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Student Profile: Rachelle Patille

October 05, 2020

New MA student, Rachelle Patille recently discovered her passion for working with and studying the sociology of aging adults. She attributes some of this passion to the close relationship she has with her grandparents and the curiosity that formed about their experience as aging adults. During Rachelle’s undergraduate degree, she enrolled in some Gerontology courses and later began volunteering and working with aging adults, where her interest grew deeper. Rachelle’s extensive background in working with the aging population, as well as enthusiasm for the field, there is no doubt that she is a valuable asset to the Gerontology community. 

We had the opportunity to ask Rachelle some questions about her past academic and work experience, as well as learn more about what interests her in the field of Gerontology and what she hopes to achieve during her studies.  

Briefly tell us about your academic and professional history. 

I graduated from my undergrad in Public Health only a few months ago. During my second year of studies I decided to take an Introduction to Gerontology course as I’ve had a keen interest in the aging demographic since early childhood. This interest naturally stemmed from having a very close bond with my grandparents where I often found myself questioning the health and aging processes they experienced. I had no idea that taking this course would coincidently introduce me to an entire new field that focused on my unexplored lifelong passion of the aging population. As soon as this realization came about, I quickly began taking a variety of courses that were closely related to Gerontology and began volunteering and participating in research opportunities that supported older adults in order to enhance my experience within the field of Gerontology.

What makes you passionate about Gerontology and why is the field important to society?

I am passionate about this field because I find the dynamic process of aging so fascinating! The field of Gerontology is important as it aims to understand the dynamic aging process in a multidimensional fashion in order to better support the aging population.

How does your academic and professional background influence your perspective with Gerontology?

I decided to tailor my public health degree to focus on healthy aging, fall prevention, intergenerational approaches, and age-friendly communities through coursework, experiential learning opportunities, placements, as well as volunteering. Taking part in these experiences enabled me to become familiar with health policy, program development and evaluation that focused on protecting and improving the life of individuals, specifically older adults. My public health background provides me with a biopsychosocial foundation that I am eager to build upon while completing my MA in Gerontology. 

What are you most excited about in embarking on your MA in Gerontology?

More than anything, I am excited to learn more about as well as research the various impacts of intergenerational initiatives. I am also looking forward to working with students, professionals, and faculty that are just as passionate about Gerontology as I am! 

During these unprecedented times with COVID-19, what gives you inspiration and hope? 

Throughout the times of the COVID-19 pandemic I have been inspired by those who have come together in safe, innovative ways to help others economically, mentally, socially, and physically. Seeing the best pour out of people despite the most terrible of times provides me with hope and joy. This pandemic has proven to me that there is light even in the darkest of times!