Centennial Class Profiles
Major: Human Development and Family Science / Minor: Gerontology
Hometown: Mifflinburg, PA
Campus Activities: Elder Ministries, Homecoming Court, Boyer Scholar, Smith Scholar Intern, Building Strong Families Conference: Co-Presenter
Avery Johnson takes the old, familiar phrase “respect your elders” to heart; in fact, she plans to make a career out of it. As a Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) major with a Gerontology minor, Johnson finds it rewarding to work with older individuals.
She has also received numerous academic achievement awards such as becoming a Boyer Scholar and Smith Scholar, both prestigious titles honoring community involvement and academic excellence at Messiah. As a Smith Scholar, Johnson works with HDFS department chairwoman Raeann Hamon to complete extensive scholarly research. Last fall, she completed a large portion of the research for a presentation at the annual Building Strong Families Conference hosted at the College by the HDFS department; she co-presented “The Ethics of Care: Filial Responsibility in Later Life Families.”
In addition to her classroom experiences, Johnson has taken advantage of several opportunities for practical experiences as well. She worked for RiverWoods long term care facility in the Activities and Social Services departments. And as an Admissions Intern at local long term care facility, Bethany Village, Johnson managed and completed the organization’s competitive analysis, assisted with facility tours, conducted the daily census, and assisted new residents with the admissions and move-in process. Even when she wasn’t interning there, Johnson continuously volunteered at Bethany Village during college. “Volunteering at Bethany Village through the Elder Ministries program is, by far, the most rewarding experience I have had at Messiah,” reflected Johnson. “Whether we were playing a game of Bingo, painting nails, or praying together, my time spent with the residents at Bethany Village is simply irreplaceable.”
Once she graduates, Johnson plans to serve older adults in some way. In order to better refine her abilities to serve this population, she plans to attend graduate school in the near future. “I believe the class of 2010 will leave an impact on this campus, one that inspires younger classes to serve,” said Johnson. “The academic and social aspects of college are invaluable, but the blessings derived from serving others are what make the college experience at Messiah truly unique; service, if nothing else, is what sets Messiah students apart.”