University Center for Social and Urban Research


What Students Are Saying…

Brenna Garda

“I began with a personal passion for working with older adults who did not have a strong professional basis, and now I enter the professional world feeling capable and confident due to the knowledge I gained in my classes. My experience enhanced my ability to interact with older adults and their families. The courses provided me with academic knowledge and with real-world skills that I put into practice daily in my social work position at Senior LIFE Ebensburg. The Gerontology program is an excellent foundation for taking the personal and transitioning it seamlessly into the professional. ”

Brenna Garda, Washington, PA


Jennifer Hodzic

“I found the course work in the certificate program to be extremely relevant. It was through this certificate program that I found a full time job in a research lab that studies how the mind and brain change with age and the factors that promote successful aging. I can honestly say this certificate has changed my life and helped me find a career that I absolutely love! ”

Jennifer Hodzic, Pittsburgh, PA


Matt Arch

“The Gerontology Certificate program has proven to be a great accent to my busy lifestyle. I work full-time and have pockets of time available to complete assignments when convenient to my schedule. The professors are passionate and available for feedback around the clock. With this certificate, which will accompany the Master of Social Work that I am attaining through Pitt, I plan to counsel caregiver’s working with their elderly family members. The content is current, relevant, and challenging for today’s student. ”

Matt Arch, Pittsburgh, PA


Johanna Sholder

“After being out of the workforce for years, classes gave me updated knowledge that used evidence-based research to examine aging. As a former nurse I wanted to work with professors who conducted behavioral and community health research. I felt comfortable merging my practical skills with my newly learned science-based knowledge. I’m also a board member of a non-profit that provides community services to low economic elderly residents, so I like the ability to critically read literature, as well as learning how to find hidden resources. ”

Johanna Sholder, Pittsburgh, PA



Barbara Martin

“The discussion boards are interactive, and the amount of exchange is far greater than an in-person class. The instructors are very engaged and provide additional resources related to controversial discussions. Whether you intend to use the information in dealing with elderly parents or just for informational purposes, the Gerontology program is completely worthwhile. I would strongly recommend it. ”

Barbara Martin, Glenshaw, PA



Joyce Carbaugh“I like the flexibility of the Gerontology Certificate program for the convenience of taking classes around my work schedule. I find it very exciting to engage in conversations with so many people of diverse backgrounds and different geographical locations. I look forward to earning the certificate in Gerontology which will benefit me working as a Physical Therapist Assistant in the long-term care setting. ”

Joyce Carbaugh, Oil City, PA


What Faculty Are Saying…

Judy Dodd“I teach Human Performance: Nutrition & Aging and reach individuals interested in being more realistic and evidence-based in their contacts with older adults. Many of the students are employed in adult-centered  programs and facilities, and our interaction means we can personalize the academics to the learner.  Online fits the here and now!”

Judy Dodd, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND

Assistant Professor, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Jason Flatt“Students come with a wealth of knowledge and highly relevant personal experiences that enhance the class experience. I enjoy interacting with my students online, reviewing interesting research articles together, and learning from them in our lively discussions. Students are highly motivated and take advantage of opportunities to pursue interests in gerontology. I highly recommend this program for students and working professionals who want to become leaders in the field of aging.”

Jason Flatt, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Institute for Health Aging, University of California San Francisco


Tiffany Hughes“This program has opened new doors for me in teaching. At first, I was skeptical of online classes, but now I consider them equal or even superior. Online classes offer activities that wouldn’t be possible in the classroom, and bring together students who otherwise wouldn’t interact. They promote independent learning, which is an important skill for students to master for the job market. I encourage students to take online classes because they are a rewarding academic experience.”

Tiffany Hughes, PHD, MPH

Faculty, Department of Psychiatry