, and daily stress in a sample of adulthood victims of childhood abuse. This interest led me to me to Dr. Bergeman’s lab at Notre Dame, an experience that I am enjoying tremendously. I really enjoy learning about stress and stressors and the potential impact they have on well being over the life course. I am definitely beginning to identify as a stress, risk, and resiliency researcher.

Anything else you would like to add?

CALC is amazing. The experiences that I had during my time affiliated with the center were gratifying on a number of levels, from taking some really unique classes to the camaraderie with the other students and faculty alike. We are really lucky to have a place like CALC at Purdue.