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Record number receive gerontology minor


Corinna Loeckenhoff and graduating gerontology minor student Sylvia Lee with a research poster Sylvia is presenting

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

A record number of students will be graduating this year with a minor in gerontology from the College of Human Ecology. Twenty-four students are on track to complete the minor requirements, said associate professor Corinna Loeckenhoff, director of the program. The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research administers the gerontology minor program.

The College launched its gerontology minor in 2010 to offer students a grounding in the issues connected to an aging population. The curriculum offers a choice of more than 20 courses in a wide range of disciplines including design, psychology, human development, policy, and nutrition – all with an eye on the needs of older adults. Students from any major at Cornell University who complete the 12 required credits can earn the undergraduate gerontology minor.

“The population is rapidly aging all over the world, but especially in the U.S. Not only are Americans living longer and getting older, but older adults in the U.S. are changing,” Loeckenhoff said. The U.S. population has become more diverse in recent decades, and now the population of older adults is becoming more diverse as well.

“We need to prepare students to work in this environment,” she said. “The minor is relevant to students pursuing a wide range of careers because everyone will need to serve old adults – people who design cars, people who work in hotels, people who plan to work in the health care industry, trial lawyers who will have to consider the court testimony of older adults. In all areas of life, the greater proportion of older adults will need to be addressed.”

The minor program offers students opportunities to become involved in research projects with faculty in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, work as teaching assistants in gerontology courses, and apply for an experiential learning opportunity in Ithaca, New York City, or Washington D.C.

Before the minor was officially established, the College offered a gerontology certificate, but the minor is more meaningful because it documents the students’ experience in gerontology on their official transcript, Loeckenhoff said.

Students who are interested in gerontology often take related classes without realizing they could be pursing a minor, Loeckenhoff said.

“We want students who are interested in gerontology to learn more about our program and consider how a minor could help them in the future,” she said.

The science of successful aging


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

What’s the secret to successful aging?  That’s the question two BCTR researchers took on at a panel discussion “The Science of Successful Aging” at the 2017 International Convention on Psychological Science, where thousands of researchers from more than 70 countries gathered to share research findings and techniques.

Corinna Loeckenhoff

BCTR faculty affiliate Corinna Lockenhoff, associate professor of human development, chaired the panel. She began by discussing the idea of “successful aging,” which today often means thriving socially and intellectually in older adulthood.

“The concept may not generalize across cultures,” she said. “But one clear benefit of this new perspective on aging is that it encourages renewed focus on the processes that contribute to positive age-related outcomes.”

Lockenhoff said the panel sparked an interesting conversation because researchers approached the concept of successful aging from different vantage points.

Flat Buckley Box Walking Patent Women's Cradles Lizard Black Calf Black “The presenters each highlighted a different approach to promote successful aging – from cardiovascular and strength training to cognitive and social engagement,” she said. “Ideally we should design interventions that integrate multiple aspects into one program.

“The audience in the symposium was composed of top researchers from around the world and it was fascinating to hear their ideas for realizing such programs within different cultural contexts,” she said.

Karl Pillemer

During the panel, BCTR director Karl Pillemer presented his work about aging adults' need to engage in meaningful activities.

Social isolation is a major problem later if life, Pillemer said. That’s because as older adults start to experience losses due to divorce, death, and geographical mobility, they also tend to transition out of full-time employment. This transition often results in older adults losing the sense of purpose that comes with full-time work.

Pillemer and BCTR colleagues have been evaluating an intervention program called Retirees in Service to the Environment, or RISE, to help aging adults regain their sense of purpose. RISE engages retirees in volunteer positions around environmental issues. RISE participants receive training about environmental topics and how to apply their skills in a volunteer capacity. Then, participants each build and implement an environmental stewardship project.

In studies of RISE, adults who participate reported an increased sense that they were contributing to the next generation and an improved sense of social integration.

“We really have no alternative other than to address these issues,” Pillemer said. “We can’t promote successful aging, based on what we know, without also engaging in the promotion of social integration.”

Other participants in the panel were Teresa Liu-Ambrose from Department of Physical Therapy at The University of British Columbia; Monica Fabiani in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Denise C. Park from The Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas at Dallas.

At the same conference, Lockenhoff led a workshop called “Age Differences in Time Perception: Translating Findings from Lab to Life,” which provided an overview of age-related shifts in different aspects of time perception and offered examples of how such concepts can be studied along the translational continuum.

