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Student Profile: Samantha Teichman

Gerontology doctoral student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

June 09, 2021
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I am a Ph.D. student in the Gerontology program. I am originally from New Brunswick and have always been passionate about social research. I completed my undergraduate degree at Acadia University (Wolfville, NS) and my master's degree at York University (Toronto, Ontario).

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I chose to come to SFU as I was incredibly impressed with the university's dedication to community engagement. As well, I am excited to spend time on the west coast of Canada.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

My research interests are bereavement care, families and the life course and communication technologies as care. I am particularly interested in social care through friends, family, and community when facing grief and technological mediation as new ideas of mourning and funerary practices. As Gerontology is the study of aging processes and explores the social, cultural, psychological, cognitive, and biological aspects of aging and the life course, the discipline engages our understandings of mortality, grief, and loss.

Experiences in both my personal life and professional career have driven me to better understand how society interacts with and understands health, illness, aging, and death. When I was fifteen, I experienced the sudden and unexpected loss of my mother. This experience of loss has nurtured my interest in researching families, the life course, death, and dying. More specifically, I am interested in how illness, death, and bereavement influenced caregiving roles within the family. For me, this area of research is more than academic interest. This has led to my focus on gerontology, which will allow me to apply my research to make a real impact in people’s lives to help people understand their relationship to the ubiquitous life events of death and dying.

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

I am really enjoying the passion that comes from courses, peers, and supervisors. The Gerontology department, and SFU more broadly, emphasizes the importance of community-based research, which has been very motivating. I am really looking forward to bridging the gap between academia and the greater community through my own research by working with grief organizations to better support bereavement care practices.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

I was awarded the Graduate Fellowship, BC Graduate Scholarship, Special Grad Entrance Scholarship, Dean's Graduate Fellowship, and Wister-Mitchell GS Gerontology. To say I am grateful would be an understatement. With this generous support I have been able to devote more of my time to my research, engage in student life and volunteer within my community. Currently I am working with professors in the department on various research projects, serving as the Vice-Chair of the Gerontology Graduate Caucus and volunteering with the BC Alzheimer’s Society. These awards have granted me the time to become more engaged within the university and community. My gratitude is endless.

Contact Samantha: steichma@sfu.ca

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