Ohio Scholars in Aging Program

The Ohio Department of Aging partners with the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education to offer the Ohio Scholars in Aging program.

The Ohio Scholars in Aging Program provides scholars of all academic backgrounds with the opportunity to learn about aging-related policy-making, establish professional contacts, and gain career knowledge and skills in the field of aging. Since 2013, 129 Scholars, representing 18 Ohio colleges and universities, have participated in Ohio Scholars in Aging.

See this Ohio Department on Aging link for more information.

2022 Student Scholars

Lindsey Murphy

Bachelor of Gerontology: Long Term Care Administration, Bowling Green State University

Morgan Minyo

Doctor of Adult Development and Aging, Cleveland State University

Sarah Salopeck

Master of Business Administration, Cleveland State University

Annika Goldman

Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Miami University

Megan Kelley

Master of Gerontological Studies, Miami University

Hayley Maher

Bachelor of Exercise Science, University of Mount Union

Nathan Grizenko

Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Ohio State University

Katelyn Frey

Doctor of Psychology, University of Akron

Jennifer Sublett

Doctor of Adult Development and Aging, University of Akron

Brittany Kennedy

Master of Gerontology, Youngstown State University

2020 Student Scholars

Lynn Azar

Youngstown State University
Read about Lynn’s Experience

Susan Booher

Ohio State University
Read About Susan’s Experience

Marissa Jackson

University of Toledo
Read About Marissa’s Experience

Devon Jones

Case Western Reserve University
Read About Devon’s Experience

Claire Popovich

Ohio State University
Read About Claire’s Experience

Alec Rhodes

Ohio State University
Read About Alec’s Experience

Rachel Scrivano

Ohio State University
Read About Rachel’s Experience

Tasneem Shalash

Ohio State University
Read About Tasneem’s Experience

Madison Williams

Shawnee State University
Read About Madison’s Experience

Celeste Zeigler

Kent State University
Read About Celeste’s Experience

2019 Student Scholars

Claire Copa

University of Toledo
Read about Claire’s Experience

Kaitlyn Daff

Youngstown State University
Read About Kaitlyn’s Experience

Katheryn Downie

Youngstown State University
Read About Katheryn’s Experience

Chrisse Edmunds

Ohio State University
Read About Chrisse’s Experience

Courtney Gerten

University of Toledo
Read About Courtney’s Experience

Barbara T. Hodgdon

Ohio State University
Read About Barbara’s Experience

Katharine Magyar

Miami University
Read About Katharine’s Experience

Emily McLewis

Youngstown State University
Read About Emily’s Experience

Abigail Sabo

Shawnee State University
Read About Abigail’s Experience

Harper Smith

Bowling Green State University
Read About Harper’s Experience

2018 Student Scholars

Nicole Balog

Youngstown State University
Read about Nicole’s Experience

Brooke Bogdanski

University of Toledo
Read about Brooke’s Experience

Ava Eisele

Ohio State University
Read about Ava’s Experience

Hannah Howard

Ohio University
Read about Hannah’s Experience

Lisa Juckett

Ohio State University
Read about Lisa’s Experience

Alexis Renney

Bowling Green State University
Read about Alexis’ Experience

Leslie Rubens

Case Western Reserve University
Read about Leslie’s Experience

Maria Skora

University of Akron
Read about Maria’s Experience

Susanna Smith

Miami University
