2016 Summer Student Scholars

2016 Summer Student Scholars

Emily Ash Ohio University
Riley Carpenter Ohio University
Julia Cuglewski Kent State University
Karin Himstedt Kent State University
McKenna McClellan Bowling Green State University
Karlissa McDonald Kent State University
Anastasija Petrovska Kent State University
Margaret Rusnak The Ohio State University
Nathan Sheffer Miami University
Gina Sink Kent State University
Charity Stackhouse Kent State University
Shannon Webster Greene County Transit Board

2016 Spring Student Scholars

2016 Spring Student Scholars

Recognition of Spring 2016 Scholars in Aging 

Presenters: Marc Molea and Amy Plant


Nichole Davenport Bowling Green State University
Tiffany Epps The Ohio State University
Daniel Farley Shawnee State University
Rebecca Fensler Wright State University
Dana Hinebaugh Shawnee State University
Morgan Liddic Miami University
Lois Robinson Ohio University
Karis Rooney John Carroll University
Erin Scott Cedarville University
Evan Shelton Cleveland State University
Todd Simmons Cleveland State University
Jordan Stengel Kent State University
Antoneia Ward Sinclair Community College
Claire Wilt Sinclair Community College

Experience Papers, Spring 2016 Ohio Scholars in Aging Program

Tiffany Epps, The Ohio State University

In my last semester as a Nurse Practitioner student, I completed seven weeks in an outpatient neurology clinic. The majority of hours were completed in the neurology clinic and where I completed the internship project. The second seven weeks were in home health care. Both placements were set through the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University.

For my project, I researched sleep disorders among the multiple sclerosis (MS) population. It was meant to be educational to health care providers and show that sleep disorders are more prevalent, yet underdiagnosed among MS patients. Sleep disorders that go untreated can lead to more health problems. I recommended a six question screening tool to be administered every year and when someone is diagnosed with MS. The neurology clinic was interested in this topic because MS is a neurology disorder treated in the clinic. It reinforced patient centered care and quality of life, which are two fundamental concepts in health care. The biggest challenge I faced was determining what recommendations to make to the clinic. The next step, I would trial the screening tool in a clinical setting to assess if screening improved or not.

I am very happy that I participated in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program and hope more people in the health care field get involved. I learned about a number of programs offered through the Ohio Department of Aging that I will recommend and discuss with patients regardless of where I practice. Steady U, Healthy U and nutrition programs are a few of the programs I discussed with patients in home health care. I plan to apply for an NP job in a long term care setting. I will reach out to family members and caregivers to assist and make them aware of resources through the Department of Aging.

Daniel Farley, Shawnee State University

My name is Daniel Farley, and I conducted my internship at Kingsbrook Lifecare Center. Being accepted into the Ohio Scholars of Aging was an honor and an overall great experience. I highly recommend anyone in the aging field to apply to this program. You will meet great people, make connections in the field, and learn new things at each meeting. I am an Administrator in Training at Kingsbrook. My internship thus far has led me to numerous departments and learning how each part of a facility operates. So far I’ve had the luxury of being with Medical Records, Admissions, Dietary, Environmental Services, Finance, Social Services, and Activities. Each department is an integral part of a nursing home, and it is an amazing experience to be involved with it. The Ohio Scholars in Aging program has made me aware of so many more topics in the aging community than I thought possible. I have been fortunate to learn all of these new topics so that one day when I am an administrator of a nursing home, I can implement them. Not only will I be able to implement such things, but just having the knowledge that such programs exist is invaluable.

To anyone that has any interest in the aging community or is looking for a career in the field, I implore you to join the Ohio Scholars in Aging. The information you will learn is invaluable, not to mention all of the great people you will meet.

Dana Hinebaugh, Shawnee State University

It has been such a privilege to be a part of such a great organization and I am very thankful for the opportunity. I have learned a lot about myself, the Ohio Department of Aging, and the dire need for change in regulations and policies directly affecting the rapidly aging population. Through the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program, I have learned how the Ohio Department of Aging is multi-faceted, and has various divisions within the organization, which are responsible for seeing that the older adult population is receiving and has access to the services they so desperately need. I also met so many great people who share the same passion I have for older adults. Those relationships have been so important to me and will last the rest of my life. From this experience, I am considering ways in which I can get involved in advocating for and representing older adults, whether it be working for ODA, AAA etc.

