Katie Anthony

Katie Anthony pursues her passion in gerontology doctoral program

Katie decided to pursue a doctorate in gerontology after her grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2012. Though she studied journalism for her undergraduate and master’s degrees, Katie felt a calling to help the older population.

“My undergraduate and master’s degrees are in journalism, but I’ve always had an interest in the older adult demographic,” she said. “My family cared for my grandma as she was diagnosed, and I saw firsthand what this disease does to the person diagnosed and how it impacts them and their family.”

Katie felt compelled to help people as they age and contribute to the research gap on mental health in older adults.

“It’s very different being on the other end of helplessness,” she said. “I felt like there should have been more that could have been done.”

With the aging population of the U.S., Katie wants to make an impact and improve the lives of people as they age through research. Her academic interests focus on how the elderly’s relationship with technology can influence their mental health.

“There’s a lot of research on the evils of technology, and that’s really unfortunate because technology can actually do so many positive things for older adults,” she said.

Even during her master’s degree, which she also obtained at Iowa State, Katie was interested the older population. Her thesis looked at the signs and symptoms of depression in older adults who use Facebook. Katie feels that the gerontology program will give her the chance to give back to those who have helped her to where she is.

“I feel like older adults get left out of the mix,” she said. “They’ve given us so much, why should we just write them out?”

Though the transition from journalism to gerontology came as a surprise to those around her, Katie is grateful she chose to follow her passion and pursue a doctorate in gerontology. For students who feel it may be too late to change their career path, Katie says there is no reason to wait.

“If you’re torn, and that feeling lasts for a long time, it’s happening for a reason,” Katie said. “If what you’re doing won’t make you happy, why are you doing it?”