SGS Blog

SGS Careers in Aging Mini-Conference - My Thoughts

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 By: Alfred Boakye
SGS Mini Conference

SGS Careers in Aging Mini-Conference – My Thoughts

Currently, as a master’s student reading for an MA in Gerontology to graduate in Spring 2023, attending the SGS Careers in Aging mini conference was the timely opportunity I just could not let go. I have attended quiet a few student conferences, but this stands out to me. The activities were intense, and everyone had the opportunity to share their experiences. Preparing to take my PhD after this master’s and further my career in Gerontology, this conference was an eye opener to cart the right path towards achieving my goals in the nearest future. I would want to share some thoughts on each day throughout the sessions and what I learnt as a walking tool for my career.

Day One - Mapping Your Career in Gerontology

The first day and session taught me to consider TRANSFORMATION as an effective tool as we navigate through the new normal. Things are no longer the way it used to be. Continuous learning is key if we want to be good with TRANSFORMATION. The session exposed me to why it is essential to engage in such workshops or conferences. The necessary skills to add value to organizations were clearly explored. Further to this, I learnt that to excel in the learning zone, I need to understand the core competencies/strengths and weaknesses, career goals, and get to know myself. I needed to assess how my personality can and would affect my career journey. Targeting my communication skills to frame my story, networking and researching to become abreast with new trends is what I need to develop whiles I stay in the learning zone towards TRANSFORMATION. There were breakout sessions to connect and network with others (other colleagues and professors in the Gerontology field). Attendees shared their experiences and how they want to use their skills they have acquired from the gerontology program to impact organizations. I think this was profound.

Day Two – Todays Resume is not Yesterdays Resume

The second day was super helpful as the presenter Dr. Chivon Mingo exposed us to the competencies for a career-ready workforce. She spoke about 8 competencies essential to thriving in the gerontology space and that everyone who wants to purse a career in this field need to develop. These competencies are; career & self-development, communication, critical thinking, equity & inclusion, leadership, professionalism, teamwork, and technology. I developed an inventory during the session on where the jobs are in the field of aging. There are several of them either at the federal, state or local governmental agencies. I can engage in entrepreneurial ventures, nursing care facilities, academic, educational and research settings, community-based supports and services and a several of opportunities. Through the session, I got to learn that there are organizations that are committed to the vision and dream of gerontology and the filed of aging that will be a great resource to look into. I learnt about elevated speech and how I could use it to my advantage as I go into an organization in search of a job. The good thing about these sessions is that I got to practice it on my own through break out sessions and I think it was great.

Day Three – Cultivating Networks in a Virtual World

The third day was committed extensively to networking and strategies to adopt if one wants to connect with other professionals and especially in the field of aging. Experiences were shared to level on what I had and how to turn those experiences into actionable objectives towards achieving my career goals in future. As an upcoming professor in Gerontology with strong desire to conduct research to bridge the gap in the aging field, such networking opportunity was timely. I get to know which institutions are running the best programs and how to take advantage of them. I learnt some techniques as building on my communication skills, be more practical, be an advocate, and more of a leader rather than a manager.

The mini conference was breathtaking and would encourage everyone, especially students like myself to grab such an opportunity anytime one presents itself. Thank you to the organizers for this event and I look forward to joining future ones. Thank you!