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Idaho State University

ISU Alum Gives Back by Completing Aging Studies in the Department of Psychology

ISU Alum Gives Back by Completing Aging Studies in the Department of Psychology


In 1965, Dave Paepke was a new student on Idaho State University’s campus. As a recent army veteran, he was eager to learn and receive an education. He walked into the College of Education building and laid eyes on his future wife, who married him 58 days later.

Paepke received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and psychology in 1968 and his master’s in student personnel in high education in 1969.

He worked as a counselor in Washington for 15 years and in Rigby, Idaho, for 28 years.

A few months ago, while on Facebook, Paepke saw an ad for a series of studies on aging adults through the Department of Psychology. He was immediately interested in being a part of it.

“I felt like I needed to give back, especially to studies about older adults,” he said. “I am healthy enough to get around, so anything I can do to help with aging, I will.”

Over the next few months, Paepke made the drive from Rexburg to Pocatello to participate in studies in assistant psychology professor Anna McCarrey’s Laboratory of Aging Science and Health.

“All of the people in the lab are very polite and helpful and treated me so good,” he said. “ISU gave me a great start in life, so anything I could do to help these students working on their degrees, I want to do it.” 

McCarrey’s lab studies factors that influence healthy psychological aging and decision-making ability. The lab is composed of five students: two postgraduates and three undergraduates. They explore factors that promote psychological health and quality of life in older adulthood.

“I think it is wonderful to see how ISU serves our community and how community members, in turn, want to help future generations of ISU students succeed,” said Michele Brumley, Department of Psychology chair. “Professor McCarrey has an outstanding research program and lab, and the aging community here in Pocatello has really embraced her. They are eager to participate in her research studies to better understand aging.”

Paepke said he will continue to participate in aging studies as long as they are available and as long as he is able.

“It makes you feel good to help others, and if I can give helpful info, it’s twice as good,” he said.