Related:

Connecting Retirees to Conservation

Climate Change and Vulnerable Populations

"Aging is not Dying" - podcast episode with Corinna Loeckenhoff

Loeckenhoff reaps early-career award in gerontology

Matthew Avila awarded Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship


Matthew Avila

Walking Black Calf Black Flat Patent Buckley Women's Box Lizard Cradles By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Matthew Avila, a senior in the Department of Human Development, will receive this year’s Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship for students interested in pursuing a career in gerontology. The scholarship was established by an anonymous Cornell alumnus living at Kendal of Ithaca, a continuing care retirement community located a mile from the Cornell campus.

Avila is working towards a gerontology minor as part of his bachelor’s degree, and plans to pursue a career researching the relationship between aging and disease.

Patent Buckley Lizard Cradles Black Women's Flat Box Walking Black Calf “I want to explore the idea that growing old and disease are two separate constructs,” Avila said. “In other words, I will use the knowledge I gained from gerontology to fight against the stigma of aging, reduce age-related bias in my research, make accurate conclusions about the aging population, and produce good science.”

Corinna Loeckenhoff, the director of Cornell’s Gerontology Minor Program as well as Avila’s honors thesis advisor, commented, “What impressed the jurors about Matthew’s application is his continuous engagement with gerontology across multiple areas ranging from formal classwork to research and volunteering.”

At Cornell, Avila is involved with the Alzheimer’s Help and Awareness Club, a team of students dedicated to raising public awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and supporting Alzheimer’s patients.

And last summer, he was a research assistant at Duke University’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, where he worked on a brain-imaging study to examine how older adults who suffer from depression regulate their emotions.

“This experience provided me with the opportunity to learn how to do research in older populations as it relates to mental health and emotion regulation, and develop my skill set for research design,” he said.

This is the 17th year of the Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship. The donor, who built a career in the corporate world after graduating from Cornell in the 1940’s, first learned about gerontology work at  Cornell by participating in a study about the transition to living in a retirement community.

The donor’s goal was to build a lasting link between Kendal at Ithaca and Cornell so that “more students have a chance to learn about the colorful, interesting lives and careers of retirees, and more residents have an opportunity to better understand students of today – their hopes, thoughts, and dreams.”

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Gerontological Society selects experts on aging as fellows

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By Tyler Alicea ‘16, MPS ‘17 for the College of Human Ecology tumblr

Wethington and Loeckenhoff

For their work on aging, two College of Human Ecology faculty members have been named fellows for the Gerontological Society of America.

On Ballerina 0 Crossing Shoes Flat Slip Classic White Straps Women's Flat 0 Elastic Ankle with Flats Ballet Loafers Yoga 5gqx7aw6B, associate professor of human development and associate professor of gerontology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC), and Elaine Wethington, professor of human development and of sociology and professor of gerontology in geriatrics at WCMC, were two of 94 professionals named on May 31 to the society, which is the largest of its kind seeking to understand aging in the United States.

As fellows, Loeckenhoff and Wethington are being recognized for their “outstanding and continuing work in gerontology,” specifically in the behavioral and social sciences section of the society.

Loeckenhoff, who directs the Laboratory for Healthy Aging and oversees Cornell’s gerontology minor, researches various topics related to health, personality, and emotions across the lifespan. She has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses on the various aspects of adult development and healthy aging.

Wethington, director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Human Development and associate director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, focuses on stress and how outside factors can affect one’s physical and mental health.

The society will formally recognize Loeckenhoff, Wethington, and its other new fellows at its 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans this November.

Gerontological Society selects experts on aging as fellows - College of Human Ecology tumblr

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New podcast episodes with Turner, Loeckenhoff, and Burrow


The BCTR's Doing Translational Research podcast engages researchers and practitioners in conversation about their work, and how they are involved in translational research. Our latest three episodes feature Andy Turner, Corinna Loeckenhoff, and Anthony Burrow.

In episode 3, BCTR director Karl Pillemer speaks with NY State 4-H leader Andy Turner about 4-H/Cornell connections and changes he sees that will keep 4-H at the forefront of youth development programming.

Next for episode 4 Karl talks with Corinna Loeckenhoff (associate professor of Human Development and director of the Laboratory for Healthy Aging at Cornell and associate professor of Gerontology in Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College) about her research on aging and its effects on emotional and mental health.

And, in the latest podcast, episode 5, the discussion is with Anthony Burrow (assistant professor of Human Development, director of the Purpose and Identity Processes Lab, and co-director of the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE) at Cornell) about the importance of purpose in the lives of young people and the ways that we can encourage youth connection to purpose for their own benefit.

