Gerontology specialists join SDSU Extension team

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS – To best serve South Dakota’s aging population, SDSU Extension hired two Gerontology Field Specialists, John Sanders and Leacey E. Brown.

“John and Leacey will provide strong regional and state-wide leadership while delivering research-based programming to South Dakota’s aging population and their families,” said Suzanne Stluka, SDSU Extension Food & Families Program Director. “They will work to unite agencies and other related partners to form learning communities who will address the needs and issues of our state’s aging population.”

Sanders and Brown will work with local communities to develop and implement statewide programming and provide training to partners.

“They bring so much experience to South Dakota,” Stluka said. “Gerontology is a relatively new focus for SDSU Extension; so our team is excited about the energy, experience and leadership these Field Specialists bring to our state to help strengthen local, regional and state collaborations around the topic of gerontology.”

John Sanders

Sanders works out of the SDSU Extension Regional Center in Watertown. He grew up in Charleston, Ill., and attended Eastern Illinois University. He received a bachelor’s in Sociology and a master’s in Gerontology.

Prior to joining SDSU Extension, Sanders had a 23-year career with the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, primarily working with senior citizens in the Department of Senior & Community Services and then in the Securities Department.

Leacey E. Brown

Brown works out of the SDSU Extension Regional Center in Rapid City. She is a veteran of the United States Air Force. It was during her time in the Air Force that she discovered a passion for working with and serving seniors which impacted her educational pursuits. She received her bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology and a master’s in Gerontology. Brown is from Alachua, Fla.

To learn more about Sanders and Brown and gerontology programming and services offered by SDSU Extension, visit or contact Sanders at or 605-882-5140 or Brown at or 605-394-1722.