Congrats to the 2015-16 Kendal Scholarship awardees
December 15, 2015
This year the BCTR awarded Kendal at Ithaca Scholarships, recognizing excellent student work in the field of gerontology, to Sylvia Lee, a sophomore in Human Biology, Health, and Society, and Arwah Yaqub, a senior in Near Eastern Studies.
"I am so excited and grateful to receive the scholarship. Whether I become a doctor or a researcher in the future, my dream is to help elders who suffer from chronic pain. Gerontology minor has offered me a new perspective on what my role at Cornell is and can be - I’m reminded that I’m not just a distressed pre-med student, who simply works towards becoming this person in the future, but that I’m given this opportunity to start living out my visions now, here on campus."
Beyond her coursework in gerontology, Sylvia worked in Nathan Spreng’s Laboratory of Brain and Cognition in the Department of Human Development throughout her freshmen year. There she focused on analyzing and collecting research participants’ memory and cognitive data by transcribing and conducting analysis on recalled autobiographical memories during fMRI tests. This fall semester, Sylvia began work in Corinna Loeckenhoff’s Laboratory for Healthy Aging, also in the Department of Human Development.
She recently joined Alzheimer’s Help and Awareness, a student-run organization, and received training to volunteer at Clare Bridge, a Brookdale Senior Living community that serves special-care needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Sylvia specifically has an interest in the study of neurodegenerative diseases and chronic pain in elders. She plans to pursue a career in medicine and research. Her current interest lies mostly in the molecular and neurobiological processes that underlie the causes of chronic pain in elders and how chronic pain is treated, cared for, and managed by healthcare providers and families.
"The Kendal Scholarship is a gracious opportunity that has helped nurture my passion for gerontology. The kind spirit and vision at the core of this award has been pivotal in helping me integrate other disciplines of study, most of which I initially believed were incongruous with the field. [the donor's] commitment to an education that elucidates the cultural, biological, and economic implications of gerontology, as well as experiential learning, is inspirational, to say the least."
Last year, Arwah served as a volunteer for MEDART, a committee associated with Cornell’s MEDLIFE student chapter. Through this committee, she provided company to residents of Ithaca’s Beechtree Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing. Many of these residents are sensory impaired, her group designed simple, weekly art projects to do with residents. Joining the Alzheimer’s Help and Awareness Club at Cornell also helped fortify Arwah's passion for gerontology.
Arwah joined Corinna Loeckenhoff's Healthy Aging Lab over a year ago. The lab research aims to better understand age differences in social relations, personality traits, and emotional experiences and to unravel the effects of these three factors in health-related behaviors and outcomes.
As an aspiring physician, she believes that an understanding of aging across the lifespan is indispensable to the profession.
The Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship
To foster a closer tie between Cornell and Kendal at Ithaca, the nearby continuing care retirement community, an anonymous Cornell alumnus and Kendal resident established a Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research.
Each year, the Kendal scholarship award goes to an undergraduate or graduate student interested in gerontology. Preference is given to a student who has some hands-on experience and is anticipating a career in the field.
The donor, who built a career in the corporate world after graduating from Cornell in the 1940s, wished to remain anonymous so that the focus of the scholarship is on the Kendal/Cornell connection. The donor pointed out that “creating a closer link between the two generations of Kendal and Cornell means more students have a chance to learn about the colorful, interesting lives and careers of retirees, and more residents have an opportunity to better understand students of today – their hopes, thoughts, and dreams. Greater involvement will be very stimulating for both.”