much as you want and whenever you want,” he says. “If you’re
not doing that, you have only one person to talk to.”
Ellen Cole, PhD
Albany, N. Y.
Retired in: 2010 from Alaska Pacific
University in Anchorage, where she
directed the master’s of science in
counseling psychology program.
Her adventure: Cole’s retirement
came too early — when she and her
husband moved to Albany, N. Y., for
his dream job. Her determination to
stay positive despite missing Alaska
sparked a bright idea: Cole pursued a second master’s degree —
in positive psychology — from the University of Pennsylvania,
a hybrid program that required her to be on campus in
Philadelphia only three days each month. At age 70, she is the
school’s oldest graduate.
“Some of the faculty would ask, ‘Are you really learning
anything?’” she says. “ I did, and I had the time of my life. I was
completely one with the students and I put my grades on the
The experience also rekindled her passion for teaching, so
she became a “roving professor” once she graduated. Cole now
works as a visiting professor of psychology at the College of St.
Rose in Albany, where she is “back at the bottom of the totem
pole,” teaching introduction to psychology for the first time in
her career. She also teaches psychology to high school students
at a private school, The Albany Academies. “Students are such
free spirits at that age,” she says. “Their youthful energy makes
me happy to go to class.”
When she’s not teaching: Along with a childhood friend,
Cole also manages 70candles.com, a blog where women over
70 share their experiences about growing older, leaving their
careers, caring for parents or spouses and other late-in-life joys
and challenges. The project grew out of Cole’s master’s thesis
project for which she conducted focus groups with women in
their 70s. The blog caught the attention of the Huffington Post,
which asked her to write a regular column for women in their
70s. “ I am enjoying it so much more than academic writing,”
Her advice: Reach out to other people, says Cole, who
connects with her peers though tennis and two book clubs
and with her high school students by attending their soccer,
basketball and lacrosse games. “To quote positive psychologist
Chris Peterson, ‘Other people matter,’” she says. “That’s where I
get my energy from in my so-called retirement years.” n
COMING THIS SPRING . . .
THE 2ND ANNUAL PROFESSIONAL
DEVELOPMENT TRAINING INSTITUTE
Hosted by the APA Office of Continuing Education in Psychology at
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MARCH 28-29, 2014
from your association
• Ethics (Robert Kinscherff, PhD)
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FEES Early Regular
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Early Bird registration ends February
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