An Interview With Vibha Kaushik — Postdoctoral Fellow

March 31, 2021

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I recently received my PhD from the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary. I am a social worker based in Calgary and working on the AIRP project as a Postdoctoral Associate. I am originally from India where I completed my high school, undergraduate studies in social work and anthropology, and master’s program in social work. I have lived in Germany for a decade and have a master's degree in German. I came to Canada over ten years ago and since then Canada is my home. When I am not working, I am cooking, exercising, hiking, chatting with friends and family, or simply dreaming about my next holidays. I love to travel, and my favorite places are India, Italy, and Switzerland. I also love to watch Netflix.  

What current research are you working on?

My program of research centers upon newcomer research. My research interests include social work with newcomers, newcomer integration, diversity and intersectionality, welcoming communities, social development, linguistic challenges of non-native speakers, and mixed-methods research. My most recent work has examined the settlement and integration needs of skilled immigrants. I am currently focusing on diversifying my portfolio and that brings me to AIRP. I am working with the Calgary city lead Dr. Christine Walsh on identifying promising practices for housing and shelter for older adults who have experienced homelessness. My other work informs the development of sustainable social work field education models.  

What do you most enjoy about working with the AIRP?

Everything. I am privileged to be working with the team and learning from the experts in the field. I love how each member of the AIRP team has made me feel welcomed despite being an “outsider” in the field of social gerontology.  

What inspired you to study aging/gerontology?

To be honest, it was a series of events that inspired me to study this topic. So far, my academic work has not necessarily focused on age-friendly communities; however, I have a long-standing relationship (16 years) as a volunteer with a not-for-profit in India that offers social and emotional support to older adults. Then, in my PhD days, I served as a research assistant on an age-friendly communities project. Recently, I have had the opportunity to attend some presentations on elder abuse, development in older adulthood, and common needs and concerns of older adults. All of this inspired me to first do some self-directed study and then finally get involved with the topic areas as a researcher. 

What are your goals for your time at the AIRP?

My main goal is to learn as much I can from the interdisciplinary team during my time at the AIRP. I am looking at cultivating connections and developing the skills that will help me in advancing my career as an academic. My goals include getting involved with knowledge mobilization, publishing high-quality research papers, finding opportunities for creating smaller side projects to connect immigrant issues to the AIRP project, and networking.