Ohio Scholars in Aging Program provides opportunities, experience for future leaders

COLUMBUS—The Ohio Scholars in Aging Program cultivates future decision-makers and designers of aging services in Ohio. The program engages current college students to ensure that Ohio communities and businesses design and implement solutions that address the issues, opportunities, and impact of an aging population. During the spring semester, ten students participate to help prepare and build a responsive statewide infrastructure for Ohio’s aging population.

“Today’s college students are tomorrow’s policy-makers, advocates, and providers for aging services and supports,” said Ursel J. McElroy, director of the Ohio Department of Aging. “These scholars will become leaders in a variety of fields that contribute to innovation.”

Thursday the scholars met in Columbus with a panel of legislators from the Ohio House of Representatives Aging and Long-Term Care Committee and the Ohio Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee. Director McElroy moderated the discussion, which provided an overview of the needs of older adults and the role the legislature plays in improving the lives of older Ohioans and their caregivers.

Scholars in Aging encourages students of all disciplines to consider how their work affects Ohio’s aging population. Students participate in unique networking opportunities and learn about the state’s policy-making process. Each student is committed to serving older adults and their caregivers, developing person-centered resources and services, and fostering independence and autonomy throughout the lifespan.

The Spring Semester 2020 Ohio Scholars in Aging are Lynne Azar, of Poland; Susan Booher, of Columbus; Marissa Jackson, of Toledo; Devon Jones, of Dayton; Claire Popovich, of Novelty; Alec Rhodes, of Silver Lake; Rachel Scrivano, of Westerville; Tasneem Shalash, of Hilliard; Madison Williams, of Ironton; and Celeste Ziegler, of Rochester, Pennsylvania.

The Ohio Department of Aging partners with the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education to offer the Ohio Scholars in Aging program. The program is for students who are enrolled in an internship or practicum that involves older adults or their caregivers. Since 2013, more than 100 students, representing 15 Ohio colleges and universities, have participated in the program. The program links students’ hands-on experience to aging-related policy at the state level while providing scholars the opportunity to establish career-long professional contacts and gain valuable career knowledge and skills in the field of aging. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov/ScholarsInAging to learn more.