Health Educator Pursues Life-long Dreams

Photo: Mike Peters

Gail DeKovessey '06

Gail Ferens DeKovessey ’06, has always had an interest in educating people about issues pertaining to health care and wellness. She is currently the program director/aging for Bergen County Community Development in Hackensack.

As a health educator for 11 senior activity centers, DeKovessey enjoys working with elderly people. “They are very receptive to the nutritional and health educational classes that I teach,” says DeKovessey, who earned a B.S. in Community Health. “These programs are also a great way for seniors to interact and socialize with one another.”

DeKovessey places an important emphasis on education and pursuing life-long career goals. In the early 1970s, she wanted to attend Montclair State but due to family commitments, she went to Trenton State for several years. After leaving school to care for her ailing father, DeKovessey didn’t get the opportunity to complete her education until being offered a directorial position at the Elmwood Park Senior Center in 2002.

At first, she was nervous about the idea of going back to college but received a lot of support from her family and co-workers. DeKovessey was confident that Montclair State would provide her with the proper education and expertise that she needed to succeed in her field.

“Montclair State has such a renowned reputation and knowledgeable professors,” says DeKovessey. “In addition to taking interesting classes on health counseling and geriatrics, I also had an excellent faculty advisor in Dr. Mary Jo Belenski, an assistant professor in health and nutritional sciences.”

While attending the University, DeKovessey was surprised to learn that her grandmother, Verna Husted Ferens, was in the first graduating class of the New Jersey State Normal School at Montclair in 1911.

Currently, DeKovessey is considering going back for a master’s degree because she feels it’s important to keep learning and acquiring knowledge. DeKovessey is proud of her accomplishments and stresses that, “it’s never too late for people to follow their dreams.”

DeKovessey lives in Dumont with her husband of 27 years and their two children.