By 2030, more than 69 million Americans will be over the age of 65.
And UNCG’s Kate Reid will be at the forefront of supporting this aging population.
The program was the perfect fit for Reid, who, after getting married and moving to Winston-Salem in 2014, was looking for a career change. Previously, she had worked in the legal field.
“I knew I wanted to work with older adults, and I’m very interested in the business side of health care and how retirement communities and hospitals work together,” she said. “I started doing research and found UNCG’s program. The timing was impeccable – it all just came together.”
Dr. Rebecca Adams, director of the Gerontology Program, helped Reid get connected with gerontology professionals in the community. Just a couple months after she began the program, Reid accepted a full-time job as an executive assistant with Well-Spring Retirement Community in Greensboro, an opportunity that provided her with immediate experience and additional contacts in the field.
Students in the dual degree program take standard MBA courses such as Marketing Management alongside courses like Research Methods in Gerontology and Critical Issues of the Aged. This unique blend of coursework has helped Reid understand health care for the aging population and the business behind it.
“I’ve learned how much the economy is expected to change because of the stress that baby boomers will put on the health care system,” she said. “I never understood the complexity of health care in the United States before this program, and now my eyes have been opened.”
Thanks to the unique partnership between UNCG and Well-Spring, Reid was able to fulfill both of the program’s internship requirements at the retirement community while she continued to work full time and attend classes in the evenings. This past fall, she completed a marketing internship – an experience that ultimately led to her promotion to assistant director of retirement relocation.
As she reflects on the hard work, time management and late nights on campus, Reid credits the constant support of her husband, UNCG faculty and staff, classmates and Well-Spring administration for helping her get through the rigorous program in two years.
“At times, it’s been very difficult,” she said. “But overall, it’s worth it when I think about how much I’ve accomplished, everything that I’ve learned and what my future now holds. If I can make a positive difference in the life of just one older adult, then all my efforts will have been worth it.”
Reid is also hoping to encourage the next generation to explore a career in gerontology.
“Young people will have such a bright future if they go into this field because it is growing exponentially. There will never be a shortage of jobs in health care,” she said. “This dual degree program, along with the support of Well-Spring, has opened doors and created new experiences for me that would never have been possible otherwise.”
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Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications