Congratulations to the 2014 awardees of the Ashley Brooks-Danso Memorial Fund’s Student Travel Scholarships! These students will receive $500 for travel expenses and complimentary registration to attend the 2014 CSWE Annual Program Meeting and its Gero-Ed Track events in Tampa, Florida from October 23–26, 2014.
Charlie Bouverette, BSW, Ferris State University
Charlie's interest in older adults was piqued at a young age when she began volunteering at a nursing home where her mother worked at the age of seven. At only age 10, she noticed and reported signs of elder abuse at the nursing home. Charlie was the only student from her university to volunteer for a gerontological academic service learning placement at a homeless shelter in San Salvador. She is set to begin an intensive senior field placement working in a hospice setting in an underserved rural community in northern Michigan. Charlie would like to learn more about elder abuse, death and dying issues, biomedical ethics, and spiritual services at the 2014 APM Gero-Ed Track. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work upon completion of her BSW degree.
Kathryn Fox, MSW, University of Albany SUNY
Kathryn developed an interest in working with older adults after she began supporting a family member with dementia. She then created a fly-fishing program for older breast cancer survivors. Her commitment to working with older adults was cemented through her first field placement at a nursing home for veterans. Kathryn was accepted into the competitive Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education for her second field placement, during which she will be assisting older adults with substance abuse issues. By participating in the 2014 Gero-Ed Track, she hopes to learn more about how to support older veterans as well as how to build community support for the aging in place initiatives, since her home state of Vermont has the highest median age in the country.
Olaide Wolfe, MSW, University of Alaska, Anchorage
Working with older adults felt like a natural fit for Olaide, since she grew up in a communal society in Nigeria where showing respect for elders is the norm. In 2006 she created a personal care agency, which provides services to help elders. Many of her clients do not have any close relatives and rely heavily on her support. Olaide finds satisfaction in supporting elders’ rights to self-determination and to age in place whenever possible. As an MSW student, she completed a qualitative study of the perceived challenges and rewards of direct caregivers of residents in assisted living communities. By attending the 2014 APM Gero-Ed Track, Olaide hopes to connect with others in the field, apply what she learns to improve the lives of older adults in her community, and share this knowledge with other local professionals.
Todd Crawford, BSW, Southern University at New Orleans
While working in customer service, Todd volunteered in numerous programs serving at-risk youth, older adults, and individuals suffering with mental illness and substance abuse. In 2010 he began pursuing a BSW. Todd felt that he had been a “social worker” all his life, but through his education, he learned the skills necessary to truly help others. After receiving his BSW, he planned to pursue an MSW with a concentration in gerontology.
“Having the opportunity to attend the CSWE was both an educational and motivating experience. The CSWE Gero-Ed Center staff were overwhelmingly helpful as I maneuvered my way into so many informational seminars. If I had one statement to say about the entire seminar it would be,'Thank you for an experience I will never forget.'"
Blair Karp, MSW, St. Louis University
Through her BSW field placement, Blair worked with older adults in a care management program. After graduating she volunteered at a hospice and worked in a skilled nursing facility. She received a certificate in gerontology with a concentration in health and mental health in her MSW program. A persuasive advocate for aging issues, she strived to excite this interest in her fellow students.
“Attending the 2012 CSWE APM and knowing that 2,300 social workers came together to share ideas and create change inspired me. I had the opportunity to connect with colleagues, make new contacts, and catch up with old acquaintances. The Gero-Ed Track allowed me to see fellow social workers’ dedication to gerontology and provided me with knowledge to apply in my practice and community.”
Jennifer McCullough, MSW, Hood College
Jennifer’s grandmother, her role model, inspired her to pursue a career in aging. She volunteered at a nursing and rehabilitation center and eventually conducted her field placement there where she led groups, conducted assessments, and visited bed-bound residents. She also helped organize a Day of Caring for older adults and people with disabilities with her local United Way chapter.
“I truly enjoyed the multitude of opportunities that were made available to me at the APM through the Ashley Brooks-Danso Fund Student Travel Scholarship. I was able to bring back new information and make connections that will help me as I pursue my degree in social work.”
Megan McDonough, BSW, Michigan State University
Meghan’s interest in gerontological social work began in high school when she served as a dietary aide in a local retirement community and found that she valued her daily interactions with older adults. During her BSW program, she further pursued this interest by volunteering at an adult day center and conducting her field placement at a medical and rehabilitation center.
“Attending the CSWE APM was a wonderful educational and personal experience, and one that I never thought I would have as an undergraduate! It was so rewarding to have the opportunity to be surrounded by ground-breaking news and research in the social work field. I am so grateful for the opportunity given to me by CSWE.”