Read about Susanna’s Experience

Natasha Stewart

Wright State University
Read about Natasha’s Experience

Carmen Tyler

Cleveland State University
Read about Carmen’s Experience

Gregg Weber

Youngstown State University
Read about Gregg’s Experience

Corinn Whittaker

Miami University
Read about Corinn’s Experience

Chelsi Wilson

Shawnee State University
Read about Chelsi’s Experience

Hannah Wisbey

Miami University
Read about Hannah’s Experience

2017 Student Scholars

Gabriella Agostino

University of Toledo

Read about Gabriella’s Experience

Anna Babinec

Bowling Green State University

Read about Anna’s Experience

Angela Bradford

Bowling Green State University

Read about Angela’s Experience

Sara Clark

Bowling Green State University

Read about Sara’s Experience

Ashlee Cordell

Miami University

Read about Ashlee’s Experience

Amber Durkin

Youngstown State University

Read about Amber’s Experience

Candiss Green

Miami University

Read about Candiss’ Experience

Ellie Hodges

Miami University

Read about Ellie’s Experience

Kristi Honigfort

Bowling Green State University

Read about Kristi’s Experience

Sarah Linhardt

Wright State University

Read about Sarah’s Experience

Alison Lloyd

Ohio State University

Read about Alison’s Experience

Theresa Medrano

Kent State University

Read about Theresa’s Experience

Katherine Obringer

Shawnee State University

Read about Katherine’s Experience

Collena Rhodes

Kent State University

Read about Collena’s Experience

Danyelle Roan

Miami University

Read about Danyelle’s Experience

Emilee Smith

Shawnee State University

Read about Emilee’s Experience

Michael Wittmann

Youngstown State University

Read about Michael’s Experience

2016 Summer Student Scholars

Emily Ash

Ohio University

Read about Emily’s Experience

 

Riley Carpenter

Ohio University

Read about Riley’s Experience

 

Julia Cuglewski

Kent State University

 

Karin Himstedt

Kent State University

Read about Karin’s Experience

 

McKenna McClellan

Bowling Green State University

Read about McKenna’s Experience

 

Karlissa McDonald

Kent State University

Read about Karlissa’s Experience

 

Anastasija Petrovska

Kent State University

Read about Anastasija’s Experience

 

Margaret Rusnak

The Ohio State University

Read about Margaret’s Experience

 

Nathan Sheffer

Miami University

Read about Nathan’s Experience

Gina Sink

Kent State University

Charity Stackhouse

Kent State University

Shannon Webster

Greene County Transit Board

Read about Shannon’s Experience

2016 Spring Student Scholars

Nichole Davenport

Bowling Green State University

Read about Nichole’s Experience

 

Tiffany Epps

The Ohio State University

Read about Tiffany’s Experience

Daniel Farley

Shawnee State University

Read about Daniel’s Experience

 

Rebecca Fensler

Wright State University

 

 

Dana Hinebaugh

Shawnee State University

Read about Dana’s Experience

 

Morgan Liddic

Miami University

Read about Morgan’s Experience

 

Lois Robinson

Ohio University

Read about Lois’ Experience

 

Karis Rooney

John Carroll University

Read about Karis’ Experience

 

Erin Scott

Cedarville University

Read about Erin’s Experience

 

Evan Shelton

Cleveland State University

Read about Evan’s Experience

 

Todd Simmons

Cleveland State University

Read about Todd’s Experience

 

Jordan Stengel

Kent State University

Read about Jordan’s Experience

 

Antoneia Ward

Sinclair Community College

 

 

Claire Wilt

Sinclair Community College

 

 

