Highlands College Gerontology and Education Students Present Research at the Student Two-Year College Research Day

Highlands College students studying gerontology and education will present their research at the Student Two-Year College Research Day in Helena on Friday, April 8th. The students’ research involved interviewing seniors living in the independent and assisted living center, The Springs, to learn about the their lived experiences relating to change, ageism, limitations, discovery, reflections, and learning.  Fourteen students conducted interviews and learned much from their senior interviewees in regard to the strength, wisdom, and determination necessary for healthy aging.

The student gerontology research project was titled, Perceptions Living in an Independent / Assisted Living Retirement Community:  Reminiscing, Change, Ageism, Limitations, and Discovery.  “The purpose of the gerontology research was to understand seniors’ lived experiences while considering reminiscing, change, ageism, limitations, and discovery,” said Dr. Elyse Lovell, Highlands College faculty and sponsor of the research. There were ten student researchers on this project: Chelsi J. Baker, Kara M. Cevera, Michelle Davis, Natasha Gomez, Shayna D. Lamping, Janna R. Marjamaa, Alison S. Mendoza, Suzanne I. Nalivka, Anna J. Rainville, Jessica R. Thompson. 

The Education research project was titled, Reflections of Education and Learning Among Independent and Assisted Living Retirees.  “The purpose of the study in education was to understand seniors’ perspectives about their education as they reflected about their past and present,” said Dr. Lovell. There were four student-researchers on this project: Rory Hosking, Janna Marjamaa, Jessica Elliott, and Alexus Scott.

Students interviewed the seniors and through candid reflection involving tears, anger, laughter, and joy, the students got a greater understanding of the seniors’ lived experiences.

“I believe research involving our senior citizens is a largely untapped area of research,” said Dr. John M. Garic, Dean of Highlands College. “Our senior citizens have lived amazing lives and had incredible life experiences that deserve to be studied and shared for the benefit of the generations that come behind them. This was really good work by our Highlands students.”

For any further information about this issue or, please contact Dr. Elyse Lovell at 406-496-3687 or Dr. John M. Garic at 406-496-3714.