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Career Paths of Health, Aging & Society Alumni

Read about some of our alumni and the career paths they have taken with their Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Health & Aging.

Alumni with a Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Health & Aging

Dana BANDOLA '14

While completing my Major Research Paper (MRP) in the the Masters of Arts in Health and Aging program at McMaster University, I became employed at the International Federation on Ageing (IFA). I am currently a Project Officer with responsibilities including but not limited to: maintaining effective communication with stakeholders and members; undertaking research on policy issues and responses across the sector; development of the organizations strategic planning, fundraising initiatives, event planning and project development; and preparing project reports, presentations and other relevant material. Additionally, I am responsible for maintaining three of the organization's working websites. My future plans include further development within the IFA, with hopes to eventually work in the government sector in an area involving health promotion and ageing program development. My degree is directly related to my current career. The information learned throughout my Master's program has provided significant background knowledge for my position at the IFA and I believe has allowed for a greater increase in responsibility.

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Brian BUDD '14

Upon graduation with a Masters of Arts in Health and Aging, I worked on a variety of different projects with Health, Aging and Society faculty members. My post-graduation research positions provided an opportunity to further develop my research interests and technical skills. I also stayed connected to the department through volunteer engagements and departmental events. I am currently set to start a PhD in Political Science at the University of Guelph in the fall. In my PhD I hope to build upon the work undertaken during my MA.

The support I received from the Health, Aging and Society department, both during and after the completion of my degree, has been incredibly important in my decision to continue down the path of academia. The guidance, mentorship and encouragement I received from the department has helped me to develop a sustained interest and passion toward research. The department provided a welcoming and intellectually-stimulating space through which I could engage with faculty and fellow graduate students, developing my interests and exploring new ideas. This is owed, in part, to the interdisciplinary composition of Health, Aging and Society, which provides exposure to a broad range of theories and disciplinary perspectives. More importantly, the department is genuinely committed to supporting its students and establishing meaningful relationships between its graduate students, staff and faculty members.

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Emily CICHONSKI '16

After completing my course work requirements for my Master's degree in April 2016, I was hired on full-time by the YMCA of Greater Toronto (GTA) as the Specialist, Volunteer Development. I began working in May 2016 while writing my Master's MRP. At the YMCA, my role mainly involves the following: overhead management of all the YMCA Volunteer Coordinators in the GTA, managing all incoming volunteer applications, Communications-related aspects (writing blog posts, managing/monitoring social media pages, website design and coding, etc.), and facilitating workshops. My role at the YMCA is currently a contact until June 2016, so I plan on either finding a new role within the YMCA, or looking for more of a research based job in the health care field that aligns with what I focused my research on during my undergraduate and master's degrees.

The Department is fantastic. I've really been lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of the Department for both my undergraduate and master's degrees because the undergraduate program had allowed me to gain a broader view of health care and social aging, while the master's programs had allowed me to focus on my topics of interest and develop a deeper understanding of those topics. The faculty is amazing and together, they create such a great interdisciplinary team that can all bring different perspectives and experience to the field of health and aging. Overall, my oral communication skills, writing, and knowledge has greatly increased after completing my degrees, which all have been strong assets for gaining employment.

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Chelsea GRECZI '10

Since graduating from McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Gerontology and a Master of Arts degree in Health and Aging, I have held several rewarding positions in the field of Gerontology. I began my post-graduate career as a Counselor at the Alzheimer Society of Oxford in their early-stage program before accepting a position as the Public Education Coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of Cambridge. Throughout university, I held numerous part-time positions in the field including as a Recreation Therapist in a long-term care home and as a Program Aide in a day program for people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Currently, I am a Coordinator in the Fraser Health Older Adult Program for the 48/6 Hospital Care for Seniors Program and an Instructor at Stenberg College in the Therapeutic Recreation (Gerontology) Program. I am also currently working on a degree in Social Work from the University of Victoria.

