Jun 13, 2016
A. Barry Rand Fellows Program Taps Disruptors for 2016-17 Class
Life Reimagined, a guide to living with meaning and purpose

WASHINGTON, DC – The A. Barry Rand (ABR) Fellows Program announces its 2016-2017 class, dedicated to helping AARP’s Life Reimagined address the needs and wants of individuals undergoing life transitions. As a part of the Life Reimagined Institute (LRI) and named in honor of the past AARP CEO, Addison Barry Rand, the program includes a diverse group of five innovative individuals charged with exploring and developing disruptive innovations centered on next-stage life transitions—whether personal or professional. Support for the ABR Fellows Program is provided in part by Optum, a leading health services and innovation company and the Founding Sponsor of Life Reimagined.

“Americans are living longer than ever before and are confronted with a new set of challenges tied to the transitions they are experiencing,” said Dr. Christopher Metzler. “This new class of ABR Fellows promises a fresh perspective aimed at making innovative tools more easily accessible for this cohort that is looking to live with meaning and purpose.”

The Life Reimagined Institute Fellows Program enters its second year of engaging with and empowering innovators to bring new approaches to people who are seeking answers to the complex question of “What’s next?” in their lives. The class of five fellows, four of whom are graduate students, will begin their work in September with the challenge of identifying improvements to the user’s experience and maximizing engagement with Life Reimagined.

Life Reimagined Institute’s thought leaders mentor ABR Fellows in the methodology, built from decades of research involving six specific practices for guiding people through transitions. ABR Fellows will design and plan a Life Reimagined project, implement a test model in the field and gather data for measuring the project’s strength and sustainability.

LRI thought leaders and staff will direct the following ABR selected Fellows:

Chyrene Best, a graduate student in developmental psychology at Howard University. Her research focuses on culture, identity formation and future orientation in adolescents and young adults. Best is dedicated to finding new and innovative ways to help young people channel their thoughts, behaviors and experiences into creating successful lives.

Amanda Cavaleri, a Colorado-based impact entrepreneur on a mission to connect the old and young. Cavaleri completed her B.S. at Regis University’s College Business and Economics while operating a lifestyle concierge service that catered to older individuals in the Denver area. Her experience managing Millennials to work alongside clients opened her eyes to the growing digital divide, inspiring her to use technology as a tool to enhance human interaction and reduce cost of care.

Elizabeth Hagood, M.S., a doctoral candidate at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California.  Prior to beginning doctoral training at USC, Hagood completed a bachelor’s degree in English at Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in anatomy and neurobiology at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Hagood’s doctoral studies examine the psychological and social factors that promote healthy aging, with a specific focus on the relationship between older adults’ perceptions of their contributory value and their long-term cognitive and physical functioning. 

Perre Shelton, who maintains a curiosity for life at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities – specifically the multi-faceted interaction of being both African-American and LGBTQ. As a Ph.D. student of Counseling Psychology with a subspecialty interest in Neuropsychology, Shelton’s research attempts to narrate the rich life experiences of marginalized communities at the neurological level. He posits that where some areas of study may look at certain populations and see deficits, there is a unique allocation of assets that offers opportunities to celebrate differentiation.

Tava West, a developmental psychology doctoral student at Howard University. West is currently focused on enhancing the quality of education received by young children. She aims to help all children not only meet expectations, but exceed them in school and in life.

2016-2017 Alternate
Dayana Kupisk
, M.S., who received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, and is currently a doctoral student in the department of Human Development and Family Studies in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is interested in the promotion of positive youth development, and her current research focuses on youth practitioners’ application of practical wisdom in problem-solving and decision-making in challenging, uncertain matters.

The current, inaugural class of ABR Fellows is focused on projects revolving around developing user communities within the Life Reimagined ecosystem.  One team is working on a digital approach to community engagement, and the other is focused on creating models for in-person, local community building. The premise being tested with each group is the hypothesis that user communities will foster greater engagement with Life Reimagined’s services and lead to a more fulfilling experience. In July, they will meet in Washington, D.C. to share their preliminary findings and receive feedback from LRI thought leaders and key LR staff. Final projects will be presented in September.

For more information on the ABR Fellows Program, visit: www.lifereimgined.org/rand

About Life Reimagined
Life Reimagined was launched by AARP in 2014 as a personal guidance system to help people navigate transitions, pursue their goals, dreams and purpose in life. Through groundbreaking online programs and tools, and powerful live experiences, today Life Reimagined helps people discover new possibilities in life. Begin reimagining at www.lifereimagined.org.

About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @aarp and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.

AARP Media Relations, 202-434-2560, media@aarp.org