“I am in my 4th year of the Applied Developmental Science (ADS) PhD program. ADS is a unique degree program that trains students in Human Development (also sometimes referred to as Developmental Psychology), with a rigorous training in both basic and applied research methodology. Although I am trained in research across the human life span, my primary area of focus is on adult development, including middle-age and later life. I study attitudes and stereotypes about aging, and their effects on health and well-being in later life. I am so passionate about this research because it turns out that seemingly simple and harmless jokes and negative perceptions about “old people” are actually robustly predictive of so many negative outcomes – including worse cognitive function, poorer walking and balance, lower life satisfaction, and even shorter life span by an average of 7.5 years! Plus, many stereotypes about aging are very inaccurate, and are contradicted by a growing body of research. Therefore, during my work here at CSU, I have collaborated with my advisor to design an intervention program that aims to help adults re-think the aging process. We hope to find out whether changing people’s attitudes about aging can result in meaningful behavioral changes, especially health promotion through increased physical activity.
The PhD program has been intense and lots of hard work – but has offered so many gratifying experiences. I have been part of an international research collaboration, and attended a conference in Heidelberg, Germany. I have had the opportunity to learn advanced statistical methods, to present work at national and international conferences, to gain teaching experience, and to mentor undergraduate students in our research lab. I plan to graduate in the next year, and am currently looking for post-doctoral and job opportunities that will allow me to use the research and teaching skills I have gained during the past several years.”
Allyson is also volunteering as a contact for our psych majors considering graduate school, so if you have any questions about graduate school, she would love to chat with you! (Allyson.Brothers@colostate.edu )
Also check out her feature on the Psych Department’s Roanoke Alumni page! (http://roanoke.edu/Academics/Academic_Departments/Psychology/Alumni.htm)