President’s Note

September 2021

Hello SPOers!

I hope this finds you enjoying the new month. Our university is back in person sessions and it is both nerve-racking and wonderful. I encourage each of you to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The start of the academic year is a lovely time to “script” the next eight months or so. Where do we see ourselves next May (2022!)? Are we on the path that gets us there? Even the smallest course corrections will land us in a very different place by the time we arrive.

Our SPO Executive Board met over the summer. I am always amazed with the excellence of faculty, researchers, and professionals who serve on our Board. You are in good hands! We will meet again in October. If you have anything you’d like us to consider, please reach out to me at

Our SPO chapter, Alpha Chi, has welcomed a new student President and a new student Secretary. We are excited for the SPO events ahead. Please remember that all of us love to hear from you – what is your chapter doing? What is your chapter planning? Please submit your goings-on so we all can learn and enjoy at this URL:

Wishing you all a safe, healthy semester full of learning, growing, and enjoying!

Best regards,

Katarina Friberg Felsted

President, Sigma Phi Omega




April 2021

Hello SPOers,

I hope Spring has sprung where you live! In Utah we are oscillating between 75 & sunny and 35 & snowing. A few things to share:

1. I also hope that each of you has registered for the Southern Gerontological Society conference, happening virtually this year, next week from April 20-23rd

2. Our annual SPO Business and Awards Meeting happens at SGS. This meeting is open to anyone who wants to attend.  You do not have to be registered for the SGS conference to attend our the SPO Business and Awards Meeting.  Please join us via this link:

              Topic: SPO Business Meeting and Awards
Time: Apr 22, 2021  6:15 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 943 0262 5556
Passcode: 863778

3. We also have two other meetings, which you are welcome to attend (and we’d love to see you!) if you are registered for the SGS conference.

               An SPO sponsored Networking Hour
               Happiness is Calling
April 22, 2021  11:30 AM Eastern
Please see conference schedule for Ex Ordo link to join

               The SPO Symposium
               Sigma Phi Omega: International Academic Honor and Professional Society in Gerontology
               Apr 21, 2021  11:00 AM Eastern
Please see conference schedule for Ex Ordo link to join

4. Chapter advisors should have received the email to vote for our new board members. We will be welcoming our new board members at that time. Deepest thanks to our outgoing board members, Colleen Bennett (Treasurer)and Dr. Cynthia Hancock (Past-President), for their incredible service to our international society.

5. If you are a chapter advisor or a chapter executive officer, is time to fill out your chapter reports! These are due on April 30th, and filing them earns your chapter a $5 rebate per active SPO member in your chapter. Please see our website for the form:

6. It is the time of year when we have commencements and convocations. If you are a graduate, please accept my heartiest congratulations! It is no small feat to earn a degree, and to do it during a world pandemic is quite something. Three cheers for all faculty who have worked long hours with intense efforts to help our gerontology students across the world successfully complete the college chapter of their lives!

I wish you a fully vaccinated summer with lots of fun in the sun and time with those you love most. Please take care of yourselves and each other.


Katarina Friberg Felsted, PhD

President, Sigma Phi Omega


December 2020

Dear SPO Members,

It is a privilege to have a few moments with each of you as I write this President’s Message. For most of us, the Fall academic semester is wrapping up, many of us are preparing to celebrate seasonal holidays, and I imagine all of us are coping with the effects of a global pandemic.

In each of these instances, I encourage us to be kind to ourselves and others. The setting of academia has morphed considerably since this time last year, and we have made adjustments. Take a moment and congratulate yourself on still being here, still studying, still working. I invite you to think of someone who has been a source of strength or comfort for you. Feel your feelings around this person and their words and actions that have helped you. Then, consider that someone else sees you this way as well.

The holidays will look different for most of us this year. I know most of us have already made modifications as we define how celebrations can be safely carried out. I urge each of us to reach out to those we know may feel lonely during this time.

I worry about how many of us have been touched by the pandemic’s reach. I wish I could reach out to each one of you individually. As our calendar year turns to 2021, I hope that we will see progress in the treatment of COVID-19 and that we may once again celebrate face to face. Until then, I know that in the most important of ways, we can be “here” for each other. Thank you for all you do. May you feel peace and joy ahead.

April 2020
Dear Sigma Phi Omega Friends,
I’m so happy to pass the SPO President’s gavel on to Dr. Katarina Friberg Felsted!  We have worked closely together over the last 12 months and I know she is ready to lead Sigma Phi Omega into the future.  I’m thankful for her willingness to serve and her dedication to gerontology, students, and the older adults we serve.  Welcome Dr. Felsted!