From my clinical experiences, I have learned the value of and importance of what I was doing at each different site. I think my experience has been especially unique because of the area and population I served. The population I served was in the rural Appalachia region of southern Ohio. It is a very underserved and impoverished area. I feel very fortunate to provide free, yet necessary, services. It has been a very rewarding yet challenging experience. From the multiple experiences I had, I learned the importance of communication and teamwork across various settings in which older adults reside. These included older driver safety and community mobility, fall prevention, home modification, aging in place, and dementia care. From participating in my clinicals as well as the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program, I have learned valuable information which I will carry with me throughout my career and the rest of my life.

Morgan Liddic, Miami University

My internship took place at the Butler County Care Facility in Hamilton, OH. My focus there was to implement an activity program that would specifically target the residents living in the memory care unit. Due to the shortage in activity staff and the age of the facility, innovation and creativity were extremely important when choosing an activity for these residents. This led me to the certified Music & Memory program where I took the initial steps in introducing the program at the facility. I contacted the Music & Memory Program, attended webinars, interviewed residents, reached out to community groups for iPod donations, downloaded music onto computers, and created a resource binder with information to help maintain the program. Butler County Care facility was interested in bringing Music & Memory to its facility because they wanted to have a special program dedicated to their memory patients. They also realized the effect that music therapy can have on those who are cognitively impaired and wanted to hopefully improve the quality of life for some of their residents. The project stayed very consistent throughout my internship. I did face an initial obstacle with difficulties contacting the Music & Memory program. After those were resolved I also was disappointed that I couldn’t interview more residents and that iPod donations that were requested were never actually brought in.

The work I’ve done on the project has enabled me to enhance my professional development skills, become more comfortable working with residents of all abilities, and become a quick problem solver. Along with being able to present at the OAGE conference, I have been able to showcase myself to graduate school programs as someone who has hands-on experience and a great work ethic. What I learned the most about participating in my internship with Music & Memory was that even those with significantly low cognitive or physical abilities can find meaningful activities to fill their life. While listening to music seems like a simple task, it is a wonderful tool to stimulate brain activity and decrease depression in those with dementia. My internship and the Ohio Scholars in Aging program have really taught me how to work with diverse groups of people and how to present myself as a passionate gerontologist.

Nichole A. Davenport, Bowling Green State University

I completed my internship in Toledo, Ohio with the Alzheimer’s Association, Northwest Ohio Chapter. The Alzheimer’s Association is a phenomenal non-profit organization that provides services to those affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementias. Throughout my internship experience, my project was to work in the marketing department and work on the Spring Gala. The agency was interested in me working on the Gala because they wanted me to gain marketing experience aside from my current caregiving role, and be able to help them with this event in the future. This project to work on the Gala required me to contact various businesses and companies via email and telephone to ask for donations for our silent auction at the Gala. This experience helped me gain communication skills with other professionals as well as gain professional confidence. Aside from contacting these businesses, I also had to fill out necessary paperwork, track all the donations coming in and their values, update the paperwork daily, arrange and put together donated baskets of goods, and of course, attend and work the event. Not only was the event a great experience for me professionally, but I also had a wonderful time. It was so rewarding to see how great the Gala turned out and knowing that I played a major role in the success. Because of my hard work and professionalism, I was complimented by my colleagues and those who attended the event, and I was asked to join the Chapter’s Walk and Gala committees to help them with these events in the future.

Participating in the Ohio Scholars Program was such an honor. It was a great networking opportunity, resume-builder, and learning experience for all involved. I would highly recommend this program to other students as it will truly be beneficial to one’s future.

Lois Robinson, Ohio University

Firstly, I would just like to say thank you to the Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Association of Gerontology, Mr. Marc Molea, and to the various other support staff who made this amazing opportunity possible for the other scholars and me. I think that I can speak for everyone and say that we are all very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in such an enlightening, and informational Internship during the spring semester. I really enjoyed learning about the many aspects of aging, and I think that it was very cool to have what we have learned about in our academic careers be applied to everyday life. I think that while learning about something is fun, it becomes more real when you have the opportunity to visually see, and discuss with professionals in the field of Gerontology like we did over the course of our internship.

While the connections that I have made are very valuable within the program, the biggest thing that I take away from our internship experience is the friendships that I have made within the Ohio Scholars in Aging program. My major is Long Term Care Administration, and it is a very small major so it was just so heartwarming to know that there are other people out there who have the same passion for the elderly as I do. While I am sad that the program has ended, I will always appreciate the knowledge and friendships that I have made as a 2016 Spring Intern.

Karis Rooney, John Carroll University

I completed my semester’s work at a local agency called Senior Citizen Resources, Inc. (SCR). The agency is located in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, right outside the city of Cleveland. SCR is a community-based senior center that provides a variety of resources to older adults to help them live independently for as long as possible. Services like transportation, social services, home-delivered meals, congregate meals and social activities are provided to seniors at low costs.

