2022 OMEGA Summit Brings Together Students, Professionals in Aging
by Adam Felts
The AgeLab held its sixth annual – and third virtual – OMEGA Summit, an event that brings together high school students and professionals in aging to discuss intergenerational programming and careers in the aging field.
The OMEGA Summit takes place two months after the conferral of the AgeLab’s OMEGA scholarships, which award high schoolers who develop and lead intergenerational programs in their communities. The Summit helps to guide students to imagine new intergenerational programs or to grow existing ones, with the potential of applying for the scholarship later in the year.
The 2022 OMEGA Summit included two moderated panels, one of students and the other of aging professionals, and a breakout activity for attendees to brainstorm solutions to a challenge for intergenerational connection.
Student leaders involved in intergenerational activities in their communities – including two 2022 OMEGA scholarship winners – made up a panel moderated by AgeLab researcher Sophia Ashebir. They spoke about their experiences developing their programs and gave examples of challenges they have faced in implementing them. Steven Yang (a 2022 OMEGA scholarship winner), Maya Joshi (a 2022 OMEGA scholarship winner), Hannah Paseltiner, and Jean Yu were the students who comprised the panel.
A second panel featured professionals speaking about their career paths and their present work in the field of aging. Julie Miller, Director of Thought Leadership for Financial Resilience at AARP (and former AgeLab researcher); Tylor Taylor, Executive Director at the Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council; and Roxy Mast, Director of Sales Engagement at AlerisLife volunteered as panelists. AgeLab researcher Adam Felts served as the moderator. They discussed their varying paths into the aging field, how intergenerational programming is involved in their work, and advice they would give to younger people who are interested in the aging field themselves.
Additionally, the Summit participants split into breakout groups to address a challenge prompt: how can we find ways to make our homes and communities more conducive toward intergenerational connection. The groups brainstormed ideas involving mobile applications to facilitate social connection between younger and older residents in neighborhoods, as well as the development of multigenerational living spaces.
In addition to the OMEGA Summit, the AgeLab holds monthly chat hours for students looking for support, guidance, and conversation on the development of their intergenerational programs. Applications for the 2023 OMEGA scholarships will open in the spring of 2023.