Although UMBC has clearly been established as a home for STEM majors, many of the humanities and social science departments still have enough room to grow, attract more members and positively impact the campus body. One such relatively unknown program is the Management of Aging Services program.
The MAgS program is a perfect example of a young and surely growing subculture at UMBC. The program currently lists about 30 students majoring and 30 students minoring, which is notable due to the overwhelming STEM presence, the unique nature of the MAgS program and the fact that the program is only 12 years old.
One positive aspect of MAgS is that its class structure seems to attract students of all different backgrounds and interests. This was especially key in attracting MAgS minors.
Amy Huber, sophomore MAgS major, psychology minor and president of the MAgS council of majors, described the diverse nature of MAgS students and professors.”The class topics fall under policy, health, wellness, management, business, technology, entrepreneurship and critical issues in aging services. We have professors who work in healthcare, government, business and the like. The field as a whole has a need for business leaders, nurses, doctors, physical therapists, social workers, financial counselors, policy makers, innovators in technology, dietitians, psychologists architects…you name it!”
Along with appealing to different backgrounds of students, the MAgS program has become more and more active on and off campus.
The MAgS program participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, headed by the Alzheimer’s Association to raise funds for support, care and research of the disease.
This semester, they have held multiple events on campus. Huber said, “We held an event called Wii Bowl with the Old, where MAgS students spent the afternoon Wii Bowling with some older adults in the Commons. Later in the semester, we are inviting CC Andrews, a graduate of the MAgS graduate program and President of Quantum Age Collaborative (which is a consulting company for healthcare and aging organizations), to come and speak on campus.”
Events like Wii Bowling with the Old may seem a bit insignificant and trivial, but they serve a higher purpose in the MAgS program.
Alison Larsen, double major in biology and psychology, MAgS minor and vice president of the MAgS council of majors, spoke about the importance of these events. “Events such as Wii Bowl with the Old are important to the MAgS community because they create different inter-generational relationships that can last a lifetime, and help make different connections with individuals that would have never happened without the events.”
Huber and Larsen both agree that the MAgS program has a bright future ahead, and that the UMBC community should be more aware of its existence and impact.
“People should care about MAgS because everyone is going to get old eventually and everyone ages differently. MAgS is a one of a kind program where the classes are small right off the bat and most of the professors are, or were at one point, in the field so that have great work experience that they are eager to share with the students, ” said Larsen.
Huber explained the importance of MAgS in regards our generation of students and how we react to other now aging generations. “[MAgS] is a growing field that will have a large need in the future. The Baby Boomer population is getting older and the United States is going to need people to manage what will happen as all of these people age. Issues will arise with care giving, social security etc. Most people either are or eventually will become caregivers for older relatives, which makes it important to have some knowledge about older adults.”