My focus this semester was primarily on SCR’s annual Senior Olympics event. Every year, SCR collaborates with community partners to schedule, plan and host a local Senior Olympics. Both regular and seated games are played, and seniors can choose to compete in any and every event they choose. Other than being a fun event, the Olympics encourages physically active lifestyles and healthy, successful aging. Physical activity in older adulthood is just one of many steps older adults can take to remain independent in their communities, so the Olympics is just one of many activities encouraging Old Brooklyn’s seniors to remain physically active and healthy.

I mainly worked on the administrative side of the Olympics. A few of the issues I encountered were related to information flow, unfamiliarity with the event and communication with community partners/volunteers to help make our event a success. Despite communication difficulties and busy schedules, I was able to learn a lot about the Old Brooklyn neighborhood through the partnerships and support provided by local partners. One of my main goals with both my internship and participation in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program was to determine if the aging field is a setting I would like to focus my long-term career goals around. Not only was I able to confirm my long-term goals, but I have been able to meet many dedicated people who share my passion for connecting with and serving the older adult community.

Erin Scott, Cedarville University

As an undergraduate intern at the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter, I was able to participate in many different ways. I was involved with the 24/7 helpline and care consultation levels 1 and 2. I represented the chapter at health fairs, compiled program information, researched intergenerational programming, and participated in advocacy and fundraising.

Specifically as a helpline volunteer, I answered calls, provided assistance to families and triaged cases to pass on to the full time social workers or the graduate student interns. I received many of my own cases from answering helpline calls. I also documented these calls in the Association’s database.

As a care consultant, I worked closely with families and their loved ones. I provided supportive listening, and helped assess what assistance the family may need. I also assisted with problem solving, goal setting and met with entire families to discuss their situation.

I had the opportunity to attend multiple health fairs and represent the Alzheimer’s Association. It was a wonderful way to interact with community members and explain what services are available. During health fairs, I was able to talk one on one with individuals and learn more about their connection to the disease. I also had the opportunity to share some of the statistics on Alzheimer’s.

Dementia Q&A is a newer education program at the Association. It is a free event for community members to ask questions they have about Alzheimer’s disease. I helped record the questions asked and assisted in compiling them to determine what was asked most frequently.

In addition, I was able to advocate for individuals with Alzheimer’s throughout my time at the Association. I wrote a letter to the state legislators to explain what services we provide for their constituents. I also helped gather support through signature cards so the Association could show congressmen how important finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is to their voters.

This semester, I researched the topic of intergenerational programming. I also visited a local program in Yellow Springs. With the knowledge I gained about intergenerational programming, I wrote a short article for the Miami Valley Chapter weekly newsletter.

Finally, I had the opportunity to learn how a non-profit is funded. I worked during one of the largest fundraisers for the Association: The Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Recently, I talked with several store owners about participating in the Longest Day fundraiser which is held in June. It has been a valuable learning experience to see how important it is to build meaningful relationships with individuals and organizations.

My internship at the Alzheimer’s Association was an incredible experience. I was able to be involved in many different aspects of the organization and gained experience working with seniors and their loved ones. This experience confirmed my love for the senior population and their unique generational needs. As a result, I am looking forward to pursuing a career in gerontology.

I found the Ohio Scholars in Aging program to be a tremendous opportunity to gain knowledge about polices that affect seniors. I learned about both statewide and local programs available for seniors and their families. The program enabled me to grow as a student and gave me key experience in networking. This experience will be helpful as I consider pursuing a career in advocacy. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Ohio Scholars in Aging program and would highly recommend this program to any student who is interested in gerontology.

Evan Shelton, Cleveland State University

During the Spring 2016 semester, I had the opportunity to work at the Center for Research and Education at Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging. Having completed my coursework in the Adult Development and Aging PhD program at CSU, Benjamin Rose offered me this fellowship as an opportunity to engage in applied research in aging while working on my dissertation. During this fellowship, I worked on three projects: SHARE, Heart Health, and Music & Memory. Each of these projects is in a different stage of the research process, and engaging in the different developmental and dissemination tasks within each project has been valuable in learning about the applied research process as a whole.

