Graduate Student Profile: Beverly Chew, Urban Studies
Pursuing a master’s degree in urban studies, Beverly Chew has embraced this time in her life as a mother and a planning analyst at the City of Vancouver to follow her interest in contemporary urban development.
Joining the program just over two years ago, she cites the support of her family, friends and colleagues, as the main reason behind her decision to apply for the program.
“I rationalized that if I worked part-time and took the program, it was a goal that would be achievable. With my family, friends and colleagues one hundred percent behind me, I applied in 2016 and was accepted to start in January 2017.”
Chew’s thesis is focused on exploring the intersections of aging and space, specifically “aging in place, urban neighbourhoods and age-friendly cities”. She is working and studying these topics closely with her senior supervisor, Atiya Mahmood, an Associate Professor with the Department of Gerontology.
Following her interests has presented Chew with the opportunity to take part in the program’s first international field trip to Mexico City. Chew describes the trip as a once in a lifetime experience to engage with the locals and listen to alternative perspectives.
“We were lucky to be connected to people who were passionate about the topics of revitalization, urban growth, transportation systems, connecting neighbourhoods, and social equality.”
One highlight during the trip was the city’s cable car transit system that she found particularly informative to her work and studies. “My Aha! moment occurred during the MexiCable tour—transit-oriented development yields similar results globally. I observed the beginnings of change, such as commercialization and more public art in transit station areas.”
When asked about how she’s handling a healthy work-life balance, she shares her methods, “I manage stress by tackling it day by day, breaking it down into daily events and not getting overwhelmed thinking too much into the future. Family, friends, laughter and taking care of mental and physical health are important.”
In addition, her rigorous schedule is having positive holistic effects on her family. “The times I spend with my kids are one hundred percent; in a strange way, I think school has made me a better parent.”
Chew is grateful for her professors and peers, as well as her time in the master’s program, acknowledging the unique learning environment it fosters.
“I love the collaborative learning experience and discovery process—especially the mutual respect for each other.”