SARASOTA, Fla. (March 24, 2016) – Careers involving elder affairs or aging abound, but too often job seekers think nursing homes are the only option when it comes to careers in aging.
“That’s just not true,” says Dr. Kathy Black, a USF Sarasota-Manatee professor of social work and gerontology.
“There is a range of career options in almost any sector of the economy, such as adult day care and senior housing, real estate, working in elder law, nutrition, finance,” she said. “Every sector you look at, there are opportunities.”
Which is why Dr. Black and several USFSM professors will hold a panel discussion and job fair devoted to careers in aging on Wednesday, March 30, at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.
The event, free and open to the public, starts at 11 a.m. Refreshments will be provided.
Joining Dr. Black from USFSM will be Dr. Susan Fulton, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders; Dr. Eric Hodges, an instructor in interdisciplinary social sciences; Dr. Wilma Davidson, an instructor in professional and technical communication and Dr. Jessica Grosholz, assistant professor of criminology. Also, professionals from the community will join the panel representing senior fitness, finances and health care.
The panel will discuss careers related to aging as well as other aging-related issues from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. After that, a job fair with local employers is scheduled.
Employers and other organizations set to attend the fair include: CARES, Consulate Health Care of Sarasota, Economic Fraud Detection & Prevention, Friendship Centers, Home Instead, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Northwestern Mutual, Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, Samaritan Counseling Services of the Gulf Coast, Springwood Center, State of Florida Department of Children and Families, Suncoast Behavioral Health Center, Sunset Lake Health & Rehabilitation Center, Super Slow Zone, Tidewell Hospice, Vision Innovations, Westminster Towers and Shores.
“You name it. There isn’t a field aging doesn’t touch,” Dr. Black said, summing up.
Also next week, two aging-related lectures also free and open to the public are scheduled at the USFSM campus: On Monday from 6 to 7 p.m. in Room B237, Dr. Ron Lucchino will give a talk entitled “Reproductive Changes in Aging.” And on Tuesday from 6 to 7 p.m. in Room B206, Dr. Black will discuss “The Future of Social Security.”
USFSM students address Sarasota County School Board
It wasn’t exactly a freak-out moment, but might have risen to one, says Samantha North, a USFSM junior studying to be an elementary education teacher.
North and fellow teacher candidate Karstyn Kalk, 25, also a junior, were preparing to address the Sarasota County School Board two weeks ago when they received word that TV cameras, news reporters and scores of concerned parents had descended on the meeting.
The two students, along with USFSM professor Dr. Patricia Hunsader, several teachers, administrators and a dozen second-graders, had planned to show up to talk about the Magical Math Connections Day, an annual teaching event that involves USFSM students visiting classrooms at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus, an elementary school two miles south of the USFSM campus.
The students learned on the way that the issue of transgender bathroom policies in public schools was set for discussion. As a result, a flood of media and members of the community poured into the board room for what promised to be a lively debate.
“They said we would have to put on microphones, and I said, ‘What?’” recalled North of her initial trepidation.
But whatever nerves the two encountered dissipated once the focus shifted to the math day. The event last fall had USFSM students using paper cut-outs to create age-appropriate games for the Bay Haven youngsters.
North devised a game called Feed the Froggy in which first-graders used addition and subtraction to gather “insects” to feed their froggies. Likewise, Kalk’s game, Scoops, had children using addition and subtraction to win ice cream scoops to fill their cones.
The two said they were surprised at how involved the students became. A group of second-graders that accompanied them to the meeting actually played a few games with board members. “The students loved it,” Kalk said.
North said the experience addressing the board “felt rewarding.” Laughing, she added, “the kids talked to us like we were movie stars.”
Home is where you hang your hat
Russ Taylor is still two classes shy of graduating, but already he’s packing his bags.
Thanks to USFSM’s packed menu of online classes, the 36-year-old information technology student can fire up his laptop anywhere, anytime to take a class.
That flexibility enabled him to work toward a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology management with a concentration on network security. He expects to graduate next fall but already is planning a move to Washington, D.C., in upcoming weeks to begin rigorous training for the U.S. Foreign Service.
Taylor is going to be Foreign Service information technology staffer.
But where he ultimately ends up remains a mystery. Foreign Service officers and staffers work in embassies and consulates worldwide. Candidates can request specific assignments but must yield to the State Department’s needs.
Taylor, who calls his decision to serve his country “a lifelong dream,” was hoping to be posted to the Philippines, where his wife is from.
“She has a lot of family there,” he said, adding that he was thrilled at his selection last month, plus a bit mystified.
Taylor said he applied six years ago. He previously sought two positions, both related to information technology, before seeking the job he ultimately landed. He hadn’t heard anything in months, adding he underwent a battery of medical exams and background checks as part of the long vetting process.
“It’s always hurry up and wait,” he said.
Then in February he received an email congratulating him on his appointment to the Foreign Service.
“I couldn’t believe it at first. It had been so long,” he said. “I think it will be great. It will definitely be a great learning opportunity for my daughter to see how the world works and how different societies function.”
Taylor and his family are already packing their belongings. While in training he’ll continue to work toward his degree.
Big Apple awaits for upcoming grad
Kudos to upcoming spring graduate Stewart Carrier.
The 30-year-old history major and Sarasota resident has been accepted into New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study to work toward a master’s degree.
A prestigious honor, the Gallatin School requires applicants to devise their own master’s program, even naming professors and advisors best suited to assist in their studies.
Carrier, who is USFSM’s Student Government attorney general, chose to focus his thesis on the intersection of entertainment, social media and politics in today’s American culture.
Taking a page from recent events, he said he was partly inspired by the twists and turns of Donald Trump from real estate mogul to reality show host to presidential candidate – all within a handful of years.
Carrier submitted his application in December after four months of work and learned in February he had been accepted into the school. Not only that, he won a two-year, $25,000 scholarship.
NYU is based in Manhattan, which promises to offer a change of pace from southwest Florida.
“It will be very exciting,” said Carrier, who grew up in Sarasota. “It’s right in Greenwich Village, near Washington Square Park.”
Dr. Melissa Sloan, associate professor of interdisciplinary social sciences at USFSM, said she was thrilled for Carrier, who hopes to eventually earn a doctorate and become a teacher.
“I was beyond excited to hear about his acceptance at Gallatin,” she said. “He is an outstanding student. I am sure he will go far.”