Dr. Dara + " " + Bourassa

Dr. Dara Bourassa

Dr. Dara Bourassa, Associate Professor of Social Work and Gerontology Director
Office: Shippen Hall 325
(717) 477-1969

I received my Bachelors in Social Work and Masters in Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.  I have received my PhD in Social Welfare at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Why did you become interested in older adults?
I think that a lot of my interest stems from not having any grandparents that are alive.  My last grandparent died when I was 23 and I felt like something was missing from my life.  I was working at a suburban hospital in Baltimore, MD at the time, as a social worker, and began noticing and talking more to my older adult patients and family members.  I "fell in love" with older adults during that time.

Why did you decide to become the Gerontology Program Director?
It was an opportunity that I could not say no to!  I am so lucky to have been offered this directorship and I love and honor being a part of the Social Work and Gerontology Department.

Dr. Alison + " " + Carey

Dr. Alison Carey


BA and PhD in Sociology, specializing in Medical Sociology, health and disability studies

Why did you become interested in older adults?
I have a sister with an intellectual disability, which spurred my interest in health and disability. From there, I became increasingly interested in both the impact of disability on people as they age as well as the  impact of aging on people with lifelong or developmental disabilities.

Cynthia + " " + Drenovsky

Cynthia Drenovsky


B.S. in Sociology and Communication from Western Michigan University in 1984
M.A. (1988) and PhD (1990) from Washington State University in Sociology

Why did you become interested in older adults?
I started doing research on aging back in graduate school, and I have always been interested in successful aging and intergenerational relationships within families. I feel that  because our population is aging so rapidly, every responsible social scientist must become aware of the impact of these demographic changes on society.

Dr. Scott + " " + Madey

Dr. Scott Madey

Associate professor of Psychology

Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at San Antonio (1988, summa cum laude) and a Doctor of Philosophy from Cornell University (1993). I have taught at Cornell University and at the University of Toledo. From 1995 to 1998, I held a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. While there, I taught a course on social gerontology and conducted research on stereotyping, health compliance, and attainment of health goals in the aging population.

Why did you become interested in older adults?
My interest in aging arose from what I perceived was a need in social psychology to incorporate all phases of the human lifespan into its theories and models of thought and behavior. The postdoctoral research fellowship allowed me to increase my understanding of how themes in social psychology can interface with themes in aging and life-span development.

Dr. Ben + " " + Meyer

Dr. Ben Meyer

Assistant professor of Exercise Science

B.S. Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota
M.S. Biomechanics, Indiana University
Ph.D. Human Performance, Indiana University

Why did you become interested in older adults?
I teach a free elective course in the Gerontology Minor Program (ESC 200 Lifestyle Management) and one of the topics that is covered is Lifetime Fitness and Wellness. Maintaining a healthy level of fitness and wellness is an ongoing, lifelong process, and we need to make healthy behavior choices to ensure good health in the years to come. Research has shown that older adults who engage in a regular, vigorous physical activity program can have levels of aerobic fitness that are similar to someone much younger!

Dr. Samuel R. + " " + Benbow

Dr. Samuel R. Benbow


Assistant professor of Social Work

B.A. Social Work, Shippensburg University
M.S. Counseling: College Student Personnel, Shippensburg University
Doctorate of Education, Administration and Leadership, Indiana University

Why did you become interested in older adults?

I have always been interested in working with and serving older adults as a result of my own grandfather's influence as the primary male figure in my life. He was clearly the patriarch who instilled in me a sincere respect and commitment for the "village elders" in our community.