WKU Aging Research and Student Training

1% of $9,000 goal
This campaign ended on December 01, 2018, but you can still make a gift to Western Kentucky University by clicking here!

Who are we and what do we do?
By the year 2035, there will be more Americans aged 65 and older than there are children!  This rapid transformation in our society will create both challenges and opportunities for education, research, and the workforce.  The newly created WKU Center for Applied Science in Health & Aging (CASHA) aims to lead our university through this transformation by identifying, developing, and mobilizing innovations in aging science to promote successful aging. CASHA is focused on developing the next generation of emerging leaders by providing experiential, hands-on learning opportunities for WKU students! Our students can gain valuable research experience and training in gerontology by working with CASHA faculty on research projects taking place in laboratories, senior centers, and nursing homes throughout the United States and internationally. We have the infrastructure and networking opportunities in place, but we need YOUR help to support WKU students and our aging community!  Our students need to acquire and learn to use state-of-the-art equipment, as well as gain practical experience that companies and organizations desire but often find lacking among new hires.  At the same time, older adults in our region need more opportunities to engage in healthy aging research and provide their own wisdom and experience to younger generations.

What will my donation support?
The number one barrier WKU students face in getting the unique, enriching out-of-classroom experiences described above is funding.  With your support, CASHA can make a difference in two ways: (1) we can expand student opportunities for conducting research and community outreach, and (2) through our students, we can help improve the lives of older adults.  In doing so, your donation will make a difference in the lives of both WKU students and our aging communities.  Your donation to our campaign can make an impact in many ways, including:
1. Helping students travel to senior centers, nursing homes and hospitals throughout KY and TN, where they gain valuable skills implementing health promotion programs for older adults.
2. Acquiring tablets, sophisticated accelerometers, and other cutting-edge equipment to help students conduct their research and acquire hands-on experience with equipment often used in their chosen professions.
3. Helping students with conference-related travel costs to attend the Gerontological Society (GSA) conference in Austin, Texas Nov. 13-17, 2019.

Why is aging research important for our communities AND our students? 
The "graying" of America continues to transform our society, spurring many aging-related challenges such as: 
1. Demand for elder care is fueled by a steep rise in the number of Americans living with Alzheimer's disease, which could nearly triple by 2050 to 14 million, from 5 million in 2013.
2. Obesity rates among older adults have been increasing, standing at about 40 percent of 65-to-74-year-olds in 2012.
3. Falls are the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans.

With these challenges come significant growth of jobs in healthcare, technology, and other aging-focused careers. Preparing WKU students by giving them opportunities that will set them apart from “ordinary” degrees at other institutions is critical. Attending the GSA conference and gaining real-world experience working with older adult populations enhances students' educational and career goals. Our students can (and do) go on to pursue master's and doctoral degrees, as well as clinical and professional careers – but they need opportunities that can’t be provided in a classroom!

What are current students saying about their experiences?
"Being involved with CASHA has exposed me to many new experiences that I couldn't receive anywhere else. I have learned many new skills that will set me apart in the future, all while being part of a large-scale project. I am also able to serve in many different roles with large responsibilities while working in a dynamic team setting." -Brian Clark, Student

"The experience has helped me grow into a stronger young professional. By being a part of this interdisciplinary team, I have learned skills that I have carried over into my field of study as a graduate student. As I am preparing for my  career as a Speech Language Pathologist, I am thankful for the teamwork and time management skills that Bingocize has allowed me to expand upon. Through this experience, I have learned more about how autonomy and teamwork can be utilized together to achieve a goal." -Lauren Stevens, Student 

"Being a member of the research team has taught me the value of interprofessional teamwork in addressing complex health questions. Our project involves members from multiple fields and backgrounds such as Kinesiology, Psychological Sciences, and Speech-language Pathology. One of the most important skills to develop is the ability to work effectively with a team of professionals outside my field for the ultimate benefit of the individual we serve. My research experience has directly influenced my perspective and personal growth in this area." -Elizabeth Batson, Student

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