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04/18/2002
Hudson Valley Student Presents Research At Professional Conference in Boston

CONTACT: Judith White (518) 629-8063 or Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8071

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Thursday, April 18, 2002
http://www.hvcc.edu

Retirement communities use the words "service" and "care" in their print advertisements more often than they use words such as "active" and "independent," according to research completed by a Troy student at Hudson Valley Community College.

Image of Deborah KellisDeborah Kellis, majoring in Individual Studies at the college, presented the findings of her research in March to the Eastern Psychological Association conference in Boston. Titled "Word Use in Retirement Village Advertising," the research project was completed by Kellis as part of the Introduction to Social Inquiry course, the first of six courses in the Liberal Arts Honors program at the college.

Kellis was attempting to show that retirement communities use language to publicize themselves that portrays the active lifestyle of contemporary senior culture. She examined word usage in nationally published advertisements and on Web sites, ranking commonly used words. Ultimately, she was able to provide only moderate support for her hypothesis.

According to Dr. Leslie Grout, social sciences instructor at the college, presentation by a student at the regional EPA conference is quite an honor. "I think this might be the first time that we have had a student present research there," she said.

Kellis, 32, will graduate next month with an associate's degree from Hudson Valley. She also studies part time through Empire State College, and plans to continue her education toward a master's degree and ultimately a career in gerontology. She had previously earned both an associate's degree in music and a bachelor's degree in ministerial studies from Christian Life College, near Chicago, "But it wasn't regionally accredited, so I had to start over again," she explains, "and that's how I ended up back in Troy at Hudson Valley."

A self-described "PK" (preacher's kid) who grew up in the basement of a Cohoes church and later in Lansingburg, Kellis originally planned to be an Air Force chaplain. "I was a newspaper carrier for the Troy Times Record and the (U.S. Air Force) recruiting office was right next door to the newspaper," the student recalls now. "I took three trips to the recruiting office before I was 17."

Instead, she turned to her interest in music, thinking she would become a music therapist. She studied voice and music theory for her first associate's degree. "Actually, music therapy and gerontology could go hand-in-hand, and I imagine I'll someday be doing both in some capacity of other," she says. A member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society with a 3.85 grade point average at Hudson Valley, Kellis worked part time while studying part time at the two colleges.

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training.