Doing Well While Doing Good:

Industry Scholarships Prepare Students for Senior Living Careers

Anna Lee & Marlo Pettie

In September, Anna Lee and Marlo Pettie, WSU hospitality business management seniors, received scholarship support from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) to attended the NIC conference in Washington, D.C.

The conference attracts more than 2,500 professionals each year, representing developers, investors, operators, academic institutions, and others in the seniors housing and care space which also includes senior technology companies.

“Because of the opportunity and scholarship from the NIC to attend their fall conference, I am now pursuing a career in senior living and couldn’t be more motivated and excited,” says Pettie. “Attending the NIC conference was truly a life changing experience, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate.”

“Attending the NIC conference was by far the greatest opportunity I could have received before heading into my career in just a matter of months,” says Lee. “I learned more in those three days about both the industry and myself than I ever could have imagined, and I absolutely loved sharing the information I learned with my peers in Pullman.”

Scott L. Eckstein, clinical assistant professor and senior-living-executive-in-residence at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett, accompanied the students.

Bob Kramer

Industry engagement supports and attracts talent

Bob Kramer and the entire NIC team have been incredibly supportive of what WSU is trying to do in developing new managers for the senior living industry,” says Eckstein. “The conference is a great example of how WSU connects students to the senior living industry as well as the finance, economics, design, development, and aging services areas of the business.”

Since 2009, NIC has been one of WSU senior living management program’s strongest supporters and partners in the effort to attract and develop new leaders to the senior living management space.

Kramer, NIC chief executive officer and founder, became involved with the college through Bill Pettit, president and chief operating officer of Merrill Gardens and advisor to the School of Hospitality Business Management’s senior living program at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett. Pettit invited Kramer and other seniors housing executives to teach classes and join efforts to produce talented young people ready to step into the industry with practical and professional skills.

“Our goal is to provide opportunities for students to do well while doing good,” says Kramer.

Anna Lee, Scott Eckstein, & Marlo Pettie

Senior housing and care future trends

“Careers in seniors housing are not top of mind for many students, but this field is growing and has enormous opportunities. It’s a great fit for millennials who have a sense of purpose and want to make a difference,” says Kramer. “Our role is to be a catalyst of ideas, put industry expertise in the classroom, and attract more young people to the seniors housing and care field.”

With more than 3,500 senior living communities, Washington state has a built in pipeline for students seeking senior living careers and opportunities to make an impact on social change. “The products of today are not the products of the future,” Kramer says. “The senior living industry is an entrepreneur’s dream.”

“We are delighted the Carson College is offering an undergraduate program with required, hands-on practical experience,” Kramer says. “You can’t learn everything about the industry in the classroom. Over time, we hope the college will develop a suite of courses and ultimately a senior living major. The industry needs talented people with a diverse skill set.”

With few similar programs around the country, Kramer encourages others to invest in the generation that will be providing care in the future.

For more information on how you can invest in the Carson College of Business senior living management program,
contact Raegan Harvey, assistant director of alumni and industry relations, at or 509-335-9448.