The SHARE project is in the dissemination phase. I have had the opportunity to write a manuscript, and co-author a second manuscript based on the findings from the SHARE Project. SHARE is a care planning intervention for persons with dementia and their family caregiver. The intervention aims to open a dialogue about care values and preferences between care partners, provide education about what to expect over the course of the disease, and to assist dyads with finding resources that might be beneficial to them. The manuscript that I am writing uses baseline data to examining the psychosocial ramifications of incongruent care preferences across the dyad. There are some especially interesting findings with regard to actual incongruences compared to perceived (i.e., the caregiver’s belief that his/her preferences are different from the person with dementia’s) preferences. I was able to present this research at the Cleveland State University Research Day conference.

The Heart Health project is moving from a pilot study phase to a second study. The goal of the Heart Health program is to provide quality education and behavior change opportunities to low income older African Americans attending two urban senior centers. This population is at a substantially greater risk for heart disease and related disorders. This intervention aims to prevent/delay the onset of these chronic conditions by promoting heart-healthy behavior. I had the opportunity to co-author a feasibility/acceptability paper, collect T2 data from participants, and I am currently helping to revise the study materials and design for the next iteration of the Heart Health program.

The Music & Memory program is a program aimed at using personalized music to improve the lives of persons with dementia living in the community. Benjamin Rose received a grant through the ODA to roll-out this program in the community, and asked me to be involved. I felt that the program would be a great fit for my dissertation research, and have been undertaking the task of proposing a dissertation to my committee at Cleveland State. The goal of my dissertation would be to apply a rigorous methodological approach to evaluating the effects of music and memory on the quality of life, behaviors, engagement, and care relationship of the person with dementia. This study would be a randomized-controlled trial that would hopefully fit within the timeframe of the ODA grant deadline and provide an opportunity to inform the non-pharmacological intervention in dementia literature about the value of personalized music in dementia.

Todd Simmons, Cleveland State University

This semester, I am completing the Master’s in Social Work program at Cleveland State University. My field practicum has taken place at the Benjamin Rose Adult Day Program, which provides adult day services for older persons with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive and functional impairments. Activities include arts and crafts, current events, fine and gross motor activities, games, horticulture, and musical activities.

Although my area of concentration is gerontology, and despite my extensive work and volunteer experience with older adults, this was my first opportunity to engage with this segment of the elder population. Beginning fieldwork required considerable research, and I tried to learn as much as I could about persons with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as the symptoms and stages of various cognitive impairment. The majority of social work literature involves practice with the caregivers of these individuals, as their role will take on growing importance as the disease and symptoms progress.

Early on, caregivers became the focus of my internship. My role at the agency provided some newfound flexibility, and my field instructor, Crystal Wallace, ADP Assistant Director, was eager to reconnect with the caregivers of the clients at the Day Program. In recognition of November as “National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month” and “National Caregivers Month,” my planned project became to help resurrect the Day Program’s caregiver support group. This initiative involved creating a monthly caregiver newsletter, as well as other various outreach efforts.

One significant obstacle proved to be that the time clients spend at the program serves as a time of respite for the caregivers. My involvement with support group activities was limited due to my restrictive hours at the internship, which took place during regular business hours. Common feedback from caregivers was they would have liked to be more involved, but their respite time was necessary to take care of chores and errands, or simply time to take care of themselves.

Among the numerous opportunities was attending a caregiver conference at Benjamin Rose. This provided me with valuable information and ideas on how to engage and intervene with caregivers. As coursework influenced fieldwork, and vice versa, I was able to share my experiences and newly gained knowledge with my fellow students. The launch of the “Music & Memory” pilot program provided another opportunity, as caregiver involvement is necessary and crucial. I must also credit my field instructor for informing me about the Ohio Scholars in Aging program. The benefits of which are too vast to list, yet involvement in the group reinforced how important inter-professional collaboration is to the field of aging. It has also demonstrated the attention given to issues of “Caregiver Awareness” and “Music & Memory” at the state, county, and local levels.

Jordan Stengel, Kent State University

I completed my Ohio Scholars in Aging internship at Jennings Center for Older Adults as part of an Administrator-in-Training program. During my internship I completed a variety of projects and worked in every department to get a feel for all the roles that are associated with running a nursing home. In addition to the nursing home I participated in the operation of home health, hospice, independent living, assisted living, and our adult day center. This has been a rewarding experience and ultimately led to my employment with Jennings at the end of the internship.

