Emmy Ballard, a second-year graduate student in UNC-Charlotte’s Master of Gerontology program, has been named by the university as the recipient of the 2019 Southminster scholarship for her dedication to working with older populations. The $15,000 scholarship, given annually by Southminster, a Life Plan Community, is designed to assist a student with tuition, textbook costs and living expenses.

From the day she declared her undergraduate major in recreational therapy, Ballard knew she wanted to use her education and training to work with aging adults. A compelling internship at a memory care facility led her to pursue a master’s in gerontology at UNC Charlotte. “I had heard people praise Southminster throughout the gerontology program but never imagined I would be the recipient of their award,” said Ballard. “This scholarship could not have come at a more perfect time.”

“Emmy’s passion for working with individuals and families who face the challenges of dementia is exactly what our community and our industry will need as the population ages,” said Tracy McGinnis, Director of Philanthropy at Southminster. “As the percentage of older adults in Mecklenburg County continues to grow, investing in education to support our future community leaders is crucial.”

Ballard developed an interest in treating dementia through an applied project and independent studies and by volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association and an adult daycare in Huntersville, N.C. A member of the Gerontology Club and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Ballard is expected to graduate this May and will pursue a career as a public advocate for an agency that enables older adults to age well.