More AlumniKathryn Berlin
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John Spruill III
April J. Stull
Roland J. Thorpe
Tim Wright, PhD ('08)
Tim Wright, PhD ('08) lives in Stevens Point, Wisconsin with his wife Sarah. He is an Assistant Professor of Health Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. In addition to his dual-title PhD in health promotion and gerontology, Dr. Wright also has a B.S. in health and fitness and a M.S. in exercise science from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan.
What do you remember best about your time in the Gerontology Program?
I will always remember the caring and dedicated faculty and all of the connections that I made with students and faculty from other disciplines. The Gerontology program is so unique in that students have wonderful opportunities to network and interact with other people from all over campus. That is quite valuable. In any given class, there could be students from Nutrition, Health Promotion, Veterinary Science, Communication, Sociology, etc. all with different perspectives on the older adult population. I will also remember the variety of classes that are offered. Anything from the Economics of Aging, to the Biology of Aging, to Longitudinal Analysis. You truly get a multifaceted, interdisciplinary education in the Gerontology program.
Who were your mentors and what attributes did they have that helped you?
I had many mentors in my time at Purdue, but specifically within the Gerontology program, the following individuals helped me the most. First and foremost, Gerry Hyner, his guidance and wisdom were, and still are extremely helpful. Dr. Hyner is truly an advocate for his students and does all he can to ensure their success. Even a few years after graduating, I know that Dr. Hyner is just an e-mail away. He was a wonderful advisor and made the educational process as stress-free as possible.
David Waters taught me a lot about life in general. My meetings with Dr. Waters covered many topics as he is a person with many, many interests. He taught me that you can always branch out into other areas of interest, never allow yourself to be stuck in a rut. A fresh perspective may be as close as your nearest used book store. He also helped me to realize that I need to work on my racquetball backhand.
Roseann Lyle is an amazing faculty and teaching mentor. She helped me to better my teaching and research skills. Her door is always open and she always has time for her students. Dr. Lyle also provided me with several opportunities to guest lecture in her classes and give presentations in the community.
Sharon DeVaney made economics so interesting for me that I asked her to be on my dissertation committee. Dr. DeVaney also showed me that a little kindness goes a long way. She is very compassionate and caring and it shows through her interactions with her students.
Mike Flynn taught me that it is good to take challenges. His background is in Exercise Physiology, but he taught the Multidisciplinary Gerontology course for a semester. He showed that if you challenge yourself, you can grow from a new experience.
Ken Ferraro provides excellent leadership for the program. He is also a very supportive instructor, he made longitudinal statistics more enjoyable and did not let me off the hook when I didn't understand something.
How did you get interested in gerontology?
During the time that I was working on my Master's degree, I had the opportunity to work with older adults in health and fitness settings. I was the lead instructor for senior water aerobics and chair aerobics at Northern Michigan University. There were over 120 people over the age of 65 that participated in these classes. through these experiences, I realized that I greatly enjoyed working with this ever-growing population, and I wanted to learn more about successful aging. When I discovered that Purdue had an interdisciplinary Gerontology program, I was sold.
What experiences did you have at Purdue that helped form your current career?
Currently, I am an Assistant Professor of Health Education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. While the courses that I teach mainly focus on K-12 health education, my research still involves older adults. My dissertation research focused on perceived barriers to health education programs for older adults, therefore, there has been considerable overlap between my research and my current position. I also teach classes on general health and wellness, and my gerontology bias shows as I always make sure my students know that the behaviors in which they engage now will affect them when they are older.