2023 Conference

The 2023 schedule and session information are expected to be available in summer 2023. The 2022 schedule is shown below for reference. 

2022 Conference

All sessions, meals, and breaks will be held at the Wyndham Garden State College, and all times are listed in Eastern Standard Time (ET).

Conference includes the following meals/snacks:

  • light refreshments during breaks
  • lunch on November 3 and 4
  • evening reception with hors d’oeuvres and beverages on November 3

Continental breakfast is available for hotel guests on November 4.

Thursday, November 3
Time Event

8:00–9:00 a.m.

Conference registration

9:00–10:00 a.m.

The Case for Artistic Activism & Age Positivity in Elder Care

Speakers: Meg LaPorte and Jordan Evans (co-founders of Art Against Ageism)

Learn how to promote and practice age positivity as Meg and Jordan lead participants in a conversation that highlights how our beliefs about aging impact health and well-being. Identify creative ways to help promote and view aging as a positive experience for all!

10:00–10:15 a.m.


10:15–11:45 a.m.

What You Need to Know — NATCEP Update

Speaker: Sheri Weidman, MSEd, state coordinator, Nurse Aide Training Program, Pa Department of Education

Join this session to hear about state and federal updates to nurse aide programs in PA and how these changes will affect your teaching and nursing practice.

11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

Networking lunch

1:00–2:00 p.m.

Credentia: Testing Tips and Techniques to Ensure Student Success

Speaker: Jennifer Mankowski

Learn about best practices for helping your nurse aide students succeed while taking the PA NNAAP Nurse Aide Exam.

2:00–2:15 p.m.


2:15–3:15 p.m.

Panel Discussion: Recommendations for Improving Resident Center Care in a Long-Term Care Nursing Facility


  • Lisa Valenti, director of staff development/NATP course coordinator, Berks Heim Nursing and Rehabilitation
  • Ashley Bennett, staff development coordinator, Pocopson Home
  • Erin Ulrich, regional training coordinator/NATCEP program coordinator & primary instructor, UPMC North Central Pa. Senior Communities
  • Amanda Ott, Certified Nursing Director LTC/NATCEP instructor and administrator/clinical educator, Guardian Healthcare

This session highlights a panel of experts who will discuss current trends and issues in long-term care. Attend this session to learn what other facilities are doing to overcome barriers and provide quality care to residents and to get recommendations for improving resident center care in a long-term care nursing facility.

3:15–3:40 p.m.


3:40–4:40 p.m.

Breakout Session 1A
Technology Based Educational Method Lessons Learned

Speaker: Judy Rex

Join this session to hear about best practices and lessons learned from a nurse aide program that went from face-to-face instruction to online instruction.

3:40–4:40 p.m.

Breakout Session 1B (prerequisite for Dementia Champion session)
Using the Dementia Friends Program to Help Your Students Raise Awareness of Dementia Patient Needs

Speakers: Anneliese Perry, Stacie Bonenberger

Dementia Friends is a global social movement established with the goal of changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. Developed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom, the Dementia Friends initiative is underway in Pennsylvania. By helping everyone in a community understand what dementia is and how it affects people, each of us can make a difference for people touched by dementia.

Goal of the session: The goal of Dementia Friends is to help all community members understand five key messages about dementia and commit to their own personal action.

To become a Dementia Friend, you join others in a one-hour Dementia Friends information session. The session will cover five key messages about dementia and touch on what it is like to live with dementia. As a Dementia Friend, you will turn your understanding into practical action that can help someone with dementia living in your community. The action can be as big or small as you choose, because every action counts!

5:00–7:00 p.m.

Happy Hour: Evening reception with hors d’oeuvres and beverages

Paint and Sip: Participants have the opportunity to join a guided paint and sip session during our evening reception. Guests will leave with a 12” X 12” painted sign for their home. This session is at no additional cost but preregistration is required. Additional supplies will not be available on site. 

Friday, November 4
Time Event

7:00–8:00 a.m

Continental breakfast (hotel guests only)

8:00–9:00 a.m

Breakout Session 2A
Promoting Non-Ageist Attitudes and Practices in Healthcare

Speaker: Janice Whittaker, MEd, BSN, RN, administrator and community liaison, Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, Penn State

Attend this session to learn more about Ageism and equip yourself and your students to overcome the barriers and break through the stereotypes that are associated with aging.

8:00–9:00 a.m

Breakout Session 2B
Managing Challenging Behaviors in Older Adult Care and Their Communities

Speaker: Erin M Edwards, M.S., BCBA, LBS

This training will discuss ways to assess and intervene when challenging behaviors interfere with caring for older adults. We will review examples related to individuals, such as challenging behaviors that may be directed at caregivers, and examples related to groups, such as peer-to-peer aggression or bullying in older adult communities. Intervention strategies across roles, from direct care to administration, will be discussed.

9:00–9:20 a.m


9:20–10:45 a.m

Breakout Session 3A
Wits Workout — An Engaging, Interactive, Activity-Based Brain Health Session

Speaker: Deborah Allen

Wits Workout is an engaging and interactive brain health program for older adults that can be conducted in a variety of settings. Drawing on brain health and aging research, University of Illinois Extension developed Wits Workout to help professionals facilitate brain exercise classes. The Wits Workout can increase socialization, reduce isolation, and promote intellectual engagement in older clients, all of which complement current aging brain health research. 

9:20–10:45 a.m

Breakout Session 3B
Dementia Friends Pennsylvania Champion Training (prerequisite session required)

Speakers: Anneliese Perry, Stacie Bonenberger

The goal of Dementia Friends Champion Training is to equip volunteer Champions with the knowledge and activities necessary to host a Dementia Friends Information Session. Master Trainers will instruct Champions on how to prepare and will provide tips for delivering a successful session. Upon completion of the training, newly trained Champions are asked to register on the Dementia Friends Pennsylvania website and commit to providing four Information Sessions per year.

10:45–11:00 a.m


11:00 a.m.–noon

The Art and Science of Human Flourishing

Speaker: Molly Countermine, associate teaching professor of human development and family studies, Penn State

Join this session as Molly shares her pearls of wisdom about how we can be our best selves in all situations!


Lunch (registration required)

While reasonable efforts will be made to adhere to the advertised package, Penn State Conferences and Institutes reserves the right to substitute speakers and/or seminar content.