RCBC Student Codi Korhammer Pursues Psychology Degree to Improve Lives of Nursing Home Residents
Monday, Apr 15, 2024

Since high school, Codi Korhammer has focused solely on musical theater. He played the leading roles in multiple plays and set his sights on Broadway. Only after leaving his first college as a theater major and joining Rowan College at Burlington County did he realize his true life’s passion.

After graduating high school from Burlington County Institute of Technology, Korhammer set out to find a college suited to his theatrical aspirations. Following a pre-college audition program through the International Thespian Festival, he interviewed for Nebraska Wesleyan University and received a considerable scholarship. Convinced this was the college for him, Korhammer moved to Nebraska to follow his dreams.

Korhammer spent one semester at Nebraska Wesleyan University before concluding that theater might not be for him. 

“I just realized musical theater might not be the be-all-end-all only thing I wanted to do. I started to question the major I had chosen,” he said. “I knew I wanted to do something that could impact the world, and I didn’t think musical theater would be that outlet anymore. That, coupled with an increased feeling of loneliness, led me to come home.”

Filled with homesickness and doubt, Korhammer returned to New Jersey to start over. During a semester off, he began working as an activities aide and was later promoted to an activities director at a nearby nursing home. The new occupation gave Korhammer a sense of fulfillment, which he sought to expand upon by taking psychology courses. He hoped this would help him further understand his patients. 

In 2023, Korhammer enrolled in the 3+1 psychology program at RCBC, a decision he would later regard as beginning a new career path. 

“The 3+1 program is amazing. I can get my associate and my bachelor’s degrees while saving money,” he said. “I like the opportunity to do school online because I get to learn and see the curriculum firsthand while working in my field.”

Korhammer continues to work as an activities director at a nursing home while pursuing his associate and bachelor’s degrees in psychology. Through his work planning both physical and mental activities for his elderly clients, Korhammer focuses on improving mental cognition. 

“I specifically work with memory care residents doing cognition-based activities like reminiscing, painting, games and one-to-one visits,” he said. “The goal is to foster socialization in the nursing home and give them something to look forward to.” 

In the future, Korhammer hopes to utilize his psychology degree by instituting drama therapy in nursing homes. 

“I’m hoping to expand the research on geriatric drama therapy. My goal is to develop a curriculum that becomes a regulated program across all nursing homes. It would emulate developmental and life enrichment for residents and provide a positive giving job for drama students,” he said.

Korhammer reflected on his past stress as a theater student and said, “Drama therapy would give young theater artists a chance to give back to their community while doing what they love. I was once a theater kid who thought that theater was life or death and that doing anything else would be a failure, but now, I get to use my craft every day to give light to people in dark situations.”