2015 Summer Student Scholars

Alicia Cowles

Ohio University

Read about Alicia’s Experience

Sunaina Rana

Miami University

Read about Sunaina’s Experience

Hannah Thompson

Miami University

Read about Hannah’s Experience

Michael T. Vale

University of Akron

Read about Michael’s Experience

Dorothy Young

Wittenberg University

Read about Dorothy’s Experience

Nicole Yozwiak

University of Youngstown

Read about Nicole’s Experience

Matthew Bezold

The Ohio State University

Read about Matthew’s Experience

2015 Spring Student Scholars

Sophia Postich

Bowling Green State University

Emily Kowal

The Ohio State University

Mitchell Eyerman

Miami University

Cayleigh M. Crook

Kent State University

Rachel Briceland

Youngstown State University

2014 Summer Student Scholars

Laura Hahn

Miami University

Read about Laura’s Experience

Sarah Flowers

Miami University

Read about Sarah’s Experience

Laura Andrews-Francis

Miami University

Read about Laura’s Experience

Natalie Pitheckoff

Miami University

Read about Natalie’s Experience

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

2013 Fall Student Scholars

Bethanie Cole

University of Akron

Read about Bethanie’s Experience

Andrea Brooks

Miami University

Read about Andrea’s Experience

Katie Gabriel

Miami University

Read about Katie’s Experience

Adrienne Garrett

Miami University

Read about Adrienne’s Experience

2013 Spring Student Scholars

Joseph Voytek

Youngstown State University

Read about Joseph’s Experience

Cynthia McQuown

University of Akron

Read about Cynthia’s Experience

Amy Plant

Youngstown State University

Read about Amy’s Experience

Alyson Jurcenko

Ohio State University

Read about Alyson’s Experience

Nicole Dawson

University of Akron

Read about Nicole’s Experience

Annie Cleary

Miami University

Read about Annie’s Experience

I am an Assistant Professor of Social Work at The Ohio State University. I am committed to understanding the strengths and challenges of grandfamilies in order to create and deliver interventions that encourage self-care, communication, and empowerment.

My research focuses on building resilience in grandfamilies. I have worked with grandfamilies for over 13 years through community service and research. In this time, I have studied influences of culture on the experiences of grandparents; the relation between grandparents & social network and their resilience; I have conducted an environmental scan; helped create, implement, and evaluate the GRANDcares Project (GC) and expanded the GC intervention, which is currently being implemented in Franklin County, OH. The GC is a strengths-based intervention designed to provide education, support, and mentorship to grandfamilies and service providers. It includes three components; a grandparent caregiver component, a youth component for children who are being raised by grandparents and are between the ages of 9-12, and webinars for service providers. The expanded GC program is called GRANDcares Plus (GC+) and includes the original GC curriculum plus two educational workshops. The workshops provide educational information to grandfamilies (both grandparents and grandchildren) about opioids and trauma. These workshops were incorporated into the intervention to meet the specific preferences of grandfamilies in central Ohio. The current project builds logically on to this work. In addition to intervention research, I have built strong relationships with many community members (i.e., grandparents raising grandchildren and service providers).

Ken Wilson has 30 years of experience working in senior services. He has worked at Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio since 1994 where he is Vice President of Program and Business Operations.

He is responsible for a $102 Million budget delivering an array of services to over 30,000 seniors that enable them to remain independent at home. He administers 4 senior service levy programs, and has led more than 15 successful campaigns to raise local funding for home and community based services. Ken works with regional health systems to support smooth and safe transitions of care from hospital and nursing home back to home. Ken is experienced with public policy advocacy work at the local, State and Federal levels. He is an adjunct instructor at Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center. He volunteers his time for a variety of community organizations including as Board member for the Hamilton County Board of Developmental Disability Services, and the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education.

He received his Masters degree in Gerontological Studies from the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University. Ken is a recipient of the W. Fred Cottrell Distinguished Alumni Award from the Miami University Scripps Gerontology Center.

Harvey L. Sterns, PhD, Serves as Chair City of Akron Commission on Aging and Co-Chair of Age Friendly Akron/Summit County.

He was in the Transition After Retirement Program, and is professor emeritus of psychology and director emeritus and life fellow of the Institute for Life-Span Development and Gerontology at The University of Akron. He is research professor of gerontology in Family and Community Medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University. He has been a faculty member in both the Psychology of Adult Development and Aging and Industrial/Organizational Psychology graduate programs, and chaired the specialization in Industrial Gerontological Psychology.

He has published extensively on cognitive intervention, work and retirement, career development, training and retraining, and self-management of career and retirement. He is a licensed psychologist in Ohio and is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, and Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. He has served as president of Division 20 Adult Development and Aging of the American Psychological Association, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and Sigma Phi Omega National Academic and Professional Society in Gerontology. He is a past board of trustees member of the American Society on Aging. Sterns was inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame in 2014. He is the author of over 120 journal articles and book chapters.

