SFU's 22nd Annual Gerontology Careers Night

April 13, 2022
Pictured (left to right): Leah Deslauriers, Joe Humphries, Pam Havens, Anthony Kupferschmidt

The SFU Gerontology Graduate Caucus held its 22nd Annual Gerontology Careers Night on March 22, 2022. The goal of this event was to inform students of the various career paths in gerontology and to give attendees the opportunity to network with professionals and academic prospects. Habib Chaudhury, professor and chair of the Department of Gerontology and Andrew Wister, professor and director of the Gerontology Research Centre gave opening remarks to welcome the panelists and the sixty attendees.

The panelists included: Pam Havens from Parkgate Community Services, Joe Humphries from West End Seniors’ Network, Leah Deslauriers from L’Chaim Adult Day Centre, and Anthony Kupferschmidt from Langley Senior Resources Society.

The evening consisted of a panel discussion that covered topics related to community, health, and aging. With a panel of speakers that are all alumni of the SFU Gerontology program, they reflect a wide range of career trajectories within the field of gerontology.

During the Q&A session, the speakers discussed how the field of aging remains largely unknown to those outside of the gerontological field. The speakers echoed that more attention to aging research is needed. With the field of gerontology quickly progressing, there continues to be a high demand for those entering the field, as Canada’s population continues to age. The speakers emphasized how important it will be for the next generation of gerontology students to advocate for their work in aging because their skills are valuable.

When asked about the gap between what they studied compared to what they have experienced during their time working in the field, the speakers shared that although research in aging has grown, there is still a lot that needs to be done in terms of implementing lasting changes. One way to do this is through policy making. The speakers also touched upon how program evaluation is not based solely on numbers but the impact that it has on clients’ lives. For many of the speakers, volunteering their time to act as an ear to vent to has become a regular part of their day.

The panel of speakers engaged in a thought-provoking discussion on aging to offer insights on their individual careers while also highlighting how fulfilling a career in aging is. Followed by a networking reception, attendees were able to network with a variety of individuals with a background in aging. Gerontology faculty, students, and agencies serving seniors were also able to showcase their work in the field to highlight the impact of their research in the community.

This marked the first in-person event for the Department of Gerontology since the beginning of the pandemic; this was critical for fostering community amongst current gerontology students, alumni, faculty, and professionals. Of course, this event would not be possible without the support of the Department of Gerontology, the Gerontology Research Centre, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

“For many students, including myself, this was the first major in-person event. To have students, faculty, alumni and our gero community gather in one space was incredible. The panel was truly inspiring. I am so thankful to have hosted Joe, Pam, Anthony, and Leah – their passion is contagious.”                                       

                                                            Sam Teichman, PhD Student & Vice-Chair of the GGC

For more information on the panelists, click here.