Association for Adult Development and Aging

Editor’s note:
Information for each candidate, including biographical information, qualifications and reasons for seeking office is published below and in the December issue of Counseling Today. Online voting for all ACA, division and region elections will begin Dec. 1. The following answers are published as the candidates submitted them. They have not been edited.



Amber Randolph

I first joined the Association for Adult Development and Aging as a Community Counseling Master’s student. I was interested in working with adults, older adults in particular, and this division seemed to be a good fit. My first counseling conference was the AADA national conference; my first national conference presentation was also given at this conference. My first research grant was awarded through AADA and my first “first-author” article was published in the Adultspan journal. Suffice it to say, my membership in AADA has deeply impacted my professional development more than I would have ever imagined as a counseling student. In 2015, I decided it was time to start giving back to the organization that had impacted me so deeply. I currently serve as the Member-at-Large: Membership of AADA. My role involves communicating with our members and finding ways to engage members in the organization. I have served on the AADA Conference Planning Committee the past two years and have chaired the “Counseling Practices” subcommittee of the Older Adult Task Force since 2016. I work full time as an Assistant Professor and Program Chair for the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois. My research and practice focus on grief and loss counseling, wellness, and spirituality across the lifespan. Through AADA, I have formed a professional network of outstanding counselors and counselor educators. My plan, if I am chosen to fulfill the role of President-Elect for AADA, is to build on the momentum of the past few years, grow our division, and continue to advance gerontological counseling in this country and promote awareness of the importance of adult development across the lifespan.


B. J. Barksdale

I have served in many leadership roles in the Texas Branch of the American Counseling Association over the past 13 years, including Membership Chair of the Texas Association of Adult Development and Aging. I am detail oriented and I understand the importance of keeping accurate and concise records for an organization. I am seeking the office of Secretary of The Association of Adult Development and Aging because I feel it will give me the opportunity to become better educated about the structure and direction of AADA while being able to contribute as a working member to help advance the mission of the association.

Member at Large, Membership

Matthew Fullen

My name is Matthew Fullen, Ph.D., M.Div., LPCC (OH), and I am running for the AADA Member-at-Large Membership position. I believe my commitment to research and practice that empowers older adults, as well as my previous experience within AADA leadership, uniquely qualifies me for this position. First, I am dedicated to the counseling profession’s mission to serve all people by expanding our ability to work with older adults. I am an independently licensed clinical counselor, and I have worked clinically in a variety of setting that focus on the needs of older people, including long-term care facilities, adult day centers, and private practice. I hold a Ph.D. in Counselor Education with a specialization in Aging, and I am currently Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at Virginia Tech. I have presented my research on aging-related issues such as Medicare reimbursement, suicide prevention, and developing a positive psychology of aging at state and national counseling and gerontology conferences, and I am committed to supporting students and practicing counselors who are interested in working with older adults. I have had the privilege of channeling these interests into involvement with AADA. I currently serve as the Secretary of AADA, as well as Chair of the Older Adults Task Force Advocacy subcommittee. I am also a reviewer for Adultspan, the AADA journal, and I previously served as Editor of the newsletter. The variety of roles and responsibilities that I have held has allowed me to develop a vision for expanding the membership of AADA, both in quantity and quality. I am aware of the needs and interests of our current members, and I would like to continue the division’s momentum as it relates to the growth of key initiatives like the annual conference, the task forces, and the expansion of our digital professional development resources.

Suzy Wise

I am honored to be a candidate for the position of Member-at-Large for Membership in AADA. Currently, I am a doctoral candidate at Northern Illinois University in the Counselor Education and Supervision program where my research interests and practice are focused on career development, LGBTQ+ identity development, and issues of multicultural awareness. For the past year, I have had the opportunity to serve as newsletter editor for AADA, and for the past three years, served as publications chair for Illinois AADA. Both professional roles have helped me engage more deeply in the inspiring work of our respective memberships, in addition to volunteering at our state and national conferences and sharing knowledge through attending and giving presentations. Due to AADA’s nomination and sponsorship, I attended ACA’s Institute for Leadership Training in 2016, which better positioned me to seek out future leadership opportunities and highlighted invaluable knowledge and practice in developing leadership skills. Serving as a Targeted Task Group member under Dr. Catherine Roland’s ACA presidency, specifically with the LGBT Adult Lifespan Development: Older Adult Subgroup, as well as participating in a writing project focused on career development with older adults was a special highlight from the past year. I am excited to continue contributing in any way I can to the future of the division where I found a professional home and my first national counseling conference presentation acceptance several years ago. AADA brightly welcomes students and new professionals with a platform to share ideas and engage in collaboration with some of the best counselors and counselor educators in our field. I encourage our membership to continue to expand their involvement and reach future members through their valuable and significant experiences in the field, the classroom, and their own lives, because it truly made a difference in mine.