Janelle Fassi, a second-year gerontology student at UMass Boston, has won two competitive travel awards from the Gerontological Society of America to attend its fall 2022 national meeting.

Fassi is one of 10 students chosen by the GSA and its Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education from a global pool of applicants for the James McKenney Student Travel Award. The McKenney Award will cover her travel, lodging, and meal expenses while attending the GSA Annual Scientific and Education Meeting in Indianapolis from November 2-6. Fassi won a second smaller award, the Carol Schultz Travel Award, from GSA’s Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization, which will also help cover her expenses.

As she noted in her award applications, Fassi is presenting a poster at the GSA meeting based on her work as a research assistant to the Age-Friendly University study at UMass Boston. The interdisciplinary UMass Boston team developed an Inventory and Campus Climate Survey tool to measure age-friendly practices on college campuses. Fassi’s poster outlines strategies to improve age friendliness in higher education, illustrated by a heat-map analysis.

“The findings I will share reveal the lack of teaching and learning services available for returning non-traditional students and older learners on college campuses,” Fassi wrote in her application. “This informs the need to make education more accessible for all learners, regardless of age or disability…. This work is important to share with higher education administrators, faculty, and students across the country, many of whom attend the GSA annual meeting.”

Fassi will also co-chair a GSA meeting panel with Edward Alan Miller, PhD, chair of the Department of Gerontology, titled “Elections Matter: Aging Politics and Policy in the Biden Era.” Nearly 30 UMass Boston gerontology students plan to attend the GSA meeting along with most of the department’s faculty members.