Gerontology Program ceremony recognizes six graduating students

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Gerontology Program in the School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement recognized six graduating Master of Arts students at a Zoom ceremony on June 18.

Students recognized for their successful completion of the Master of Arts in Gerontology degree were Mia Enriquez, Emily Ham, Steven Shewmake, Ismael Tellez, Connie Yuen and Kelly Zhu. Faculty who were present included Christopher Cherney, Cristina Flores, Gwen Harris, Pat McGinnis, Emiko Takagi and Darlene Yee-Melichar.  

Read about event highlights and student achievements and culminating experiences in the event program.

M.A. in Gerontology 2020 Graduates

Mia Enriquez

Mia Enriquez is a certified RCFE Administrator. For the past 13 years, she has owned and operated Tara Hills Care, a six-bed board and care home for the elderly. In this role, she has helped improve the lives of residents by developing and managing individualized care plans, connecting them to supports and services and finding creative solutions so that they are able to live their best life possible. Mia knows well that navigating through the senior care system and securing supports and services can be overwhelming. Mia genuinely finds joy in helping families seek solutions that work for them and one that promotes safety, well-being and quality of life and brings this passion to her role as care manager for enABLE Care Management.  Her internship focused on creative projects that enabled elderly residents to age gracefully and well.

Emily Ham

Emily Ham headshot

Emily Ham became a Certified Nursing Assistant in anticipation of applying to a graduate nursing program. Instead, she started at Sage Eldercare Solutions as a personal care attendant and has worked directly with clients and residents in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. Her role with Sage Eldercare Solutions grew after becoming a care coordinator to support the Care Management Team and its clients. After being recruited to a coordination position within Sage’s Home Care team, her interest in elder care blossomed. With keen support from her preceptor, Nina Herndon, Emily is now a proud graduate of the Gerontology Program.


Steven Shewmake

Steven Shewmake headshot

Steven Shewmake is an honorable discharged combat veteran and started his Gerontology internship at the VAMC Palo Alto. For more than 60 years, the VAMC has partnered with affiliated colleges and universities across the country to train new health care professionals and enhance Veteran health care. The VAMC conducts the largest medical education effort in the U.S. When COVID-19 started its spread, Steven transitioned his internship to learn at St. Paul’s Towers, where he worked with elders in a long-term care community.  With support from classmate Connie Yuen, Steven created his own version of a Friendship Line to stay in touch with elderly residents. Giving the elders in his care a friendly check-in was important to him to preventing loneliness and seclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ismael Tellez

Ismael Telez

Ismael Tellez interned with UCSF’s PREPARE team as a Project Policy Analyst I (Research Program Assistant). Ismael began working with the PREPARE team as a visiting scholar in May 2019 to recruit study participants and collect data related to advance care planning and medical decision-making.  He has also previously worked in SF State’s Cognition and Aging Lab, where he recruited participants, scheduled and conducted screenings and interviews and updated laboratory files for geriatric patients. As a program assistant, Ismael provided support on a range of projects related to the advance care planning research program, including participant recruitment and interviews, Spanish translation, advance care-planning outreach and PREPARE For Your Care support.

Connie Yuen

Connie Yuen

Connie Yuen was a Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) administrator-in-training intern who was promoted to health care administrator at Covia St. Paul’s Towers. Connie has worked in aging services for 18 years; she is passionate about enriching the lives of older adults. She earned the RCFE administrator certification, completed the Administrator-in-Training internship, and now works as the health care administrator at St. Paul’s Towers. She has strong work ethics and aspires to make an impact on aging and long-term care.


Kelly Zhu

Kelly Zhu

Kelly Zhu, MA was a Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) Intern at ABHOW operating as HumanGood.  In its pursuit to redefine the meaning of aging well for adults 55 and older, ABHOW and has officially evolved into HumanGood. While the name is new, our mission is not. We serve 13,000 residents in 111 communities across California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Pennsylvania and Delaware.