Dr. Elizabeth 'Like' Lokon Selected to Fulbright Scholars Program

Like Lokon with a student and workshop participant

Since 2008, Dr. Lokon has directed Miami's service-learning program Opening Minds through Art (OMA.) OMA puts college students in direct contact with elders living with dementia as they support the elders in art-making. The Fulbright Scholars grant will allow her to bring OMA to Indonesia.

Elizabeth LokonDr. Elizabeth 'Like' Lokon (Scripps Gerontology Center) was recently selected for a Fulbright award to Indonesia for academic year 2021-2022. Her project, "Using Art to Teach Intergenerational Service Learning for People Living with Dementia," will bring her award-winning and evidence-based Opening Minds through Art (OMA) intergenerational program to Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia. Her placement will be shared between the medical school and the department of psychology.

OMA has been replicated at over 200 care communities throughout North America. Each care community partners with a nearby educational institution or service organization to create one-on-one pairs of people with dementia and volunteers. Lokon looks forward to translating and adapting her educational resources to another cultural context. "I believe that OMA can create intergenerational friendships through creative arts experiences in any culture," she said.

Lokon grew up in Indonesia and came to the U.S. in 1978 to begin her undergraduate education. "Despite the fact that I am now a U.S. citizen, I would like to give back to Indonesia and help improve people’s lives there through my role as an educator," she said. "I will be collaborating with Atma Jaya faculty members and students to develop OMA as a culturally relevant service-learning component to existing courses."

Lokon plans to invite local experts in dementia as guest speakers. Indonesian artists, musicians, and dancers will share their work with the students and discuss how their art may be adapted so that it is accessible to people with dementia. She also hopes to offer seminars and public lectures.

However, her project in Indonesia will not end upon her return to Ohio. "I hope to continue to collaborate with Indonesian colleagues to further develop intergenerational engagement with those living with dementia through the arts. I also plan to bring Indonesian colleagues to campus and hopefully establish study abroad opportunities for Miami students in Indonesia," she said.

A student and workshop participant exchange high fivesStudent and participant work on an artwork

Student and participant stand near artwork on displayGroup of workshop participants and students

Becoming a Fulbright Scholar

The Fulbright Scholar Program offers diverse opportunities for U.S. academics, administrators, and professionals to teach, research, do professional projects and attend seminars abroad. For Dr. Lokon, Fulbright offered the infrastructure to educate students beyond Miami and opportunities to collaborate with colleagues around the world.

Lokon attended Fulbright information sessions and researched potential partnerships in the target country of Indonesia. She obtained a letter of invitation from Atma Jaya Catholic University and formally applied for the Fulbright Scholars program in September, 2020.

In January of 2021, she was interviewed over Zoom by two Indonesians and two Americans. "It was a very pleasant conversation about what I wanted to do in Indonesia," said Lokon. "Then in April of 2021 I received the decision letter."

Lokon encourages other faculty and staff to investigate the Fulbright Scholars program. She said, "I am always interested in bridging divides across age, cognitive status, cultures, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc. So, what better way to do that work than travel to another country?"

For more information about Fulbright Scholars at Miami, contact Karla Guinigundo at