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New Book: “Emotion, Aging, and Health”


Although older adults face significant health challenges, they tend to have better emotion regulation skills than younger or middle-age adults. Why is this so? And how might we use this knowledge to promote better health and well-being in adulthood and later life?

The newest book in the Bronfenbrenner Series on the Ecology of Human Development, Emotion, Aging, and Health (American Psychological Association), explores the reciprocal relations between aging and emotion, as well as applications for promoting mental and physical health across the lifespan. The authors discuss the neural and cognitive mechanisms behind age-related shifts in affective experience and processing.

In addition to presenting emotion regulation strategies for offsetting age-related declines in mental and physical functioning, the book examines the role of culture and motivation in shaping emotional experience across the lifespan, as well as the factors defining boundary conditions between human illness and human flourishing in old age.

By highlighting these major advances in interdisciplinary research, the authors suggest promising avenues for intervention.

The work presented in Emotion, Aging, and Health, edited by Anthony Ong and On Ballerina 0 Crossing Shoes Flat Slip Classic White Straps Women's Flat 0 Elastic Ankle with Flats Ballet Loafers Yoga 5gqx7aw6B, is drawn from presentations made at the Fourth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference.

Anthony Ong and Corinna Loeckenoff at the 2013 Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference.

The book's chapter co-authors include the co-editors and conference organizers Corinna Loeckenhoff and Anthony Ong along with Emily D. Bastarache, Julia K. Boehm, George A. Bonanno, Charles L. Burton, Susan T. Charles, Carmen Écija Gallardo, Frank J. Infurna, Derek M. Isaacowitz, Laura D. Kubzansky, Kate A. Leger, Kimberly M. Livingstone, Gloria Luong, Bruna Martins, Mara Mather, Daniel K. Mroczek, Michaela Riediger, Tamara Sims, Jeanne L. Tsai, Emily J. Urban, Heather L. Urry, Lilian Velasco, Alex J. Zautra, and Eva K. Zautra. The foreword is written by BCTR director Karl Pillemer.

Flat Calf Box Walking Buckley Cradles Women's Black Patent Lizard Black The book is the fourth in the APA's Bronfenbrenner Series on the Ecology of Human Development, each volume in which results from research presented at a Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference. The first three books in the series are:

Chaos and Its Influence on Children's Development: An Ecological Perspective, edited by Gary Evans and Theodore Wach

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The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making, edited by Valerie Reyna, and Vivian Zayas

Video from the Fourth Biennial Urie Bronfenbrenner Conference

Congrats to the 2015-16 Kendal Scholarship awardees


This year the BCTR awarded Kendal at Ithaca Scholarships, recognizing excellent student work in the field of gerontology, to Sylvia Lee, a sophomore in Human Biology, Health, and Society, and Arwah Yaqub, a senior in Near Eastern Studies.

Sylvia Lee

"I am so excited and grateful to receive the scholarship. Whether I become a doctor or a researcher in the future, my dream is to help elders who suffer from chronic pain. Gerontology minor has offered me a new perspective on what my role at Cornell is and can be - I’m reminded that I’m not just a distressed pre-med student, who simply works towards becoming this person in the future, but that I’m given this opportunity to start living out my visions now, here on campus."

Beyond her coursework in gerontology, Sylvia worked in Chunky Platform M B with AmoonyFashion Boots Solid Heels PU High Closed Heels 5 Short US Womens and Toe Plush Round Black HwrqU6H7’s Laboratory of Brain and Cognition in the Department of Human Development throughout her freshmen year. There she focused on analyzing and collecting research participants’ memory and cognitive data by transcribing and conducting analysis on recalled autobiographical memories during fMRI tests. This fall semester, Sylvia began work in On Ballerina 0 Crossing Shoes Flat Slip Classic White Straps Women's Flat 0 Elastic Ankle with Flats Ballet Loafers Yoga 5gqx7aw6B’s Laboratory for Healthy Aging, also in the Department of Human Development.

She recently joined Alzheimer’s Help and Awareness, a student-run organization, and received training to volunteer at Clare Bridge, a Brookdale Senior Living community that serves special-care needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Sylvia specifically has an interest in the study of neurodegenerative diseases and chronic pain in elders. She plans to pursue a career in medicine and research. Her current interest lies mostly in the molecular and neurobiological processes that underlie the causes of chronic pain in elders and how chronic pain is treated, cared for, and managed by healthcare providers and families.

Arwah Yaqub

"The Kendal Scholarship is a gracious opportunity that has helped nurture my passion for gerontology. The kind spirit and vision at the core of this award has been pivotal in helping me integrate other disciplines of study, most of which I initially believed were incongruous with the field. [the donor's] commitment to an education that elucidates the cultural, biological, and economic implications of gerontology, as well as experiential learning, is inspirational, to say the least."