The most rewarding project I’ve worked on at Jennings has been our Small House project. Small House is both an architectural style of facility and a philosophy that makes long term care feel less institutional by creating an environment that feels like home. This philosophy is consistent with the person centered mission of the organization and so we’re constructing three Small House memory care assisted living homes near Chardon, OH. My biggest role in their development has been in maintaining the integrity of the concept. The idea was in place before I arrived, but my role in the project began with researching the concept and then selling it to the administration. I’ve done this by arranging meetings with providers who have already chosen this method for their own organizations, recruiting a consultant to help with implementation, finding funding for the initial start-up costs, and creating an ideal staffing model based on published research as well as the advice of experts in the field. As a result of these efforts we plan to break ground on the Small Houses in summer 2016 and have them open by summer 2017.

Thanks to the long struggle of other providers to get the Small House model approved by the state, I was fortunate not to have to lobby for a change in the code, but Ohio Scholars in Aging has given me a unique perspective on state government and a better appreciation of how policy is created.

2015 Summer Student Scholars

2015 Summer Student Scholars

Alicia Cowles    

  • School: Ohio University
  • Internship Experience: Hickory Creek of Athens
  • Hometown: Cardington

Sunaina Rana

  • School: Miami University
  • Internship Experience: Liberty Nursing Center
  • Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

Hannah Thompson        

  • School: Miami University
  • Internship Experience: Butler County Probate Court (Guardianship Program)
  • Hometown: North Canton

Michael T. Vale               

  • School: University of Akron
  • Internship Experience: Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging
  • Hometown: Fairport Harbor

Dorothy Young                

  • School: Wittenberg University
  • Internship Experience: Sinclair Community College – SEEK Conference (Sharing Education, Experience, Knowledge)

Nicole Yozwiak

  • School: University of Youngstown
  • Internship Experience: Briarfield/Brookdale Senior Living
  • Hometown: Canfield

Matthew Bezold             

  • School: The Ohio State University
  • Internship Experience: Ohio Department of Aging
  • Hometown: Columbus

Experience Papers, Summer 2015 Ohio Scholars in Aging Program

Alicia Cowles, Ohio University

I completed my practicum at Hickory Creek of Athens. Hickory Creek is a long-term care facility located in The Plains, Ohio. It is a 170-bed facility and has a secured Alzheimer’s unit. The facility offers skilled services such as speech, physical, and occupational therapy. My main goal during the practicum was to understand the role of an administrator in a long-term care facility. I wanted to see how each member of the different departments would collaborate and work towards a common goal, “Making a Difference…One Resident at a Time”.  I was able to observe each department and work hands on to understand the role of every individual. Not only did I work with the administrator, but the housekeeping, laundry, and dietary department. Being a practicum student at a nursing facility required me to step out of my shell and become more assertive. I am now able to address residents, family members, and coworkers with confidence.

During my practicum I worked on a variety of projects focusing on quality assurance in the dietary and nursing departments while also helping the administrator. I examined weight loss in every resident over a period of six months to see if any residents had a weight loss between a one month period that was 5% or greater. After examining 100 residents, 20 had at least a 5% weight loss. I learned how it was important to monitor resident weight loss because it could indicate that something is wrong with a resident’s health. In addition to my weight loss project I assisted in dining room audits examining the environment the meals were served in, the dignity of the residents, and the proper food handling of the staff.

With the administrator I was also exposed to specific incident, sexual misconduct, and abuse reports. I helped interview staff, residents, and witnesses to specific situations.  This was a personal obstacle because performing investigations was not something I was expecting or comfortable handling. With the help of the administrator I gained more confidence in speaking to residents and staff appropriately about the situations to collect statements. When I first began my field experience I had no idea that this would be a task that administrators would have to work on. Though the reasoning for the investigations are unpleasant, I am thankful for the experience I have gained in interviewing residents and staff for this necessary task if I am to become an administrator.

The most beneficial task I helped with was performing Manager Rounds. I assisted a management team to check each resident room for safety purposes and to make sure each individual is being cared for properly. I would also examine facial hair, nail care, and the resident’s general appearance. While this was being done the management team would also examine care plans to make sure all interventions were in place. It was good to see that after a few weeks of the management team helping with room checks how much better the facility was due to management helping provide quality, person first centered care.

The Ohio Scholars in Aging Program allowed me to enhance my practicum experience by surrounding me with peers who have similar interests in studying aging. It was great to get different opinions and have conversations about similar experiences during my practicum. I was exposed to new knowledge about programs offered to facilities such as the Opening Minds Through Art and the Music and Memory programs, while also being able to have conversations with the Ohio Department of Aging staff.  I am now more aware of how the Ohio Department of Aging is involved with long-term care facilities and the relationships that one could have in the future to better assist residents. I am now confident and motivated to continue in a career focused on helping older adults due to the strong prevalence of aging and the multiple struggles the older population faces. Aging is something that everyone should care about, and I cannot wait to continue in this growing field.

