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Our Graduate Students



The Institute on Aging employs several graduate students at any given time. They teach, research, and learn alongside faculty mentors to help achieve educational goals.

For information on becoming a graduate assistant or teaching assistant, click here.

Melissa Cannon

Community development to create inclusive, age-friendly places universal design principles that encourage healthy, active lifestyles for people across the lifecourse; providing accessible and affordable housing, transportation, and services for people of all ages and abilities; developing innovative programs that support wellness and improve quality of care among older adults; supporting persons with dementia and their caregivers and successful models of Alzheimer's and dementia care facilities.

While working on her dissertation proposal, Melissa is working as a graduate research assistant for the Institute on Aging, conducting qualitative and quantitative data analysis for the Institute and its programs. She is assisting with data collection, analysis, and development for the service-learning program “Global Aging and Health: Enhancing Communities in Nicaragua” led by faculty members Margaret B. Neal, Ph.D. and Keren Brown Wilson, Ph.D, and is helping prepare manuscript submissions to academic journals. She is also the project manager for federal grant proposal, “Strengthening Nicaragua’s Research Capacity in Chronic, Non-Communicable Disease across the Lifespan,” which will be submitted to the National Institutes of Health in September 2012.

Selected Publications

  • Neal, M. B., Hammer, L. B., Pines, M. A., Bodner, T. E., & Cannon, M. L. (Forthcoming). Working caregivers in the “Sandwiched Generation.” In R. Burke, J. Field, & C. Cooper (Eds). Handbook on Aging, Work & Society. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.
  • Working caregivers in the “Sandwiched Generation.” In R. Burke, J. Field, & C. Cooper (Eds). Handbook on Aging, Work & Society. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.
  • Heying, Charles. (2010). Chapter 14: “Leather.” In Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy. Portland, OR: Ooligan Press.
  • Neal, Margaret, DeLaTorre, Alan, Nolan, Betsy, and Melissa Cannon. A study of Nicaraguan older adults living on the edge: Research from an international university-community partnership. Intended for the International Journal of Aging and Human Development
  • . Estimated completion date: July 2012.

Iris Wernher -


Kaity Nelson

Kaity Nelson has worked at the OGEC Resource Center since September 2010. She graduated from PSU with a B.Sc degree in Psychology and a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and continues her graduate studies at PSU in the Counselor Education program. Kaity's goal is to become a counselor specializing in women's mental health issues. She has a special interest in body image issues, work-life balance, and grief counseling.