More AlumniKathryn Berlin
Andres E. Carrillo
Katie Hill Gallant
Tetyana P. Shippee
John Spruill III
April J. Stull
Roland J. Thorpe
How did you get interested in gerontology?
My interest in gerontology began during my time as an undergraduate. I majored in Psychology, but started taking Sociology classes as electives. My first Sociology elective was a course on health and aging. It really peaked my interest, so I continued to take Sociology courses around that topic; medical sociology, death and dying, etc. I realized there was so much that I didn't know about older adults, and I think part of that lack of knowledge was based on a fear of aging, which is common in early adulthood.
What do you remember about your time in the Center on Aging? What were some of the most important experiences you had at Purdue that helped shape your career?
One of my favorite memories about the Center on Aging was the time when our office was moved to an apartment in Westminster Village, a Continuing Care Retirement Community. Our office was in one of the independent living apartments. We were able to interact with the individuals living there on a personal level. In return for using their space, we collected data from the residents and put together an evaluation of social activities available to the residents.
In what ways did your Purdue education help you in your career?
There are too many ways to name! I was pretty unclear about what I wanted to do after graduate school. My coursework propelled me into a career at a Liberal Arts Teaching Institution. I've been teaching at Butler University for 9 years, and I continue to model many of my courses after those I took at Purdue that inspired me. My Purdue education provided a foundation for teaching and learning. It provided me with great mentors, who I am still in contact with. It provided me with graduate colleagues who I still speak with on a professional and a personal level. I have learned something from each of these individuals that influences my teaching.
Who were your mentors and what were the attributes they had that helped you?
I worked with Ken Ferraro and Jill Suitor. Dr. Ferraro is always so organized and I feel like I learned how to begin a research "lab" with my own students. He was integral in my methods training. He is so knowledgeable in methods and really knows how to teach complex information in a way that students really understand. Because I now teach Research Methods, his training has positively impacted knowing what to teach in that class and how to teach it. Dr. Suitor is very charismatic. Her lectures not only inform, but entertain. In a world where we have access to the internet at any given moment, students in this generation need constant stimuli to keep them entertained. She had a way of capturing an audience's attention and sustaining it through a lecture or presentation. I learned much about presentation during teaching from her.
Anything else you would like to add?
Pursuing a dual-title Ph.D. was such an amazing experience. It allowed for interdisciplinary study, which for someone like me, who likes to look at ideas from multiple angles, is huge. It allows me to hold important conversations with colleagues across multiple disciplines, not just my sociology colleagues. It also helped me to be more marketable when I was searching for a job. I have no doubt that my dual-title degree helped me obtain my dream job at Butler!