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Madison Lewis

May 4, 2018

Fitness is a passion for Madison Lewis ’18M, and she intends to share what she knows with older adults to help them live active lives.

This spring and summer, Lewis, who earned a Master of Science in Applied Gerontology, will teach indoor cycling classes for all ages and a functional fitness class specifically for older adults. Her short-term goal is to join the staff of a retirement community wellness center.

“I want to pursue this career because I have a passion for fitness and I want to focus on the growing older adult population to make exercise and fitness enjoyable for them,” she said. Eventually, she would like to become the executive director of a retirement community.

Lewis earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration from James Madison University and worked at the campus recreation center. A former UNCW staff member who attended JMU recommended her for a graduate assistantship at UNCW’s Student Recreation Center.

Despite a heavy load balancing studies and her job, Lewis was active on campus, serving as president of the Gerontology Generations student organization, and as a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council in the College of Health and Human Services and of Sigma Phi Omega, a gerontology professional and academic society.

At UNCW, faculty support students, she said. “CHHS faculty and staff take the time to learn about their student population,” Lewis said. “I am allowed to be myself around the faculty and staff and they accept diversity and listen to what each student has to say.”

“We're proud of Madison and all she has accomplished,” said Anne Glass, professor and gerontology program coordinator in the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences. “She moved here from out of state to obtain her M.S. in Applied Gerontology and has been an enthusiastic student leader who is always willing to help with whatever needs to be done.”

Lewis’ academic experience involved research into what motivates people to move to continuing-care retirement communities, which she presented at an annual conference, placing third for her presentation.

As she transitions into her new career, she hopes to spread awareness about the healthcare needs of older adults and to work to stop ageism. “Our society tends to portray older adults as weak, frail and needy,” Lewis said. “In fact, older adults are typically at their best when they are 60, 70, 80 and even 90 years of age. As a society, we need to value our older adults more and provide them with the healthcare they need so that they can make informed quality-of-life decisions.”

-- Tricia Vance

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