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Student Profile: Cari Randa
I am an art therapist in Vancouver and work full-time as Art Program Coordinator throughout Providence Health Care facilities. I was redeployed to Mount Saint Joseph Hospital’s Extended Care Unit for the duration of Covid. Every day brings new challenges, but I am grateful for the endlessly fascinating new skills and information. I grew up in North Vancouver and live in East Vancouver with my wonderful fiancé, an animation director and game developer, and our many houseplants.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
I graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Early Learning in October 2015. After SFU, I completed training at Vancouver Art Therapy Institute in November 2017 and tailored my art therapy practice for older adults in long-term care. After three years of professional experience, I wanted to continue my education and SFU has a renowned Gerontology program. It was a perfect fit for me and my undergrad at SFU was one of the most treasured experiences of my life, I knew if I ever went back to school, it would be to SFU.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.
Gerontology is an emergent field as healthcare services anticipate an influx of aging baby boomers requiring more, and increasingly complex medical and long-term care services. People are living longer, and degenerative memory diseases are getting diagnosed earlier with increased awareness and more advanced screening. It's up to us to innovate and create opportunities for older adults to live purposeful, connected, and fulfilling lives regardless of their health status.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
It has been a huge learning curve for me to return to formal education. Although I am constantly learning new things at work, there is something unique about academic writing and engaging with course materials in a more analytical fashion. I am enjoying feeling some really rusty gears turning in my brain again!
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?
I was awarded the Special Graduate Entrance Scholarship, German Canadian Benevolent Society of BC Aulinger Award & Graduate Fellowship for Fall 2021. Without this generous support, I would not have followed through with returning to higher education. Working full-time in long-term care during a pandemic, collaborating on a chapter for a Canadian Art Therapy manual, and beginning a MA is a huge undertaking, but this award helps keep me motivated and reminds me that my voice, ideas, and academic creativity has value. My gratitude is endless.