College of Public Health students graduating


Amber S. McIlwain, ABD, PhD Candidate

Amber is an assistant professor in the School of Healthcare Administration and Leadership at Pacific University. She is also director of Pacific’s Graduate Certificate in Gerontology program.

  • Research Interests: life course, aging and environment, immigration
  • External Affiliations: Gerontological Society of America, Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society, Oregon Society of Healthcare Executives, Oregon Public Health Association.
  • Education: BS Physical Geography, Texas State University, 2004; MS Geography, Texas State University, 2007.

Debra K. Moser, DNSc, RN, FAAN, PhD Candidate,

Debra is a Professor of Nursing within the College of Nursing at the University of Kentucky, where she came to from The Ohio State University. Dr. Moser's distinguished career began with 12 years of critical care nursing. This was the beginning of a steady, productive journey toward her current program of research: working with and studying patients with coronary heart disease.

  • Research Interests: self-care in cardiovascular disease; improving outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease; prevention of cardiovascular disease; cardiovascular disease disparities
  • External Affiliations: Professor and Linda C. Gill Endowed Chair of Nursing; Co-Director of RICH Heart Program
  • Education: BS Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, 1977; MS University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 1988; DNSc University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 1992

Ranell Mueller, PhD Candidate, Student Instructor- GRN 250-004

Ranell is a third year doctoral student in the Gerontology PhD program at the University of Kentucky. She is originally from Washington State. She has lived and worked in Asia and Jamaica as an ESL instructor and general studies instructor respectively. She shares her home with one human and three kitty Seahawks fans. In her spare time she....what, spare time??

  • Research Interests: The Human-Animal Bond, Theories of aging as it pertains to the HAB, History of human-animal interactions.
  • External Affiliations: American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, Sigma Phi Omega, Gerontological Society of America, American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals
  • Education: BA Western Washington University, WA. 2006; MA Pacific Lutheran University WA. 2008.

Natasha Niro, PhD Candidate

A family move into a newly-built residential neighborhood when she was six years old launched Natasha’s curiosity about interpersonal and place relationships. The experience of living in the emerging community helped shape her perspective on social networks, reciprocity, and the influence of place on attachments to the people and things that constitute “home.” Natasha’s current research areas include the social networks of older adults and future planning for adults with developmental disabilities. The Oregon coast is the place she calls home.

Research Interests: Home, Social Capital, Future Planning for Adults with Developmental Disabilities

External Affiliations: Adjunct Instructor at Marylhurst University, MBA in Healthcare Management. Finance Committee, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. Special Needs and Circumstances Committee, US Chess Federation.

Education: BS Business and Leadership, Marylhurst University, 2006; MA Interdisciplinary Studies, Marylhurst University, 2010; Graduate Certificate in Developmental Disabilities, University of Kentucky, 2016.

Michael W Schuier, MFT, PhD Candidate, TA- GRN 250

Michael has a background in Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy. His research focuses on changes that occur to personal identity as well as how the individual perceives and adapts to changes in others through the lifespan. Additionally, he continues research on divorce and how it affects the aging individual and family interactions.

  • Research Interests: Self-identity of adults aging, perceived social identity of others, social communication between older adults, end of life issues, end of life emotional identity.
  • Research Interests: Self-identity of adults aging, perceived social identity of others, social communication between older adults, end of life issues, end of life emotional identity, divorce in older adults • External Affiliations: Gerontological Society of America, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, Sigma Phi Omega
  • Education: AA Education, Young Harris College, 2007; BS Psychology, Georgia College State University, 2009; M.S., Marriage and Family Therapy, Mercer University, 2012.

Catherine Schneider, PhD Candidate, Student Instructor- GRN 250-003

Catherine is a third year graduate student and recipient of the Schmidlapp Fellow for the last two years. She studied Child Cognitive Psychology and Business at the University of Cincinnati and came to UK in 2014 to pursue her Ph.D. in Gerontology. Her dissertation research focuses on protective mechanisms of cognitive impairment in particular examining individuals working in specific careers that have them engage in lifestyle factors correlated with protection from cognitive decline.

  • Research Interests: cognition, cognitive impairment, neuromusicology, neuroscience
  • External Affiliations: Sigma Phi Omega, Gamma Mu Chapter, Phi Beta Kappa Society, Psi-Chi Honors Society
  • Education: BS Psychology, University of Cincinnati, 2014.

Amy M. Schuster, PhD Candidate, TA- GRN 250-002

Amy is a PhD student in the Graduate Center for Gerontology. Prior to beginning the PhD program, she worked as a social worker for 5 years. Since entering the program, Amy has worked as the Program Coordinator for the Social Lab on Aging and Mobility, the Program Coordinator for Emergency Preparedness in Aging and Long-Term Care, completed the graduate certificate in applied statistics, and conducted a pilot study to understand communication changes for residents in the nursing home. Outside of academia, Amy enjoys getting lost in the woods with her dogs.

  • Research Interests: Long-Term Care, Information Communication Technology, Interpersonal Communication
  • External Affiliations: Gerontology Society of America, Sigma Phi Omega
  • Education: BS Social Work, Florida State University, 2008; MSW Social Work, University of Georgia, 2009.

Pamela Desin, Graduate Student,

Pam is originally from Pennsylvania, she and her husband have been in Lexington four years, and have two Papillion dogs that keep them entertained. She also works at Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.