Vivian J. Miller, PhD, MSSA, LSW is Assistant Professor in Social Work at Bowling Green State University and Licensed Social Worker (LSW).

Additionally, Vivian currently serves as Director of the Optimal Aging Institute (OAI). Vivian has practice experience working with older adults across the care continuum. Vivian’s research extrapolates on her practice experience with a focus in gerontology and social work across three areas:  (1) various factors that facilitate social connection among older adults, such as technology and transportation, (2) social work and social policy to promote the well-being of vulnerable, marginalized older adults (e.g., residents of nursing homes, caregivers, low-income older adults, racially and ethnically diverse older adults), and (3) gerontological- social work education.

Jennifer Westfall, Aging and Disability Director for Buckeye Hills Regional Council (BHRC), a designated Area Agency on Aging for Region 8 in southeast Ohio, is a graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor's in Community Health and holds a Master's in Public Health from Southern New Hampshire University.

Through its home and community-based programs, BHRC's division of Aging serves more than 5,000 older southeast Ohioans annually.  Jennifer serves on the board of the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education as a representative of rural Ohio and serves as Secretary on the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging Executive Board. In her role at Buckeye Hills Regional Council, Jennifer advocates for legislation and home and community-based services that support the well-being of individuals in Southeast Ohio. Jennifer resides in Marietta with her husband Brian and son Camden.

Jennifer Carlson serves as the Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Aging.

In this role, she drives the development of innovative policy and programs to improve the health, wellness, and safety of older Ohioans. Carlson also serves as chief advisor to the department's director, Ursel J. McElroy. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Carlson has over 30 years of experience in government relations, health policy development and advocacy for Ohioans.

Marc Molea retired from the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) in 2019.

At ODA he served as Chief of the Older Americans Act Programs and Strategic Partnerships Divisions for 24 years. Prior to coming to ODA, he held various planning and economic development positions in Ohio.

Currently he serves on various the boards, councils and committees, including Board Chair for Prevent Blindness, Ohio Affiliate, Advisory Committee Member for National Center for Vision and Population Health, Dean’s Advisory Committee for Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Profession, and Emeritus Board Member for Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education.

He has Bachelors of Business Administration and Masters of Health Administration from Ohio University, and a Masters of City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

He is recipient of the Soar Award, VANTAGE Aging (2019); Lifetime Achievement Award, Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education (2018); Charles B. Jenkins Legacy Award, Employment for Seniors (2017); and Muriel Bertsch Award, Ohio Association of Senior Centers (2013). He was an Ohio delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.

Raymond C. Matura, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, University of Rio Grande and Board Emeritus of OAGE.

Doctorate from University of Florida. One of two remaining Board members who were founders, with Dr. Harvey L. Sterns, of OAGE predecessor organization ONECA. Research interests are: Gerontological Policy, Political Gerontology, Family Issues, and History of the Field. Former office holder in OAGE and ONECA.

Morgan Minyo is a PhD candidate in Adult Development and Aging at Cleveland State University.

Morgan’s research focuses on understanding and identifying unmet needs and support services for vulnerable aging populations as well as the development and testing of evidence-based programs. Along with her position as a PhD candidate, Morgan is a Research Analyst and Applied Aging Research Fellow in the Center for Research and Education at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.

Amanda MacNeil is a 5th year Ph.D. Candidate in Adult Development and Aging at Cleveland State University.

Amanda's research focuses on the connection between various aspects of the illness experience of dementia and well-being outcomes to bolster the ability to live well. Through teaching, research, and advocacy, Amanda is passionate about serving the community of older adults and their caregivers.

Dabney K. Conwell is the Vice President and Executive Director of Rose Centers for Aging Well at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.

