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Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence

GERO Scholars Program

The CGNE at Penn State seeks to improve the lives and health of older adults. This is accomplished through innovative education, rigorous scientific research, community and clinical partnerships, and various efforts to translate best practice evidence into the continuum of care for older adults. Critical to this mission is cultivating undergraduate and graduate student interest in aging science and gerontological nursing as well as supporting the development of nurse scientists to carry forward CGNE’s mission.

The Gero Scholars Program provides:

  1. Scholarship support to students who identify an interest in gerontological nursing or aging science and intent to pursue a PhD
  2. Opportunities to develop knowledge of aging and gerontological nursing research through educational events/seminars and direct engagement with CGNE-affiliated faculty and students
  3. Networking with scholars engaged in aging and gerontological nursing research
  4. Support to attend a gerontology- or aging-focused scientific conference
  5. Engagement with a small cohort of students with shared interests
  6. Mentorship by nursing faculty with expertise in aging and gerontological nursing sciences
  7. Guidance in pursuing a PhD with a focus in gerontological nursing or aging science

Scholarships are intended to support students in their pursuit of aging or gerontological nursing research as well as future enrollment in Penn State’s PhD program in Nursing. Up to four CGNE Scholars are selected each year and will receive awards in the amount of $4,000 ($2,000 per semester). In addition, each Scholar may apply for a Conference Travel Scholarship of up to $1,000 to attend a scientific conference (in person or virtual) relevant to the CGNE Mission during the year in which they participate in the program.

The Gero Scholars program requires engagement in the following (in-person or remotely):

  • Gero Scholar Cohort meetings at least twice per semester
  • CGNE seminars/educational events and Gerontology Research Interest Group meetings approximately three times per semester
  • Participate in at least one CGNE outreach event (e.g., assisting with health screenings in the community) during the academic year
  • Engage in at least 10 hours of research activities (e.g., shadowing research activities, attending research team meetings) per semester with a CGNE-affiliated faculty mentor
  • Completion of the CGNE Scholars Program final report and evaluation at the conclusion of Spring semester
  • Willingness to serve as champions for the CGNE and gerontological nursing within student and professional groups

To be eligible for the Gero Scholars Program, students must:

  • Be enrolled in the Penn State College of Nursing’s BSN, MSN, or graduate certificate program (full or part-time)
    • All campus locations are eligible
    • BSN students must be entering their junior or senior year
  • Demonstrate interests in aging or gerontological nursing science and pursuing a PhD
  • Identify 3-5 areas of research or practice interest that are relevant to the goals of the CGNE

Selection is based on the following criteria:

  • Alignment of interests with the CGNE Mission and Vision as well as CGNE-affiliated faculty expertise
  • Professional commitment to gerontology
  • Demonstration of academic excellence
  • In addition, preference will be given based on the following:
    • Plan to pursue a PhD in Nursing within 2 years of graduation/program completion
    • No previous support received from the CGNE Scholars Program Scholarship
    • Plan to graduate in the next 12 months

Scholars Program Application

Only applications submitted by the deadline of September 7, 2020 will be considered.

If you have any questions, please contact Nikki Hill, CGNE Associate Director of Educational Excellence, at