Family and Consumer Sciences Extension agent Heather Greenwood-Junkermeier is a regular Aging Matters columnist in The Maui News. To add a new perspective, she’s now collaborating with Lori Yancura of Human Development and Family Studies. Lori’s students in her Middle Age and Aging class got a chance to showcase their knowledge by publishing an article that would reach the 20,000 subscribers of The Maui News!
Heather advised students through the process of identifying emerging research on aging, synthesizing it into a take-away message, and translating it into an article appropriate for a lay audience. She gave students detailed feedback at every phase from topic selection to final article.
Five students ultimately were invited to prepare their final assignments for publication, and Lindsay Saito’s column, “Hula Is Truly for the Heart,” was the first to be published. Lindsay discusses a 5-year study conducted by UH JABSOM and Queen’s Medical Center that reported that “hula could match the cardiac workout of a pickup basketball game and that the intensity is adjustable to meet the needs of any age group.” Read the rest of Lindsay’s column here!
All involved agree the collaboration is a win-win-win-win! Heather got to mentor students in the writing skills needed by Extension professionals. Lori was able to give her students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a community setting. The Maui community got increased awareness of the FCS department and of how Extension in translates research to practice.
But the biggest win belongs to the students. In course evaluations, students reported they learned more about writing styles and how to create a written voice rather than just reporting statistics. They also enjoyed synthesizing multiple sources of information and appreciated the freedom to choose a topic they were passionate about—two students even called the writing assignment FUN!
The project was so successful that future HDFS 334 students are undertaking a modified version focused on factsheets to be incorporated into educational programs offered by FCS Extension agents.