Q&A with PhD in Gerontology Grad Carly Roman

Carly Roman PhD '21 wants to combine research and practice to ensure that older adults have opportunities to feel valued and stay socially connected.

1) What inspired you to pick the PhD in Gerontology program?

I was inspired by the impact that USC gerontology has on the field of aging and the potential to make a positive impact in the lives of more older adults with the training and experience I could gain at USC.

2) What do you plan on doing with your degree once you graduate, and what are your career goals? 

I hope to use my program development and evaluation experience to create innovative, evidence-based programs that support older adults’ well-being and age integration. I want to bridge the gaps between research and practice to ensure that older adults have opportunities to feel valued, be generative and stay socially connected through intergenerational programs.

3) What is the most rewarding or interesting part about studying at USC? 

With the multidisciplinary nature of the PhD program, it is interesting to study aspects of aging from different perspectives and rewarding to learn from faculty with diverse expertise and experience in the aging field.

4) What are some other projects or activities that you’ve been involved in?

I co-founded the USC chapter of GlamourGals, started the Intergenerational Phone Chain with the Student Gerontology Association during COVID, and was PhD Roundtable Chair. I created an intergenerational book club for GlamourGals chapters across the country with 500+ participants. I conducted a Dear Abby-style intervention for older adults to give advice to younger members of the community. I work with the Motion Picture & Television Fund to develop and evaluate an Entertainment Industry Career Mentorship Program and Cedars-Sinai to develop and evaluate an intergenerational virtual exercise program. I’ve presented introductory gerontology lessons to Hebrew school students in middle school for their day of “Honoring Older Adults.”

5) What is one of your favorite courses you’ve taken at the School?

One of my favorite courses was Health and Aging which covers the biology core of the PhD program. It was taught by two leading experts in the field (Eileen Crimmins & Caleb Finch) who challenged us to think critically about aging issues, including how early life factors shape aging experiences, and how health outcomes are better predicted by biological age than chronological age.