UMass Boston gerontology doctoral students Shan Qu and Yan-Jhu Su are serving as junior leaders of the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), a program of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

Qu, a first-year junior leader, is in her second year of the doctoral program at UMass Boston. She earned a master of science in gerontology at the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School in 2021. As a graduate research assistant, she is working with Professor Pamela Nadash, PhD, on projects for the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, including a project seeking input from a wide range of key stakeholders on priorities for federal action to support family caregivers. Shan’s current research interests are long-term care policy, family caregivers, labor force participation in later life, and retirement issues. 

Su, a second-year junior leader, is in his third year of doctoral studies. Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, he earned a master’s degree in violin performance at the University of Miami. He then earned a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling with a specialization in music therapy from Lesley University. His master’s thesis looked at “Music Interventions for Chinese Patients with Parkinson’s Disease: Alleviating Symptoms through Arts-Based Interventions.” Su completed his clinical training as a music therapist at Hebrew SeniorLife. At UMass Boston, he completed a second-year master thesis, “The Association Between Physical Health and Retirement Planning: Findings from the Health and Retirement Study,” and was awarded a master’s of science. His current research interests are the demography of aging, health behavior and health factors among older adults, health disparities, cognitive function, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and mental health among older adults. 

As junior leaders, Su and Qu aim to connect fellow members of GSA’s Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization community with opportunities at the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), which aims to support emerging and experienced scholars and educators. The students serve in two work groups, communication and academic program development, which produce annual workshops.  At the GSA Annual Scientific Meeting in Indianapolis in November 2022, Su and Qu co-chaired the AGHE symposium, “Teaching Strategies for Integrating Diversity in Aging.”

“Shan and Yan-Jhu continue the great tradition of UMass Boston gerontology students taking on high profile leadership roles early in their careers,” says Edward Alan Miller, PhD, gerontology department chair. “As junior leaders in AGHE, they are able to make important contributions to the field.”