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Student Profile: Kishore Seetharaman
Kishore Seetharaman is currently working on his PhD degree in Gerontology. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Architecture at Anna University, India, and a master’s degree in Human-Environment Relations at Cornell University, USA. Kishore’s doctoral research will focus on aging and the environment and exploring the lived experience of people living with dementia to understand how they move through and interact with the neighbourhood environment.
Seeing his grandparents going through changes in later life sowed the seeds for Kishore’s interest and concern for aging. He solidified this nascent and growing interest while completing his master’s thesis, where he tried to apply his background in architecture to explore how people living with dementia perceive neighbourhood landmarks. Kishore’s desire to further build on this study is what led him to finding the world of gerontology and deciding to pursue a PhD in this field.
While conducting his master’s research, Kishore happened to interact with Dr. Habib Chaudhury and learned about his area of interest and body of work. Given their similar educational backgrounds and research interests, and Dr. Chaudhury’s wealth of research experience in the area, Kishore was very interested in pursuing doctoral research under his supervision. One thing led to another and that is how Kishore found a home at the Department of Gerontology at SFU.
“I believe understanding what makes a neighbourhood accessible, navigable, legible, familiar, comfortable, and safe for people living with dementia is fundamental to creating dementia friendly and inclusive communities,” says Kishore.
For Kishore, Dr. Chaudhury’s experience in conducting research in environmental gerontology and dementia studies made him the ideal supervisor for this work. His mentoring has been hugely instrumental in helping him narrow down his research goals and objectives, find the right methods and strategies to address them, build and leverage community partnerships along the way, and importantly help him stay cognizant of the bigger picture, that is, the meaning of this work for the lives of people with dementia and how it fits into the world of policy and practice.
Through his doctoral researh, Kishore is hoping to build a program of research that bridges the worlds of architecture and gerontology to bring together new perspectives on the intersections of aging, disability, the environment, and design.
“Dr. Chaudhury leads by example in this regard by demonstrating breadth, depth, and rigour through his vast and growing work on aging, dementia, and environment,” says Kishore.
Outside of school, Kishore is also a research coordinator for the DemSCAPE research project led by Dr. Chaudhury, where he works with a team of researchers from SFU, UBC, and UNBC to explore the outdoor experiences of people living with dementia and how the neighbourhood environment influences their mobility and wayfinding, participation, and engagement.
After completing his PhD, Kishore plans to continue building his career in academia. He hopes to bring his knowledge of gerontology to the world of design and vice versa through future academic research and teaching.
Kishore’s advice for prospective students interested in Gerontology:
This is the field for people who are interested and passionate about aging and its various multidimensional aspects. The interdisciplinary nature of the field enables students to come at their topic of interest from different angles and develop a nuanced understanding. Come with an open mind and prepare to be surprised and perhaps even challenge your norms and assumptions about aging!
Connect with Kishore at: firstname.lastname@example.org