Ritu Belani: Bringing AgeLab lessons back to California

by Taylor Patskanick

It sounds absurd to walk into an office space and see a life-sized mannequin sitting in the middle of the room, but if there’s anything I’ve learned about the AgeLab from my summer with them, it’s that they embrace uniqueness and the moments of inspiration which arise from it. If you’ve ever taken a tour of the AgeLab, then you’re familiar with AGNES, a suit designed to simulate some of physical limitations associated with aging and reduced mobility.

Before interning at the MIT AgeLab, I was conducting technology classes at local senior centers and leading policy causes related to older adults in the California Bay Area, such as nursing home reform and home accessibility modifications. The platform provided by the AgeLab has helped me think at the next level and prepared me to build programs back home which can have a greater impact on the older population. For example, the AgeLab’s focus on longevity planning got me interested in expanding opportunities for older adults to get involved in the workforce later in life.

Going into the school year, I look forward to working on a project making a local community college curriculum more accessible to older adults and connecting these program graduates to professional opportunities.

Among other things, the MIT AgeLab has also opened my eyes to the diversity in experiences with aging across the country. At the July Lifestyle Leaders session that the MIT AgeLab organized, where interns played a critical role, I learned about the perspectives of different adults over the age of 85 on extreme weather preparedness and climate change.

The MIT AgeLab also gave me an opportunity to collaborate with student interns across the US. It was a great bonding experience, from exchanging notes on courses offered at our respective schools to sharing about our collective usage of social media.

Having spent an enriching and inspiring summer with the AgeLab team, I’d highly recommend getting involved in the Lab to high schoolers who want to expand their horizons and make an impact beyond their local initiatives.

  • Share
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Get Involved

Interested in this area of study? See how you can participate in AgeLab research or become a volunteer.


About the Author

Photo of Taylor Patskanick
Taylor Patskanick

Taylor Patskanick is a Technical Associate at the MIT AgeLab. Her current research explores preventive health and vaccination practices of older adults. Taylor co-coordinates the MIT AgeLab 85+ Lifestyle Leaders panel and contributes to the AgeLab’s AGNES program. She also manages OMEGA, an intergenerational summit and scholarship program. In addition to her work at the AgeLab, Taylor is the president of Boston Bridge, Inc., a Massachusetts-based professional development organization for leaders in the field of aging and is a licensed certified social worker (LCSW). Taylor is an adjunct faculty member at Simmons University in Boston, MA. Taylor earned her MPH and MSW from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and received her BSW from the University of Georgia.

More From the Blog

2020 OMEGA Summit Brings Together Students, Aging Professionals, Past Scholarship Winners

October 30, 2020

2020 Summer Interns Work on OMEGA, Lifestyle Leaders, C3 Project

August 26, 2020

2021 Spring Speaker Series Begins with Presentation from Dr. Catherine García on Social Determinants of Health

March 23, 2021