The Shelley Joseph-Kordell Memorial Scholarship

The Shelley Joseph-Kordell Memorial Scholarship provides up to a total of $20,000 during the academic year to be distributed to one or more University of Minnesota graduate students who are fully committed to pursuing a professional career in aging services following the completion of their degrees.

The Scholarship is open to any student currently enrolled in a Master’s, Ph.D., or professional doctorate degree-granting program at the University of Minnesota. Students who have previously received the Scholarship are not eligible.

Priority is given to students who demonstrate a past, current and future commitment to the field of aging. In addition, participation in the Aging Studies Interdisciplinary Group (ASIG) is strongly encouraged.

Questions regarding the Scholarship can be directed to Rajean Moone, Ph.D., CHAI’s Associate Director of Education, at

2021-2022 Scholarship Winners

Janette Romero Saenz,
MPH Student, Administration and Policy
University of Minnesota School of Public Health

“Following graduation, I want to continue my passion for gerontology in my professional career and advocate for aging voices. I’d like to work with the aging population to address the impact of COVID-19 and advance equitable access to healthcare services, such as vaccines and boosters. I’d hope to assist in removing these systemic barriers and amplify diversity in the field to reduce disparities.”

Madeleine Howard
MD Student
University of Minnesota Medical School

“Once I complete my MD degree and orthopedic surgery residency, my plan is to pursue a geriatric orthopedic trauma fellowship. This will allow me to specialize in musculoskeletal health in the aging population, peri-prosthetic fractures, with aspects of palliative care. I am passionate about assisting older adults in maintaining their functionality, mobility, and strength as they age. My ultimate goal is to create a geriatric fracture center in a geographical area of need, such that the care and recovery of older fracture patients can be streamlined, leading to better patient outcomes and satisfaction.”

Michelle Berning
MD Student
University of Minnesota Medical School

“I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS in Biology and Gerontology and am currently a third-year medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School. I am passionate about advocacy for older adults living with dementia, as well as quality improvement and research related to dementia and delirium. After medical school, I plan to pursue a career in primary care as a geriatrician.”

Heather Ferguson
MSW Student
University of Minnesota CEHD School of Social Work

“My professional goal is to engage in social work as an advocate with older adults to empower creative interdependent living that nurtures community across difference. Using a client-focused, strengths-based approach, I see my future shaped by the WHO Age-friendly Communities’ domains of livability and informed by experiences of the restorative power of nature. My job search plans focus on supporting seniors to successfully age in place, either directly, or through policy work or program management.”

Past Recipients

  • 2017: Ana Wstervelt & Ruther Rath-Nesvacil & Kelse Pierce
  • 2016: Mary Whipple, Ph.D & Katie Woken Louwagie & Eric Jutkkowitz, Ph.D.
  • 2015: Tai Gilbert
  • 2014: Heather Davila, Ph.D. & Melanie Jackson & Breanna Wheeler
  • 2013: Jessica Finlay, Ph.D. & Tina Kilaberia, Ph.D.
  • 2012: Carrie Henning-Smith, Ph.D. & Carina Noecker
  • 2011: Ellen McCreedy
  • 2010: Amanda Barnett, Ph.D.
  • 2009: Andrea Wysocki, Ph.D.
  • 2008: Charissa Eaton, Ph.D.
  • 2007: Mary Dierich, Ph.D.
  • 2006: Kristine Talley, Ph.D.
  • 2005: Rajean Moone, Ph.D.

About Shelley Joseph-Kordell

“I can only echo countless others in saying what a kind, caring, compassionate human being Shelley was. She helped me and my family in so many ways with her guidance and expertise, and touched us with her love.”  ~Family member of a client

Shelley Joseph-Kordell was a pioneer in geriatric care management, a field that provides older adults and their families an array of support including medical advocacy, care coordination, long-term care advice, and research and arrangement of community services. More than 20 years earlier, she had anticipated the need for advocacy and service to seniors, founding the company “Estates in Transition/Rent a Daughter (now Pathfinder Care Management/Rent a Daughter) to serve seniors and their families. Setting the benchmark for care management for the elderly in the Twin Cities, Shelley made professional advocacy and service for seniors her life’s passion.

Shortly before Shelley’s untimely death in 2003, she expressed optimism that the needs of older adults were gaining increased community attention. Shelley’s family, friends, and colleagues created the Scholarship to honor Shelley’s life and contributions to the community and recognize future leaders in geriatrics and aging services.

Learn more about the Joseph-Kordell family story on SPH 40 Days of Gratitude.

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