Georgetown Student Received a Scholarship to the Leading Age Annual Meeting & Expo

Posted in Award

On October 24, hundreds of students and industry professionals arrived in Atlanta, Georgia for the LeadingAge 2021 Annual Expo and Conference. Among them was Georgetown M.S. in Aging & Health student Anastasia (Ana) Johnson. Ana was encouraged to attend the conference after a conversation last year with Christy Kramer, LeadingAge’s Vice President of Student Engagement and Workforce Relationships, about the difficulty of connecting with like-minded individuals in the relatively small field of aging and health. 

Since her conversation with Christy in 2020, Ana had been early awaiting the upcoming conference, as well as the LeadingAge 2021 Conference Scholarship. After a year of patience and brilliant answers to several essay questions, Ana received a full scholarship to attend the 2021 LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo! 

“I have been waiting for the opportunity to apply for the conference scholarship for the past year, so I was ecstatic when I learned that I received the scholarship,” commented Ana in an email interview on November 13. 

The conference offers many opportunities to meet with a wide range of industry professionals, exposing attendees to a variety of paths available in the field. Ana, who has commented that she is passionate about all areas of aging and is seeking to narrow down her interests, was hopeful that the LeadingAge Annual Meeting would help her to decide on her next career step. 

She was also able to build on her prior internship experience at AARP Kentucky, where she campaigned to change policies around Accessory Dwelling Units, by attending sessions on affordable senior housing and other related topics. 

Another session that Ana found particularly engaging was “Designing Spaces that Promote Engagement.” Ana explained that it built on her semester-long paper involving creating spaces to enhance engagement in nursing homes. At the session, Ana learned that “the physical environment is essential to promote engagement. This could include factors as simple as bringing elements of nature inside or offering a variety of furnishing options. If we have learned anything throughout the Pandemic, it’s that it’s crucial to find ways to enhance engagement and mitigate social isolation and loneliness.”

Beyond the industry professionals and career advice, another particularly encouraging piece of the conference was the student sessions.  During these sessions, experts in the field would talk to the student participants about their career as well as their journey to aging services.

“It was encouraging to hear that not everyone’s paths are linear. Most aren’t. Yet everyone ended up where they were supposed to be. As someone who does not know what the next step will be after graduation in May, I found this extremely encouraging,” said Ana.