MAKING A DIFFERENCE  IN ACTION Our research apprenticeship model pairs graduate and undergraduate students.

Research Apprenticeship Model

Back, L to R: Michael Siedlecki, Danielle Eynon-Black, Jyotsana Parajuli Front, L to R: Sydney Phillips, Ellie Hodges, Audrianna Nigg

Back, L to R: Michael Siedlecki, Danielle Eynon-Black, Jyotsana Parajuli
Front, L to R: Sydney Phillips, Ellie Hodges, Audrianna Nigg

Gerontology faculty and Scripps Gerontology Center staff have created a research apprenticeship to give undergraduate students hands-on experience as research team members. Graduate students are also key to Miami’s gerontology research apprenticeship model; under the guidance of seasoned principal investigators, the graduate students serve as mentors and research supervisors for the undergrads.

In the summer of 2016 Danielle Eynon Black and Jyotsana Parajuli, PhD students in Social Gerontology, trained and supervised four undergraduate students working on a statewide nursing home satisfaction survey (see box below). Undergrads scanned completed surveys, assisted with recording open-ended responses, staffed the telephone helpline, and participated in project meetings. Danielle and Jyotsana provided skills training for using special equipment and software, interpersonal communication and data quality control. They also led weekly meetings to discuss assigned readings and to help students connect their interests and disciplines with gerontology.

“Mentoring should be required of all graduate students in gerontology,” said Danielle. “This opportunity is a great precursor to teaching undergraduate students and is a valuable way to become more familiar and understanding of younger age cohorts.” Jyotsana shared “I feel more prepared to work and communicate with undergraduates in the future and can better gauge teaching toward their interests and levels of understanding.”

Undergraduate student worker Ellie Hodges shared her perspective on the project: “Researching nursing homes and residential care facilities in Ohio gave me a greater appreciation for long-term care, and a greater understanding of research methods and processes.

I gained valuable experience with data collection and customer service, both of which have led to other job opportunities. Additionally, I gained two very important mentors – Danielle and Jyotsana. During our group discussions about academic articles and topics, I gained wisdom and understanding from them about topics I had very little background knowledge about. I can honestly say I have gained two friends and mentors. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences, both with the project and the mentorship it provided.”

Students collecting surveys. Student entering data on a computer.

Students and staff processed 33,504 surveys and answered 1400 helpline emails and phone calls.
Ohio Revised Code 173.47 requires the collection of family and resident nursing home satisfaction data in alternating years, for the purposes of publishing the Ohio Long-Term Care Consumer Guide. In 2016 Scripps Gerontology Center conducted the 8th biennial Ohio Nursing Home Family Satisfaction Survey and the first Residential Care Facility Family Satisfaction Survey under a contract with the Ohio Department of Aging.