Sunaina Rana, Miami University

I interned in Liberty Nursing Center (LNC) which is situated at Oxford, Ohio; one of the seventeen nursing centers under Liberty Nursing Centers. I spent 10 weeks of my summer vacation in the nursing home and it still feels there is more to learn from there. Although the residents ranged from age of 34 to 95, I focused on the senior citizens (60 years and above) as per my academic interest.

Amongst many other institutions, I chose to obtain practical experience from the nursing home for mostly two reasons; to observe the holistic approach taken by the Liberty Nursing Center to cater to the needs of senior citizens, and to see how much a policy for senior citizen affected them in macro level and what policy would be needed to support senior citizen. Acknowledging the same, I am thankful to the management team of LNC in providing me an opportunity to explore every department of the nursing home.

Despite having few years of experience working in the hospitals in Nepal, and often taking care of the older adults, the services provided at LNC was beyond my imagination. The management cared to listen to the feedbacks from the residents to keep improving the services and also make them feel the ownership towards the institution. Being exposed to the diverse activities and facilities provided in the nursing home, I felt that the residents in my country are utterly underserved. The rigorousness in managing a nursing center and old age homes is my biggest take-away from the internship.

I switched myself observing and supporting various departments; dietary, business office, activity, therapy and memory unit as per the need. I was able to practice the communication skills learnt during my graduate assistantship projects in supporting therapists in risk management and developed care plan with the therapist for the residents of special cases. I had an amazing experience meeting individual residents, one on one basis. Talking with the residents, listening to their experiences, observing their daily routines, and taking them on a walk provided me a chance to understand how much a personal touch in the life matters as one starts to get older.

I transitioned to administrative section to learn and support in conducting meetings with staffs, residents and families. Similarly, I assisted in reviewing the schedules of patients and planned for the care visits. I conducted ‘abaqis’ interviews, a tool for quality assessment of nursing homes. I felt trusted to be allowed to interact with the representative from Ohio Department of Health, which helped me to see the nursing home from the eye of a state.

Apart from being left on my own to engage myself to broaden my learning in the absence of the supervisor, the experience in Liberty Nursing Home has been really enriching. It felt as if all the courses we studied in a year unveiled in mere 10 weeks of my internship.

I would like to thank Ohio Scholars in Aging Program – Summer, 2015 and Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) for providing a wonderful platform to expand our networking with ODA staffs and the interns with same interest but with different experiences. I feel fortunate to share and acquire knowledge related to aging and at the same time different ways to serve the older adults. I look forward to meeting and learning from this cohort in the future too.

Hannah Thompson, Miami University

My summer practicum placement was at Butler County Probate Court stationed in Hamilton, Ohio. I worked with Judge Rogers and Rebecca DeLong, LSW, MSW on various projects and shadowing experiences.  My primary focus was with the Guardianship program, but I was also exposed to multiple opportunities within Probate Court and the community.

In June 2015, new Ohio Guardianship law went into effect, causing the court to make adaptations to local rule and the Butler County guardianship process.  My first project was to help with the creation of an updated training manual for “layperson” and volunteer guardians in the county.  New requirements for the court and guardians were incorporated into the manual, which will be disseminated at upcoming educational events hosted by Probate Court.  My main task was to relay information regarding the guardianship process from the Ohio Revised Code, Rules of Superintendence, and Butler County Local Rule.  (Some changes to the guardianship process include continuing education requirements, an emergency guardianship process, and a complaint filing process.)  Also included were sections on community resources that guardians may use to connect their individuals with services concerning higher quality of life.   This project was a great way to familiarize myself with guardianship law and how it is executed at local probate court and beyond.

Involvement in the “Guardianship Connection Program” was my second project, which allowed me to meet with various guardians and “individuals under guardianship” in Butler County.  Probate Court is looking to make connections with whom they serve and make sure “individuals under guardianship” are getting the best care possible.  By making these visits, we can ensure that guardians are getting the resources they need to continue advocating for their individual’s best interests.  These visits exposed me to multiple populations served through the guardianship process in the county including aging, mental health, developmental disabilities, drug/alcohol, and brain injury individuals.  This was the most rewarding part of my summer experience, as I met some truly inspiring individuals.  The relationship between guardians and their individuals span from family members to volunteers that wish to make a difference in a person’s life.  I learned how valuable these connections are between the probate court and the guardians/individuals in the county.  They provide an outlet not only for educating guardians, but making a face-to-face effort to truly get to know whom Butler County is serving in this program.

