In the summer of 2021, the MIT AgeLab welcomed seven high school and college interns, bringing them into the virtual fold of researchers as the Lab continued operating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges of orienting to a virtual workplace, the summer interns worked closely with AgeLab staff on a number of research projects, and developed a greater understanding of the lives and experiences of older adults and those who care for them. In particular, the interns assisted with the Lab’s intergenerational programming, the 85+ Lifestyle Leaders panel, and research related to the multigenerational workforce and livable cities.
Lila Goldstein, a rising senior at Nightingale-Bamford School in New York, contributed to the development of a curriculum for a future course on building strong and sustainable intergenerational programs by reviewing the existing literature on different ways of building programs for social impact. She also performed research on cataloguing organizations that have been carrying out intergenerational work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anjali Reddy, a rising junior at Buckingham Browne & Nichols in Cambridge, MA, assisted with analyzing data collected from surveys from a July 2021 Lifestyle Leaders panel on religious attitudes and beliefs. She also contributed to the development of a curriculum on intergenerational programming by auditing various online EdX course offerings from institutions such as Georgetown University, with the aim of furnishing a better understanding of how content related to building social impact programs and evaluating those programs can be taught.
Sophie Lee, a rising sophomore at Mount Holyoke College, drafted the questionnaire for the July Lifestyle Leaders panel discussion on religious attitudes and beliefs, facilitated a small group discussion session of the Lifestyle Leaders, and supported a literature review on the multigenerational workforce.
Talia Chait, a rising sophomore at Macalester College, conducted a literature review of technology use among adults ages 85 and older and worked on a cross-cultural interview study of urban life during the COVID-19 pandemic across different generations. She has interned at the AgeLab for three years.
Talia Belz, a rising junior at Vanderbilt University, helped with the OMEGA scholarship application evaluation period. She also assisted with survey development for CareHive and was involved with reviewing the literature on the multigenerational workforce. She also interned at the AgeLab in the summer of 2020.
Jimmy Davey, a senior at The Haverford School, and Brianna Garrette, a junior at the American Heritage School, performed exploratory research toward the creation of an “age-ready disaster index” for cities, modelled after existing livability and age-friendliness indices. They performed a series of interviews with local emergency services and adults ages 65 and older who lived in their own communities in Boca Raton, Florida, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Writing jointly about their experiences as interns, they said, “While engaging in our project this summer with the MIT AgeLab, we gained a greater perspective and understanding of the needs of today’s older adults and have developed much more compassion for them.”