An interview with Shelby Jones

While we’re working and meeting remotely, it can be a tad challenging to make sure everyone is “in the know” about what’s happening behind the scenes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Towson University. We want to take this opportunity to introduce you our intern working at Osher this semester—Towson University senior Melina George.

Melina is a local Baltimorean, hailing from Towson. If you’ve lived here long enough you know I had to ask Melina, “So, where did you go to school?” meaning her high school, of course. Melina answered my burning question with glee; she graduated from Notre Dame Prep in 2017. Living close to home was a big factor in Melina’s college decision. Towson University was close to home and provided an environment that would foster her love of learning—something she clearly shares with our Osher members.

During her freshman year at TU, Melina was determined to declare a major. She told me during our interview that health and wellness is something that she values very much in her life. She began researching all of the options that the College of Health Professions had to offer and stumbled upon gerontology. Melina immediately was drawn to the all-encompassing aspects of the major but also discovered a passion for advocating for older adults in the process. Now that she is close to graduating, Melina hopes to one day be an activities director while continuing to advocate for the positive health and well-being of older adults throughout her career.

Learning as a student during the pandemic

While Melina and I were discussing different courses she’s taken and enjoyed, we dove into a topic that I believe will resonate with our Osher members: What is it like being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic? Melina said she misses the face time the most. Receiving face-to-face support from professors, building relationships with those in her classes and just missing the social atmosphere that attending courses on-campus has to offer has been greatly missed. We both chatted about how this is something that has been voiced by our Osher members as well, and it’s clear that whether you’re an undergrad or an “overgrad,” we are all facing similar challenges during these unprecedented times.

Trying to keep things light, we switched gears and began talking about fun, personal facts and non-school activities. Melina comes from a large Greek family and loves her grandmother’s spanakopita (she told me it’s the best in Baltimore). Melina knows how to speak Greek and also has learned traditional Greek dancing. She also said that quarantine has given her the extra time to further develop her green thumb. She grows herbs in the winter, but has a garden spilling over with arugula, spinach, kale and other greens during the spring and summer. Melina has also enjoyed the extra time to go on hikes and dive-in to her yoga habit.

As Melina and I wrapped up our interview, I asked if there was something she would want our members to know. Since starting her internship, Melina has had the opportunity to sit in on Jim Paulsen’s winter sculpture workshop several times. Melina noted that she is so thankful to have been adopted into our community and is looking forward to helping foster a thriving environment for our lifelong learners.

I’m impressed with the creativity of Osher members and am really excited to get to know even more about our members and our learning community.

—Melina George, Osher intern

I know I speak for all of us when I say I hope Melina feels right at home at Osher at Towson University. We’re looking forward to having Melina work with us throughout the semester, and we do hope that you will extend a warm Osher welcome, even if it’s through a Zoom chat box.