Students Honored for Dissertation Work
Two Ph.D. students in Miami’s Social Gerontology program were recently honored for their dissertation research. The caliber and potential impact of their research has earned Maricruz Rivera-Hernandez and Phyllis Cummins recognition and financial support for their ongoing graduate work.
Maricruz, a third-year doctoral student, has been selected as a Fahs-Beck Scholar for her research on health among middle-aged and older diabetics in Mexico. The grant is given to candidates “whose studies have the potential for adding significantly to knowledge about problems in the functioning or well being of children, adults, couples, families, or communities, or interventions designed to prevent or alleviate such problems,” according to the official application. The award provides a stipend to assist in covering expenses related to their research. Maricruz was also awarded the Department of Sociology and Gerontology Dissertation Fellowship for the 2012 academic year for her work.
Concerning her research, Maricruz stated, “The findings could significantly improve the understanding of health-promoting behaviors and provide important information to develop culturally-specific programs” for older adults in Mexico. “The findings from this study should also serve to inform current policies on interventions to improve health outcomes for people with chronic non-communicable diseases,” she added.
Maricruz earned her undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from the Instituto Tecnologico de Culiacan, Mexico and went on to get a master’s degree in Environmental Science at Miami University. Her future goals include aiding in the development of new programs for Hispanic people that encourage healthy aging and to increase media coverage of issues for elder Hispanics in Mexico and Latin America.
Phyllis Cummins, also in the Social Gerontology program, was recently awarded the 2012 James Jacobs Scholarship Award by the National Council for Workforce Education (NCWE) for her doctoral research. The award supports doctoral research in the areas of Career Pathway, Workforce Development, Adult and Continuing Education, and Career/Technical Education. Phyllis’ doctoral research focuses on unemployed older adults and issues related to reentering the workforce. As a part of the award, Phyllis will present her work at the NCWE annual conference in Long Beach, California in October.
Phyllis comes to Miami after a successful career with a large financial institution. She has earned a B.S. in Business Administration and one in Human Performance. Phyllis also earned her M.B.A. and a master’s degree in Health Science. Her work and vast experience give her valuable insights into issues facing the baby boomer generation. Her general research interests include productivity during retirement as it relates to successful aging and employment and retirement issues facing the baby boomer generation.
“These two students exemplify the quality of the graduate programs in the department of Sociology and Gerontology,” said Jim Oris, Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship & Dean of the Graduate School at Miami. He added, “The students, department faculty, and staff of the Scripps Gerontology Center continue to make significant contributions in basic and applied research on the state, national, and international level.”
Both Phyllis and Maricruz plan to complete their work and graduate in the Spring of 2013.