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Education and Careers
Emerging Researchers in Aging: the U.S. experience

The Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization (ESPO), which began in 1960, is the student and transitioning member section of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).  Transitioning members are those individuals who were student members of GSA and are transitioning from being a student into early career gerontological professionals.

ESPO makes up 25% of the GSA membership.  GSA recognizes the importance of ESPO members in the fostering the development of its future leaders.  ESPO members are represented on the four society sections, and all of the society’s committees, including the executive committee (with voting rights), task forces, and serve on ESPO committees and task forces.  Additionally, ESPO representatives are active participants in GSA by assisting with the GSA Annual Scientific Meeting conference planning, contributing to committee activities, and assisting with task force charges.

At the GSA annual conference ESPO hosts several events each year.  The ESPO events at the conference serve several purposes: to facilitate networking between ESPO members, provide avenues to network with leaders in the field (e.g. the GSA fellows), facilitate information sharing and awareness of ESPO initiatives and programs (e.g. ESPO breakfast and community meeting), and recognize current leaders and award winners. 

ESPO is currently striving to better meet the needs of its members.  In collaboration with GSA, ESPO conducted a survey of its members to identify issues important to ESPO members.  Based on the results of that survey, ESPO is working to develop strategies to meet the needs of ESPO members.  Our first initiative is a series of round table discussions that have been put together for the GSA Annual Scientific Meeting this November in New Orleans.  ESPO members will be able to participate in facilitated discussions on topics identified in the survey including work-family balance and transitioning from student to professional.

Another goal of the ESPO leadership over the last year has been to develop our international networking and collaborative activities.  GSA membership represents a global community and ESPO wanted to effectively support the desire of its members to participate globally in the aging profession.  ESPO has formed an international task force to identify strategies for ESPO to better meet the global demand for aging, supporting ESPO members in international networking and collaboration.  Reaching out to other international aging organizations such as BSG and ERA and the Canadian Association on Gerontology Student Connection are examples of ways ESPO is seeking to build global relationships and learn from other organizations. 
ESPO hopes to continue to work to better meet the needs of it members fostering an international network of emerging professionals. We hope to see you in New Orleans this year.

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