"I oftentimes found myself fascinated about the health and aging processes my grandparents are experiencing, especially because of how diverse these changes seemed to be."

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Student Profile: Rachelle Patille

Gerontology master's student in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

October 01, 2021
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I recently graduated from my undergraduate degree in Public Health, a year ago. During my second year of studies, I enrolled in 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 unique and extremely close bond with my grandparents. I oftentimes found myself fascinated about the health and aging processes they were experiencing, especially because of how diverse these changes seemed to be. I had no idea that taking this course would coincidently introduce me to an entire new field that explored my lifelong passion of the aging population. As soon as this realization came about, I tailored my education by taking a variety of courses that were closely related to Gerontology and began volunteering and participating in research opportunities that supported older adults. These efforts provided me with the opportunity to increase my experience within the field of Gerontology and inspired me to further my educational career.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

After four years of completing my undergraduate degree in Ontario, I felt it was time for a change. Attending SFU was the perfect change, it would provide me with the opportunity to embark on a personal adventure while studying what I love most - Gerontology. I found applying to Master's programs quite stressful; however, the supportive nature of the staff and faculty at SFU made the process much more manageable. Any question that I had was answered quickly and meaningfully. This added a personal touch to my application experience. This was especially important considering I was planning on moving away from home. The warm interactions with the staff and faculty at SFU clearly set SFU apart from the other universities I was considering!

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

My specific area of research focuses on the various health, emotional, and social impacts of intergenerational relationships/programs have on older adults. I'd like for my work to capture the lived experiences of older adults to help explain the impacts intergenerational relationships/programs have on their well-being. I have been working as a Research Assistant on the InterGenNS (Intergenerational North Shore) Project to get a better understanding of what the intergenerational context is like in this particular geographical area. I am also interested in aging in place as well as the meaning of home which led me to working as a Graduate Research Assistant on the Aging in the Right Place (AIRP) Project.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

I absolutely love the classroom environment and the supportive nature of the administrative staff, faculty, and fellow students. It was not an easy adjustment moving across the country and attending my Master's classes online when I first started but the faculty and students made it possible! The individuals who are part of this faculty are one-of-a-kind, it is truly inspiring to work with them every day.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

I had the honour of accepting the Special Graduate Entrance Scholarship as well as the Fung Chan Yee Shan Memorial Scholarship in Gerontology and the CERi Graduate Fellowship. Receiving these awards provided me the opportunity to focus solely on my passion, all day, every day. I do not believe that would have been possible without these scholarships. Furthermore, receiving these scholarships as well as gaining successful entry into the program validated the entire graduate school experience for me, which is something that I am extremely grateful for.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?

SFU provides a stimulating learning environment that I am very proud to be a part of!

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