Gerontology Program Honors Graduating Students

Wednesday, June 09, 2021
The Gerontology Program in the School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement recognized five graduating Master of Arts Students at a Zoom ceremony on May 21, 2021.  
Please join us in congratulating:
  • Jeffrey Dillon
  • Madeleine Marroquin-Serrano
  • Julie Ann Ortega
  • Kirsten Sund
  • Landon James Vandergriend
We recognize the follow students for their achievements.
The School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement  Distinguished Student Achievement in Gerontology
Madeleine Marroquin-Serrano
Madeleine Marroquin-Serrano has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her graduate studies in Gerontology.  Her culminating experience project examined ways to develop an effective educational curriculum for Latino caregivers on Alzheimer's disease for older adults.  She was involved in a research project on age-friendly university as a student assistant.  Madeleine has been working as a bilingual psychometrist at UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center.  She is passionate about the work to empower Latino older adults and their family members.  Upon completing her internship and graduate studies, she plans to pursue work as a geriatric care manager.
The School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement Barbara Jordon Award in Gerontology
Jeffrey Dillon
Jeffrey is a seasoned professional long term care leader with vast experience in aging services, senior hospitality, healthcare marketing, and business, private sector business, and government relations.  He has community and civic experience in contributing to the following areas: Business Development, Operations and Planning in senior services and housing; Former Congressional Staff for health care, veterans, and constituent issues in US House; COO and Founder of Private Duty Home Care Agency owned by Senior Housing Operator; Involved in master planning and start-up development projects throughout US; Public Speaker on Aging Programs and Successful Aging Movement throughout US and China; Relationship builder for partnerships with senior housing programs and communities; Business Plan, Pro-forma and joint venture program development experience in all levels of senior services care spectrum; Strategic Planning development for senior housing and eldercare service organizations; and Considered a visionary by contemporaries in senior services industry.
Julie Ann Ortega
Julie started to explore the field of gerontology soon after she completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology at California State University – East Bay. She is especially interested in the work of promoting healthy aging in local communities.  Her culminating experience project examined the relationship between people’s subjective attitudes toward aging and their health and well-being.  Her research confirmed that people’s attitudes greatly matter for healthy aging. Upon graduation, she plans to explore the work of consulting older adults about how to enjoy their lives with a positive view of aging.
Kirsten (Kiki) Sund
Kirsten was Assistant Director of Life Enrichment at Nazareth House in San Rafael, CA.  For the past three years, she served this community of older adults by: Planning and implementing recreational and therapeutic activities, in conjunction with the Director of Life Enrichment, for 100+ residents in an assisted living facility;  Served as part of the management team by participating in weekly meetings, providing support during emergencies, and working together with other managers on larger projects; Reached out to the local community for volunteers, performers, and speakers; Organized special events and fundraisers with volunteer Auxiliary of over 30 members; and Coordinated drivers for residents’ medical appointments and providing rides and accompaniment as needed.
Landon James Vandergriend
For the past several years, Landon has been working primarily in assisted living facilities. He also has extensive caregiving experiences for persons with dementia, which was part of the reason he became interested in the field of gerontology.  In his culminating experience project, he examined how an assisted living facility needs to design and deliver services to older adults with dementia. His ultimate goal is to open up his own assisted living facility that provides services that are truly centered on the needs and desires of each resident.  Landon is the 2020-2021 Long-Term Care Administration Scholarship Awardee.