Meet a Recent Graduate

Brian Pulling graduated from Ithaca College in May 2016 with a major in Physical Therapy and a minor in Aging Studies.

What are your future professional plans? Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In the future he plans to earn his Doctorate of Physical Therapy and be a practicing physical therapist. Through his experiences with aging studies and physical rehabilitation he is inspired to help others live more fully. In ten years he expects to work in physical rehabilitation with an emphasis in changes throughout the lifespan.

What was your best experience with the Gerontology Institute/Dept.?
He loved his field work which he did at Longview where he was able to spend time with the residents. He was able to connect the aging studies curriculum with real people's lives, and experiences. He also had the opportunity to present research that he did with Dr. Bergman at the SSA Conference in Brooklyn in the Fall 2015. He won the award for best undergraduate paper called “Adapting Psychological Counseling Practices for End of Life Palliative Care”. He wrote that paper for Dr. Bergman’s Counseling the Older Adult course and then continued to improve upon it for submission to the SSA Conference.

Why should students consider a major or minor in gerontology?
He believes students should consider gerontology because aging is a common fact of life which we all must experience. College is about broadening our horizons and challenging our ideas which the Gerontology Institute really supports. He said the department truly gives students the opportunity to try new things and meet new people, not only for the betterment of the students but for society and the world. In particular he liked the minor because it gave him the opportunity to work outside of his clinical health studies major and study in a different way than he was typically used to.

What has been your favorite experience working with older adults?
Brian’s experience with the Titus Towers theater troupe which he did with Dr. Bergman’s Introduction to Aging Studies course was one of his favorites. He was able to put on a musical, The Fountain of Youth, with the residents there. He described it as being a lot of fun and everyone having a great time. He thought it was a great opportunity to get to know other residents of the greater Ithaca community.

What is one piece of advice you would offer current gerontology majors/minors?
He would advise students to be open to letting your preconceived notions change and develop. The gerontology minor challenged him to think about the world differently. He didn’t plan to study gerontology but then took Introduction to Aging Studies and from there he was excited about the field. He hadn’t come to Ithaca College with any particular passion for aging but he truly has on now. Ultimately, he advises students to be open to listening and fully experiencing the courses and fieldwork they have the opportunity to learn from.

Aging Studies Student, Brian Pulling, Receives Award at the 43rd Annual State Society on Aging New York (SSANY) Conference in Brooklyn

In his own words:
“I am a senior Physical Therapy major with a minor in Aging Studies. My research came out of my work in Dr. Bergman’s Counseling the Older Adult course this past spring 2015. Throughout the course, we were studying various counseling methods and perspectives, and their applicability to different populations of older adults. I then began to wonder how counseling might be applicable to individuals at the very end of their lives, and how counselors might need to adapt their practices to best suit the needs of those clients. My research analyzes several studies which focused on this population, and aims to present recommendations for counselors when helping those at the end of their lives. Within Physical Therapy, we tend to approach health care from the medical model of curing diseases, but my work in Aging Studies has helped me see that health care can be more dynamic than that. With this work, I present techniques that could be useful to counselors and caregivers of all disciplines which would help them better meet the unique needs of clients and their families during this specific period of transition. I’m honored to be recognized for my work, and sincerely grateful for the opportunity to present my research at the SSA Conference.”

Brian Pulling
Brian Pulling Receives Award at the 43rd Annual State Society on Aging of New York (SSANY) Conference in Brooklyn
Brian Pulling Receives Award at the 43rd Annual SSANY Conference

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