My education at McMaster has afforded me continuous open doors to exciting, rewarding, and diverse positions including public education, program implementation and evaluation, counselling, crisis support and outreach. The opportunities have been endless!

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Caitlin HUMICK '11

Immediately after graduate school I accepted a 1-year maternity leave contract at the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County where I was the Education Coordinator. From conference planning to teaching, the role very much polished my skills as a public speaker, event organizer and in some regards counselor. From there I got off the beaten path and worked as an Account Manager for a fitness company and then a Business Analyst for a bank. Though these roles were not in my field of study I learned invaluable knowledge and skills that help me perform in my current role as a Program Manager at the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA). Currently, I oversee content programming and sponsorship for our annual signature event HealthAchieve (cheap student admission - highly recommend you attend!) as well as the corporate partnerships for all of our product lines (Conferences, Certificate Programs, Webcasts, Distance Learning, Online Modules and healthscape).

My degree has certainly helped in terms of content, current issues and understanding how the health care system in Canada and Ontario operate, though it is always in motion. Working at an organization like the OHA was my end goal after completing my University studies. Completing the MA program at McMaster provided me with many opportunities to attend conferences, network and give poster presentations. As I work in the field now, I have called upon those I have connected with over the years for collaboration.

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Bryn A. LUDLOW '12

Prior to attending McMaster University for the Health & Aging MA program, I completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Integrated Media from the Ontario College of Art & Design University (2010). At McMaster University with Dr. Chris Sinding, I had the amazing opportunity to co-organize and present preliminary results of my thesis research (2011) on the arts based method of "body mapping" at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa for the "Social Work Beyond Borders/ Social Work Artfully" Workshop. In May 2015, I will be a Ph.D candidate at York University in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, York-Ryerson Joint Program in Communication & Culture, where I am exploring visual representations of affect and resiliency in portrait drawings and body mapping.

Aside from school, I am working as Assistant Curator of “The Body Electric”, which is an annual digital art exhibition with the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada. As a Graduate Research Assistant working with a team at OCAD University at the “HomeLab”, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, we are developing and testing a media-enhanced postcard touchscreen computer application geared to older adults with a diagnosis of early stage dementia of the Alzheimer’s type, to learn if the application can assist with their recall of event-based memories.

With a fine art background, my Master of Arts degree from the Department of Health, Aging and Society acted as a springboard for me to: assert my interests in health and aging at work, and in my doctoral program; experiment with transdisciplinary applications of research in the arts, health, and ethics; gain essential health research and reporting skills; and apply these skills to real research and community projects.

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Jenn MACDONALD '15

I graduated from the Department of Health, Aging and Society in 2015 with a Master's degree in Health and Aging. This degree, along with the guidance from the amazing staff and professors in the department, has allowed me to strengthen my research, communication and analytical skills. As a graduate student, I was given the opportunity to exercise these skills as both a teaching assistant and a research assistant, which has lead me to pursue a career in research services. I have recently become employed at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where I will take on the position of Ethics, Grants and Compliance Officer in the Research Services and Ethics department.

My BA in Women's Studies from Brock University and my Masters degree in Health & Aging from McMaster have been an unforgettable experience that prepared me for an exciting career. The skills I learned from my MA and the employment experiences I was given as a graduate student are directly related to my current job at UFV. The MA in Health and Aging provided me with a diversified understanding of many theoretical and disciplinary perspectives - it is truly a flexible degree in which students can shape their research around their particular interests.

Melissa Dawn McVIE '12

I graduated with an MA in Health and Aging in 2012. I am currently working as the Director of Resident and Family Services at a Long-Term Care Home in Mississauga, Ontario.

My time at McMaster provided me with a strong foundation on which to build (and advance) my career in the health care sector. This academic experience solidified my passion for gerontology and gave me the necessary theoretical knowledge base to compliment my practical experiences on the job. The Department of Health, Aging & Society is a wonderful department, with an inspiring group of faculty members dedicated to supporting you through the journey.