March 2020

Dear SPO Friends,

I’m happy to share the latest Sigma Phi Omega news!  First, some welcomes and farewells followed by social media and induction updates.  Our Board Members will officially change-over on May 1st  since we are unable to meet at SGS due to the COVID-19 situation.

The Welcomes:

We have just elected and appointed some new board members.  We are so thrilled to have Mary Ann Erickson (Associate Professor of Gerontology at Ithaca College) move from her Member-at-Large position into our newly created Treasurer-Elect position.  After one year she will step into the Treasurer Position for another two years.

We are happy to appoint Kara Dassel (Associate Professor of Gerontology in the College of Nursing at University of Utah) to our Secretary position.  Kara will serve here two years and is replacing Brittany Kearney, who has been hired to be our Administrative Support Associate (more about that below).

Candace Brown (Assistant Professor of Gerontology in the Department of Public Health Sciences at UNC Charlotte) has been elected to serve a three year appointment as a Member-at-Large to our board.  Welcome Dace!!

We are also happy to appoint Monica Gonzalez (USC Master of Aging Service Management Student and Senior Care Assistant) as Member-at-Large to replace Mary Ann Erickson as she moves to Treasurer-Elect.  Welcome aboard Monica!

We are thrilled to welcome Brittany Kearney to our Administrative Support Associate position.  Brittany has an MA in Gerontology and an MBA with a concentration in Healthcare Management.  She has held multiple administrative positions in aging services and is currently the Director of Outreach and Enrollment at P.A.C.E. of the Southern Piedmont.  She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and professionally affiliates with FOCUS, SPO, and the Southern Gerontological Society.

I personally want to welcome Katarina Friberg Felsted to the President’s position as I rotate into Past-President.  She has been by my side as President-Elect this year and I’m confident is ready to take the reins!

The Farewells:

We share our heartfelt thanks to those who have served SPO over the last few years.  Lori Yancura has served for three years as Member-at-large.  We thank her for her many contributions to the Society.  Amy Plant has served an appointment as our International and Virtual Representative.  We thank her as well.  Finally, Michelle Stanley was hired as our Membership Coordinator and was promoted to Administrative Support Associate.  It is really impossible to thank her for her tireless efforts on behalf of the Society.  She has been head trouble-shooter, master product distributor, and lead communicator for the Society and she will be missed.  We wish her well as she continues her educational and professional pursuits!!

Social Media Updates:

We are increasing and changing our social media presence.  We are moving our FaceBook Group to a FaceBook Page.  We hope you will “like” us and follow along.  We have also created an Instagram and Twitter feed.  Likewise, please like, share, and follow along.

Induction season is in full swing:

Michelle has been filling orders like crazy!!  We are thrilled that this represents the excellent work your students have completed in their gerontological studies.  There is nothing better than a bright medallion, shiny pin, and dazzling cords on graduation day.  Please let us know if you have questions about the process of inducting new members.  The script to do so can be found by clicking here and scrolling down to “Chapter Induction Script.”

Finally, we are sorry to miss you all at the Southern Gerontological Society meetings.   We will keep you up-to-date via our website, email, and social media outlets.  Please like and follow along.

Be well and take care,

Cynthia Hancock

SPO President 2018-2020


December 2019

Welcome to winter and the Holiday Season!  Soon spring will arrive and our sights will turn to our gathering with the Southern Gerontological Society in Norfolk, Virginia.  We have some exciting things planned for these meetings including:

  • Recognizing our President’s Student Paper Award winner
  • Recognizing our Service Project Award winner
  • Recognizing our Video Award winner
  • Saying thank you to outgoing board members
  • Installing new board members
  • Offering a workshop to answer all of your Sigma Phi Omega questions

SPO is pleased to let you know that both SPO Board Member Nominations and Award Nominations are now open.

SPO Board Nominations:

SPO Awards:

  • We have three excellent award opportunities this year and we hope you will consider nominating yourself/your chapter for one or more.
  • Some include cash prizes!
  • The SPO President’s Student Paper award is given to a student who submits a manuscript accepted for presentation at the Southern Gerontological Society meetings this spring.  Students then submit their full paper to SPO for review.  Students must let SGS know of their interest in being considered for this award.  Contact SGS at
  • The SPO Service Award is available as a way to recognize exceptional service to older adults.
  • Back for a second time, the SPO Video Award will recognize outstanding visual efforts to inform about aging.
  • Submission Information can be found here:
  • Please email with any questions you might have
  • Nominations close on January 31st and awardees will be recognized at the spring Southern Gerontological Society meetings in Norfolk:

So grab your SPO pin, pick up a member ribbon, and we will see you in Norfolk!

Cynthia Hancock, PhD

SPO President 2018-2020