My opportunities with Butler County Probate Court and the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program provided a great blending of exposure to both local and state level agencies and aging related resources.  Learning about community resources and its connection to state level agencies and policy was exactly what I wanted out of my experience this summer. It was also very insightful to learn from other Gerontology students about their experiences and learn from ODA staff.  Learning from others about their impact on the aging population is what makes the OAGE program so important to the future of a student, like me.  Thank you for this opportunity to participate this summer!

Michael T. Vale, University of Akron

Throughout the course of the summer, I have had the pleasure working alongside the Ombudsman at Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities as their Music and Memory Ombudsman Intern. Ombudsman are advocates for residents in long-term care facilities. They are known for protecting and ensuring resident rights in addition to resolving complaint issues. Although, I was trained in the aforementioned skills, I worked more specifically with the Music and Memory program at several long-term care facilities that the Ombudsman oversee and fund. Music and Memory is a program which targets improving the quality of life and memory of those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. This is done by distributing individuals with music players, like iPods, that have specific playlists that are tailored to that individual. Overall, the program is a pleasurable person-centered activity for those in long-term care, and it also reminds family, friends and caretakers of individuals with memory deficiencies of what their loved ones can remember, rather than focusing on any losses.

The State Ombudsman in the Ohio Department of Aging covers the cost the program in 250 different facilities across the State of Ohio. The Ombudsman at Direction Home monitors seventeen different facilities with a total of 84 participants across Summit, Portage, Stark and Wayne counties. My personal responsibilities were to visit each facility and make sure that the program was being implanted and managed appropriately, as well to ascertain the completion of a client and family survey for every participant. In these responsibilities, I met with all 84 Music and Memory participants and completed all of their survey forms. This allowed me to visit, explore and compare several different types of long-term care facilities and methods of care. Each facility worked at a different pace in their implementation of the program, which allowed me to observe the full developmental process of the program. Every facility also had their own creative aspect about their specific program, which illustrates the remarkable utility of the Music and Memory program. Additionally, I also attempted to contact a family member for every participant either through the mail or phone. Attempting to accommodate a variety of schedules was challenging at times, but most family members response to the program was positive and well worth any hassle.

Without any doubt, the most rewarding, appealing and paramount component of my practicum experience was getting to interact with the participants and host several discussions about music. I have had the pleasure to watch some residents listen to their playlist and transcend the barriers their dementias create. I have since learned that music shortens the distance between any two people, and that the topic alone can facilitate conversation with practically everyone. Most all the residents had incredibly positive experiences with the program, and would light up just when asked if they simply liked music. Getting a chance to become an advocate of the Music and Memory project has allowed me to connect with a group of people whose abilities are often overlooked which has been invaluable.

Dorothy Young, Wittenberg University

My internship afforded me a different view, a behind the scenes out of committee view, of an organization I have been a part of for the past three years as a volunteer, the College for Lifelong Learning’s SEEK Conference at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. The SEEK Conference is a day of learning built around interests of people aged sixty and over. This year marked the 13th anniversary of the program. The day starts out with a special motivational speaker followed by two 40 minute breakout sessions that include seven learning opportunities, then lunch, followed by two more 40 minute breakout sessions, and finally another special speaker to close the learning day.

Participants pay $5 for the day made possible through sponsorships garnered from area businesses, agencies, or individuals. Asking for financial support was a big challenge for me – I was only able to get one agency sponsorship and more would have been appreciated. One of the favorite parts of the day for participants is the door prize drawings done at lunch and at the end of the day, the prizes are donated by area businesses. The best thing about the conference to me, it enabled nearly 400 participants to continue in a culture of lifelong learning, either for the day or maybe for the rest of their life.

I thought the internship was just going to be more of what I had done in the past as a volunteer, but quickly realized there was much more in store. The saying trial by fire is very fitting for my time. Much of my time was spent alone in the office calling and registering participants, speaking with presenters getting descriptions of the presentation and the speaker bios for their introduction in their breakout session, as well as contacting sponsors. The challenge was being able to get that work done while our students came in person to register for the conference or handle other class issues (which I did not have clearance to do) so at times I met with vented frustration from our clients. That was difficult because all I wanted to do was help them figure things out, even if it had nothing to do with SEEK.

The rest of my time was spent organizing seventeen Sociology students to prepare goodie bags for the participants, and work throughout the day as hosts/hostesses – service learning that was counted toward their final grade for the semester. I believe the agency wanted to give me an opportunity to network and have another set of trusted hands to organize the day.

