Gerontology Student Receives Fourth Careers in Aging Award

(L to R) Peggy Morton, Assistant Dean, Field Learning and Community Partnerships; Robin Glazer; and Margaret Woods

The NYU Silver School of Social Work Gerontology Student Collective (GSC) has been awarded a Career in Aging Award for the fourth consecutive year. The group used the grant to fund an on-campus event titled “I Remember Better When I Paint.”

The April 2 event in Hopper Studio featured a screening of a documentary of the same name, focusing on the positive impact of creative therapies on individuals with Alzheimer’s, and how these modalities are changing the perception of the disease. Robin Glazer, director of The Creative Center at University Settlement, gave an informative, thought-provoking presentation highlighting the Center’s work using creative modalities in older adult populations to address issues stemming from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other socialization concerns. Art therapy students representing the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development were also in attendance to lend their support.

GSC was founded in 2011, the same year it first received the Careers in Aging Award. According to GSC member Margaret M. Woods, MSW ’15, “The group aims to highlight the growing need for social workers in the area of gerontology and to provide a meeting place for those who share the passion and desire to work with the older adult population.” While many graduate groups have fallen prey to quick member turnover due to the shorter length of graduate programs, the GSC continues to raise its profile through an active Facebook presence, printed flyers, word of mouth, and the annual Careers in Aging Week programs it helps produce.

The NYU Silver MSW Student Manual states: “The purpose of the GSC is to promote awareness of the increasing need for social workers in the field of gerontology and advocating for better preparation of students to meet the demographic realities of our aging society. The GSC seeks to accomplish this mission by encouraging the infusion of aging content and social work competencies in aging in the core curriculum, advocating for opportunities to specialize in gerontology, supporting the recruitment and retention of faculty experts in aging.”

Beyond educating students about the issues surrounding older adult populations, the GSC seeks to prepare its members for work in the field of gerontology. The field is rapidly growing with the number of older adults living in the United States expected to double by 2030 to roughly 72 million. As Woods stated, “This statistic clearly speaks to the need for compassionate, caring, and dedicated social workers to address the needs of older adults and advocate for their rights.” The GSC has sponsored several past events, like the Careers in Aging Week, that highlight the various job opportunities open to social workers in this field.