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UM School of Applied Sciences Debuts New Gerontology Degree

Story contributed by Annie Mapp and Julia Blake Anderson

Teresa Carithers, interim dean for the School of Applied Sciences and Professor of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, recently announced Ole Miss students have the chance to complete a major or minor in applied gerontology.

Gerontology is the study of the aging processes and individuals as they grow from middle age through later life, according to the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

With this program, students have the opportunity to specialize in eldercare or prepare for a job in the healthcare field.

Carithers, creator and director of the program, thinks this unique program gives students a competitive edge when they enter the workforce.

“Individuals that graduate from the university will be, in a decade, serving a larger portion of older adults,” she said. “The School of Applied Sciences saw that and began to research nationally what was needed and felt that this foundational degree in applied gerontology would meet the need.”

Carithers said this program will hopefully bring in a variety of students.

“We feel this will attract individuals that are wanting to be in the workforce, but also are going to be preparing leaders to provide leadership in policy and leadership in innovation in this industry,” she said.

The School of Applied Sciences only just opened admission to the program starting in July. Since then, Ole Miss junior Clark Ross is the only student to declare applied gerontology as his major.

Ross’s interest in the gerontology program came about when his grandpa was battling cancer.

“Hospice care had to come in and help him be comfortable in his last few days,” said Ross. “I was like, I like what these people are doing, maybe I want to do this. I know I want to help people when I’m out of college.”

Students interested in finding out more about the program will need to go to the School of Applied Sciences which is found in the George Street House next to the J.D. Williams Library, or view their website.

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