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Dr. Karen Kopera-FryeDr. Karen Kopera-Frye is the Joseph A. Biedenharn Endowed Chair in Gerontology.

She is also a professor and interim head of the University of Louisiana at Monroe Department of Gerontology, Sociology, and Political Science.

Kopera-Frye obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wayne State University; her graduate specialist in aging certificate from the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University; and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Wayne State University. She earned her postdoctoral fellowship from the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

She serves as a gerontology student mentor, faculty chair of Sigma Phi Omega, co-chair and co-director of the gerontology academic program, and on various university committees such as the Human Subjects Social and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board.

Outside university service has included being a member of Statewide and Northern Nevada Planning Committees with Washoe County Department of Public Health; conducting research on Native American and Latino kinship caregivers; grantwriting for Nevada Urban Indians, Inc., La Cooperativa, the Sierra Veterans Hospital, and other organizations; health promotion programming for older adults through Washoe County Senior Services; and developing cultural preservation initiatives with local Native American tribes.

Kopera-Frye has received many prestigious professional awards and accolades from her peers, including the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s Distinguished Teacher Honor, a national teaching award.

Her other research experience includes the topics of substance abuse and psychological distress among low-income community dwelling seniors; health interventions with older adult community dwellers; cognitive interventions to reduce alcohol consumption among senior housing residents; a community drug board demonstration project on utilizing the arts to reduce substance problems in an economically disadvantaged group of children; understanding patterns of treatment utilization among mentally ill older adults; coping among older adults; self identity in younger and older adults; physical health and self representations in older adults; grandparents as influential agents of cultural transmission; and aging and depression. 

She is a member of numerous professional affiliations, including the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education Accreditation Task Force; as a faculty member in the Gerontology Honor Society, Sigma Phi Omega National Organization; The Gerontological Society of America, the American Psychological Association Division 40: Clinical Neuropsychology; the American Psychological Association Division 20: Adult Development and Aging; the Research Society on Alcoholism; and the Society for Research in Child Development.

Kopera-Frye has presented for many professional organizations and meetings, as well as at community conferences. She has numerous works currently in varying stages of joining the official record, ready to join the prolific amount she has already had published.

She herself has served as an editorial reviewer for textbooks, journals, national scientific conference submissions, governmental reports, and other related submissions. Kopera-Frye has also secured funding for several grants on a variety of professional topics.


About the Endowment: 

Through a generous gift to the University, the Biedenharn family endowed this $1,000,000 chair in memory of Mr. Joseph Biedenharn to attract an eminent scholar as a visiting professor to the University of Louisiana at Monroe Department of Gerontology.

The endowed chair is a distinction awarded by the University to a scholar or teacher in recognition of past and potential original contributions to the individual's academic discipline. In addition to the academic honor given to the individual, an endowed chair or professorship provides funding for support of his or her teaching, research, and service responsibilities.

The Biedenharn family helped to establish the $1,000,000 Endowed Chair in Gerontology to help attract outstanding researchers in Gerontology to Louisiana.