Alumni of Gerontology

Hear from students and alumni of the Great Plains IDEA Online Gerontology Graduate Programs


Dana Hunter, Kansas State University Graduate  
           Senior Director of Development, K-State Foundation

Dana Hunter at a donor event speaking with an elegantly dressed older woman."I use my gerontology degree every day as I meet with alumni and friends. The majority of those I meet with to advise on their philanthropic goals are ages 50 and older. I am able to easily communicate with our donors because of my gerontology background. Being able to share in their joy from their careers, their loved ones, and their stories helps as we work together to determine the best way to leave their legacy at Kansas State."


Kacie Sims, University of Missouri Graduate

Jenna Kilawee, K-State Graduate

Manager of the Terrace, Episcopal Homes, St. Paul, MN

KSU alumna Jenna Kilawee smiles great big while holding hands with an older woman who's kissing her on the cheek.  They are seated on a bench in the facility where the young woman works and the older woman lives."I needed something flexible that would allow me to "attend" classes in the middle of the night, on the weekends, while at home with my newborn son, or whenever I could spare a minute.  The Great Plains IDEA program allowed me to do just that.  I was able to continue my life while advancing my career.  Even before I graduated I had job offers lined up that I had only dreamed about before pursuing my master's degree in gerontology." 

Consuello ‘Coni’ Park, K-State Graduate

Before Great Plains IDEA:  Long Term Care Administrator
After Great Plains IDEA:  Executive Director, senior centers in Bertrand and Holdrege, Nebraska

“My degree has been an integral part of my work.  I loved working with the Great Plains IDEA program to get my graduate degree and would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking at pursuing a higher degree.”

Sonya Carney, University of Missouri Student

Sydney Eden, K-State Graduate

Works as a private professional guardian in Alaska.

“I am passionate about the issues related to the aging adult who also has mental health diagnoses.   I recently dealt with an agency that treated my elderly client differently because of her schizophrenia diagnosis.  I fight for services for those who are aging but hit roadblocks because they also have a mental health diagnosis… Knowing that I have done something that has made someone else’s life better is a win.”

Sheri Ingram, K-State Graduate

After graduating with her gerontology master’s through Great Plains IDEA, Sheri was hired into the human resources department at one of Washington’s largest credit unions.  In the seven years she worked there she often counseled supervisors, managers, and employees concerning issues related to aging and health.  Whether helping young supervisors understand how to be patient with older employees struggling with cancer treatments, to providing advice to coworkers struggling with aging family members, when Sheri left the credit union she had a reputation of being an advocate for the “older” workers.