More AlumniKathryn Berlin
Andres E. Carrillo
Katie Hill Gallant
Tetyana P. Shippee
John Spruill III
April J. Stull
Roland J. Thorpe
Seoyoun Kim, PhD ('15)
I received a dual-title PhD degree in Sociology and Gerontology in 2015. I am currently an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Texas State University. I study social relationships and physical health, biomarkers of inflammation, and active aging.
How did you become interested in aging?
I grew up in an intergenerational household and learned a lot from my grandparents who were quite active. I organically cultivated many ‘unlikely’ intergenerational friendships with my grandparents’ close acquaintances. Though I never knew the concept of optimal aging until college, the issues were always personal to me. I wanted to help and enhance the well-being of my grandparents’ generation, and by extension, my parents’ and mine.
In what ways did your Purdue experience help you in your career?
Purdue and CALC truly offer strong interdisciplinary training opportunities, something I fully appreciated since I started my job in academia. I learned how to conduct research and effectively disseminate research findings through working with my advisor, Dr. Kenneth Ferraro and his research team. I took courses in multiple departments and attended workshops featuring seminal scholars in aging. These opportunities were invaluable in developing interdisciplinary research agenda and cultivating collaborative relationships in multiple fields. I appreciate every faculty member at CALC for providing the environment for me to grow as a scholar.
Are you working on any new research projects related to aging?
I am working on projects in collaboration with scholars in multiple fields. I continue investigating links between social engagements and health, particularly focusing on specific biological pathways by which social engagement influences older adults’ physical health. I am involved in another project on social activity interventions that could enhance quality of life among persons living with dementia.
What advice would you give to current and prospective CALC students as they pursue their Gerontology degree?
I tried to take as many training opportunities as possible. Attending keynote seminars, participating in poster sessions, and networking opportunities are great avenues for professional socialization.