WMU News

WMU doctoral grad receives prize for dissertation

July 20, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- A recent Western Michigan University doctoral graduate who is an assistant professor of sociology at St. Cloud (Minn.) State University has received an award from WMU for the best dissertation on the topic of gerontology.

Paulina X. Ruf Alvarez, who graduated from WMU in December, received the George and Beatrice Fisher Gerontology Dissertation Prize. The prize, which comes with a $350 award, was established by the Fishers, both alumni of WMU, to promote greater knowledge of the aging process and a higher quality of life for the elderly. It is awarded to the WMU doctoral candidate who is the author of the best dissertation on a topic in the field of gerontology.

Ruf Alvarez's dissertation, "The Impact of Women's Traditional Caregiving Roles on Their Paid Labor Force Participation Throughout Their Lifecourse," explores the impact women's caregiving roles have on their careers and jobs outside the home and details the economic disadvantages that these women usually incur. She includes suggestions for future research that might help shape policies and design services to more adequately address the needs of caregivers.

Born and raised in Chile, Ruf Alvarez moved to England and then to Ann Arbor, Mich., where she completed high school. She received bachelor's degrees in sociology and Spanish at Hope College and completed master's and doctoral degrees at WMU, with special concentrations in medical sociology, international development and gerontology. While at WMU, she taught courses in gerontology and was an active researcher, both on her own and as a participant in the Kercher Center for Social Research.

After graduating, she accepted a position as assistant professor at St. Cloud State University.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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