YORK, Pa. — Wendy A. Suzuki, author and professor of neural science and psychology at New York University, will be the featured speaker for the Founders’ Lecture for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Penn State York, as OLLI celebrate its 10-year anniversary of offering lifelong learning opportunities. The program will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, in the conference center on campus. This is a fundraising event for OLLI and tickets are on sale now for $30, which includes Suzuki’s presentation, her book, and light refreshments.
“Most of us are aware that exercise helps improve our physical well-being, but not that many of us make the connection between exercise and brain health, and ultimately, happier lives,” said Peg Chown, director of OLLI at Penn State York. “Dr. Suzuki has spent much of her career studying these connections. It’s no secret that as people age, there can be a deterioration in memory, cognition and the ability to learn new things.”
In addition to her work in NYU's Center for Neural Sciences, Suzuki is the author of “Healthy Brain, Happy Life: A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better.” Her major research interest continues to be brain plasticity. She is best known for her extensive work studying areas in the brain critical for the body’s ability to form and retain new long-term memories. More recently, her work has focused on understanding how aerobic exercise can be used to improve learning, memory and higher cognitive abilities in humans. Suzuki is passionate about teaching, about exercise, and about supporting and mentoring up-and-coming scientists.
She received an undergraduate degree in physiology and human anatomy at the University of California, Berkeley in 1987, studying with Marion C. Diamond, a professor who is a leader in the field of brain plasticity. She went on to earn her doctorate in neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego in 1993, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health before accepting her faculty position at New York University in 1998.
“Since OLLI exists to provide maturing adults with opportunities to learn and to satisfy their curiosity, it makes perfect sense that we invite Suzuki, who will not only discuss her research — particularly regarding mature adults — but will also describe her personal journey of strengthening her own brain through exercise and improving the quality of her life, and also completely changing the direction of her research.”
OLLI at Penn State York boasts nearly 700 members who have a desire to stay active and never stop learning. OLLI came to Penn State York in 2007, thanks to the efforts of three women, Olive Padden, Charmaine Kissinger and the late Gussie Petron, and their thirst for knowledge and mental stimulation. The Founders’ Lecture honors the work of these three remarkable women.
The idea of offering courses of interest during the day for adult learners without the stress of tests, requirements and official textbooks appealed to the trio, and thanks to their leadership, OLLI began offering courses in April 2008. Since that time, OLLI at Penn State York has continued to grow with a variety of daytime courses, bus trips, travel trips, walking tours and other exciting activities.
OLLI is a nonprofit, mostly volunteer-driven organization, established to enrich the lives of mature adults living in York County. OLLI at Penn State York is one of more than 100 lifelong learning institutes across the nation that is supported by a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation. The grant was made available locally though Penn State, which has OLLI sites at University Park and York.
To purchase tickets online visit olli.york.psu.edu, or call 717-771-4015 for a registration form that can be paid by check. The deadline to purchase tickets is Oct. 19.