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Student Profile: Farinaz Rikhtehgaran
Gerontology master's student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
I am a first-year master's student in the Gerontology Department. I received my previous master's degree in Urban Design from University of Tehran, Iran. My research has been focused on participatory urban design and walkability of urban neighbourhoods. My professional experience with urban planning consulting companies showed me that older adults are a group of the voiceless populations who are usually excluded from the practice of urban planning and design. So, I am interested in studying ageing population to be able to empower them through engaging this population in the practice of urban design, and ultimately enhancing their quality of life,
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
SFU is amongst the list of top high-ranked universities in Canada and around the world, especially for its faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. There is a limited number of universities that offer graduate studies in Gerontology in North America, and SFU is one of the best. So, even if I can get back to the past, I would always choose SFU for my graduate studies in Gerontology.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
Gerontology is about studying the social aspects of the life of ageing population. Regarding numerous benefits of walking for older adults, my research is focused on encouraging them to walk in their neighbourhood or city by providing them with inclusive walkable environments. I will be comparing the perception of walkability and patterns of walking behaviour between two culturally different groups of Iranian and White Canadian older adults who live in Metro Vancouver. The findings of my study will help city planners and urban policy makers to develop more inclusive age-friendly urban spaces that encourage different cultural groups to walk.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I like learning new things and SFU is providing me with various learning opportunities to choose from such as workshops offered by Research Commons or professional experiences that I am gaining through my RAship. I deeply enjoy the friendly atmosphere of my department which encourages me to spend more time there. Another thing that I really like about SFU is the access to different spaces for studying such as graduate private rooms, or group study rooms at Bennett library.
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.
In my first term of study, I was honoured to receive four awards including Special Entrance Scholarship, CERi graduate fellowship, Lillian Zimmerman Grad Scholarship Gerontology, and Al Eisenring Memorial Gerontology Award. Winning all these awards showed me how valueable my knowledge and research is for the Canadian academic society. I received most of these awards in the first days of my arrival as an international student in Metro Vancouver which really helped me with my transition to this beautiful city. These awards let me concentrate on my study and research and relieved my concerns about my financial situation. I also could expand my social network through CERi fellowship that I heartfully appreciate.
Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org