“Careers in Aging” Week at Western Oregon University

Monmouth — A Careers in Aging Week will take place Monday, April 8 through Wednesday, April 10 on the Western Oregon University campus in Monmouth. The event is to share opportunities in the field of gerontology, and the activities are free and open to the public.

“Careers in Aging Week provides wonderful opportunities to learn about career, practicum, and volunteer options in gerontology,” said Margaret Manoogian, visiting professor at WOU and Western Oregon University Gerontology Student Association (WOUGSA) advisor. “I expect to see a lot of shared information and plenty of networking opportunities. Western’s Gerontology Student Association members have organized a quality week of activities so I hope to see everyone there!”

Tracy Swartzendruber, one of the student organizers behind Careers in Aging Week and WOUGSA member, added, “Being able to share knowledge learned in the gerontology program with other students is something I value. Helping to plan the Careers in Aging week has given me the opportunity to do that.”

The Careers in Aging Week activities will include the following:

Careers in Aging Professional Panel and Career Fair
April 8, 2 to 4 p.m. in the Pacific Room of Werner University Center
This presentation will include a welcome by Dr. Robert Winningham, chair of the Psychology Division at WOU, followed by a panel of professionals who will discuss employment and volunteer opportunities in the field of gerontology. The panelists will include:

  • Marilyn Daly, director of Center 50+ in Salem (a senior center);

  • Dr. Mark Henkels, professor of public policy and administration (legal issues/ advocating for seniors);

  • Leslie Francis, administrator of Dallas Retirement Village Assisted Living (geriatric nursing);

  • Naomi Tilley, coordinator of communications and fund development for Alzheimer’s Network of Oregon (working with and for AD patients); and

  • Julie Mendez, options counselor at NW Senior & Disability Services (counseling seniors).

In addition to the presentation, other representatives from area organizations and businesses that focus on aging or work with older adults will have tables in the Werner University Center Pacific Room for the purpose of disseminating information and recruiting volunteers.

Finding your Career Fit in Gerontology
April 10, noon, Columbia Room of Werner University Center
Dr. Margaret Manoogian will conduct a career workshop that will help students learn more about their personal fit with potential careers in gerontology. Manoogian was the first director of the Service Learning and Career Development Office at Western Oregon University and teaches full-time in the gerontology program.

Gerontology Social: What’s My Line?
April 10, 1 p.m., Columbia Room of Werner University Center
The Gerontology Student Association is planning a social event that will feature a game of What’s My Line? Members of the club and faculty members will assume a career in the gerontology field and guests will be asked to guess the career by asking indirect questions. Small prizes will be given to contestants who guess correctly. This event will be open to all students on campus and others in the community.

The activities are sponsored by the new Western Oregon University Gerontology Student Association (WOUGSA) and Kappa Eta Omega Chapter of Sigma Phi Omega (pending), with support from the Gerontology Department, local businesses, the WOU Service Learning and Career Development Office, WOU Psychology Division, and the Associated Students of Western Oregon University (ASWOU).

About the gerontology program at WOU

WOU offers the first and only undergraduate gerontology major program in Oregon. The gerontology program has been designed to train students for the skills and expertise necessary to work in a variety of fields, as well as preparing them for programs at the master and doctoral levels. According to Winningham, there are approximately 70 students currently in the program.

Some of those students recognizing the need to study aging include Tracy Swartzendruber and Bonnie Stimler. Stimler is the co-president of the Gerontology Student Association (WOUGSA), along with fellow student Erin Wilson. She is also president of Kappa Eta Omega (KEO), the WOU chapter of Sigma Phi Omega, a national gerontology honor society. Swartzendruber is the secretary-treasurer of both the WOUGSA and KEO, but both student groups are due to the combined efforts of many WOU students. “I have been there every step of the way in creating the WOUGSA,” Swartzendruber said. “This club is an excellent opportunity to bridge the gerontology students with real life experience outside the classroom.”

Swartzendruber and Stimler wrote a grant to fund the Careers in Aging Week, and have helped plan the agenda for this second annual event at WOU. “I’m excited for the Careers in Aging week,” Stimler said. “It is the first event undertaken by the new Gerontology Student Association and Kappa Eta Omega. It’s a large undertaking but the club is willing to make the effort. It’s important for the gerontology students at WOU, present and future, to know and understand what they can do with their degrees in gerontology. We hope the program we have planned will provide that information. Gerontology graduates are going to be important supporters and caretakers of the baby-boomer generation for the next 20 years.”

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Interview contact:
Margaret Manoogian

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