I have enjoyed this opportunity immensely. I have learned to embrace networking even at the ripe old age of 49. I have been reminded once again how vital team work is in an organization, as was mentioned in each of the scholar’s presentations. None of us could accomplish the tasks set before us without the help of another, which is personified in the partnership between the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education for the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program.

Nicole Yozwiak, University of Youngstown

My internship consisted of shadowing different departments at Briarfield, which provides rehabilitation, elder care, and senior living.  Throughout this experience, I worked with human resources, their corporate billing office, and social services.  I experienced the importance of collaborating between the departments in order to achieve one goal: providing the best care to each individual resident.

On the other hand, I am currently employed at one of Brookdale Senior Living’s communities as the administrative assistant at an assisted living community. Without this job opportunity, I would have never been able to learn everything that I know today.   Throughout this experience, I have learned the importance of teamwork and how everyone’s job is an essential part of operating a senior living community.  Also, no matter how long you work in the senior population, there will always be something new to learn and take away from the elderly.

I enjoyed having both experiences and being able to compare not only how a locally owned senior living facility runs vs. a corporation, but also witness a larger facility with skilled care vs. a smaller community while only provides assisted living care.  I also gained experience in Medicaid and speaking with different insurance companies.  It is not always easy working with outside companies, but that is an essential part of operating a successful business.

One of my big take-away points from being a part of the Ohio Department of Aging Scholars program would have to be gaining an understanding of what programs the state provides for the elderly.  There are many great programs that are taking place in Ohio and being able to meet and speak with these individuals helped bring everything into perspective.  I have learned how the state provides to each county and ideas to bring back home and implement in the senior living communities.

Matthew Bezold, The Ohio State University

Hi, I am Matthew Bezold. My internship is with the monitoring team of the fiscal division within the Ohio Department of Aging. As part of my internship, I helped out the fiscal monitoring team complete their day to day duties and get caught back up on the monitoring calendar. This involves monitoring the AAAs. AAAs (or area agencies on aging) are the entities that administer services and programs for Ohio’s older population. Our function is to serve as assurance that the monies these agencies receive are being spent properly.

The Ohio Department of Aging was interested in having me work on this project because it is a normal part of day to day operations. In addition to giving me experience as an auditor, this internship served a unique purpose in that I was able to help out the agency because I was able to work on a job that a full-time employee would work on without all of the additional complications that come with hiring a full-time employee.

My project changed throughout the course of my internship from me learning the rules and regulations of government accounting to me actually applying these rules and regulations and making sure that the AAAs are following them. A few obstacles I faced while working on the project were the length of time that it takes for an AAA to get back to you with a response when you have a question. Also, on a more personal note, I struggled at times with time management. As this is a non-traditional internship that continues through the school year, I have to work to balance my time between work and school.

As part of this internship, I also had the opportunity to get out of the office and travel with the monitoring team to the AAA sites. This is truly a great experience because it’s always nice to get out of the office once in a while. But it’s also nice to get to talk face to face with the people you email daily. As part of this internship, I learned what all is involved in audit and some of the differences between government and corporate auditing. This knowledge is truly helpful and will help me make decisions about which career path I should choose.

2015 Spring Student Scholars

2015 Spring Student Scholars

spring-oage-scholarsSophia Postich

  • Bowling Green State University
  • Otterbein Portage Valley
  • Pemberville, Ohio

Emily Kowal

  • The Ohio State University
  • Goodwill Columbus- Health and Wellness Department
  • Columbus, Ohio

Mitchell Eyerman

  • Miami University
  • Office of State Long-term Care Ombudsman
  • Columbus, Ohio

Cayleigh M. Crook

  • Kent State University
  • Covington Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation
  • East Palestine, Ohio

Rachel Briceland

  • Youngstown State University
  • Youngstown State University and multiple healthy aging sites
  • Youngstown, Ohio

2014 Summer Student Scholars

2014 Summer Student Scholars

Laura Hahn
Miami University
Butler County Probate County
Evaluating the court’s volunteer guardianship program

Sarah Flowers
Miami University
The 741 Center
Outreach to community of elders

Laura Andrews-Francis
Miami University
Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio
Researching new resources for community resource directory

Natalie Pitheckoff
Miami University
Examining family caregiver resources within Ohio

2014 Spring Student Scholars

2014 Spring Student Scholars

Rita Betz
Bowling Green State University

Morgan Bunting
Bowling Green State University

Kyle Clayton
Youngstown State University

Josie Creech
University of Cincinnati

Hanna Koscinski
Youngstown State University

Amy Plant
Youngstown State University

Amanda Slattery
Youngstown State University

Joseph Voytek
Youngstown State University