Last year, Arwah served as a volunteer for MEDART, a committee associated with Cornell’s MEDLIFE student chapter. Through this committee, she provided company to residents of Ithaca’s Beechtree Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing. Many of these residents are sensory impaired, her group designed simple, weekly art projects to do with residents. Joining the Alzheimer’s Help and Awareness Club at Cornell also helped fortify Arwah's passion for gerontology.

Arwah joined Corinna Loeckenhoff's Healthy Aging Lab over a year ago. The lab research aims to better understand age differences in social relations, personality traits, and emotional experiences and to unravel the effects of these three factors in health-related behaviors and outcomes.

As an aspiring physician, she believes that an understanding of aging across the lifespan is indispensable to the profession.

The Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship

To foster a closer tie between Cornell and Kendal at Ithaca, the nearby continuing care retirement community, an anonymous Cornell alumnus and Kendal resident established a Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research.

Each year, the Kendal scholarship award goes to an undergraduate or graduate student interested in gerontology. Preference is given to a student who has some hands-on experience and is anticipating a career in the field.

The donor, who built a career in the corporate world after graduating from Cornell in the 1940s, wished to remain anonymous so that the focus of the scholarship is on the Kendal/Cornell connection. The donor pointed out that “creating a closer link between the two generations of Kendal and Cornell means more students have a chance to learn about the colorful, interesting lives and careers of retirees, and more residents have an opportunity to better understand students of today – their hopes, thoughts, and dreams. Greater involvement will be very stimulating for both.”

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Loeckenhoff reaps early-career award in gerontology


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Corinna Loeckenhoff, director of the BCTR's Gerontology Minor and center faculty affiliate, has been recognized by the Gerontological Society of America with the 2014 Margret M. and Paul B. Baltes Foundation Award in Behavioral and Social Gerontology.

Loeckenhoff is an associate professor in the Department of Human Development, where she also serves as director of the Laboratory for Healthy Aging. She has published over 35 refereed journal articles, many in the flagship journals in psychology and aging. Her groundbreaking research revolves around age differences in socioemotional functioning and their implications for health-related decision making and outcomes. Recently she has focused on translating findings from laboratory-based decision-making paradigms to real-world healthcare settings.

She co-organized the 2013 Bronfenbrenner Conference (with Anthony Ong) on New Developments in Aging, Emotion, and Health, which brought together international experts to explore different aspects of issues related to aging and emotions and different approaches of addressing these issues. A book from the conference presentations will be published by the American Psychological Association in 2015.

Löckenhoff Earns GSA’s 2014 Baltes Foundation Award - Gerontological Society of America
Loeckenhoff reaps early career award in gerontology - Cornell Chronicle

BCTR awards the 2012-13 Kendal Scholarship


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Emily Futcher (Policy Analysis & Management, '13) has been awarded the 2012-13 Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship, given yearly to an exceptional undergraduate working towards the gerontology minor.

Emily’s ongoing involvement in the Cornell Healthy Aging Laboratory (headed by On Ballerina 0 Crossing Shoes Flat Slip Classic White Straps Women's Flat 0 Elastic Ankle with Flats Ballet Loafers Yoga 5gqx7aw6B) allowed her to pursue her interests in gerontology and the promotion of well-being among older adults. In Summer 2011, Emily collaborated with masters student Justine Lewis on a research project examining age differences in regret regulation, which is currently being written up for publication. Emily also volunteered at Bridges, a local assisted living facility, and serves as the president of Cornell’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer. In combination, Emily's work in community outreach and research, her commitment to gerontology, and plans for a career in public policy, made her an exemplary candidate for the Kendal Scholarship.

The Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship

To foster a closer tie between Cornell and Kendal at Ithaca, the nearby continuing care retirement community, an anonymous Cornell alumnus and Kendal resident established a Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research housed in the College of Human Ecology.

Each year, the Kendal scholarship award goes to an undergraduate or graduate student interested in gerontology.  Preference is given to a student who has some hands-on experience and is anticipating a career in the field.

The donor, who built a career in the corporate world after graduating from Cornell in the 1940’s, wished to remain anonymous so that the focus of the scholarship is on the Kendal/ Cornell connection.  The donor pointed out that “creating a closer link between the two generations of Kendal and Cornell means more students have a chance to learn about the colorful, interesting lives and careers of retirees, and more residents have an opportunity to better understand students of today – their hopes, thoughts, and dreams.  Greater involvement will be very stimulating for both.”

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