  • Research Interests: Care roles & caregiving, family systems, and how long-term incarceration, with subsequent aging in prison and end-of-life care needs, impacts the prisoner, family, and society.
  • External Affiliations: Gerontological Society of American, Sigma Phi Omega, Kentucky Academy of Science
  • Education: AA Human Services, University of Pittsburgh Titusville, 2008; BA Human Relations University of Pittsburgh Bradford; 2009, MA Community Counseling (NCC certificated) Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, 2012.

Eden Fisher, Graduate Student, MS, CTRS

Eden works as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist in a municipal recreation facility and loves being able to holistically improve the lives of individuals with disabilities, at-risk youth and the geriatric population through the means of therapeutic recreation. Eden recreational hobbies include traveling, hiking, fishing, and hunting.

  • Research Interests: Nature and its Spiritual Connection to the Aged Individual.
  • External Affiliations: National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, National Recreation and Park Society, Kentucky Recreation and Park Society, Eastern Kentucky University Department of Recreation and Park Administration, Adjunct Faculty.
  • Education: BS Recreation and Park Administration, Eastern Kentucky University, 2013; MS Recreation and Park Administration, Eastern Kentucky University, 2015

Karah Gottschalk, Au.D., Graduate Student, TA- GRN 250-001

Karah is an audiologist by trade and has been practicing for three years. She is excited about completing gerontology and audiology research. Karah balances her professional and education life with running, triathlons, traveling, and a husband, cat and dog.

  • Research Interests: Audiological effects due the aging process; vestibular testing in older adults; cochlear implants in the older adult
  • External Affiliations: American Academy of Audiology, American Speech/Language and Hearing Association
  • Education: BS Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Florida, 2009; Doctorate of Audiology, University of Louisville, 2013.

Aaron Guest, Graduate Student, TA- GRN 250-002

Aaron is translational environmental gerontological researcher whose interests meet at the nexus of built and social environment. His focus is on community-based and community-driven approaches to address health inequalities and improve health outcomes among rural older adults. He is guided by a deep interest in the relationship between individuals and their environments in understanding health.

  • Research Interests: Healthography, Social Networks, Translation & Dissemination, Health Communication & Literacy, Health Inequalities, Marginalization
  • External Affiliations: American Public Health Association (Executive Board), Gerontological Society of America, American Society on Aging, Appalachian Studies Association, American Anthropological Association, National Association of Social Workers
  • Education: BA Anthropology with Women’s and Gender Studies, University of South Carolina, 2012; MPH Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior ; MSW Community & Organizations; Graduate Certificate in Health Communication; Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, University of South Carolina, 2015.

Yi Lin, Graduate Student,

Yi is a physical therapist in Taiwan. She enjoys watching movies and outdoor activities such as playing basketball and swimming.

  • Research Interests: Cognitive impairment, neuroplasticity, community-based intervention, fall prevention, exercise intervention, neurological disease rehabilitation, the life quality of the older people
  • External Affiliations: Taiwan Physical Therapy Association, Exercise Therapy Association of Taiwan, Taipei Society of Physical Therapist
  • Education: BS Physical Therapy, Chung Gung University. 2012; MS Physical Therapy- Neurological Disease, National Taiwan University. 2014.

Michelle List, Graduate Student

Michelle List is the Social Services Program Coordinator with the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program at Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. She has over twenty years’ experience working with older adults and non-profit organizations. Her previous work experience includes Louisville Metro Senior Nutrition Program Home Delivered Meals (Meals on Wheels) social worker, and executive director at an adult day center and senior center.

  • Research Interests: Public Health
  • Education: BA Political Science, Eckerd College, 1983; M.Div., Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, 1989.

Elizabeth Rhodus, Graduate Student

Elizabeth works as an occupational therapist in long-term care and enjoys encouraging people to healthier and safer lifestyles as they age. Elizabeth loves to travel and explore the world with her husband, Adam. Other hobbies of crafting, hiking, and reading help provide balance to life.

  • Research Interests: Long-term Care, Dementia Care, Neurology of Aging
  • External Affiliations: American Occupational Therapy Association, Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association; Eastern Kentucky University Department of Public Health, Adjunct Faculty
  • Education: BS Occupational Science, Eastern Kentucky University, 2010; MS Occupational Therapy, Eastern Kentucky University, 2012.

Hollie Sands, Graduate Student

Hollie is a nontraditional graduate student in the Gerontology PhD program at the University of Kentucky. She is a senior epidemiologist in the Immunization Program at the Kentucky Department for Public Health, assessing school required immunizations through an annual survey of all kindergarten and sixth grade students, while also supporting surveillance and outbreak investigations of vaccine preventable diseases. Further, she is an online facilitator for a graduate nursing epidemiology course at Eastern Kentucky University.

  • Research Interests: Social constructs of immunosenesence and vaccination uptake of vulnerable aging adults
  • External Affiliations: American Public Health Association, Kentucky Public Health Association, Kentucky Rural Health Association
  • Education: BS Health Sciences, University of Findlay, 2001; MPH, Ohio State University, 2005.

Aiesha Skinner, Graduate Student,

Aiesha is a native of Frankfort, Ky. She has worked in a variety of positions that include services for older adults, health policy, and mental health. Her goals are to teach and conduct research.

  • Research Interests: Caregiving, health disparities , long-term care
  • External Affiliations: Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Fellow, Sigma Phi Omega, Ky. Association for Gerontology
  • Education: BA, Psychology, University of Chicago, 2000; MA Clinical Psychology, Spalding University, 2009.

Solly VanMeter, Graduate Student

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