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Chou R250The College of Social Work’s associate professor Dr. Rita Jing-Ann Chou, who serves as the Director of the South Carolina Center for Gerontology, has been named a Fellow by the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). Additionally, PhD student Tori Charles has received an award for doctoral students from the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW).

Fellowship represents a high honor within the GSA. Fellows must be nominated by their colleagues who are Fellows themselves, and considered by the GSA based on their contributions to the field.

As Chou explains, “It at once confirms achievements by you and declares expectations of you.” Dr. Chou has a wide range of research interests in gerontology, including health, quality of life, elder support, long-term care, productive aging, and discrimination against older workers. “The world is looking at a rapidly aging population. People live longer and work longer. How to provide a healthy and caring environment for older adults to live a meaningful life, to age gracefully, and to achieve and maintain individuals’ highest level of well-being has become a major challenge globally. Such challenges, no doubt, require new knowledge,” Chou comments. Recently, she has been awarded a Core U.S. Fulbright Scholar research grant for her study on long-term care for older adults in China.  

Tori Charles has also devoted her studies to gerontological social work. During Dr. Chou’s research design class last fall, Charles became interested in how isolation and loneliness affect the health and well-being of older adults.     

Due to her research in gerontological studies, Tori Charles has been selected to participate in the AGESW Pre-Dissertation Initiative. This program awards promising PhD students in the field of gerontological social work and offers those students mentoring opportunities and guidance in both professional development and scholarship. Only ten PhD students are accepted for the program each year. Charles will receive a stipend and attend the 67th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America in Washington, D.C., this fall. Dr. Chou, who recommended Charles for this award, will serve as her institutional mentor in this program.

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