“After completing a course in psychology and ageing, coordinated by Associate Professor Nancy Pachana in 2009, I received an invitation to assist with two research projects as a summer scholar in 2010. I suspected that this would be an enriching opportunity, given the passion and dedication Nancy had shown in her teaching of geropsychology, and I was proven right! Over the summer I worked on two research projects with Associate Professor Nancy Pachana and Dr. Natasha Koloski, one investigating the effectiveness of a cognitive behavioural treatment for osteoarthritis, and the other examining the link between psychological factors and gastrointestinal disorders. I was able to sit in on a number of clinical supervision sessions, where I learnt to appreciate the unique rewards and challenges of working with older clients, and developed new skills to implement in my professional role as a counsellor. After gaining an insight into the difficulties faced by those with ongoing issues of health and disability, I also acquired a keen interest in health psychology, and an awareness of the real importance of this type of research. Of course, I developed a number of research skills along the way – but as someone who had previously overlooked the possibility of a career in research, and failed to fully appreciate the importance of geropsychology, my newfound respect for this field was far more valuable.”

- Jennifer Younger Summer Scholar Student 2010

“My introduction to the Ageing Mind Initiative came about after I took a seminar course in Geropsychology with Associate Professor Nancy Pachana in 2008. I found it startling that here was such a rich and deep research area that, compared to other populations, has remained largely untapped. This seems ridiculous when we are part of a rapidly aging society and the bulk of knowledge and experience rests with the elders of our communities. I quickly signed up for the “The Ageing Mind Initiative Listserv” and have since been comforted by a range of initiatives and research areas that are now appearing in clinical aging research at UQ. The main problem appears to be that progress in this area is scattered and difficult to tap into. AMI has proved to be highly valuable in providing focus for the wealth of information out there and I now feel confident of having a reliable source to refer to when pursuing future opportunities in the field.

- Emma Poulsen, Previous student and current member of AMI Listserv 2009

“Over the summer of 2008 I worked with Dr. Nancy Pachana and explored the culture of nursing homes throughout Australia and internationally. What I found was vastly different to my expectations. In developing an understanding of residential aged care I came to greatly appreciate this sector and the important role it plays in the lives of our aging community. I also came to realise how often geropsychology is overlooked and undervalued. Through my research and contact with various aged care service providers I have learnt about a field I had previously not considered. Indeed I believe there is an unfortunate wide berth given to geropsychology and yet I now know this is an area worthy of further study. Geriatric research creates the potential for immediate positive change and I can only encourage others to take a look for themselves.”

- Jessica Borbasi, Summer Scholar Student 2008

“After participating in the summer research internship in gerontology there are a number of lasting impressions that the research has left with me. The first is the added understanding I gained, by reading the responses on the surveys, of elderly peoples impression of the challenging of driving cessation (which I have never considered to be an issue before). This new knowledge resulted in a number of great conversations with elderly people I came into contact with. Having the added knowledge enabled me to have a much more familiar conversation and I felt that each person I talked to appreciated having a younger person to tell and share their experience with. I found these conversations engaging. I felt a sense of increased respect and compassion for their circumstances. In addition, I was blown away by the number of health problems or financial difficulty reported by participants (in the surveys). I believe the greater level of awareness enabled me to have a greater level of tolerance and patience in my interactions with senior citizens both in my personal life and whilst working my part-time job (at Amart Allsports)”

- Julie Hennegan, Summer Scholar Student 2008