She is responsible for the oversight of all nutrition and socialization programs within seven senior centers and four home delivered meals programs. To address food insecurity and social isolation amongst older adults living with chronic diseases Ms. Conwell designed Cuyahoga County’s first medically tailored meals program.

Dr. Van Dussen holds a master's degree in sociology with a focus on aging and medical sociology from the University of Akron.

He also holds a PhD in Gerontology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a focus on health, medical, and policy aspects of gerontology. His research foci include attitudes and knowledge of hospice and end of life care, predictors of recovery from fractures, and aging related work force issues. He is the Frank and "Nugie" DePizzo Endowed Chair of Gerontology and leads the master of health and human services and long-term care administration program at Youngstown State University.

Dr. Victoria Steiner is an Associate Professor in the Public Health and Health Education Programs, as well as the Administrative Director for the Center for Successful Aging, at the University of Toledo.

She did her graduate work in Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University with a focus on adult development and aging. Dr. Steiner is interested in how individuals cope with the challenges they encounter in their lives as they age, including functional decline, chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and stroke, and caregiving.

Judge Robert N. Rusu, Jr. is the 20th Probate Judge of Mahoning County.

He was appointed as the Mahoning County Probate Judge by Governor Kasich on July 8, 2014 and won election to the bench in the November 2014 general election. Judge Rusu brings more than 27 years of Probate experience to the bench. Prior to becoming the judge, he practiced exclusively in the area of Probate Administrations, Guardianships, Estate Planning, Medicaid, and issues regarding aging.

Judge Rusu is very active in his community. Judge Rusu has served on the “Alzheimer’s Assistance and Referral Network”, the “Mahoning Valley Campfire Council” and past president of the “Canfield Baseball Club” and in 2018 was awarded the “Practitioner of the Year Award” by the Ohio Association of Gerontology & Education. In addition, Judge Rusu is also active as an executive officer with the Ohio Probate Judges Association.

Meredith Pitt is an assistant professor at The University of Findlay, teaching all courses within the gerontology minor/certificate program.

Meredith is a licensed social worker in the state of Ohio, focusing her attention on the field of behavioral health. Meredith has three children, is married to her husband, Patrick, and lives in Findlay, Ohio with her two corgis and chihuahua.

Richard Meeker MSW, LISW-S is currently employed at Area Agency on Aging as a Community Living Supervisor where he supervises the Adult Protective Services program.

He also works part time in private practice in partnership with Mindful Life in Action as a Mental Health Therapist. Richard earned a Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of Akron and earned a Bachelors Degree of Science from Ashland University.

Chih-ling (Ling) Liou is an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Kent State University.

Dr. Liou’s research interests are aligned with two primary lines of inquiry: (1) community services for older adults and (2) aging attitudes among college students. She has been conducting and publishing research related to adult day service (ADS), one of the community-based services for people with dementia. In addition to ADS, she is interested in understanding college students’ attitudes on aging in order to attract and equip them to serve the growing population of aged individuals.

Jessica Krok-Schoen is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Health Sciences, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at The Ohio State University's College of Medicine.

Dr. Krok-Schoen's research focuses on geriatric oncology, cancer survivorship, symptom management, and behavioral interventions among diverse, older adults. She has been a proud member of OAGE since 2017.

Dr. Katherine S. Judge is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Adult Development and Aging Doctoral Program in the Psychology Department at Cleveland State University.

She also is an Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Education and Research at Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging. Dr. Judge's program of research focuses on: understanding the illness experience associated with cognitive impairment; developing, implementing, and testing non-pharmacological interventions for individuals with dementia, stroke, and traumatic brain injury and their caregivers; and translating evidence-based intervention and research protocols to fit within existing health care and social service organizations. Dr. Judge teaches a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses, including Introduction to Psychology, Memory and Cognition, Health Psychology, Mental Health and Aging, Dementia and Caregiving, and Psychology of Aging.

Shannon E. Jarrott, Ph.D. is a professor of social work at The Ohio State University.

