More AlumniAndres E. Carrillo
Katie Hill Gallant
Roland J. Thorpe
April J. Stull
Tetyana P. Shippee
John Spruill III
How did you become interested in gerontology?
My interest in gerontology emerged from my parents’ aging experiences with disease and disability as well as my own aging challenges. As a lifetime running competitor I began to experience physical decline in my running abilities & other physical changes that fueled my curiosity. I entered my doctoral studies at Purdue in Kinesiology (sport and exercise psychology emphasis) with an interest in exercise behaviors and physical self-concept among adults and gradually gravitated to older adult populations with the guidance of some of my mentors.
What do you remember about your time in the Center on Aging and the Life Course?
CALC was always available; reaching out to provide resources with mentor faculty and professional development. One of my mentor faculty and doctoral committee members, Gerry Hyner, was pivotal in guiding me toward the minor in Gerontology. This streamlined my coursework, exposed me to some awesome Gerontology faculty who deepened and widened my understanding of aging. CALC continues to be active and supportive in my professional career.
In what ways did your Purdue education help you in your career?
My Purdue coursework, interpersonal and professional friendships, and mentoring truly provided me with confidence to be successful, provided solid opportunities that gave me momentum into aging studies.
Who were your mentors and what were the attributes they had that helped you?
My direct mentors connected to CALC were Dr. Gerald Hyner and Dr. Roseann Lyle. These folks helped shape my ideas for research projects and dissertation completion. They also brought me onboard to lead the research efforts for Tippecanoe County’s Coalition for Living Well after 50 community assessment. Roseann and Gerry gave me the freedom and guidance to explore the community findings and share them at state, regional, national and international levels. They continue to provide much counsel for me in my professional journey. These faculty members pushed me toward rigor in coursework and found ways to both challenge and nurture me throughout my dissertation research and into my career.
What else should we know?
I had the amazing opportunity to visit my alma mater for the CALC 20th anniversary celebration spending time with my “aging” peers. I was humbled by the breadth and depth of expertise among this group and the powerful mentoring that is ever strong and far reaching from Purdue Gerontology faculty.