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Manhattan, KS 66506
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Source: Gayle Doll, 785-532-5945, gdoll@k-state.edu
Pronouncer: Doll sounds like "dole"
News release prepared by: Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, 785-532-6415, ebarcomb@k-state.edu

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

K-STATE CENTER ON AGING OPENING CLASSROOM AT MEADOWLARK HILLS RETIREMENT COMMUNITY THAT CONNECTS STUDENTS AND FACULTY WITH RESIDENTS AND STAFF

MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University students who are learning about aging have been taking classes and doing 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 K-State's Center on Aging.

The Kansas State University Learning Center: K-State Center on Aging will open with a Cinco de Mayo-themed open house at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, at Meadowlark Hills, 2121 Meadowlark Road. Several K-State faculty members will speak at 3 p.m.

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.

"It gets to the point where as faculty we are the facilitators, and the residents are the teachers," she said.

The K-State undergraduate researchers will be giving poster presentations of their work at the open house. Topics include nutritional guidelines, body image in older women and video profiles of residents that will be displayed in shadowboxes outside their doors, allowing staff to get acquainted with residents before entering their rooms.

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.

"For many residents, it does change their mind about students," Doll said. "We're hearing them say that the students aren't these crazy, wild things we see portrayed on TV. That's why many of them come back to participate in class."

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

K-State faculty speaking at the open house include Doll; Duane Nellis, K-State provost and senior vice president; Virginia Moxley, dean of the College of Human Ecology; and Stephen Shields, an adjunct faculty member who is president and chief executive officer of Manhattan Retirement Foundation, which owns Meadowlark Hills.

Students presenting their research include:

Kasey Provenzano, senior in nutritional sciences, Derby, presenting on grandparent newsletter project; Andrea Wisbey, senior in family studies and human services, Glasco, presenting on Senior University project.

From Greater Kansas City: Whitney Yocum, senior in family studies and human services, presenting on Meadowlark Hills resource library, and Ashley Vogel, senior in family studies and human services, presenting about life story project at Stoneybrook, both from Olathe; Emilie Miller, senior in chemistry, presenting on older women and body image, Christina Pacheco, senior in sociology, presenting about life story project at Stoneybrook, Sara Powell, senior in biology, presenting on older women and body image, Emily Price, senior in communication sciences and disorders, presenting on the Brain Gym activity, and Ben Ross, senior in biology, presenting on Meadowlark Hills resource library, all from Overland Park.

Nora Gehrke, senior in kinesiology, Herington, presenting on physical activity and quality indicators; Michelle Espinosa, senior in dietetics, Junction City, presenting on Meadowlark Hills nutrition tutorial; Erin Boeckman, senior in family studies and human services, presenting on Biscuits and Bison, an oral history project pertaining to food, and Nathan Johnson, senior in family studies and human services, presenting on Meadowlark Hills resource library, both from Manhattan; Amber Larson, senior in public health nutrition, McPherson, presenting on grandparent newsletter project; Becca Grilliot, senior in interior design, Pretty Prairie, presenting on older women and body image; Brian Haase, senior in social sciences, Salina, presenting about life story project at Stoneybrook; Hannah Kloster, senior in family studies and human services, Smith Center, presenting on older women and body image.

Shelby Griffin, senior in human ecology, Sublette, presenting on diversity in older adults; Jacob Schultz, junior in management, presenting about life story project at Stoneybrook, and Rachel Semjenow, junior in public health nutrition, presenting on grandparent newsletter project, both from Topeka; Tamra Marriott, senior in dietetics, Troy, presenting on Biscuits and Bison, an oral history project pertaining to food; and Katie Coursen, senior in family studies and human services, Waverly, presenting about life story project at Stoneybrook.

From out-of-state: Leah Christopher, senior in kinesiology, North Platte, Neb., presenting on physical activity and quality indicators.