Carolyn Boyles Nesselroade ’56, fondly remembers her time as a student at Shenandoah’s original campus, located in Dayton, Virginia.
Shenandoah was just what I needed. It provided a small, accepting, supportive group as well as the opportunity to get out on my own.”
She believes her time at Shenandoah helped to foster her love of learning and set her on a successful career path.
After graduating, Nesselroade was a teacher’s aid until she was hired by Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development to coordinate a longitudinal research project on cognitive aging. Through the experience, she discovered that she enjoyed working with older adults. This motivated her to learn more about the aging process.
Nesselroade recognized that many people in nursing homes need attention and friendship. She facilitated a small discussion group of women, ranging in age from late-80s to over 100. This experience helped her foster relationships with the older women and better understand how we age. She also volunteered to played the piano in an Alzheimer’s unit. Nesselroade found that many of the residents experienced soothing emotions while she played, while other residents remembered the tunes and would smile or keep time to the music.
When working with older adults, loss is a major hardship. Nesselroade describes aging as being “a series of losses,” not just for the individual going through the process, but also for their friends and family. To help deal with the loss, she talked with others and gained support from people going through similar circumstances.
Nesselroade believes Dayton is an important part of Shenandoah’s foundation today and it is important to remember Shenandoah’s history.
Those of us who attended Shenandoah before 1960 are members of a relatively small group with a high average age. This means NOW is the time to accomplish what we can by contributing time, ideas and money.”
One way Nesselroade believes she can leave a lasting legacy is by supporting the Dayton Alumni Scholarship. “From its days in Dayton, scholarships have always enabled and encouraged students to attend Shenandoah. This year, the Dayton Alumni Scholarship will continue to be a main focus and we’ll continue to learn the best ways to encourage our alumni to contribute.”
In her leisure time, she enjoys volunteering, reading and playing the piano. Recently, Nesselroade and her family went ziplining in West Virginia and on a hot-air balloon ride. Right now, she is planning her next adventure!