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College of Human Ecology

Center on Aging establishes classroom at Meadowlark Hills

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Students who are learning about aging take classes and do research in a most appropriate place -- a local retirement community.

Because of the community's commitment to the university, K-Staters now have their own classroom at Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community in Manhattan.

"This allows students at K-State and all across Kansas to come to Meadowlark Hills to learn about long-term care," said Gayle Doll, who directs  Center on Aging in the College of Human Ecology.

The Kansas State University Learning Center: K-State Center on Aging open last week at Meadowlark Hills, 2121 Meadowlark Road.

The presence of the Center on Aging at Meadowlark Hills achieves several goals, Doll said. One is allowing student interns from various disciplines -- from nutrition to kinesiology to marketing -- to solve problems collectively. K-State faculty are encouraged to use the learning center for research. Doll said it also presents an opportunity to train staff on person-centered care, a foundation of the K-State Center on Aging.

"Having a formal classroom now provides more opportunities for this," she said. "It also may allow former professors living at Meadowlark Hills to create their own learning environment."

But the most exciting facet, Doll said, is teaching classes like Introduction to Gerontology at the retirement community and pairing students with resident mentors for research projects.

Doll said that these types of collaborative research projects and conducting classes on site are connecting students interested in aging with the very people they're learning about. It's also helping K-State students and Meadowlark Hills residents break down stereotypes about one another, she said.

Student research includes:

  • Grandparent newsletter project: Casey Provenzano, senior in nutritional sciences; Rachel Semjenow, junior in public health nutrition; Amber Larson, senior in public health nutrition.
    • Senior University project: Andrea Wisbey, senior in family studies and human services.
    • Meadowlark Hills resource library: Whitney Yocum, senior in family studies and human services; Nathan Johnson, senior in family studies and human services; Ben Ross, senior in biology.
    • Life story project at Stoneybrook: Ashley Vogel, senior in family studies and human services; Brian Haase, senior in social sciences; Jacob Schultz, junior in management; Katie Coursen, senior in family studies and human services; Christina Pacheco, senior in sociology.
      • Older women and body image: Emilie Miller, senior in chemistry; Becca Grilliot, senior in interior design; Hannah Kloster, senior in family studies and human services; Sara Powell, senior in biology.
      • Brain Gym activity: Emily Price, senior in communication sciences and disorders.
      • Physical activity and quality indicators: Nora Gehrke, senior in kinesiology; Leah Christopher, senior in kinesiology.
      • Meadowlark Hills nutrition tutorial: Michelle Espinosa, senior in dietetics.
      • Biscuits and Bison oral food history project: Erin Boeckman, senior in family studies and human service; Tamra Marriott, senior in dietetics.
      • Diversity in older adult: Shelby Griffin, senior in human ecology.

      A grant from the K-State Center for Engagement helped initiate the classroom project.

      Story prepared by K-State Media Relations

      This article was posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2009, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.