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Meghan McDarby awarded 2013-14 Kendal Scholarship

November 6, 2013

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0089_12_043.jpgMeghan McDarby (HD, '14)  is working towards a minor in gerontology and is this year's recipient of the Kendal at Ithaca Scholarship. Meghan serves as co-program coordinator of Cornell Elderly Partnership, where her responsibilities include: fostering and maintaining visit relationships with local skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities; working closely with academic and faculty advisors to arrange guest lectures; coordinating projects at the local nursing facilities and applying for grants to fund these projects; and facilitating relationships between Cornell students and older adults in the Ithaca community.

Meghan worked as a research assistant with Dr. Elaine Wethington between 2011-2013. She worked with Wethington and Dr. Cary Reid, Weill Cornell, on a project funded by the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life about pain disparities in racial and ethnic minority older adults.  Meghan is currently completing her senior honors thesis, which is an attempt to better understand rural older adults’ attitudes about and knowledge of hospice care and how these individual-level factors may play a role in explaining the disparity in use of hospice in rural areas as compared to urban areas. For this research process, she is performing qualitative interviews with older adults in Tompkins County (Trumansburg, Groton, Ithaca, and Lansing).

Meghan visits weekly with a Kendal at Ithaca resident, who she met in January 2012 during an internship. Additionally, she has other regular visits with local elders and works with others, assisting with exercise and daily life. She recently completed a volunteer training program at Hospicare and has just begun volunteering there.

Of her work in gerontology at Cornell, Meghan says,

"... gerontology is the foundation of my future career. I aspire to be a geriatrician in a rural, under-served area in the northeast United States. I have a profound interest in end-of-life care alternatives, holistic care approaches, as well as increasing patient empowerment and health literacy for older adults. The gerontology minor has been integral in fostering the development of my long-term goals; the pairing of my individual extra-curricular experiences with the knowledge I have learned in the classroom has woven the supportive framework as I pursue my career in the field of medicine."

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.”

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