While it took a little while to get back into school mode, Ian Livingstone enjoyed his first year in the Gerontology PhD program at UMass Boston and really appreciated collaborating with his classmates during class discussions. Ian admits that while statistics was very challenging, everything he's learned in year one will definitely come in handy throughout the remainder of the program and he looks forward to developing his statistical analysis skills throughout the second year. This summer, Ian is working with Dr. Edward Miller on a research project that identifies how nursing homes are portrayed in the media across the country. Currently Dr. Miller and Ian are wrapping up the data collection and coding process. Ian will fill the rest of his summer time up with weekend trips and working part time at a hockey school teaching kids ages 6-12 how to skate.
Like many international students, it was not easy for Saehwang Han to leave his home in S. Korea and move to the United States to start a whole new life as a Gerontology graduate student at UMass Boston. But once he got settled in Boston, he established relationships with faculty and friends and had a great learning experience during his first year. Not only did he enjoy the courses he took, but he also gained valuable knowledge from attending various seminars, events, and conferences within and outside the department. This summer, Sae is working with Dr. Jeff Burr and fellow student Jane Tavares on a research project dealing with the association between volunteering and metabolic syndrome using HRS data. He is also working with Dr. Jan Mutchler, and student Mai See Yang looking at the relationship between multiple aspects of communication issues that patients experience with their chances of being screened for cancer using California Health Interview Survey data.
Krystal Kittle finished her first year in the Gerontology PhD program with a newfound perspective on research. Previously, her research was primarily qualitative in nature. Learning quantitative research skills has been an exciting new challenge for her. She feels that she has grown as a researcher and is eager to incorporate a mixed-methods approach to her future work. This summer, she had the opportunity to work in a research setting outside of the Gerontology Department to further develop her mixed methodological skill set. In addition, she assisted with marketing and communications activities for the Gerontology Department. Krystal is also working on an independent qualitative research study with Dr. Donna Freidman in which she is looking at existing LGBT meal sites in the Boston area in relation to their effectiveness and participant satisfaction. She plans to use data collected from this qualitative study in her future research. In the upcoming school year, Krystal hopes to begin an internship at Fenway Health as part of the LGBT Aging Project.
Ceara Somerville completed her first year in the Gerontology PhD program more excited than ever about her studies. She feels like she found the right program after switching from her undergraduate studies which included math, physics, and secondary education. She is eager to continue coursework and research in the fall. During the summer, she is working for Professor Jan Mutchler as a research assistant updating the documents published on the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging website and preparing for upcoming community needs assessments. She is also completing an independent research study under Professor Mutchler researching nursing home utilization and long-term care preferences of ethnic minorities. In addition, she is happy to continue her work as an activities assistant at the Golden Living Center Dexter House nursing home in Malden, MA. Summer is one of her favorite times to be at the nursing home because of the increase in outdoor activities, ice cream socials, barbeques, parties, and field trips. She also had the pleasure of being the maid of honor at her sister Jamie’s wedding to high school sweetheart Tony Bavaro on July 12. It was a beautiful day for a joyous celebration and officially welcoming Tony to the family, although he was already the brother that Ceara never had.
Gerontology PhD student Maryam Khaniyan began her studies in occupational therapy six years ago. After working with patients of all ages, she realized that seniors’ problems and issues received less consideration relative to the difficulties faced by young adults and children. This summer Maryam decided to return to her home in Iran interested to learn whether the knowledge gained from the first year in the Gerontology PhD program was applicable to the work she had done as an occupational therapist. She was pleased to find that her acquired knowledge is a great resource for her work in the field and she is thrilled knowing that she made the right decision to seek an education in gerontology.