 

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Navine MENDES '10

I graduated with an MA in Health and Aging in 2010. I worked as a public health consultant in South Asia for a couple of years. I am now working as a continuing care coordinator at a private health and dental firm in Canada.

My degree allowed me to have a wide variety of career interests in healthcare and showed me the importance of education, especially in health and aging in accordance with Canada's aging population. I am hoping to do an MBA in healthcare administration in the near future.

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Alyssa PENNEY '10

After completing my MA in Health and Aging at McMaster, I went on to pursue a BScN from Western University and graduated in 2013. I am currently working as a Registered Nurse, at the Middlesex-London Health Unit. I work on the Healthy Communities and Injury Prevention Team, specializing in Road Safety and Injury Prevention. I am co-chair of the London Middlesex Road Safety Committee and sit on the Southwest Injury Prevention Network. I am also a voting member of London's Transportation Advisory Committee. I am interested in pursuing a "Community Health Nurse" certificate through the Canadian Nurses Association and Certification in Infection Control.

The MA in Health and Aging has provided me with the necessary skills in health promotion, program evaluation, policy development & research to assist in my day to day work as a public health nurse focusing on injury prevention. I use evidence informed practice rooted in health promotion theory to guide my work and advocate for healthy public policies that focus on addressing the social determinants of health. I have recently implemented a health promotion campaign through the London Middlesex Road Safety Committee called "Buckle Up, Phone Down London" which addresses the growing issue of distracted driving in the London and Middlesex community.

 

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Kelly Kavanagh SALMOND '10

I graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Health, Aging and Society in 2009.  Upon graduating with my M.A. in Health & Aging (Global Health, Systems and Structures streams), I took an internship with the Canadian Society for International Health, seconded to the Pan American Health/World Health Organization in Suriname, South America. There, I worked in the areas of health planning, monitoring and evaluation, and malaria and neglected diseases for one year.

After the internship, I took a consulting position with the government of Suriname to work with the Artisanal and Small Scale gold miners in the Amazon Jungle. I worked specifically in respect to the social and environmental responsibilities of formalizing such a sector.

At present I am working as a consultant for the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization in The Bahamas.

McMaster was cutting edge in their discussion and adaptation of course material to what was actually going on in health development on a global level. So, when it was time to go into the work force, I had a solid, albeit theoretical, understanding of some core issues and linkages.

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Marissa TAYLOR '10

I graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Health & Aging in 2010.  In my current role at a large International Non-Government Organization, I am designing community-based health and development projects in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Since graduating, I have not stopped learning and growing professionally.

My Health, Aging & Society Bachelor's and Master's degrees allowed me to explore many different disciplines including International Health Studies, Health Policy, Economics, Anthropology, Political Science, Religious Studies, History and Geography. This flexibility and diversity in learning has prepared me for a very exciting career in highly multi-disciplinary and cross-functional teams in International Health and Development.

Jenna WAISGLASS '14

Upon completion of my Masters of Arts degree in the the Health, Aging & Society program at McMaster University, I became employed with a company called Silver Sherpa. They are a lifestyles transitions organization for older adults. I provided my expertise in health/aging research obtained from my education to further the development of their unique service offering. I am now currently employed with the Canadian Cancer Society, assisting with the society's information and support services by responding to inquiries from cancer patients, family/friends, the general public, other Canadian Cancer Society Staff, volunteers, healthcare professionals and community organizations. I am also responsible for assessing the needs of clients and providing relevant resource and service information, and assisting with the promotion of the Society's information and support services through activities such as presentations, exhibits and reports. In the future, I plan to use the knowledge I have obtained from my education to grow with these organizations and be part of larger projects that have a positive impact on population health and healthcare.

My education has contributed to my success in these positions as I now have a better understanding of health and aging issues that pertain to the population who utilize the services these organizations provide.

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Kiki WALTERS '11

I will be taking some MA medical research classes in the Fall in preparation for PhD studies.  In the near future I intend to pursue PhD studies in Aging, Health and Wellness, Health and Work, or Public Health.

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