College of Arts and Sciences experience sparks student’s passion for gerontology career

March 05, 2024

Carly Stempel smiling

Pursuing a gerontology career is the next step for Carly Stempel ’24, who discovered her passion for the profession through her Quinnipiac College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) student experience.

“The elderly are a generation that I’m really interested in helping,” said Stempel. “I hope to be working within memory care, because it’s a lot more rewarding to help those who can’t necessarily help themselves.”

Currently, Stempel is applying skills learned at Quinnipiac in her internship with Atria Larson Place in Hamden, Connecticut, where she has been working with people with dementia.

“It’s definitely been eye-opening to see in-person a lot of the things, like rates and patterns, that we talked about in class,” said Stempel. “I’m also learning a lot from the seniors, which I love.”

The work of gerontology deals with many issues facing the growing population of older adults. Professionals apply sociological and scientific knowledge, interpersonal skills, and public resources to improve the quality of life and security of the elderly.

Stempel’s internship experience has been underway since August.

“It's all very exciting, especially now that a lot of the residents remember me when I come in, get excited about the activities I plan, and more. It just warms my heart that I can make them excited for something,” she said.

Due to interest residents have expressed in technology-based activities introduced by Stempel during her internship, she will craft her senior thesis on how the use of these activities in senior care facilities influences the well-being of people with dementia.

“I think that it is something worth looking into, since a technology-driven world is where we are headed, and there are so many benefits that people just don't know about,” said Stempel.

Stempel’s internship experience aligns with Quinnipiac’s Age-Friendly University (AFU) Global Network status. As an AFU, Quinnipiac embraces the principles of age-friendliness and is committed to upholding equity and inclusion across their programs and policies.

Quinnipiac’s Director of Gerontology and sociology professor Catherine Solomon is a founding member of the AFU steering committee. Stempel credits taking College of Arts and Sciences classes with Solomon with inspiring her decision to transition to gerontology from her previous path as a diagnostic medical sonography major.

“I really loved what we were learning in Professor Solomon’s classes,” Stempel said “In high school, I volunteered to assist with a program for adults with disabilities, and her classes made me realize how much I loved the opportunity to make connections and bring change and positivity to the elderly population.”

Stempel recommends other undergraduates with an interest in working with seniors check out Quinnipiac’s gerontology program offerings, or attend events such as those offered by the university’s Committee on Age Inclusivity.

On February 29, Stempel attended the committee’s event which brought world renowned thought leader and researcher Becca R. Levy, PhD, to the North Haven Campus. Levy discussed her best-selling book "Breaking the Age Code: How Your Age Beliefs Determine How Long and Well You Live."

“It never hurts to put yourself out there and try new things, because you never know what you might like. Be more aware of what your campus can offer you,” Stempel advised. “The aging population is also a huge population. So I think, in general, it’s really important to pay attention in your classes about the struggles of older individuals, and how that’s going to affect the future of the careers we’re going to be working in like the healthcare system.”

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now