Wray to present lecture on memory and retirement decisions

University Park, Pa. -- Linda Wray, associate professor of biobehavioral health in Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development (HHD), will present the 2009 HHD Alumni Society Excellence in Teaching Lecture. Wray’s lecture, titled “Memory Performance and Retirement Decisions,” will begin at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 20, in the Bennett-Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building. The event, sponsored by the College of Health and Human Development, is free and open to the public.

Researchers have already determined that physical health affects retirement decisions, and Wray’s research expands this idea to include cognitive health. In the lecture, she will discuss how cognitive health (such as the ability to think clearly) and self-perceptions of cognitive health do in fact influence a person’s decision to retire.

The Excellence in Teaching Lecture is delivered each year by the most recent recipient of the HHD Alumni Society Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes an outstanding Health and Human Development educators for excellence in teaching and for contributions to the art of teaching.

Wray’s students have commented that she is “a dynamic individual with exceptional teaching and mentoring skills” with a “passion for keeping families and communities healthy.”

Wray regularly teaches three Biobehavioral Health courses, and has redesigned and implemented more effective teaching strategies in each of them. For example, in Biobehavioral Health 316, Foundations and Principles of Health Promotion, she developed a project in which students create and present posters on a health promotion program — a project that was soon adopted in other courses. She then expanded the project by having students develop research proposals that were reviewed by a “scientific advisory group” composed of their classmates, a teaching assistant, and Wray.

Wray received her B.A. in international relations from Mary Washington College and her Ph.D. in gerontology and public policy from the University of Southern California. In addition to her teaching duties she maintains an active research agenda, much of which pertains to the disease management, health outcomes, and family relationships of people with diabetes.

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Last Updated April 16, 2009