Gerontology Program Faculty

Dr. Dara Bourassa, + " " + Associate Professor of Social Work & Gerontology Director

Dr. Dara Bourassa, Associate Professor of Social Work & Gerontology Director

Shippen Hall 325

(717) 477-1969

Education
I received my Bachelors in Social Work and Masters in Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. I 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. Samuel R. Benbow, + " " + Associate Professor of Social Work

Dr. Samuel R. Benbow, Associate Professor of Social Work

Education

  • 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.

Dr. Allison Carey, + " " + Professor of Sociology

Dr. Allison Carey, Professor of Sociology

Education
B.A. and Ph.D. 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.

Dr. Ben Meyer, + " " + Assistant Professor of Exercise Science

Dr. Ben Meyer, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science

Education

  • 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 (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.