About Me

Jennifer (Jenny) Sasser, Ph.D. is an educational gerontologist, transdisciplinary scholar, and community activist. She serves as part-time faculty in the Portland Community College Gerontology program.

Jenny has been working in the field of gerontology for more than half her life, beginning as a nursing assistant and senior citizen advocate before focusing on scholarly inquiry and education.  As an undergraduate she attended Willamette University, in Salem, Oregon, graduating Cum Laude in Psychology and Music; her interdisciplinary graduate studies at University of Oregon and Oregon State University focused on the Human Sciences, with specialization areas in adult development and aging, women’s studies, and critical social theory and alternative research methodologies. Jenny’s dissertation became part of a book published by Routledge in 1996 and co-authored with Dr. Janet Lee–Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society.

For the past twenty-five years she has focused her inquiry in the areas of creativity in later life; aging and embodiment; transdisciplinary curriculum design; critical Gerontological theory; transformational adult learning practices; and cross-generational collaborative inquiry. Jenny served as Chair of the Department of Human Sciences and Founding Director of Gerontology at Marylhurst University from 1999 to 2015.  She joined the Marylhurst faculty as an adjunct member of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program in 1997 and during the subsequent 19 years was involved in designing many on-campus and web-based courses and programs for adult learners.

Jenny co-authors Aging: Concepts and Controversies with Harry R. Moody (now in its 10th edition), is first author (also with Moody) of Gerontology: The basics, co-author of several book chapters, and an essayist. Her ongoing commitments include convening the Gero-Punk Project (www.geropunkproject.org); serving as a conversation facilitator for Oregon Humanities (www.oregonhumanities.org); and offering consulting, workshops and presentations throughout North America.  An award-winning educator, Jenny’s citations include the 2012 Association for Gerontology in Higher Education Distinguished Teacher award and a Willamette University Distinguished Alumni award in 2014.

Jenny’s daughter Isobel Coen recently completed graduate studies at Sciences Po in Paris, France.  Jenny bi-locates between Portland and Oceanside, Oregon with her partner Simeon Dreyfuss.


3 Responses to About Me

  1. Melissa Smith says:

    A colleague turned me onto this page. I love it! I promise to continue to take the anarchy to the streets. BTW, I read –Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society when I was an undergrad and Women’s Studies Minor (Sociology Major.) I would love to contribute to this website. .

  2. Barb Hawkins says:

    Thank you Jenny! My wise friend (former professor, 95 years young, recently said to me as I approached my 64th birthday with dread, “Aging is mandatory, growing old is optional.” I feel fabulous for 64, ready to live all my dreams fully and with gusto…your term “gero-punk” fits me to a T…. thank you, thank you. Just because I teach gerontology doesn’t mean I embrace growing old!!!

  3. Tim Davis says:

    It was *wonderful* meeting you on the plane last week, Jenny! Your work, background, energy and attitude are *incredibly* inspiring! I look forward to connecting again soon! You mentioned some innovative solutions and people with whom to connect. I could see right away that you’re a major change agent in the best way!!

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