She specializes in community-based services, therapeutic programming, and research strategies involving older adults with diverse abilities. Current research focuses on intergenerational community building strategies, for which she has received federal funding.

Since 2016, Salli has been the Executive Director of MemoryLane Care Services, a non-profit organization providing respite and supportive services to families caregiving for older adults and individuals living with memory impairment.

Salli holds a master’s degree in Social Work and a Certificate in Aging from the University of Michigan and bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Toledo. She has practiced as a social worker in long term care, hospital, mental health and community- based settings. Salli has experience delivering respite care services, implementing and evaluating evidence-based programs, serving in leadership roles in non-profit organizations and as an advocate for caregivers and older adults. She has attended ASA previously.

As Chief Executive Officer of Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging (WRAAA), Dr. E. Douglas Beach has empirical leadership experience and expertise at the federal, state, and local levels.

Nurtured in an agrarian environment it naturally followed Dr. Beach would pursue a doctorate in agricultural economics. From North Carolina State University’s campus culture, Dr. Beach returned to Ohio to care for his ailing father; a situation that elicited a newfound passion in a curiously, opposite career discipline: the senior population.

Dr. Beach had years’ experience advocating for seniors as Ohio Department of Aging's Deputy Director of Programs, when Congressman David L. Hobson (R-OH) engaged him as staff economist to draft major, long-term care insurance legislation. In September of 1999 Dr. Beach became CEO of the Senior Resource Alliance, Florida's most prominent and industrious area agency on aging, prospering the Orlando-based organization's budget from $16 to $25 million. The Senior Resource Alliance became Florida's first Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) and was simultaneously honored as one of the nation's top 10 Information & Referral Systems (IR&S). Opportunity knocked on the door in February 2007 when Governor Charlie Crist tapped Dr. Beach to be Secretary of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. Although rough economic times ensued, the Department's budget matched in equal measure to meet Florida senior citizens community and healthcare needs.

In June 2021 Dr. Beach took the helm of Florida’s premier aging provider, the Council on Aging of Volusia County (COA), providing its consumers with traditional Older Americans Act (OAA) services while emphasizing private pay and in-home Medicare services. The Fall of 2014 rounded this illustrious, performance history with CEO acceptance to Ohio’s WRAAA, largest of the state’s 12 area agencies on aging. Dr. Beach’s incisive business acumen, extensive leadership, and in-grained respect for older adults attest to WRAAA’s transformation of an agency on the edge to Ohio’s largest, minority-dominated Area Agency on Aging.

Tiffany F. Hughes, PhD, MPH is Associate Professor at Youngstown State University.

She enjoys teaching and researching ways that older adults can maintain brain health and well-being through an active and engaged lifestyle. In addition, she is interested in intergenerational programs that can increase college student interest in working with the aging population. Her work is funded and supported by academic/NIA and community collaborations.

Joseph Rossi has been Chief Executive Officer of Direction Home of Eastern Ohio, Inc. (DHEO) serving Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull County since 2010.

Mr. Rossi holds a bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University and a master’s degree from The Ohio State University. Mr. Rossi lives in Salem, Ohio with his wife Susan and daughter, Alexis. His wife Susan has a PhD in Higher Education Administration and is an Assistant Dean at Kent State University (Columbiana County). His daughter, Alexis is a junior at Loyola University Chicago studying Biology/Pre-Med.

Jennifer Kinney, PhD, is a Professor of Gerontology in the Department of Sociology and Gerontology and a Research Fellow with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University.

Her primary research interests are gerontological pedagogy and how to foster quality of life among people living with dementia. She has taught undergraduate and graduate gerontology courses for over 30 years. Recent course offerings include perspectives in gerontology and a course on gerontological writing for masters and doctoral students.

Kate de Medeiros, PhD., is the O'Toole Family Professor of Gerontology at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

She is the author or co-author of over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, four books, and numerous book chapters. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of aging with a special focus on the topics of ageism, living alone, and dementia.